Written by Cody J. Long, ND, Jan 27, 2018
Research shows that lavender oil is just as effective as Xanax, Valium, or Prozac for signs of anxiety in women. Wait... What?
It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive from time to time. Let’s face it—life can be stressful. All of us worry about things like financial problems, work, family struggles, or health. But sometimes anxiety can become so severe that completing simple, everyday tasks is difficult. When this occurs, it may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America. Approximately 6.8 million adults suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and women are twice as likely to be affected as men. It often starts during adolescence and symptoms tend to magnify during stressful periods in life making it important to look for signs of anxiety in women.
Medications to Treat Signs of Anxiety in Women and Men
Common medications used to treat generalized anxiety disorder include benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. The problem with these medications is that they are highly addictive. When a person becomes dependent on these chemicals, they can develop further psychological and physical distress as well as experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the medicine.
Sometimes, antidepressants are prescribed to treat chronic anxiety and panic attacks. These medications include Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, Lexapro, and Zoloft. However, these medications can cause a slew of side effects and often are ineffective.
Lavender is an herb that has been proven effective by leading researchers as a natural remedy for treating signs of anxiety. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, lavender oil was shown to be just as effective as the pharmaceutical drug lorazepam (Ativan). Furthermore, lavender oil showed no sedative effects (a common side effect of lorazepam) and it had no potential for drug abuse or dependence. Other studies have confirmed the anti-anxiety properties of lavender as well as many other medicinal benefits:
- Lavender helps with restlessness, nervousness, and insomnia.
- Lavender helps with depression symptoms.
- Lavender can be used for painful and inflammatory conditions including migraines and joint pain.
- Lavender can help people who suffer from agitation related to dementia.
How to Take Lavender Oil
If you’re interested in using lavender oil to calm nervousness and other signs of anxiety in women and men, what’s the best way to take it?
Lavender oil can be taken by mouth in adults, but it can be difficult to find capsules even at health food stores. The lavender oil capsule preparation used in the study cited above is called Lavela WS 1265. Before purchasing lavender oil, you should consult with a health care professional to determine the dosage that is best for your needs. Children should not consume essential oil capsules.
Lavender used as aromatherapy or by mouth may increase the amount of drowsiness when taken in combination with pharmaceutical medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium), narcotics such as codeine, or certain antidepressants. If you’re taking prescription medications, consult with one of our providers at the Health Integration Center.