Have you ever smelt a rose and felt wonderful afterwards? Can this wonderful feeling be interpreted as a sense of euphoria? Has it then made you think of certain fond memories? Chances of this are highly likely since science has now proven that scents alter our mood. Certain aromas are thought to be particularly beneficial for promoting well-being of our body and mind. Aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine is the practice of using oils extracted from flowers and other plant parts to enhance psychological as well as physical well-being. With mental health issues on the rise in today’s modern times, aromatherapy is
steadfastly gaining popularity over conventional pharmaceuticals on account of its negligible side effects when used in moderation.
One particular herb that has been studied extensively is LAVENDER. Be it ice creams, honey, baby products, beauty products, soaps, men’s toiletry products or even plain wardrobe potpourri, lavender is everywhere and for a good reason too. Inhalation, massage, drip therapy and even bathing with lavender have been proven to provide the benefits of pain relief, mood enhancement, and increased cognitive function.
Lavender has a long history of medicinal use and is suggested to possess anticonvulsant, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, sedative and tranquilizing properties. It was so popular that historical evidences have revealed that eminent medieval physicians like Ebn-e-sina and Razi had also prescribed it for the treatment of epilepsy, blinding headaches and baby blues.
This bit of information piqued my curiosity enough to go through some research literature. Being an avid History enthusiast as well as a rookie therapist, I would only advocate for traditional medicinal remedies that have been evaluated using modern scientific methods. As I buried my rather long nose (a gift from my mother), into published peer-reviewed research papers I came across evidences that have depicted the therapeutic efficacy in neurological disorders.
There are many varieties of lavender but two of the most popular ones are L. angustifolia (English Lavender) and L. officinalis (French Lavender). Lavender’s main chemical constituents are linalool and linalyl acetate which according to a study by Jager et al, were detected in human plasma post a topical application/massage within 19 minutes of application. The individual also reported quicker feeling of relief with the lavender infused oil than with regular carrier oils. This throws light on the rapid absorbency and efficacy of lavender towards relieving stress when used topically as massage oil.
One rather large research paper by Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri and Ali Gorji titled “Lavender and the nervous system” provides a vast expanse of scientific evidences on the efficacy of lavender, some of which are as follows:
Once a day, daily oral administration of 80 mg/day dosage of silexan (lavender oil obtained by steam distillation) to 221 individuals with subsyndromal as well as generalized anxiety over a period of 45 days significantly reduced anxiety related symptoms such as restlessness, insomnia or disturbed sleep, bodily pains and in general had a beneficial influence on general well-being and quality of life. It significantly trumped the effect of placebo and equaled the effect of 0.5 mg/day dosage of Lorazepam (an anti-anxiety drug) without the unpleasant side effects. This highlights the efficacy of lavender as an anxiolytic.
Electroencephalography (EEG) of the brain in 40 adults who were made to inhale of 10% dilute lavender oil and its vapors revealed that within 3 minutes the brain waves switched from hi-beta waves (denotes alert, attentive, anxious and agitated state) to alpha waves (denotes a sense of wakeful relaxation with closed eyes). The individuals also reported a relatively positive mood. This highlights the efficacy of inhalation of lavender vapors.
Some product recommendations with lavender that are useful to alleviate stress:
Armed with scientific evidence it is now officially safe to say that lavender can be safely incorporated into one’s daily regimen to enjoy its transient as well as long-term benefits. However one must make sure to do an allergy testing before incorporating it in one’s life. Happy Lavendering!
This post is dedicated to Dubey Perfumers, Hyderabad (http://www.dubeyperfumers.com)- who’ve been manufacturing mood-uplifting fragrances since 1895.
If you liked this post, please go ahead and hit the like button. Don’t forget to comment and share and maybe subscribe for weekly updates. Thank you for reading! Grok on!