Lavender is in full bloom in Oregon and what better way to celebrate than to appreciate all the medical benefits we can receive from this aromatic plant.
I first saw lavender use in a medical setting at a large conventional hospital in 2001. It was prescribed as part of an aromatic oil preparation for patients with migraine headaches. This was years before I went to become a Naturopathic Physician so I was intrigued. How could this simple plant make such a difference to patient suffering, but it does and now we have the evidence demonstrating this. A study in 2012 found that patients with acute migraine pain had their symptoms significantly reduced after 15 minutes of aromatherapy with lavender compared to the placebo group.
Lavender preparations can also help with sleep and anxiety and can allow patients to reduce or eliminate some of their medications under physician oversight. The aroma and chemicals that are in the lavender can relax the cholinergic system. When the cholinergic system is activated it increases stress-related behaviors, including anxiety.
And these are just a few of the amazing benefits to lavender. For more, you can review this 2013 research compilation that has other information
The other important factor in considering lavender is safety. Lavender use as directed by a medical professional is quite safe and effective. Lavender has minimal side effects so can be used by people of all ages.
Lavender comes in multiple forms and is also edible, there are many websites devoted to a variety of recipes that use lavender, mostly the dried flowers.
As with any supplement or herb that can be used for medical indication, ask a licensed medical provider, such as the physicians at doubletrack naturopathic about using lavender to ensure that it is right for you.