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Anxiety Remedy: Lavender

Welcome to the first instalment of our new series: Anxiety Remedy – where we discuss the origins and use of well-known remedies ranging from herbal to medicinal. Today we’re discussing lavender which I am sure you know is used by many people to reduce anxiety.

The Origins

Lavender is a flowering plant of the mint-family native to Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. The origins of its use by humans dates back 2500 years to when ancient Romans used the herb to scent bedchambers, baths, clothes and hair. In recent times, Lavender has been grown for commercial use. Oil is extracted from the plant’s flowers and foliage through a distillation process and used for, amongst other things, aromatherapy.

How Does Lavender Help With Anxiety?

There are numerous studies that indicate that lavender-based treatment methods have a positive effect on anxiety levels.

One study showed that lavender oil reduced anxiety levels in dental patients. The study comprised 340 adult patients whereof half were administered a lavender scented oil. The half that had not been exposed to lavender oil reported a higher level of anxiety.

Lavender oil also helps reduce anxiety levels in high-risk postpartum women according to a study in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. The study involved 28 women who had given birth in the previous year-and-a-half. The women received lavender-based aromatherapy eight times during a four-week period. Participants reported reduced depression and anxiety levels at the end of the four-week period.

A study in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice indicated that a lavender-based oil called Silexan had an anxiety-reducing effect on people who suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The study showed that the treatment took affect after two-weeks.

lavender anxiety

When To Use Lavender For Anxiety?

Lavender based treatment methods have proven to have effect on a wide range of anxiety related issues. As previously mentioned, lavender-oils have been used to treat people suffering from postpartum anxiety, phobia and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

Lavender can be used to reduce anxiety before sleep, either by applying a lavender-based oil to the skin or through the use of lavender sachets placed under the pillow or lavender potpourri.

Lavender scented baths or candles can be used to relieve anxiety that has built up over the course of a day. Likewise, a piece of dried lavender to smell before important meetings or social occasions can have a positive effect on anxiety levels.

When Not To Use Lavender For Anxiety?

Lavender will not work if you are suffering from chronic anxiety. Lavender can be beneficial in the immediate-to-short term. For chronic anxiety, visit your local therapist or book a session online with us.

Remedy Rater!

I rate lavender as a 5 / 10

The reason for this being that lavender has a proven effect on immediate-to-short-term anxiety levels but have no recorded effect on long-term anxiety levels. Lavender is great to use around the house to create a sense of inner calm and tranquility but does little to improve anxiety levels in the long-term. Moreover, by using lavender as a counter-weight to our anxiety, we are utilising it as a control mechanism which legitimises and in turn strengthens the root cause of our anxiety.

Do You Agree?

Do you agree with our take on the use of lavender as a treatment for anxiety? Have you used lavender in any other ways to reduce your anxiety? If so, please let us know by commenting on the article post on our Facebook page.

Philip Andersson

Depression Counsellor



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