A 2013 paper called Lavender and the Nervous System (found on the National Institute of Health website) provides "a survey on current experimental and clinical state of knowledge about the effect of lavender on the nervous system" The authors note that "there is growing evidence suggesting that lavender oil may be an effective medicament in treatment of several neurological disorders. Several animal and human investigations suggest anxiolytic, mood stabilizer, sedative, analgesic, and anticonvulsive and neuroprotective properties for lavender."
In addition, Dr. Michael Lemmer's article in the March 2019 edition of the Oregon Lavender Association's newsletter concluded that based on studies, "The essential oils in lavender contain a large component fraction of linalool that has been shown to reduce anxiety in an experimental mouse model. Inhaling it may help reduce your level of anxiety."
In other words, science supports what we all already knew -- that lavender can have a calming effect on us, reducing our anxiety, relaxing us, and helping us sleep. And couldn't we all use a little bit of that right now? Self-care is such an important part of keeping ourselves healthy, both mentally and physically -- so here are a few suggestions for how to incorporate lavender into your daily routine to help reduce your and your loved ones' anxiety during these stressful times.
Bath: One of the best ways to relax is with a warm bath, and adding lavender essential oil will make this an even more relaxing experience. Just add 6-8 drops of oil and then vigorously mix it in to help distribute it throughout the water. There are also many bath products, such as bath bombs and bath salts, that use lavender oil along with epsom salts for added benefit.
Neck wraps with lavender bud: Heat these in the microwave for 1 minute and then place it around your neck, The heat releases the oils in the lavender buds, and along with the heated rice or flax seed inside, provides a relaxing therapeutic experience. If the buds stop releasing their oil, you can also put a drop or two on the neck wrap before you put it in the microwave for the same effect.
Linen spray: Hydrosol, often used as a linen spray, is the byproduct of the lavender distillation process and has many of the same properties as the essential oil. Spray your pillow before your settle in for a soothing and relaxing sensory experience as you drift off to sleep.
Foot massage: Using lavender essential oil in foot massage has been found to be effective in lowering blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, wakefulness, and pain.
Sleep pillows: lightly fill a large muslin bag with lavender buds and put inside your pillow case. The lavender oils will release throughout the night, aiding in a restful sleep. (Or you can buy one of our sleep pillows.)
Lavender sachets: If you find yourself feeling anxious during the day, keep a lavender sachet in your pockets and take it out every once in a while to give it a gentle squeeze. Inhale deeply and take a minute to let the linalool do its work.
Lavender Essential Oil Diffuser: a few drop of lavender essential oil in your diffuser will provide you with hours of soothing comfort.
And lucky for you, many of these products can be purchased right here at Little Lavender farm in our online shop! If I don't carry something, the Oregon Lavender Association also has a list of lavender farms with online shops. Check them out and support a small business!
Source: Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
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