Finally. A natural home remedy to calm your mind…
Let’s face it – life can be stressful. We all worry about things like money problems, our workload, family troubles and our health. A little apprehension is quite common in the whirlwind of our daily lives.
But what happens when that knot in your stomach turns more serious? When your anxiety becomes so severe that it takes over your life? So much so that simple everyday tasks become difficult? When this happens, it might be a sign of an anxiety disorder. And you’ll be surprised at just how often this happens…
In desperation, many of us turn to our doctor and land up with a prescription for Xanax or Valium to calm our nerves.
But as awareness grows of just how dangerous many prescription medicines can be, many people are now turning to safer natural alternatives to relieve their anxiety without medication. And one of these is lavender essential oil…
Some of us may be a little sceptical about the power of essential oils – or how the simple lavender flower can help us soothe our worries. But it turns out that there’s a lot of scientific evidence to support using lavender oil to quickly and safely reduce anxiety.
In fact, a recent study suggests lavender might calm anxiety just as well as Valium…
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Every one of us get a little stressed or anxious at times. Trips to the dentist, having a baby, heavy workloads, unexpected surgery, family problems - so many things in our daily lives can cause anything from simple butterflies in our stomach to a surge of unease and worry. This is a normal human response to uncertainty, and no cause for concern.
Anxiety only becomes a problem when it extends beyond logical worry in an irrational and uncontrollable way. Situations that should pose little or no danger at all suddenly seem life-threatening or intensely embarrassing. Panic attacks and a constant sense of dread about minor concerns are common and start to affect everyday activities. When symptoms are this extreme and feelings of anxiety last for weeks or months, you may have an anxiety disorder.
You are not alone. Anxiety disorders are now the most common mental health issue in the U.S. Every year, anxiety affects around 40 million adults, nearly 1 in 5 of the population, with women being 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime. And it looks like it could be on the rise.
Increasingly, many sufferers have been turning to prescription drugs for help. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of adults who filled a prescription for benzodiazepines (like Xanax, Valium and Ativan) increased from 8.1 million in 1996 to 13.5 million in 2013. In that time, the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions more than tripled.
But, like many others, this medication comes with a host of serious side effects, some of which, like its highly addictive properties, can be dangerous.
It’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to natural home remedies for help…
A NATURAL REMEDY FOR ANXIETY: LAVENDER OIL
As a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, lavender essential oils one of those miracle multi-taskers. Apart from its well-known calming and sleep-inducing benefits, it is used for everything from pain relief, killing bacteria and germs, detoxifying the body, to revitalising the skin.
And when it comes to treating anxiety, lavender is one of the most powerful and effective essential oils you can use – all backed up by multiple research studies. In fact, it’s even been put into capsule form and sold as an anti-anxiety supplement.
In one study in Germany it was found that a specially formulated lavender oil capsule was just as effective as a benzodiazepine (Xanax, Valium, Ativan) - without the side effects. What’s even better is that there’s absolutely no risk of drug dependence.
It doesn’t only work when taken orally, though. Many other studies have confirmed meaningful decreases in anxiety (and its many related symptoms) when lavender oil is either inhaled or used topically.
One study showed that the medicinal properties of lavender essential oil become apparent in the blood stream in as little as five minutes after rubbing it onto the skin.
However, inhaling lavender essential oil has been found to be the one of the most powerful ways to treat anxiety. The nerves that detect aromas are actually in your sinuses - they're extensions of the olfactory system which is the part of the brain connected to smell.
When you breathe in an essential oil, the evaporating microparticles very quickly reach the part of your brain that controls stress, anxiety and your emotions.
That’s why one of the biggest pluses of inhaling lavender to reduce anxiety is that it works almost instantly, unlike many prescribed medications.
HOW TO USE LAVENDER OIL FOR ANXIETY
Lavender essential oils can be used for anxiety in a number of ways - inhalation, topically and orally - and there are various methods which can be used for each.
Inhalation of Lavender Oil
Breathing in the vapors of lavender oil is the quickest way to reduce anxiety. There are many different ways you can do this:
Place a few drops in your palms and rub them together. Cup your hands over your nose and take 5 slow deep breaths. Or simply put a couple of drops of oil on a cotton ball or pad and breathe in.
You can also tuck a lavender sachet under your pillow while you sleep. Or spray your pillows with a lavender mist for the same effect.
Add about 5-10 drops of lavender oil to a warm bath to breathe in the calming effects while you soak. Or turn your shower into a mini aromatherapy spa by placing a couple drops of your oil onto the shower floor. The hot water turns the oil into a relaxing fragrant steam.
Finally, fill your room with the soothing scent of lavender by adding a couple of drops of oil in a diffuser. Or burn a few lavender essential oil candles before you go to sleep.
Topical Application of Lavender Oil
Most essential oils are extremely concentrated. It takes about three pounds of lavender flowers to produce just one tablespoon of lavender essential oil…
While lavender oil is the gentlest of them all and one of the few that can be applied directly to the skin, if you are feeling unsure, it’s best to dilute 5-10 drops in 2 tbsp. of a carrier oil like almond, jojoba or sweet apricot:
Rub the lavender and carrier oil blend directly onto your skin - under your nose, or on the ‘hot points’ of your body like behind the ears, the neck, chest and collarbones. And you can decant a little of the blend into a small roll-on glass bottle for quick and easy anxiety relief on-the-go.
A blend of 10 to 12 drops of lavender essential oil with 4 tablespoons of carrier oil can also be used as a restorative massage oil. Or buy a ready-made massage oil blend.
If you’re travelling, you can add 2 to 6 drops of lavender oil to 2 tbsp. of an unscented lotion to use all over your body as desired. Or enjoy the convenience of a lavender essential oil body lotion (be aware that some products only include a lavender fragrance, and not the beneficial essential oil).
Oral Use of Lavender
Lavender capsules which can be taken by mouth by adults are widely available online. The preparation used in the study referred to earlier is called Lavela WS 1265.
Before purchasing, you should consult with a health care professional on the dosage that is best suited to your needs. These capsules are not suitable for children.
Using Lavender Essential Oil Safely
While lavender essential oil can very effectively be used to relieve symptoms of anxiety, it is not intended to replace traditional treatment options such as therapy or medical management.
Instead, it should be used as part of a holistic approach to healing. Sometimes it may be just enough to inhale lavender to calm your stress or relieve a panic attack; while at other times you may also need the more comprehensive support offered by clinical treatment.
As more and more people turn away from harmful drugs and look to natural home remedies to help with their anxiety, lavender is clearly one of the safer and more successful options.
Hundreds of studies show that lavender essential oil can be just as effective as traditional medicines to ease signs of anxiety - without the negative side effects. It not only noticeably improves your well-being - but it does so fast…
The Ultimate Guide on How to Use Essential Oils - Read More
Please talk to your health care practitioner before changing your dosage or discontinuing any medications you currently take.
Lavender used as aromatherapy or by mouth may increase the amount of drowsiness when taken in combination with medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium), narcotics such as codeine, or certain antidepressants. If you’re taking prescription medications, consult with your doctor.
There's a difference between an essential oil and simply an oil, which is basically a perfume. If a label does not clearly state that it is an 'essential oil,' then it is not a pure oil and should not be used as suggested.