Two health benefits of lavender backed up by modern research

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Known for its vibrant colouring, lavender has a steep history in herbal medicine, but how does modern-day research value its competence?

A review, conducted by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, tested the ancient hypothesis that lavender can help with your sleep.

“Sleep disturbances are recognised as an important health and public health problem that affects physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being,” the authors noted.

“Inhalation of essential oils may be a safe alternative to pharmaceutical interventions for mild to moderate sleep disturbances.”

To test whether lavender would have therapeutic benefits, they reviewed human studies conducted in the field between 1990 to 2012.

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The search yielded 15 quantitative studies that examined the effects of lavender essential oils.

“A majority of the study findings suggested a positive effect of essential oils on sleep,” the authors added. “No adverse events were reported.”

Thus, the researchers stated lavender could be helpful for those who suffer from mild sleep disturbances.

“Further studies with larger samples and stronger methods and endpoints are needed to build on the findings,” the authors penned.

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According to a study conducted in a hospital setting, specifically intensive care units (ICU), aromatherapy was trialled to see if it helped patients feel more at ease.

The researchers said: “This study aimed to investigate the effect of lavender essential oil on the sleep quality and anxiety level of patients in coronary ICU.”

A total of 60 patients participated in the research, based in the southeast of Turkey.

After informing the participants about the research, they received questionnaires to fill out at the beginning and end of the experiment.

Some of the patients were not exposed to lavender essential oils but, for those who were, they were exposed to lavender for 15 days.

Results showed that there were “statistically significant differences” in the two groups.

Those exposed to lavender reported increased quality of sleep and reduced feelings of anxiety.

Lavender, therefore, was seen as a “non-invasive, cheap, and easily accessible” essential oil to promote well-being.

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