The merits of aroma therapy as a natural stress relief method are undisputable. Time and time again, essential oils have proven to be very effective in alleviating the effects of daily stress from the body. Seattle-based company Bodymune advises that the negative effects of stress can be subdued by a combination of essential oils and natural stress relief supplements. Please be advised though that any intake of stress relief supplements must be approved by your doctor or dietitian first.
Lavender – will the purple miracle work for you?
Lavender is known to have a remarkably high success rate when it comes to stress relief as its essential oil derivative is one of the most effective natural sleep aids. If you are wondering whether or not lavender essential oil will work for you then the chances are it will. Research puts lavender essential oil’s stress relief effectiveness at about 75-80%. Try it for yourself to see if it works.
What is lavender, and what can be made of it?
In the unlikely event you are not too familiar with this purple plant, here is a quick summary of lavender. It is an evergreen, perennial plant originally native to Europe and North Africa. Nowadays, the plant is widely spread across the United States, the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world. There are over forty varieties of lavender, with the most valuable one being Lavandula angustifolia – highly prized because of its proven medicinal and stress-alleviating properties.
All parts of the lavender plant (apart from the stems and roots) are used in a wide range of products including many types of topical treatment like skin creams and oils, ointments, etc. The plant’s essential oil is also used to produce oral supplements for relief of stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, and more. Indeed, lavender oil is a well-known natural pain reliever, particularly good for toothaches and headaches.
If you prefer teas and infusions as a means of herbal intake, lavender is your friend. Lavender tea is used for mood balancing and gentle relaxation before a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that the herb is particularly effective on females over the age of 40 who suffer from mild sleep disorders.
Lavender – how it works explained
If you want to know the best way to use lavender, consider this: research has shown that the most effective method to use lavender is in the form of teas/infusions, essential oils, and oral supplements. Which particular one works best for you usually depends on your intake preferences and desired effects. Science has proven the broad range of beneficial effects lavender has on the body. Some of these are:
- It is a mild anxiolytic sedative. In other words, it acts as anxiety relief and relaxant to bring about sleep.
- It acts as a GABA neurotransmitter inhibitor, which is responsible for the transmission of anxiety, anger, and aggression signals throughout the brain. Basically, lavender effectively ‘quietens’ the nervous system.
- The plant’s active ingredients act as natural analgesic (painkiller); they also have antibacterial properties and tend to reduce inflammation.
Lavender-derived products are known to have mild endocrine disruptive effects. This means that long term, and/or intensive consumption may affect existing levels and the production of testosterone and estrogen. You should speak to a doctor before committing yourself to any long term or extensive lavender therapies.
Likely cognitive health benefits
Keeping your mind in check for longer is always a good thing. Although no human trials have been done as yet, preliminary research on animals has shown that lavender aroma therapies and oral ingestion of lavender oils tend to increase cognitive capacity and keeps its function for longer.
It might be some time before mind-refreshing lavender tablets are available, but the path has been laid.