Lavender is one of the most popular and adaptable herbs among aromatherapists and herbalists, used by healers for millennia in a number of ways. Its purple flowers and distinctive aroma make it a sought-after ornamental plant and a popular ingredient in perfumes, but it also has a long list of therapeutic uses. As far back as the Middle Ages, lavender has seen use for a variety of ailments as well as for its aesthetic appeal.
Originally from Europe and the Canary Islands, the plant now thrives all over the world. The Lamiaceae family includes 47 species of flowering plants, including the genus Lavandula. Cultivators harvest it at various stages of the plant’s lifecycle according to the intended purpose. It grows best in dry, temperate areas. Aromatherapy, soap-making, incense, and perfume-making are just a few of the many uses for which essential oils are sought after.
Antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties are well established in this herb, and it is also recognized to be safe for human intake in food dosages. Teas produced from lavender and chamomile flowers are frequently used as a calming and relaxing agent to treat emotional disturbances as well. Anxiety and mood disorders are among the many conditions for which it has long been prescribed, and lavender essential oil for anxiety is a popular treatment method. Let’s have a look at how to use lavender oil for anxiety and utilize lavender as a natural remedy for stress.
The Science Behind Lavender
Useful in aromatherapy and other therapies, such as teas and essential oils, healers used lavender for millennia to produce a quiet and calming atmosphere, as well as for a variety of medical and mental disorders, but the science supports these reasons as well. Patients can calm the human nervous system without the use of sedatives thanks to this substance, one of the few natural methods in existence. Lavender calms the flight or fight response of the human nervous system on a cellular level. Anxiety and insomnia are not the only conditions for which lavender has seen use; it is also used to treat restlessness, nervousness, and depression.
Several studies have looked into the soothing effects of lavender, and how to use lavender oil for anxiety, like this one from 2005, which showed that both lavender and orange aromas might calm anxiety in dental patients. Another study indicated that the aroma of lavender could help alleviate the stress of labor for women who were anxious about the process. Lavender oil has been shown to help new moms relax during postpartum massages and aromatherapy sessions, which helps them bond with their babies.
The natural alcohol in the plant that gives it fragrance, linalool, works on the parasympathetic nervous system to calm breathing and heart rates, and encourage the secretion of serotonin, which is a natural hormone that promotes well-being and a sense of peace. This substance found in lavender is one of the chemicals that contribute to the relaxing effect. Lavender also contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds such as linalyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, ocimene, terpinen-4-ol, and camphor.
Lavender’s Health Benefits
Lavender has a long history of health advantages, including decreased levels of adrenaline, which lowers heart rate and breathing, improves mood, and improves sleep. As a result of overactive adrenal glands and the release of cortisol, these symptoms can get worse over time, but with the application of linalool in lavender can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. The following are also influenced by lavender, all of which contribute to a reduction in stress.
In a study published in 2010, natural sleep aid showed that lavender helped soothe restlessness and contribute to increased ease of falling and staying asleep. A number of studies have shown that lavender essential oil can help alleviate insomnia as well.
According to research into aromatherapy used for the condition, using lavender together with standard medications has a favorable effect on mild to moderate depression. A separate study found that lavender aromatherapy has a positive effect on elderly people by lowering their stress levels. According to yet another study conducted in the year 2000 on people with post-traumatic stress disorder, taking lavender every day for six weeks improved mental health in general and aids in healing.
Stress and anxiety usually manifest as a result of elevated cortisol levels, but those who used lavender to soothe the parasympathetic nervous system experienced a reduction in anxiety symptoms. In patients who used lavender to treat their symptoms, lavender oil brought these bodily functions back to a state of balance, reducing symptoms such as rapid heart rate, quick breathing, and rapid pulse. The adrenal glands’ synthesis of cortisol slowed, which in turn reduced anxious feelings. Sedatives are commonly used to treat anxiety as they inhibit the nervous system’s ability to carry out these processes. Lavender appears to have a comparable effect, but it doesn’t need to suppress the central nervous system in order to achieve it.
Lavender has certain drawbacks despite its widespread use for healing a wide range of mental and physical ailments. It’s important not to use too much essential oil, or any herbal medicine for that matter, because it’s so potent. As with any substance, both natural and synthetic, users must adhere to a proper dose to when using lavender. Lavender can make you drowsy and nauseated if you take it too often or in too large a dose. Constipation, diarrhea, and headaches are all possible adverse effects of lavender as well.
In addition, some research suggests that lavender may not be beneficial for specific anxiety disorders, such as phobias or panic attacks. Excessive use of this essential oil directly on the skin can cause skin irritation because it is so concentrated when used as an essential oil. Keep it out of your eyes and out of the reach of children. To avoid adverse reactions, people who are allergic to any plant in the mint family should not use lavender. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.
How to Use Lavender
You’ve decided to utilize lavender as an anxiety treatment, so what are your best options? From soaps and bath bombs to essential oils and herbal teas, you can find lavender in a number of products. Due to its ability for use in a variety of delivery systems, essential oil is the most popular way to use lavender. In order to avoid buying lavender oil that just reads “lavender oil,” check for “lavender essential oil” instead. Non-essential oil is only oil infused with lavender and may not be suitable for consumption, whereas essential oil is the plant’s pure extract. Make sure there are no fillers or additions on the labels, and stick with a reputable brand. So how to use lavender oil for anxiety effectively? Try the following techniques for delivering essential oils:
Incense or diffuser
Diffusers for aromatherapy disseminate essential oils into the air for direct inhalation. You can diffuse lavender oil alone or in combination with other relaxing herbs such as chamomile to soothe the mind and body. As a result, the essential oils can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream by inhaling them. For a more lasting effect, fill the entire space with the fragrance using this technique.
Oral: capsules and tinctures
Users can use lavender for long-term treatment for anxiety with the use of oils given orally in capsules or sublingually. Lavender oil for anxiety in the form of capsules like Seremind showed in studies to reduce the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder when taken once a day for six weeks. An alcohol-based distillation of the plant’s bloom used to create concentrated herbal extracts called “tinctures.” Typically, this is swallowed under the tongue and has the same benefits as oral capsules.
Essential oils added to a bath creates a calming and relaxing environment. Essential oil of lavender, which can either be added to a neutral bath oil or purchased in a pre-mixed bath oil that includes additional relaxing scents such as orange and chamomile, can be used to relax the body and mind.
A neutral carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, blended with lavender essential oil, has seen use for decades by massage therapists to apply directly to the skin, inducing relaxation and relieving aching muscles. Avoid irritating your skin with too much essential oil if you plan to apply it straight to your skin. You can put a few drops behind your ears, on your wrist, or in any other region that is bothering you.
Lavender is a much loved herb that has seen use by natural healers for centuries and with good reason. There are numerous ways to incorporate this plant into your health plan, as well as for medicinal and culinary uses. It is safe to use in small and moderate doses, and does not often cause allergic reactions. Because of its effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, it has had considerable efficacy in treating mild to moderate anxiety disorders. Anxiety symptoms can be alleviated with the use of lavender, which has a relaxing impact on the body and can be delivered in many ways. If you’d like to understand how to incorporate lavender into your anxiety-suppression program, talk to your doctor or herbalist.
If not taken orally or with teas, essential oil can be used on the skin in small amounts, around 2-3 drops on the wrists and behind the ears.
Lavender essential oil can be diluted in a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, for topical application, around 10 drops per 50mL.
Yes you can, but as with any essential oil, use sparingly, as it can cause skin irritation, and it should only be done a few times a week. The rest of the time, it should be taken orally.