The amazing medicinal and healing effects of lavender have been exploited for millennia,
but it is only recently that scientists and medical researchers have been seriously testing some of the ways in which lavender could help to protect us from several ailments. In almost all cases, further study would need to be undertaken before we know things for certain, but it looks as though, in the future, we may be using lavender for more than just helping us get a great night’s sleep and in the world’s most relaxing bath!
Lavender’s Antioxidant Effects
Free radicals are harmful molecules that come from toxins, pollution and other chemicals that can attack our bodies. Free radical damage is, in fact, thought be an affecting factor in many instances of cell damage. Thankfully our body does have an amazing natural line of defence against this, it produces antioxidant enzymes, especially glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase – which act to prevent free radicals from doing their damage. However, it is possible for our bodies to become deficient in these antioxidants. Recent studies from both China and Romania have shown that inhaling lavender essential oil for just 60 minutes a day can lead to a significant increase in the body’s antioxidant levels.
A 15 day study by Tunisian researchers in 2014 showed that lavender has potential in the treatment of Diabetes. Among the noted effects of lavender treatment on diabetic patients was protection from increased blood glucose levels, metabolic disorders, weight gain, and liver and kidney antioxidant depletion, dysfunction and lipoperoxidation.
Protection Against Neurological Disorders
It has long been known that lavender helps to calm and soothe people’s moods and to helps them to sleep. However, research is now beginning to scientifically prove this. A study in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice showed that supplementing the diet with 80mg capsules of lavender essential oil helped to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression. Currently many of these disorders are treated with pharmaceutical drugs which can cause worrying side effects. However, no such side effects were observed in this study.
Studies have also been done showing promising links between lavender oil and treatment for degenerative brain disorders such as dementia and stroke. Research has also shored up the knowledge that lavender can have a positive effect on headaches and migraines. One study found that migraine sufferers saw a significant reduction in pain when they inhaled lavender oil for just 15 minutes.
Obviously, many of these findings are still in their infancy so we are not suggesting that you turn your back on conventional treatments. It is also important to remember that essential oils are potent and should only ever be used with care. It is exciting, however, to think that in years to come we could be using lavender to treat some of the world’s most serious medical issues.