Lavender is synonymous with relaxation, and the good part about all of this is that it’s all true. In fact, lavender could even be used medically to treat anxiety, how cool is that? According to a review published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, sniffing linalool, a fragrant alcohol found in lavender extracts, reduced the signs of anxiety in mice.
One of the main benefits of lavender is that it can calm without sedating. In fact, it does more than simply generate a serene state of mind, lavender can actually help reduce anxiety by affecting the body’s fight-or-flight response.
Lavender essential oil has also been found to be effective in reducing:
- disturbed sleep
- depressive symptoms
And there is a study conducted in 2015 that showed that the scent of lavender and orange was able to reduce anxiety in dental patients, while another study found that when administered during labour, can reduce anxiety in women. This same study also found that inhaling three drops of lavender essential oil every 8 hours for a period of four weeks helped to prevent stress, anxiety, and depression after childbirth.
Lavender affects the parasympathetic nervous system which controls bodily processes associated with anxiety, such as heart rate, breathing rhythm, and hormone secretion.
Which is why breathing in Lavender can help in regulating these bodily processes by restoring a neutral state. This involves lowering the heart rate, adrenaline levels, and slowing the breath.
Lavender has long been considered a natural sleep remedy to improve sleep quality and treat insomnia. So if you suffer from sleepless nights like I do, I would suggest putting several drops of pure lavender essential oil on your pillow and blanket an hour before bed so its not too concentrated and overpowering. I also light a lavender candle in the room half an hour before bedtime so the room smells wonderful and I don’t set my house and myself on fire by forgetting to blow it out before bed.
Using Lavender For Anxiety
The majority of research on lavender for anxiety symptoms have found that oral administration and aromatherapy, are the most effective methods to reduce symptoms.
Clinical trials show that the best use of lavender for the treatment of anxiety symptoms is through oral supplements containing lavender essential oil, with the most effective dose of lavender oil to be 80 milligrams (mg) per day. The study emphasises that the lavender oil must be of high quality and not diluted with additives or synthetic substances.
Anywhere between 20 and 80 mg is still effective, so if you are suffering from anxiety, speak to a medical professional for advice on finding the right supplement for you.
For the use of aromatherapy, research has found that inhalation should be at a minimum of three minutes to be effective and that 10 minutes of inhalation has positive effects on bodily functions associated with anxiety, such as blood pressure and heart rate, so if you’re using a diffuser, make sure it’s on for a minimum of 10 minutes to see benefits and be sure that you are using pure lavender essential oil and not a cheap synthetic or blend.
Other Ways To Use Lavender
Lavender is a pretty versatile essential oil that can be used in a variety of ways. Just be sure that the label specifies “lavender essential oil” and not just “lavender oil.” Having “essential oil” on the label ensures it’s not just infused with lavender but a pure, concentrated oil from the plant.
Be sure to check all the ingredients on the label to make sure it’s not diluted with synthetic ingredients or fillers and we would suggest that you confirm the quality of the brand you choose with your doctor, just to be safe.
Soak In A Lavender Infused Bath – add a few drops of lavender oil to a bath and soak away to enjoy its benefits.
Add It In Your Diffuser – diffusing essential oil into the air will not only deodorise the room and make it smell like a spa, its benefits can be easily absorbed by simply breathing.
Apply It On Your body – when topically applied on the body, lavender oil is absorbed rapidly by the skin, resulting in a sedative and relaxing effect. You can add it into an unscented body lotion or carrier oil, or use a rollerball. Apply to wrists, behind ears, and nape of neck throughout the day or as desired.
Even if you are one of those super zen people who are not affected by stress and anxiety like the rest of us mere mortals, you can still enjoy the soothing and relaxing scent of lavender by investing in an aromatherapy candle or room spray.