Indigenous to Russia, Africa, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula, the lavender flower has long been used medicinally—most often either as a dried herb or as an essential oil. Aside from its signature soothing aroma, lavender has other qualities that make it ideal for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia, joint pain and migraines.
In one small but notable study published in the journal Phytomedicine in 2010, lavender oil was shown to be just as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Lorazepam (Ativan)—a medicine commonly prescribed in the treatment of anxiety. Furthermore, lavender oil did not cause drowsiness, a common side effect of Ativan.
You can find lavender in many forms—oils, bath gels, shampoos, extracts, lotions, sachets, soaps, teas, and dried flowers—as well as in almost every shopping venue. Drugstores, food markets, bath/body shops and countless online sites sell lavender in its many forms, often very inexpensively.
There are as many ways to use lavender as there are places that sell it. Many anxiety sisters swear by lavender tea (1-2 tablespoons of whole dried flowers for each cup of boiling water). Be sure to use a tea infuser or strain before you drink it! Another common use of lavender is in the bath: pour 6 drops of lavender oil or ¼ cup of lavender flowers directly into the water and soak away your stress. My favorite use of lavender is a pillow spray: I spritz twice on my pillow linens just before I get into bed. Inhaling that soft fragrance sends me almost instantly to dreamland.
One more lavender tip: spray a piece of soft fabric with lavender and carry it with you in your purse. When you come across an anxious moment, you can subtly sniff the swatch. It is especially great for anxious fliers—I have a lavender eye pillow I use during takeoff and landing and, frankly, any time there are unpleasing odors I wish to avoid (such as the airplane’s lavatory or the poopy diaper some kid has been wearing for the entire duration of the flight).
For more information about the use of lavender in mood disorders, please click on the following link: http://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2012-02/lavender-oil-anxiety-and-depression-0