Natural Pain Relief from Lavender

by on March 7th, 2015
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Lavender is an essential ingredient to a tea mixture I make for stress relief. I use it both as aromatherapy and because the tea can help calm nerves and relax the body. When mixed with several other plants, it can also help act as a sedative. Most are surprised when they use it at how fast it knocks them out.

The plant, which originated in the Mediterranean region, has many other uses in herbal lore. It has been used as an antiseptic. In fact, the first part of the name indicates that it was once used in washing, particularly hand washing.

The study that came out recently focused on a different use. This was as a pain reliever. Test subjects were stuck with a needle and their reactions recorded. I’m not referring to how they said they felt, the reactions were recorded on specialized equipment and rated.

Half of the subjects were asked to sniff a bottle of lavender essential oil. The other half was the control group. When they were stuck with the needle the second time, those who smelled the oil felt much less pain. In fact, the reduction was considered significant.

What does that mean for us? It means we may now have another powerful tool in dealing with pain. Imagine if we could harness this reaction and apply it to other painful conditions; those that currently require narcotics to control? It could reduce the threat of addiction significantly and offer better pain relief. While it does relax, lavender itself does not usually have the same effect as a narcotic. You could still drive or work.

I find this study interesting from my standpoint as a Master Herbalist. Adding lavender essential oil to a carrier massage oil could help reduce pain from sore muscles, a stiff neck and many other areas of the body. It could be added to a bath to improve how arthritic joints and injuries feel, reducing the need for painkillers. The implications are wonderful.

As with any herb, there are precautions that need to be taken. For one thing, this is just one study. More should be done to confirm the reactions found in this one. That will take time. There is also the possibility of allergies. Lavender essential oil is made primarily from the flowers, and those who are sensitive to flowers may have problems both with breathing the oil and with rubbing it on the skin.

Lavender does have a few drug interactions, particularly with those that cause drowsiness or deal with depression and bipolar disorder. If you are being treated for these problems, talk to your doctor before using the essential oil or the herb as a supplement. In fact, it’s always good to check with your doctor before using a new supplement. This will help prevent drug/herb interactions and protect you from dangerous side effects.

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