Lavender has long been touted as one of nature’s most calming essential oils. Not only does it smell divine, but it also has proven benefits for calming and relieving anxiety and headaches. Pure essential lavender oil can be used in a variety of ways to soothe the mind and body, and studies show it really does have incredible benefits for stress and anxiety. You can add it to your bath water or simply rub it on your temples to help relieve headaches and tension. One of our favorite ways to utilize essential lavender oil is to add it to our beverages. It can be added to tea or you can make this refreshing lemonade recipe using raw honey, fresh lemons, lavender oil, and lavender sprigs.
So, next time you have a headache, reach for a bottle of lavender oil and make this tasty recipe.
photo credit: recipehub.com
Soothing Lavender Lemonade
- 1 cup raw honey
- 12 cups purified water
- 1 drop lavender essential oil
- 6 lemons, peeled and juiced
- Lavender sprigs for garnish
Mix all ingredients together and chill. Add more water or raw honey if needed.
Not entirely convinced? Check out these notable findings on the study of lavender and its effect on stress and anxiety:
“Florida researchers have found that lavender oil benefits include reducing anxiety and lowering pulse rates in nursing students taking stressful tests. And in hospital settings, lavender aromatherapy has been demonstrated to decrease pre-surgery distress and to be more relaxing than massage or merely resting.(1) Lavender essential oil has medicinal properties as well. It has been shown to reduce depression, improve insomnia and ease labor pains. And anecdotal evidence suggests that lavender oil benefits those with headaches, hangovers, sinus congestion and pain relief. Much prior research on lavender has focused on the administration of lavender via an olfactory route. The anxiolytic activity of lavender olfaction has been demonstrated in several small and medium-sized clinical trials.46-53 The efficacy of aromatherapy of lavender is thought to be due to the psychological effects of the fragrance combined with physiological effects of volatile oils in the limbic system.54 These calming effects of lavender oil and single constituents may be the origin of the traditional use of lavender. Lavender oil olfaction has been shown to decrease anxiety, as measured by the Hamilton rating scale,51 and can increase mood scores.”
The following are selected examples of clinical trials on lavender aromatherapy:
- Dunn and colleagues demonstrated anxiolytic activity of lavender oil aromatherapy in patients in intensive care units. Subjects received at least 1 session of aromatherapy with 1% lavender essential oil. Significant anxiolytic effects were noted in the 1st treatment, though 2nd and 3rd treatments did not appear to be as effective.47
- Alaoui-Ismaili and colleagues found that the aroma of lavender is considered by subjects to be very pleasant and is correlated with changes in the autonomic nervous system.56
- Tysoe and colleagues conducted a study of lavender oil in burner use on staff mood and stress in a hospital setting. A significant number of respondents (85%) believed that lavender aroma improved the work environment following the use of the lavender oil burners.57
- Diego and colleagues demonstrated that people receiving lavender oil (10%) olfaction for 3 minutes felt significantly more relaxed and had decreased anxiety scores, improved mood and increased scores of alpha power on EEG (an indicator of alertness), and increased speed of mathematical calculations.58
- Lewith and colleagues investigated the effects of lavender aromatherapy on depressed mood and anxiety in female patients being treated with chronic hemodialysis.59 The effects of aromatherapy were measured using the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) and the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HAMA). Lavender aroma significantly decreased the mean scores of HAMA, suggesting an effective, noninvasive means for the treatment of anxiety in hemodialysis patients.
- Lavender aromatherapy, with or without massage, may also reduce the perception of pain and the need for conventional analgesics in adults and children, though more rigorously controlled trials are needed.60″ (2)
1. Wittchen HU, Hoyer J. Generalized anxiety disorder: nature and course. J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;62 Suppl 11:15-19; discussion 20-21.
2. Ohayon MM, Shapiro CM, Kennedy SH. Differentiating DSM-IV anxiety and depressive disorders in the general population: comorbidity and treatment consequences. Can J Psychiatry 2000;45:166-172.
3. Lawrence AE, Brown TA. Differentiating generalized anxiety disorder from anxiety disorder not otherwise specified. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009;197:879-886.
4. Bandelow B, Zohar J, Hollander E, et al. World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) guidelines for the pharmacological treatment of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and posttraumatic stress disorders-first revision. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2008;9:248-312.
5. Longo LP, Johnson B. Addiction: Part I. Benzodiazepines—side effects, abuse risk and alternatives. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61:2121-2128.
6. Preskorn SH . Comparison of the tolerability of bupropion, fluoxetine, imipramine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine. J Clin Psychiatry. 5;56 (Suppl 6):12-21.
7. Trindade E, Menon D, Topfer LA, Coloma C. Adverse effects associated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants: a meta-analysis. CMAJ. 1998;159:1245-1252.
8. Andrews G, Carter GL. What people say about their general practitioners’ treatment of anxiety and depression. Med J Aust. 2001;175 (Suppl):S48-S51.