3 Ways To Use Lavender To Eliminate Stress and Anxiety
Are you feeling stressed? You're not alone. According to the most recent Gallup poll, 8 out of 10 Americans reported being affected by stress either "frequently" or "sometimes." Thankfully, treating stress and anxiety doesn't have to mean turning to expensive prescription drugs that can ultimately harm your health or cause unwanted side effects. Lavender (Lavendula spp.) is a gentle and surprisingly useful herb that has been used for thousands of years to combat these common concerns.
Several modern studies have shown that this common garden plant, a natural nervous system relaxant and mild sedative, can legitimately alleviate stress, anxiety and even depression. Are you looking for a safer way to unwind? Here are three easy ways to use this helpful herb to find your happy place.
Lavender Essential Oil For Stress
It seems everyone is talking about essential oils these days, and it's easy to understand why. Essential oils are potent, convenient and versatile. If you're interested in using lavender essential oil, it's important to find a reputable brand with which to do business. Because of a boom in popularity, essential oils are appearing everywhere, and unfortunately, not all of these oils are quality products.
To find a pure oil, look at the labeling; it should read 100% pure essential oil and also list both the conventional and botanical (Latin) names of the plant. With lavender, this name is typically Lavendula angustifolia or Lavendula stoechas. No other ingredients should be listed.
Once you've found good oil, there are a few ways to use it. One of the easiest and most effective ways to enjoy lavender is to dilute a few drops with a "carrier" oil (such as olive oil or fractionated coconut oil) and apply it to your temples or wrists. Remember, undiluted essential oils are too potent to put on bare skin.
Not only will your skin absorb the calming properties of the lavender to help combat stress, but you can also take a quick whiff for some instant aromatherapy any time you're feeling overwhelmed.
For an even more potent way to utilize lavender's stress-busting abilities, invest in an oil diffuser. These handy devices are compact, relatively inexpensive and aesthetically pleasing; they work by heating water to release oil-infused steam into the air, much like a humidifier. Many veterinarians and doctors now use oil diffusers in their offices to help soothe anxious patients.
Lavender Baths For Anxiety
If you need to unwind and de-stress, nothing beats the soothing combination of a hot bath filled with dried lavender. Dried lavender buds are easy to purchase from herbal companies online, or you can grow your own in the garden and dry it yourself to ensure an inexpensive, super-local supply all year.
What makes a lavender bath so special? The skin is the largest organ in the body, acting like a giant sponge to absorb things in the environment, so soaking in a tub full of healthy lavender-infused water is unbeatable for relaxing every cell in your body.
Your lavender bath can be as simple as some buds tossed in the bathtub. If you would prefer the water to remain clear of plant matter, you can make a simple sachet of cheesecloth tied with kitchen twine, or even use one leg from a pair of old pantyhose as a bathtub "tea steeper," and hang it under the faucet as you run your hot water.
For aching muscles, add some Epsom salt or sea salt to the tub. Just remember: You don't want your skin absorbing any unnecessary toxins, so choose your lavender from an organic supplier if you're not growing or sourcing pesticide-free plants of your own.
Lavender Tea For Stress
The ritual of preparing and consuming a cup of tea is unique and calming in its own right, so making it with a sedating herb like lavender is an extremely potent remedy for an unsettled mind. Whether you're using fresh or dried lavender, it is an excellent tea choice for stress, anxiety and even chronic insomnia that can come from these negative emotions.
When used as a tea, lavender tastes best when steeped with other herbs that help mask the strong flavor of its volatile oils. Try mixing one part of lavender with two parts of lemon balm or chamomile for a tasty tea that delivers a double-punch of nerve-soothing medicine. For the most relaxing results, skip the sugar or sweeten your drink with raw honey.
Again, only use organic lavender intended for consumption when brewing tea. You should never ingest lavender used in inexpensive potpourri blends.
Since ancient times, people have used lavender to calm their nerves or unwind at the end of the day. It's understandable that in these hectic modern times, this common garden herb is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. For stress, anxiety and insomnia, this plant can be one of your best allies.