Lavender is now one of the most popular and most widely-used essential oil in the world. Stressed and anxious people greatly benefit from its calming effect. Its fragrance can boost one’s mood and energy. But the calming effect of this flowering plant is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are more to lavender than being a soothing essential oil, fragrance, or a warm delicious tea. The uses of this plant have been extended to include relief of symptoms of various diseases.
Take a look at these 7 health benefits of lavender:
- Lavender acts as an antidepressant and anxiolytic agent
Recent clinical trials have found that lavender oil can be used as an effective antidepressant and anti-anxiety agent. The effectiveness of several antidepressant agents increases with concomitant administration of lavender oil capsules.
One group of antidepressant agents that is said to work synergistically with lavender oil is tricyclic antidepressants or TCAs. It was reported that the dosing requirements of these antidepressants decreased with lavender.
Some of the most common and undesirable side effects of TCA’s are sedation and hypotension. Several constituents of lavender have been linked to its anti-anxiety activity. One constituent is linalyl acetate, which is said to promote relaxation.
Another constituent is linalool, which is said to inhibit the actions of an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, called glutamate. Lavender also regulates GABA receptors. GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is the major inhibitory hormone and promotes relaxation.
- Lavender also acts as an analgesic agent
Aside from its positive effects on GABA and inhibitory effect on glutamate, lavender also acts on the cholinergic system. The major neurotransmitter of the cholinergic pathway is acetylcholine, a chemical responsible for the “rest and digest” responses in the body or parasympathetic nervous system activation. Activation of this pathway contributes to analgesia.
- Lavender acts as an anticonvulsant agent
The anticonvulsant effect of lavender is attributed to its effect on glutamate and GABA.
- Lavender oil can improve sleep
The soothing and calming effect of lavender oil promotes a good night sleep. You can rub a small amount on your temples before you sleep.
- Lavender oil serves as a moisturizer
The skin is naturally moisturized by the sebum that the sebaceous glands produce. However, in cases wherein there is decreased oil production, then lavender oil can serve as an effective moisturizer.
- Lavender can relieve your stress
This action of lavender is somehow related to its effect on glutamate and GABA. It is further enhanced by the calming fragrance of the oil.
- Lavender facilitates wound healing
Last in this list of the 7 health benefits of lavender is that it promotes wound healing mainly by acting as an antiseptic and antifungal agent. The prevention of infection helps speed up wound healing.