Stress is a part of everyday life, and it is important to find ways to manage it to maintain good physical and mental health. One remedy that has gained popularity as a stress reliever is lavender. There is even a meme that says “When They Say Lavender Is A Stress Reliever,” followed by a humorous line or image. But behind the humor, there is some truth to the effectiveness of lavender as a stress reliever. In this article, we will explore the benefits and uses of lavender for stress reduction.
What Is Lavender?
Lavender is a plant that belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which also includes mint, sage, and rosemary. It is native to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India, but it is cultivated in many parts of the world for its pleasant fragrance, beauty, and medicinal properties.
How Does Lavender Help Reduce Stress?
Lavender has a calming effect on the nervous system, which in turn helps lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels – the hormone associated with stress. The scent of lavender has been shown to have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), sedative, and mood-stabilizing effects, making it useful for easing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
What Are the Different Forms of Lavender?
Lavender comes in various forms, each with its own benefits and uses:
- Essential oil: This is the most common and potent form of lavender, extracted from the flowers through steam distillation. It can be used topically, inhaled, or added to a diffuser for aromatherapy.
- Dried flowers: These are often used to make sachets, potpourri, or tea. They can also be added to a bath to soothe skin and muscles.
- Lavender water: This is a by-product of the essential oil, used as a facial toner, room spray, or linen refresher.
- Lavender supplements: These are available in capsule or tablet form, used to promote relaxation and sleep or to relieve mild anxiety.
How to Use Lavender for Stress Relief?
Here are some ways to incorporate lavender into your stress-relief routine:
- Aromatherapy: Add a few drops of lavender oil to a diffuser or vaporizer and inhale the scent for 10-15 minutes. You can also put a drop or two of the oil on a tissue or cotton ball and carry it with you.
- Bath: Add a handful of dried lavender flowers or a few drops of essential oil to a warm bath and soak for 20-30 minutes. This will help relax your muscles and calm your mind.
- Massage: Mix a carrier oil, such as sweet almond or coconut oil, with a few drops of lavender essential oil and use it to massage your neck, shoulders, and temples. This will help release tension and promote relaxation.
- Tea: Steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers in hot water for 5-10 minutes and drink it before bed or anytime you need to calm your nerves.
Lavender is a natural and safe way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Whether you use it in the form of essential oil, dried flowers, or supplements, lavender can help soothe your mind and body. So the next time someone says “lavender is a stress reliever,” take it seriously, and try it for yourself. You might be surprised at how effective it is in easing your stress and anxiety levels.
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Last update 2023-03-26. Price and product availability may change.