Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Depression — Natural Medicine Journal: The Official Journal of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Who doesn’t like the smell of lavender? The essential oil of lavender and the herb itself has long been used medicinally, but of course, most people believe it is just the smell alone of this herb that makes you feel relaxed as it is so pleasurable.
On the contrary, lavender has potent therapeutic properties. It is an incredibly supportive herb to the parasympathetic nervous system and is being found when compared with current anxiolytic medications such as the benzodiazepines (eg. Valium) that it is, if not more effective, in reducing the severity of anxiety when compared with objective measures such as the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale.
Why choose lavender?
- Lavender compared with medications for anxiety and depression has a good safety profile: headaches as side-effects compared with dry mouth or heavy sedation
- Little concerns with addiction compared with benzodiazepines
- Liver burden and toxicity (as associated with other herbs like kava kava) is not noted with lavender
Caution: Lavender can cross the placental barrier and should not be used medicinally in pregnancy as there are some known abilities of it to influence general hormone functioning as well as in prepubertal boys with the induction of gynecomastia (development of breast tissue). Speak to your naturopathic doctor or herbalist for the appropriate anxiety and/or depression supports during pregnancy.