I adore the smell of lavender. Did you know this plant is actually a member of the mint family and has a wide historical use? It’s been used throughout a variety of cultures all over the world for everything from insect bites to disinfecting wounds!
Despite the popularity of lavender in conventional hygiene and bathing products (think soap and bubble bath), many people don’t realize that lavender is pretty powerful in its medicinal usage.
Lavender has long been known to have an antidepressant and antianxiety effect on the nervous system. In addition to being used as a healer and a soothing scent, you can use lavender to help cope with depression!
So we know lavender is an excellent mood booster–but what don’t we know about lavender and depression?
The different forms of lavender.
You may have noticed that lavender comes in a few different forms. In truth, there are nearly 40 different species of lavender that exist!
Is one better than the other? The species of lavandula, which includes French and English lavender, are fine. You’ll commonly see this ingredient listed on lavender essential oil.
However, lavandin is a different variety of lavender that can actually promote inflammation and should not be used! This type of lavender is commonly present in essential oils to mimic lavender without being as expensive.
Luckily, growing lavender is relatively simple and lavender essential oil is affordable, especially since you only use a few drops at a time. The popularity of lavender means it’s widely available nearly anywhere you shop!
Here’s what you didn’t know about lavender and depression.
Are you ready to be impressed? Lavender has many benefits for those suffering from depression–here are some you didn’t know about!
1. The effectiveness of lavender has been compared to that of antidepressants: Antidepressants are powerful medications that alter your brain’s chemistry. These medications have a range of side effects and should be used with caution.
Taking antidepressants can take weeks to be effective and often lead to dependency on these drugs.
Wouldn’t you rather use an herb to help instead with no side effects?
Here’s the thing: Research shows that lavender can help patients with depression whether in conjunction with antidepressants or alone. Its effectiveness has been said to rival that of antidepressants!
2. Lavender can help the sleeplessness that comes with depression: People who suffer from depression often have other symptoms that are present with the depression–this can include restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, and inability to focus, to name a few.
Lavender is commonly marketed to help people relax and fall asleep, so it should come as no surprise that lavender can help you get back into a regular sleeping routine and wake up refreshed in the morning!
3. A lavender massage can improve your self-esteem: Lavender has a very pleasing scent in its own right, but it’s also very compatible with other essential oils to increase its benefits!
In a study that used lavender, chamomile, rosemary, and lemon essential oils for a massage, the results showed improved self-esteem and reduced anxiety among the participants.
It’s easy to do a lavender massage whether you’re at home or at work with lavender essential oil!
4. Aromatherapy of lavender essential oil can reduce mental stress: Breathing in the scent of lavender essential oil can help calm the mind, clear your focus, and lift your mood, therefore resulting in decreased mental stress and increased calmness.
Stress is also commonly associated with depression. People who feel overwhelmed by life, not in control of the things that happen to them, or are emotionally or physically stressed out can experience severe depression.
Research also shows that using lavender aromatherapy can work when used topically for work-related stress!
What this means is that you can apply the essential oil to your wrists of neck and breathe in the scent while your skin absorbs this oil to experience its calming and mood-lifting benefits.
You can actually use lavender essential oil full-strength, something that can’t be said for many essential oils.
If you have sensitive skin, you should avoid using lavender full strength and instead dilute with a carrier oil. Always test a small area of your skin first before applying!
5. Lavender can improve your attention span: People with depression often experience a lack of interest in life or find that their attention wanders from task to task, never sticking to any one thing. This can be a frustrating effect of depression that leads people to feel listless.
Lavender can help you reestablish interest in the things you love–whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or talking with friends, you can regain focus and interest in your life again!
6. Lavender can help you feel in control: Another symptom that’s commonly present with depression is constant tension or chronic pain. People with depression often feel hopeless or powerless to change their situation or to feel better.
Studies show that lavender can help you feel more in control of your chronic pain, something that usually either precedes depression or accompanies it.
Take back control of your life with this bushy, lovely-smelling herb! Plant it around your garden. Keep dried lavender in your clothes drawers. Make a perfume out of lavender essential oil. Feel powerful with these purple flowers!
7. Lavender essential oil helps you relax: Lavender’s ability to help you relax has been scientifically proven! Research indicates that lavender essential oil can induce relaxation in healthy patients.
Patients who experience depression often experience anxiety or tension in addition to stress; this tension can eventually lead to chronic pain if not addressed.
One of the best ways (and my favorite way) to relax with lavender essential oil is to take a bath. Simply draw a hot bath and drop 10 drops of lavender essential oil in the water. For added effect, you can use lavender-scented bubble bath and Epsom or magnesium salts.
Just ensure the lavender-scented bubbles are scented with lavender essential oil rather than with fake fragrances, which can actually induce nervous system problems rather than help them!
8. Lavender capsules are as effective as lorazepam for anxiety: Anti-anxiety medications commonly prescribed with antidepressants such as the psychoactive drug Lorazepam have dangerous side effects, including suicidal ideation, impaired memory, and even death!
Instead of trying these medications, take a look at research that proves that lavender capsules are as effective as Lorazepam with no reported side effects.
These capsules were first marketed in Germany and noted for their anti-anxiety effects. You can find lavender capsules at your local health food store or online!
9. Lavender can improve memory and cognitive performance: Research indicates that patients who take part in lavender aromatherapy improved test performance and memory and were more likely to notice errors.
For patients with depression, it can help lift the “fog” that many patients experience and create enhanced cognition.
Do you have trouble concentrating or performing your job because of your depression? Lavender can help!
10. Lavender can reduce the pain and severity of migraines: Does your depression often come with headaches? Studies show that lavender can help reduce the pain and severity of migraine headaches, especially if used at the beginning of a headache or migraine.
What you can do is incorporate lavender essential oil into your life in order to reduce the instances of headaches and lift your mood.
Lavender essential oil comes in small bottles that are leak-proof and easy to transport. Keep one in your purse or bag or in your office or bedroom to have on hand when you feel a headache coming on.
Simply dab some lavender oil on your temples or wrists, or as in the research, apply underneath your nose. You can help prevent headaches with this herb!
11. Lavender makes you happier: Lavender and rosemary essential oils can boost your mood and increase your contentment in life, studies prove.
Rosemary is one of the most popular essential oils to use with lavender. Rosemary essential oil has also been noted for helping headaches and improving concentration as well as boosting mood.
Bonus: rosemary is extremely easy to grow and very hardy–in fact, it’ll last outside throughout the winter in even freezing temps!
Combined with rosemary, lavender can have a positive effect on your happiness in life and make you feel more content with yourself!
12. Lavender helps post-traumatic stress disorder patients: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can happen with depression. Lavender can help!
Studies show that when treated with a lavender capsule medication, patients with PTSD showed “significant improvements of their general mental health status and quality of life.”
As we’ve seen, lavender can:
- Calm and relax you
- Improve your mood
- Improve your self-esteem
- Relieve anxiety
- Help you feel in control
All of these benefits of lavender can help patients suffering from depression and PTSD!
How to use lavender for depression?
There are so many ways to use lavender for depression. Although lavender essential oil is popular, it’s certainly not the only form you can use. Since this herb is so popular, you have the option of using these forms of this beautiful blue-green herb with pretty purple flowers:
- Lavender capsules. Shop for medical-grade lavender capsules to help with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Lavender tea. Have you ever tried lavender tea? If you grow fresh lavender, you can make a tea with the leaves or flowers and combined with lemon balm, rosemary, stevia, and mint for a superb summer tea!
- Lavender essential oil. Lavender essential oil is available at many stores and is cost-friendly for many people. Use in baths, apply to skin, use for a massage, and in an essential oil diffuser.
- Lavender aromatherapy with essential oils. Smell this essential oil to lift your depression and cope better with life!
- Lavender plant. Grow lavender in pots or in your garden to smell and use fresh. You can even bake with lavender (it tastes amazing with chocolate). Dry the herb and use throughout your home to fully enjoy this scent!
- Lavender tincture. Lavender tinctures are also easy to use and can be taken in a glass of water.
Although lavender is a gentle herb, it’s essential to consult your herbalist or natural healthcare practitioner before using this herb, especially internally.
Your herbalist can also advise you on the proper dose of lavender to take, whether you choose capsules, tea, or tincture for your depression. Never use lavender essential oil internally unless directed by your doctor!
Lavender is an amazing herb that provides a variety of benefits for people suffering from depression and anxiety. Since it comes in so many forms, there’s no reason to not incorporate this herb into your life!
Improve your quality of life with lavender, and always consult your doctor before doing so. From having a relaxing bath to using lavender capsules for anxiety, you can benefit from this beautiful and lush herb.
What benefits have you experienced from using lavender? Do you love the scent as much as I do? Let us know how you love lavender!