The Incredible Physiological and Psychological Benefits of Lavender
You don’t need to take a trip through the south of France, where large expanses of lavender fields are known to grow, to experience the unique benefits of this particular genus of tall purple flowering plants.
That’s right: despite the prevailing belief that lavender is simply one species of plant, Lavandula is actually a genus in the mint family, which might attest to its sweet and soft aroma. Unlike mint, however, lavender has certain properties that make it particularly beneficial for use in aromatherapy.
The lavender plant’s name arises from the Latin root lavare, which means “to wash.” It should come as no surprise to learn that the earliest recorded uses of lavender in ancient Egypt were for medicinal and sanitization purposes, including preservation of corpses in the mummification process.
The cleansing and purifying benefits were well-documented over the following centuries, and in many cultures, its oil was used as a calming bath additive. If you’ve ever felt notably calmer after a lavender bubble bath, it’s likely due to the pain-relieving properties.
Researchers in one 2015 study found that, when applied topically, diluted lavender essential oil provided physical pain relief comparable to prescription painkillers. Lavender is effective as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory alternative to traditional medicine.
With one in five Canadians impacted by a mental health disorder each year, a growing number of individuals and families are seeking alternatives to traditional pharmaceutical treatments. There has been significant evidence to suggest that lavender is effective at treating symptoms of anxiety.
There have been numerous studies that corroborate these findings, indicating that depression and anxiety can be treated more effectively with an integrative approach rather than through drug therapy alone. For mild cases of anxiety, situational stress, and low mood, lavender is likely to bring some relief. Furthermore, lavender encourages longer and deeper sleep, so if you’re struggling with insomnia, light a lavender candle in your bedroom a few hours before lights out.While it is important to consult with a medical professional before making any changes to your existing treatment plan, using lavender for physical or psychological pain can help you find balance and an increased sense of well-being.