This amazing guest post was written by Sue Hughes M.S.Ed., a certified Nutrition and Wellness counselor. We encourage you to check out her website here and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!
20 Lavender Oil Uses to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Inside Your Mind, Body, and Home
Do you ever feel stressed? I’m guessing your answer to that question is “yes”. You may be laughing that I even had to ask!
If you often feel stressed, you’re certainly not alone. Stress and anxiety are major concerns throughout the world today. Roughly 18.1% of US adults have been diagnosed with anxiety, and approximately 7.3% of all ages across 44 countries suffer from an anxiety disorder. [1,2]
The use of medications to address stress and anxiety continues to rise. These medications block certain body functions to “artificially” boost mood and calm nerves. However, side effects of these drugs are prevalent and include symptoms like insomnia or lethargy, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, headache, and nausea – just to name a few. Some of the medications even lead to dependence. 
Lavender Essential Oil Benefits: The Natural Anti-Anxiety Plant
There is good news! Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia – yup, that pretty purple flower) has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety by calming the nervous system, without nasty side effects.  This plant is native to the Mediterranean but a common resident of herb gardens all over the world. If you have never smelled lavender, it’s time you gave it a whiff! The scent is pleasant and calming. The compounds within the flower, leaves and its essential oil all have healing properties backed by research. 
Promote a Feeling of Calm
There are so many ways to put every part of the lavender plant to good use against stress and anxiety. While the essential oil is popular for aromatherapy, the fresh or dried leaves and flowers also have calming properties. Lavender is even available in capsule form for internal nervous system support.  So let’s get to it! Here are 20 things you can do right now to unleash the full power of lavender against your stress and anxiety:
- Diffuse! Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to water and diffuse using a cool mist, ultrasonic diffuser. The oil contains the compounds linalool and linalyl acetate that blunt the nervous system when inhaled – helping anxiety, insomnia, and restlessness.  Diffusing lavender will also purify and freshen the air in your home!
- Don’t have a diffuser? Use the dried flowers, stems, and leaves of lavender to make an anxiety-busting potpourri.
- Banish the bacteria. Apply a mix of lavender essential oil and coconut oil to fungal and other skin infections. Lavender has proven active against many species of bacteria and fungi, even some that are antibiotic-resistant. 
- Prepare for a restful sleep. Apply 2 drops of lavender essential oil on your palms and rub on your pillow.
- Defend against digestive concerns! Add lavender in capsule form to your daily regimen to help with digestion. 
- Relieve muscle tension. Mix 4 drops of lavender essential oil with one cup of Epsom salts and add to warm bath water. Soak for 10-15 minutes prior to bedtime. Lavender relaxes smooth muscle tissue, calming muscle aches and pains. 
- Clothe yourself in calm. Place lavender sachets in your drawers to give your clothing a fresh, calming scent.
- Ditch the chemical air fresheners. Add several drops of lavender essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Spritz on carpet, draperies, or anywhere in the room for an instant refresher.
- Make a lavender shower bomb for your most relaxing shower ever! Mix together 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of citric acid, 2 tablespoons of water and 20-30 drops of lavender essential oil. Pack into 2 inch balls and let dry overnight. Place the “bomb” at your feet under warm, running water and enjoy!
- Massage, moisturize and feel calm at the same time. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with organic jojoba or other oil and massage over your face and body.
- Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to your favorite chemical-free detergent for fresh smelling laundry.
- Soften your laundry and your mood by placing a few drops of lavender essential oil on wool dryer balls. Toss them in the dryer with your next load.
- Promote hair and scalp health. Mix 8 drops of lavender essential oil with 2 tablespoons of warm coconut oil and massage into scalp. Cover with a towel and leave in overnight for maximum benefits.
- Stressed by traffic? Put 2 drops of lavender essential oil on a cotton ball and place in one of the heating/air conditioning vents of your car.
- Let your salad dressing soothe you. Add a 1⁄4 cup of organic lavender buds to 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and let sit overnight. Mix with olive oil and drizzle over salad.
- Create a lavender smudge stick to cleanse the air of stress and negativity. Gather a bunch of lavender sprigs and wrap tightly with organic cotton twine, knotting at the bottom. Allow to dry for several days then place in a fireproof bowl and burn.
- Turn vacuuming into a day at the spa. Mix 5-6 drops lavender oil with 1 cup baking soda then sprinkle on rugs. Let sit for an hour then vacuum.
- No more anxiet-TEA! Place a tea ball filled with 4 teaspoons of fresh lavender buds in 8 ounces of boiled water, let steep for 10 minutes. Enjoy any time of day or night.
- Take the stress out of cuts and burns. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with aloe vera gel and apply to the affected area. Lavender helps with healing and regeneration of healthy skin cells.
- Refresh and de-stress with lavender lemonade. Mix 1 cup of raw honey, 5 cups of water, 1⁄4 cup of fresh, crushed lavender blossoms, and 1 cup of organic lemon juice. Add some ice and voila!
One last thing . . . Lavender Safety
Make sure to use only organically grown lavender and 100% pure lavender essential oil. It’s important to note that lavender essential oil can oxidize and produce skin-irritating chemical by-products when exposed to air over time. Avoid using oil that is over six months old! To delay oxidation, refrigerate lavender essential oil when it’s not in use. [11,12]
If you find your skin is sensitive to lavender essential oils, mix it with coconut oil or sweet almond oil to create a protective barrier on the skin. Lavender essential oil doesn’t appear to interact with any other herbs or medications. That said, if you take medications that depress central nervous system activity, such as narcotics for pain, sedatives, or anti-anxiety medications, let your doctor know if you begin using lavender essential oil.
Check out this video on how to make your own easily refillable lavender sachet!
- Baxter, A. J., Scott, K. M., Vos, T., & Whiteford, H. A. (2013). Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: a systematic review and meta-regression. Psychological Medicine, 43(05), 897-910.
- Griffin, C. E., Kaye, A. M., Bueno, F. R., & Kaye, A. D. (2013). Benzodiazepine Pharmacology and Central Nervous System–Mediated Effects. The Ochsner Journal, 13(2), 214–223.
- Lis-Balchin, M., and S. Hart. “Studies on the mode of action of the essential oil of Lavender Lavandula angustifolia P. Miller).” Phytotherapy Research 13.6 (1999): 540-542.
- Koulivand, Peir Hossein, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji. “Lavender and the Nervous System.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2013 (2013): 681304. PMC. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
- Kasper, S., Gastpar, M., Müller, W. E., Volz, H. P., Möller, H. J., Schläfke, S., & Dienel, (2014). Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder–a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 17(6), 859-869.
- Cavanagh, H. M. A., and J. M. Wilkinson. “Biological activities of lavender essential oil.” Phytotherapy Research 16.4 (2002): 301-308.
- Lodhia, M. H., K. R. Bhatt, and V. S. Thaker. “Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils fromPalmarosa, Evening Primrose, Lavender, and Tuberose.” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 71.2 (2009): 134–136. PMC. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.
- CULTIVATED, R. O. L. E. O. (2015). Chemical Composition of Lavandula Angustifolia L.and Rosmarinus Officinalis L. Essential Oils Cultivated in West Romania. Research Journal of Agricultural Science, 47, 3.
- Bakhtshirin, Froozan et al. “The Effect of Aromatherapy Massage with Lavender Oil on Severity of Primary Dysmenorrhea in Arsanjan Students.” Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research 20.1 (2015): 156–160. Print.
- Hagvall, Lina, et al. “Lavender oil lacks natural protection against autoxidation, forming strong contact allergens on air exposure.” Contact Dermatitis 59.3 (2008): 143-150.
- Sköld, Maria, Lina Hagvall, and Ann-Therese Karlberg. “Autoxidation of linalyl acetate, the main component of lavender oil creates potent contact allergens.” Contact Dermatitis 58.1 (2008): 9-14.
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