News that a so-called ‘wonder cream’ which cured insomnia, helped anxiety and soothed frazzled brains has been making headlines across national newspaper and magazines this week.
A mum posted on social media that LUSH’s “Sleepy” cream had cured her insomnia. Her story was featured on Reddit and soon others were sharing their stories.
But a quick glance at the ingredients list will reveal just why it has been a hit – it uses lavender essential oils.
This herb has been packing a punch for centuries and its ability to calm the mind and reduce anxiety has long been used as a country cure, and there’s a growing number of scientific studies which are backing up these home remedies. The essential oil – made by the steam distillation of lavender flowers – is one of the safest to use, and one of the most studied.
The Science Bit
University researchers in Maryland report that massage using lavender essential oils can improve sleep but happier moods, boost concentration and lead to less anxiety.
In Germany, lavender flowers are approved to treat insomnia, nervous upsets and restlessness
In 2013, neuroscientists studied how lavender affected the brain and found massage with lavender essential oils lowered blood pressure, headaches and tension by acting on the central nervous system.
In one experiment, scientists set up lavender oil burners in offices for three months, and found 90% of the 66-strong workforce thought it had made their working lives better.
Three ways you can harness the healing power of lavender:
Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil to 30g of a carrier oil such as sweet almond, and either spray or dab a little onto your temples, gently massaging in before sleep.
Put a handful of fresh lavender flowers into hot (not boiling) water and allow to steep for five minutes. Pop a towel over your head and breathe the heady aroma into your lungs
- Buy a diffuser and put in some drops of lavender oil, letting it scent your room before bedtime. Or you could even talk your boss into trialling a diffuser in the office and tell her about the experiment above!
Do you use lavender essential oils to help you relax? What’s your favourite? Tell me in the comments – I would love to hear from you!
PS: Although the vast majority of people are fine with lavender there are a small minority who can be allergic, so if your skin is irritated at all then stop using it.