So many people suffer from anxiety and headaches these days, and I believe this to be symptomatic of the modern era — not only do our hectic lifestyles keep us stressed, but we are starting to question what we’ve been doing as a society repetitively for many years and recognizing how the systems in place are preventing us from living with purpose. 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 cliché, but it’s the truth.
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? There are a number of actions we can take to address the core issue, which you can explore here.
It’s important that we begin to explore this feeling inside — this knowing that things can be different, that our world doesn’t have to be the way it is. Whether it is people becoming fed up with the 9-5 lifestyle, feeling disconnected from themselves and others, or wanting do what they love and are passionate about, our patience is growing thinner by the day. It’s time to explore.
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 help 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 favourite of households the world over. Lavender oil has a chemically complex structure with over 150 active constituents, which explains its effectiveness in treating a multitude of health ailments. Lavender oil possesses amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive, and sedative properties.
Florida researchers have found that lavender oil’s 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 rest.(1)
Lavender essential oil has medicinal properties as well, and has been proven to reduce depression, improve insomnia, and ease labor pains. It may also help those with headaches, hangovers, sinus congestion, and pain.
“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, and can increase mood scores.
The following are selected examples of clinical trials on lavender aromatherapy, taken from the Natural Medicine Journal:
- 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
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 in 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 favourite 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.
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