lavender improves anxiety

15% of people worldwide suffer from anxiety. But help may be a beautiful flower away.

Lavender has a long tradition of use for anxiety and sleeplessness. Modern research has supported this traditional use. But how much research, and how solid is the evidence? Let’s see.

A very large meta-analysis and systematic review looked at ninety studies of lavender and anxiety. Sixty-five of those studies were randomized, controlled studies. Some of them tested a single, acute dose, while others looked at chronic treatment. Those sixty-five studies combined included 7,993 people.

The results of the systematic review of the sixty-five controlled studies found that 54 of them, or 83%, found that lavender improved anxiety significantly better than the control it was being compared to.

Several meta-analyses were also done to evaluate different ways of using lavender. A meta-analysis of eight controlled studies of standardized lavender essential oil taken orally found that it reduced anxiety significantly better than a placebo.

A meta-analysis of inhaling lavender essential oil that looked at 24 controlled studies concluded that lavender significantly improves anxiety compared to controls. Strangely inhaling lavender essential oil seems to help in high-anxiety situations but not in low-anxiety situations.

This review and analysis of a very large body of work seems to show that lavender essential oil, when taken orally or inhaled, offers significant help to people suffering from anxiety.

Phytomed 2019;65:153099

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