So many people suffer from anxiety and headaches these days.
I believe this to be a mixture of our lifestyles and many of the changes that are taking place in our world that are pushing people to question what we’ve been doing as a society repetitively for many years.
You know what I mean… that feeling that there is something more than just going to work, making money, coming home, eating and repeating it all. It may sound cliche, but it’s evident.
Deep down we can feel it, that something isn’t quite “right” with our world anymore and there’s a certain sense of freedom from it all that is calling us from deep within ourselves.
Not knowing what that feeling is exactly or what to do, we sometimes will feel anxiety or overwhelm as we look at our lives. How do we deal with these things?
It’s important that we begin to explore this feeling inside. That knowing that things can be different, that our world doesn’t have to be the way it is. Whether it is people getting fed up with the 9 – 5, feeling disconnected from themselves and others or feeling the desire to do what we love and are passionate about, our patience with avoiding these things is continuously growing thin. It’s time, it’s time to explore it!
Other than inspiring people to begin that exploration and letting them know “you’re not crazy, many people are feeling this too,” I also wanted to share something simple that can aid us while we are making more long-term adjustments.
Pure lavender oil is an incredible essential oil to use for your own health and wellness. It’s among the gentlest of essential oils, but also one of the most powerful, making it a favorite of households for the healing properties and uses of lavender essential oil. Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents, which explains its effectiveness at helping with a lot of health ailments. Lavender oil possesses amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifier, hypotensive, and sedative properties.
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)
DIY Lavender Lemonade with Lavender Essential Oil
- 1 cup raw honey
- 12 cups pure 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.
Other ways you can use Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Headaches
- Mix 5 to 6 drops of Lavender essential oil to your bath water if you have dry skin.
- Diffuse 10 to 12 drops of Lavender into the air during your workday for natural stress relief.
- Add 2 drops of Lavender per ounce of your favorite lightly scented, unrefined organic oil (like almond oil or olive oil) for a body oil with all the benefits of lavender for improving your skin, relaxing your mind, warding off insects or helping you sleep.
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.
9. Piscopo G. Kava kava: Gift of the islands. Alt Med Rev. 1997;2:355-381 [review].
10. Lehmann EE, Kinzler J, Friedmann J. Efficacy of a special kava extract (Piper methysticum) in patients with states of anxiety, tension and excitedness of non-mental origin. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of four weeks treatment. Phytomedicine 1996;3:113-119.
11. Volz HP, Kieser M. Kava-kava extract WS 1490 versus placebo in anxiety disorders. A randomized placebo-controlled 25-week outpatient trial. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1997;30:1-5.
12. Warnecke G. Psychosomatic dysfunctions in the female climacteric. Clinical effectiveness and tolerance of kava extract WS 1490. Fortschr Med. 1991;119-122 [in German].
13. De Leo V, la Marca A, Morgante G, et al. Evaluation of combining kava extract with hormone replacement therapy in the treatment of postmenopausal anxiety. Maturitas. 2001;39:185-188.
14. Harrer G, Sommer H. Treatment of mild/moderate depressions with Hypericum. Phytomedicine. 1994;1:3-8.
15. Ernst E. St. John’s wort, an antidepressant? A systemic, criteria-based review. Phytomedicine. 1995;2:67-71.
16. Kasper S, Anghelescu IG, Szegedi A, et al. Superior efficacy of St John’s wort extract WS 5570 compared to placebo in patients with major depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial [ISRCTN77277298]. BMC Med. 2006;4:14.
17. Vorbach EU, Arnoldt KH, Hübner WD. Efficacy and tolerability of St. John’s wort extract LI 160 versus imipramine in patients with severe depressive episodes according to ICD-10. Pharmacopsychiatry.1997;30(suppl):81-85.
18. Vorbach EU, Hübner WD, Arnoldt KH. Effectiveness and tolerance of the Hypericum extract LI 160 in comparison with imipramine: Randomized double-blind study with 135 outpatients. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 1994;7(suppl):S19-23.
19. Philipp M, Kohnen R, Hiller KO. Hypericum extract versus imipramine or placebo in patients with moderate depression: randomized multicenter study of treatment for eight weeks. BMJ. 1999;319:1534-1539.
20. Schrader D. Equivalence of St. John’s wort extract (ZE 117) and fluoxetine: a randomized, controlled study in mild–moderate depression. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000;15:61-68.
21. Woelk H. Comparison of St. John’s wort and imipramine for treating depression: Randomized controlled trial. BMJ. 2000;321:536-569.
22. Wheatley D. LI 160, an extract of St. John’s wort versus amitriptyline in mildly to moderately depressed outpatients—controlled six week clinical trial. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1997;30(suppl):77-80.
23. Volz HP, Laux P. Potential treatment for subthreshold and mild depression: a comparison of St. John’s wort extracts and fluoxetine. Compr Psychiatry. 2000;41(2 Suppl 1):133-137 [review].
24. Harrer G, Hübner WD, Poduzweit H. Effectiveness and tolerance of the Hypericum extract LI 160 compared to maprotiline: A multicenter double-blind study. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 1994;7(suppl 1);S24-S28.
25. Harrer G, Schmidt U, Kuhn U, Biller A. Comparison of equivalence between the St. John’s wort extract LoHyp-57 and fluoxetine. Arzneimittelforschung. 1999;49:289-296.
26. Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. Effect of Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort) in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2002;287:1807-1814.
27. Shelton RC, Keller MB, Gelenberg A, et al. Effectiveness of St John’s wort in major depression: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2001;285:1978-1986.
28. Stafford N. Germany may ban kava kava herbal supplement. Reuters, Nov. 19, 2001.
29. Escher M, Desmeules J, Giostra E, Mentha G. Hepatitis associated with kava, a herbal remedy for anxiety. BMJ. 2001;322:139.
30. Kraft M, Spahn TW, Menzel J, et al. Fulminant liver failure after administration of the herbal antidepressant Kava-Kava. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2001;126:970-972 [in German].
31. Strahl S, Ehret V, Dahm HH, Maier KP. Necrotizing hepatitis after taking herbal remedies. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1998;123:1410-1414 [in German].
32. Russmann S, Lauterburg BH, Helbling A. Kava hepatotoxicity. Ann Intern Med. 2001;135:68-69 [letter].
33. Markowitz JS, Donovan JL, DeVane CL, et al. Effect of St John’s wort on drug metabolism by induction of cytochrome P450 3A4 enzyme. JAMA. 2003;290:1500-1504.
34. Greive M. A Modern Herbal. New York, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1931.
35. Basch E, Foppa I, Liebowitz R, et al. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Miller). J Herb Pharmacother.2004;4(2):63-78.
36. Blumenthal M, ed. Lavender flower. In: The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX, American Botanical Council, 1998:159-160.
37. Cavanagh HMA, Wilkinson JM. Biological activities of lavender essential oil. Phytother Res 2002;16;301-308.
38. European Pharmacopoeia, 6th edition, 2008.
39. [No author listed]. Lavadulae Flos. Lavandulae Aetheroleum. (Lavender Flower. Lavender Oil). ESCOP Monographs. The Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicine Products, 2nd ed. Supplement. New York and Stuttgart, Thieme, 2009:147-156.
40. Aoshima H, Hamamoto K. Potentiation of GABAA receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes by perfume and phytoncid. Biosc Biotechnol Biochem 1999; 63:743-748.
41. Lis-Balchin M, Hart S. Studies on the mode of action of the essential oil of lavender. Phytother Res1999;13(6):540-542.
42. Elizabetsky E, al Mje. Effects of linalool on glutamatergic system in the rat cerebral cortex. Neurochem Res 1995;20:461-465.
43. Re L, Barocci S, Sonnino S, et al. Linalool modifies the nicotinic receptor-ion channel kinetics at the mouse neuromuscular junction. Pharmacol Res. 2000;42:177-182.
44. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential oil safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Harcourt 1999: Glasgow.
45. Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, Jager W, Dietrich H, Plank C. Aromatherapy: evidence for sedative effects of the essential oil of lavender after inhalation. Z Naturforsch C. 1991; 46:1067-1072.
46. Buckle J. Aromatherapy. Nurs Times. 1993;89:32-35.
47. Dunn C, Sleep J, Collett D. Sensing an improvement: An experimental study to evaluate the use of aromatherapy massage and periods of rest in an intensive care unit. J Adv Nursing. 1995;21:34-40.
48. Hardy M, Kirk-Smith MD, Stretch DD. Replacement of drug treatment for insomnia by ambient odour.Lancet 1995;346:701.
49. Hudson R. Nursing: the value of lavender for rest and activity in the elderly patient. Complement Ther Med. 1996;4:52-57.
50. Wolfe N, Herzberg J. Can aromatherapy oils promote sleep in severely demented patients? Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 1996;11:926-927.
51. Itai T, Amayasu H, Kuribayashi M et al. Psychological effects of aromatherapy on chronic haemodialysis patients. Psychiatry & Clin Neurosci. 2000;54:393-397.
52. Louis M, Kowalski SD. Use of aromatherapy with hospice patients to decrease pain, anxiety, and depression and to promote an increased sense of well-being. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2002;19:381-386.
53. Lehrner J, Marwinski G, Lehr S, Johren P, Deecke L. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiol Behav. 2005;86:92-95.
54. Xu F, Uebaba K, Ogawa H, et al. Pharmaco-physio-psychologic effect of Ayurvedic oil-dripping treatment using an essential oil from Lavendula angustifolia. J Altern Complement Med. 2008;14(8):947-956.
55. Walsh E, Wilson C. Complementary therapies in long-stay neurology in-patients settings. Nurs Stand. 1999;13:32-35.
56. Alaoui-Ismaïli O, Vernet-Maury E, Dittmar A, Delhomme G, Chanel J. Odor hedonics: connection with emotional response estimated by autonomic parameters. Chem Senses. 1997;22(3):237-248.
57. Tysoe P. The effect on staff of essential oil burners in extended care settings. Int J Nurs Pract.2000;6:110-112.
58. Diego MA, Jones NA, Field T, et al. Aromatherapy positively affects mood, EEG patterns of alertness, and math computations. Int J Neurosci. 1998;96:217-224.
59. Lewith GT, Godfrey AD, Prescott P. A single-blind, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula angustifolia, as a treatment for mild insomnia. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11(4):631-637.
60. Buckle J. Use of aromatherapy as a complementary treatment for chronic pain. Altern Ther Health Med1999;5:42-51.
61. Bradley BF, Brown SL, Chu S, Lea RW. Effects of orally administered lavender essential oil on responses to anxiety-provoking film clips. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2009;24(4):319-330.
62. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2010;25:277-287.
63. Woelk H, Schlaefke S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010;17:94-99.
64. Azkhondzadeh S, Kashani L, Fotouhi A, et al. Comparison of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. tincture and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized trial. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2003;27(1):123-127.
65. Stange R, Schaper S, Uehleke B, Dienel A, Schlaefke S. Phase II study on the effects of lavender oil (Silexan) in patients with neurasthenia, posttraumatic stress disorders or somatisation disorder. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2007;12:46.
66. Tisserand R. Lavender beats benzodiazepines. Int J Aromather. 1988;1:1-2.
67. Woelk H, Kapoula O, Lehr S, Schröter K, Weinholz P. A comparison of Kava special extract WS 1490 and benzodiazepines in patients with anxiety. Healthnotes Review. 1999;6:265-270.
68. Bielski RJ, Bose A, Chang CC. A double-blind comparison of escitalopram and paroxetine in the long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2005;17(2):65-69.
69. Allgulander C, Hartford J, Russell J, et al. Pharmacotherapy of generalized anxiety disorder: results of duloxetine treatment from a pooled analysis of three clinical trials. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007;23(6):1245-1252.
70. Hidalgo RB, Tupler LA, Davidson JR. An effect-size analysis of pharmacologic treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. J Psychopharmacol. 2007;21:864-872.
71. Woelk H, Kapoula O, Lehr S, Schröter K, Weinholz P. A comparison of Kava special extract WS 1490 and benzodiazepines in patients with anxiety. Healthnotes Review. 1999;6:265-270.
72. Bielski RJ, Bose A, Chang CC. A double-blind comparison of escitalopram and paroxetine in the long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2005;17(2):65-69.
73. Atanassova-Shopova S, Roussinov KS. On certain central neurotropic effects of lavender essential oil.Izv Inst Fiziol. 1970;13;69-77.
74. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics.John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1996:339-342.
75. Henley DK, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:479-485.