Lavender: a natural solution for anxiety
Aromatherapy is a safe and natural alternative for the support of conditions related to stress. Research suggests that lavender is one of the most commonly used essential oils for anxiety. In fact, inhaling lavender essential oil may help to improve anxiety levels in both adults and children. Adopting a holistic approach is necessary to treat anxiety long-term.
Anxiety is a common health concern that can be triggered by stress. According to research, more than 20 million Americans suffer from anxiety, an unpleasant emotional state that can range from mild unease to intense fear . For many of us, anxiety may show as pain or tension, body aches, sweating, panic attacks, mood swings, sleeplessness, and digestive problems . While it may seem complex, recognizing the root cause of anxiety is necessary for treatment.
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia L. is one of the most commonly used essential oils today. Typically employed as a natural support for stress related concerns, its soothing scent is familiar to most, conjuring feelings of relaxation. A gentle and comforting oil, lavender is considered safe or the whole family.
Aromatherapy is becoming one of the most commonly used alternative therapies by nurses for patient care in hospitals. It comes as no surprise that lavender is among the most popular essential oils used by nurses to help lessen symptoms like pain, anxiety, and depression before and after treatment , , , .
In fact, a 2012 study on a group of high-risk postpartum women showed that lavender essential oil supported postnatal depression and anxiety disorder. After a four week treatment involving inhalation of lavender essential oil, the women showed significant improvement in mental well-being .
Surprisingly, lavender may also reduce anxiety among children, offering a natural and safe alternative for parents with stressed-out kids. A recent study showed that inhaling lavender alleviated anxiety and pain experienced by children during routine dental treatment .
With such promising evidence, it is no wonder so many are looking to essential oils as a safer alternative for stress and its related problems.
While aromatherapy may serve as complementary support for anxiety, adopting a holistic approach is necessary to treat anxiety long-term. Addressing lifestyle factors that may be contributing to the issue is essential. Moderating stimulants like caffeine and alcohol and addressing dietary deficiencies, specifically b vitamins, calcium, and magnesium, are necessary when managing anxiety levels. Adopting a health-promoting lifestyle with effective stress management strategies may help to lessen anxiety triggers and negative coping behaviors. Seeking support is often recommended, either through friends, family, even trained professionals.
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- Hasanzadeh, F., Kashouk, N. M., Amini, S., Asili, J., Emami, S. A., Vashani, H. B., & Sahebkar, A. (2016). The effect of cold application and lavender oil inhalation in cardiac surgery patients undergoing chest tube removal. EXCLI journal, 15, 64–74. https://doi.org/10.17179/excli2015-748
- Ozkaraman, A., Dügüm, Ö., Yılmaz, H. Ö., & Yesilbalkan, Ö. U. (2018). Aromatherapy: The Effect of Lavender on Anxiety and Sleep Quality in Patients Treated With Chemotherapy. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 22(2), 203–210. doi: 10.1188/18.cjon.203-210
- Tugut, N., Demirel, G., Baser, M., Ata, E. E., & Karakus, S. (2017). Effects of lavender scent on patients anxiety and pain levels during gynecological examination. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 28, 65–69. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.05.006
- Karan, N. B. (2019). Influence of lavender oil inhalation on vital signs and anxiety: A randomized clinical trial. Physiology & Behavior, 211, 112676. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.112676
- Conrad, P., & Adams, C. (2012). The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – A pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 18(3), 164–168. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.05.002
- Arslan, I., Aydinoglu, S., & Karan, N. B. (2020). Can lavender oil inhalation help to overcome dental anxiety and pain in children? A randomized clinical trial. European Journal of Pediatrics. doi: 10.1007/s00431-020-03595-7