How Does Lavender Oil Help
Within our modern lives, daily routines are stressful. When balancing work and family life, some days can feel overly hectic, increasing feelings of stress and anxiety. Chronic stress is becoming more apparent, impacting our ability to remain calm and achieve a restful night’s sleep.
Not only does sleep deprivation negatively impact productivity levels, but it also threatens your health — especially in terms of your brain. As you sleep, your body and mind have an opportunity to heal. When suffering from an ongoing deficiency, you increase your risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.
Although these symptoms clearly impact your physical health, they also significantly threaten your mental health. As stated by Harvard Medical School, chronic sleep issues affect between 50 and 80 percent of patients within a typical psychiatric practice — compared with just 10 to 18 percent in the general population.
It’s clear that a lack of sleep affects all aspects of your health, so how do you improve?
Introducing Lavender Essential Oil
Essential oils have long been used throughout history, targeting a wide range of ailments. An essential oil is simply any natural oil that has been extracted from a plant or other botanical source. In turn, the oil possesses therapeutic properties. From targeting inflammation to improving mood, essential oils are powerful natural remedies.
It’s believed that the use of lavender dates back approximately 2,500 years. The Romans, for instance, would scent their baths and beds with lavender — they also discovered its medicinal effects. Although this oil is known for its ability to calm and relax, it’s properties go far beyond their ability to de-stress.
Native to the mountainous areas of the Mediterranean, lavender essential oil grows throughout southern Europe, Australia, and the United States. This short shrub is heavily branched and the oil is extracted from its small, blue and violet flowers. Of course, these flowers are also responsible for lavender’s fragrant scent.
Some use lavender, simply because it brightens the room — offering a light, fresh scent. In other cases, aromatherapy is used in order to target key ailments. Its benefits are far reaching and so are its applications. Whether you want to relieve joint pain or sleep better, lavender can benefit you in the following ways.
Key Benefits of Lavender
As mentioned, the use of lavender is based on its wide range of properties. It offers beauty, medicinal, and even culinary benefits. While focusing on its Latin name, Lavender means to wash — and is most certainly an excellent addition to any bath, helping relieve tension, pain, and improve circulation. Use this oil to:
- Repel bugs — For the most part, insects are harmless — but their bites can carry disease or increase your risk of infection. Whether you apply a carrier oil and lavender essential oil to your skin or utilize aromatherapy, many insects find this aroma overly potent, including midges, moths, and those dreaded mosquitoes. If you get bitten, this oil can also help reduce swelling and pain, based on its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Calm anxiety — Our central nervous system is overly complex and in many ways, overstimulated. A large percentage of the population experiences symptoms of anxiety, reducing their ability to cope with stressful situations. Lavender makes an excellent tonic for this purpose, helping to relieve emotional stress and tension, all while addressing headaches and depression. This, of course, also help individuals sleep, which we’ll discuss below.
- Treat acne — Common during puberty, acne can strike at any age based on bacterial infections near the sebum gland. Of course, this leads to irritation and in some cases, scarring. Since lavender essential oil inhibits the growth of bacteria, it can not only reduce your risk of infection, but also improve your ability to heal.
- Relieve Pain — Whether you suffer from muscle ache or sore joints, lavender oil has the ability to dull painful symptoms, providing much-needed relief. If you have arthritis, for instance, regularly massaging this oil into your skin (using a carrier oil), can reduce the level of pain experienced.
- Improve respiration — Widely used for respiratory conditions, lavender essential oil can help treat symptoms of the flu, asthma, cold, whooping cough, and more. Often added to vapors, this oil can be applied to the neck or chest, reducing symptoms of colds and coughs. Since the vapors also offer antibacterial properties, lavender can help target respiratory infections.
These are just some of the ways in which lavender essential oil can improve your health. Although it offers a wide range of beneficial properties, it’s most certainly well-known for its ability to enhance sleep patterns and overall quality — helping support overall well-being.
How Can Lavender Oil Help Me Sleep?
It’s no secret that millions of Americans struggle to sleep each night. It’s an issue that begs for awareness, as sleep is so important for your health and overall quality of life. To make matters worse, around 10 percent of the American population suffers from a chronic insomnia disorder — with another 30 percent experiencing brief insomniac symptoms.
Of course, there are medications available, however, these come with a long list of potential side effects. In some cases, individuals become addicted, leading to severe health complications. If you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, becoming overly frustrated with your inability to sleep, lavender essential oil can help.
Plenty of research has shown that lavender produces a calming effect on the central nervous system — helping you feel more relaxed. Within folklore, pillows were stuffed with lavender flowers to help soothe restless minds. Today, evidence has shown that lavender does offer these calming benefits, potentially slowing down activity within the central nervous system.
For those who suffer from sleep disorders, this can result in a more stable mood, higher levels of concentration, and a reduced level of anxiety. When aiming to fall asleep, it promotes relaxation and higher sleep quality. Studies are now focusing on its potential ability to reduce agitation among dementia patients.
How Should I Use Lavender Essential Oil?
There are so many ways to use this oil, that you can experiment with different methods. Some users simply apply a few drops to their pillow, helping them achieve a more restful night’s sleep. In order cases, when aiming to soothe joints, for instance, a few drops can be added to a carrier oil, such as coconut and rubbed into your skin.
When using inhalation methods, add 2 to 4 drops in 3 cups of boiling water. Inhale the vapors, helping to reduce headaches and symptoms of insomnia. You can also apply a few drops to a lamp or diffuser. You should never take lavender oil orally — only through topical application or by inhalation. Like any new remedy, discuss with your doctor, especially if you suffer from any chronic health conditions.