Many people are aware of lavender as an essential oil, often used in aromatherapy or diffusers.
Lavender has calming and relaxing qualities. It can also be used as a tea and can find its way into baking and other recipes as well.
From a medicinal standpoint, lavender is a useful herb in cases of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. Components in Lavender Essential oil have effects on GABA receptors. The GABA system provokes a calming effect on the nervous system.
We like to think of GABA as the brakes of the system.
We don’t want to slam on the brakes or slow things down to a halt but we can’t be moving at 200km/h all the time either. GABA helps modulate speed. It provides the ability to slow down when needed.
It is especially useful when focus and concentration is difficult. Is your concentration suffering because you lack energy to focus, or can you not focus because you have 110 different things running through your brain? If it’s the latter, then that speaks to GABA. Slowing things down, filtering things out, so that the brain can focus on what is necessary.
It has been compared to benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medication) and shown to have comparable efficacy on anxiety symptoms scores.
In addition, Lavender is very safe herb. When taken at therapeutic doses it has minimal adverse effects, was not associated with withdrawal symptoms, has no known contraindications or drug interactions.
You may experience “lavender breath” when taking oral essential oil of lavender.
This may be considered an adverse effect by some, while others find it quite pleasant.
Lavender essential oil should only be ingested when it is from a reputable source. Many essential oils are not intended or safe for ingestion. This can be due to the high concentration of volatile oils within the EO or due to chemicals used to extract the oils from the plant material.
In our experience, lavender is useful in cases of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia.
Lavender is useful as a little nudge in the right direction; use lavender to help treat some of the symptoms. But it’s important to address the bigger picture of what you’re experiencing.
If you want to find out more about the uses of lavender, or discuss it’s benefits for your health personally, speaking with our naturopathic doctor, Dr. Ryan Nakama, is a good place to start.