Lavender - most of us know that lavender is used for its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing, calming) properties. You’ve also probably diffused it to help with sleep, right?
What most people don’t know is that oral supplementation of lavender oil (capsules; a standardized product) can be helpful for disturbed sleep, restlessness, anxiety and depression.
In 2014, a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy trial studied the effects of oral lavender in patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), in comparison to placebo and Paroxetine. Using the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) to objectively assess and monitor, the researcher were able to conclude that after 10 weeks, the lavender oil capsule was superior to placebo and comparable to Paroxetine, with less adverse effects than Paroxetine. Additionally, the lavender oil capsule had demonstrated antidepressant effects and improved quality of life in the study participants. (1)
Other authors also report comparable effects between a standardized capsule of lavender oil and the starting dose of Lorazepam (a benzodiazepine), in patients with GAD. (2)
As always, consult a healthcare practitioner to ensure that this botanical is appropriate for you. This herb can have additive effects with other medications/supplements, can impair ability to use heavy machinery and should not be used in pregnancy or breastfeeding. Do not self-prescribe, and always work under the guidance of a licensed healthcare practitioner.
Reference(s): (1) PMID: 24456909, (2) PMID: 19962288.