What We Know
Lavender eases both anxiety and insomnia according to research. At Britain's University of Southampton, the sleep patterns of 10 adults were studied. Half of the participants slept in a room filled with the scent of lavender oil, the other with a placebo, almond oil. After a week, the two teams switched and at the end of the study the participants ranked the quality of their sleep 20% better when dozing in the lavender-scented room. For centuries, men and women have placed lavender sprigs in their pillows for a soothing night's sleep.
What Research Shows
According to a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, lavender aromatherapy "may slow the activity of the nervous system, improves sleep quality, promote relaxation and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders." Studies also indicate that lavender aromatherapy used on postoperative patients is helpful with pain control. In a study of surgery patients, those who received lavender oil supplemented oxygen felt a "higher satisfaction rate with pain control" than those who received oxygen alone.
How to Use It
Lavender tea is easily made by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of whole lavender per cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes and drink 1 to 3 times per day. Lavender tincture can be created by adding essential lavender oil to water or juice. Use 20 to 40 drops three times a day. For inhalation, pour 2 to 4 drops of lavender oil in 3 cups of boiling water and inhale the steam to provide relief from headaches, depression or insomnia. Diluted lavender oil can also be applied topically to cuts and scrapes as an anti-bacterial.