Lavender: A Perfect Herb for the Modern World?

Being an inhabitant almost in every garden, it is so well known, that it needs no description. –The Complete Herbal 1653 Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) is a gentle medicinal herb that has been used to treat nervousness, anxiety, depression and tension. In The Earthwise Herbal  it is also listed as being for the persons who are perfectionist, over conscious, depressed and anxious associated with irritable bowel, having insomnia and active in the mind. It seems to me this might be the perfect herb for out times! It is often employed as a essential oil but it can be used as a tincture and in teas. I love the smell but abhor the taste even in the finest fancy desserts so I use the essential oil. Studies regarding lavender regularly come up and I have gathered the ones I have used in Galen’s Watch over the last few years below.
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Lavender Oil Preparation Silexan is Effective in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

In this randomized, double-blind, double-dummy trial 539 adults with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)  according to DSM-5 criteria and a Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) total score ⩾ 18 points participated and received 160 or 80 mg Silexan, 20 mg paroxetine, or placebo once daily for 10 wk.  Silexan 160 and 80 mg/d were superior to placebo in reducing the HAMA total score whereas paroxetine showed a trend towards significance in the full analysis set. The difference between paroxetine and placebo was more pronounced in the analysis of observed cases (HAMA total score reduction: p < 0.01). In the Silexan 160 mg/d group 73/121 patients (60.3%) showed a HAMA total score reduction ⩾ 50% of the baseline value and 56 (46.3%) had a total score <10 points at treatment end, compared to 70/135 (51.9%) and 45 (33.3%) for Silexan 80 mg/d, 57/132 (43.2%) and 45 (34.1%) for paroxetine, and 51/135 (37.8%) and 40 (29.6%) for placebo. In addition, Silexan showed a pronounced antidepressant effect and improved general mental health and health-related quality of life.
Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Jun;17(6):859-69.


Effect of Lavender Inhalation on the Symptoms of Primary Dysmenorrhea and the Amount of Menstrual Bleeding
The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) inhalation on the symptoms of dysmenorrhea and the amount of menstrual bleeding in female students with primary dysmenorrhea. Female students (n=96) suffering from level two or three dysmenorrhea according to the verbal multi-dimensional scoring system. The inclusion criteria were as: being single, suffering from primary dysmenorrhea, having no genital organs disorder, having no systemic disease, having regular menstrual cycles, using no contraceptives, etc. The follow-up time was 4 menstrual cycles. The subjects were randomized into two groups: experimental (n = 48) who inhaled lavender based on sesame oil, and placebo (n = 48) who inhaled sesame oil only. The symptoms of dysmenorrhea were significantly lowered in the lavender group compared to the placebo group. The amount of menstrual bleeding in the lavender group was reduced in comparison to the placebo group but the difference was not statistically significant. No significant difference was observed for blood clot among the students.
Complementary Therapies in Medicine Available online 6 January 2014


The Effect of Lavender Oil on Stress and Pain
Thirty healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to either receive oxygen with a facemask coated in lavender essential oil or oxygen alone. Groups were similar in age, sex, height and weight. Stress levels, bispectral index value and pain intensity were similar between groups before intervention. All of these parameters were significantly reduced in the lavender group after the intervention.
J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep;17(9):823-6. Epub 2011 Aug 19.


Possible Efficacy of Lavender and Tea tree Oils in the Treatment of Young Women Affected by Mild Idiopathic Hirsutism.
Hirsutism is defined as the presence of excessive terminal hair in androgen-dependent areas of a woman’s body. Regarding this it has been suggested that Lavender and Tea tree oils may have antiandrogenic activities. A prospective, open-label, placebo- controlled, randomized study was performed: twenty-four women affected by mild IH were randomly assigned to receive oil spray containing Lavender and Tea tree oils (group T) or placebo (group P) twice a day for 3 months in areas affected by hirsutism. No significant variations were found in any of the hormones studied in groups T and P between baseline and after 3 months. A statistically significant decrease of hirsutism total score and of hair diameter was found in group T, while no statistically significant difference in these two parameters was observed in group P; in group T percentual reduction of hair diameter was significantly greater than in group P.
J Endocrinol Invest. 2013 Jan;36(1):50-4. doi: 10.3275/8766. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


Evaluation of the effect of aromatherapy with lavender essential oil on post-tonsillectomy pain in paediatric patients
In this study, 48 post-tonsillectomy patients aged 6-12 years were randomly assigned to two groups. After tonsillectomy surgery, all patients received acetaminophen (10-15mg/kg/dose, PO) every 6h as necessary to relieve pain. The patients of the case group also inhaled lavender essential oil. The use of lavender essential oil caused statistically significant reduction in daily use of acetaminophen in all three post-operative days but had not significant effects on pain intensity and frequency of nocturnal awakening.
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Aug 8.


Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache
Forty-seven patients with definite diagnosis of migraine headache were divided into inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 min or liquid paraffin for the same time period. Patients were asked to record their headache severity and associated symptoms in 30-min intervals for a total of 2 h. The mean reduction of headache severity in the lavender group was 3.6 ± 2.8 based on Visual Analogue Scale score compared to 1.6 ± 1.6 in placebo group. This difference between the controls and cases was statistically significant. Of the 129 headache attacks in the lavender group, 92 responded entirely or partially to lavender. In the placebo group, 32 out of 68 recorded headache attacks responded to placebo.
Eur Neurol. 2012;67(5):288-91.


Lavender Essential Oil for Episiotomy Recovery
One hundred and twenty primiparous women with singleton pregnancy were randomized to either lavender essential oil or Providone-iodine for episiotomy care. There were no significant differences between the groups in education, age, duration of first or second stage labour and weight of newborns. The lavender group used a sitz bath twice a day for 10 days containing used 5-7 drops of lavender essential oil in 4 L of water. The  control group was prescribed  routine postnatal care using povidone-iodine. Thirty-one women in the lavender group (51.7%) and 13 women (21.7%) in the control group had no redness, which was statistically significant. Edema more than 2 cm was not observed in the lavender group, but this was not significant versus the control group. Twenty-five women in the lavender group had no pain compared to 17 in the control group. No complications were observed.
Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):50-3.


Oral Lavender Oil (Silexan) Comaprable to Lorazepam for Anxiety
Seventy eight patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) were randomized to receive either 80 mg of Silexan (a steam distillation of Lavendula augustifolia flowers) of 0.5 mg lorezepam once a day for 6 weeks. All patients had a Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) ≥ 18 with ≥2 for anxiety and tension. There was a washout period of one week prior to study commencement. Both groups experienced a similar reduction in HAM-A scores at the end of 6 weeks from 25 ± 4 points to 11.3 ± 6.7 in the silexan group and 11.6 ± 6.6 in the lorazepam group. The HAM-A score decreased by 50% in 52.5% of the silexan group and 40.5% of the lorazepam group. Adverse events in the silexan group were mostly gastrointestinal and not serious. Six patients in the lorazepam group experienced fatigue.
Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):94-9. Epub 2009 Dec 3.


Lavender Essential Oil Causes Relaxation Effect
To assess whether lavender essential oil effects coronary circulation 30 healthy young men  were enrolled in this study. Results were measured by coronary flow velocity reserve [CFVR] and transthoracic Doppler echocardiography [TTDE]. The subjects were given 4 drops of lavender essential oil in 20ml of hot water to inhale for 30 minutes. CFVR was assessed at baseline and after lavender aromatherapy. To exclude the relaxation effects of rest the same measurements were repeated with the same volunteers without aromatherapy as a control. Blood pressure and heart rate were not affected  but serum cortisol and CFVR were significantly reduced after aromatherapy.


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