Feeling the stress of a long work week? Or maybe you’re at your wits end by end of the summer and getting the kids ready to go back to school. So, you schedule a massage and breathe in a spirit-lifting scent. A remarkable calm washes over you. Most likely you’ve just experienced one of the wonderful benefits of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Though it’s been part of medicinal apothecaries across the globe and for more than 2500 years, today, lavender essential oil is used in aromatherapy to help balance and soothe mental and emotional stress.
The scent of lavender initially feels “reviving” to the senses, within moments it has a calming and restorative effect. In botanical medicine, lavender is used in treatment for anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, tension headache, and mild depression. For individuals with ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorders, lavender is safe to use as part of a relaxation routine. It’s one of the few essential oils that may be applied directly to the skin undiluted or in combination with other oils for massage and bathing.
Lavender has a wide range of “floral notes” that can be achieved depending on the intensity of the concentration. It’s available as a tincture, infusion, extract and, as noted, an essential oil alone or in combination with other herbs used for relaxation. Dried lavender and its derivatives are used in bath salts, sachets, eye pillows, and potpourris. Lavender, in herb form, may also be used in herbal beverages and teas.
More great articles can be delivered to your inbox! Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter, featuring holistic health tips, recipes, and natural remedies for body, mind and spirit.
Mars, B. & Fiedler, C., The Home Reference to Holistic Health and Healing. AppendixA: Lavender. (2015) 191. Fair Winds Press: Boston, MA.
Curtis, S. Essential Oils. (2014) 82-83. Winter Press: London.
Ernst E., The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach. (2001) 130-132. Edinburgh: Mosby.
Howard S, Hughes BM. “Expectancies, not aroma, explain impact of lavender aromatherapy on psychophysiological indices of relaxation in young healthy women. “Br J Health Psychol. (2008 Nov 13. Pt 4):603-17.
Williams TI. “Evaluating effects of aromatherapy massage on sleep in children with autism: a pilot study.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006;3(3):373-7.
Koulivand, Peir Hossein, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji. “Lavender and the Nervous System.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2013 (2013): 681304. PMC. Accessed: 7 Apr. 2017
Levy, Susan E., and Susan L. Hyman. “‘Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.’” Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America 17.4 (2008): 803–ix. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017