Lavender Promising for Anxiety Study Suggests

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Lavender Promising for Anxiety but Evidence Base Needs to Grow

Lavender may have a role in treating anxiety but no firm conclusions can be drawn without higher quality, less biased studies, a large systematic review and meta-analysis suggests.

“Oral lavender in the form of a standardized essential oil titrated in linalool and linalyl acetate may be helpful as an add-on therapy, or in reducing the dosages, and, therefore, the side effects of common anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines,” study investigator Davide Donelli, MD, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy, told Medscape Medical News.

“It would be premature to consider lavender essential oil inhalation as a treatment for anxiety on the basis of our findings,” Donelli added.

The study is published in the December issue of Phytomedicine.

High Anxiety in America

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates that anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults, or 18% of the US population, every year, making such disorders the most common mental illnesses nationwide.

Lavender is often suggested as an ancillary treatment for anxiety largely because of its storied past as a natural anxiolytic (reduces anxiety).

To assess its efficacy, the researchers examined studies that included lavender (in any form or method of administration) and its effect on anxiety and anxiety-related conditions.

The analysis included 65 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a total of 7993 participants and 25 nonrandomized studies (NRSs) with 1200 participants in a qualitative synthesis; in addition, the researchers analyzed 37 randomized controlled trials with 3964 participants in a quantitative synthesis.

In the qualitative analysis, 54 randomized controlled trials reported “at least a significant result” in favor of lavender for anxiety, either as a significant improvement from baseline within intervention groups, or as a significant post-test amelioration of anxiety levels in intervention groups compared with control groups.

In the qualitative analysis of nonrandomized studies, 17 studies indicated a significant improvement in at least one anxiety measure within intervention groups, or a significant post-test difference between intervention and control groups, when present, in favor of lavender.

In the quantitative analysis, oral lavender (80 mg per day for at least 6 weeks) had a significant effect in diminishing anxiety levels based on the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (mean difference, −2.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], −4.86 to −0.95; P= .004) and the Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale (mean difference,  −2.62; 95% CI, −4.84 to −0.39; P< .05).

High Risk of Bias

Massage with lavender oil also appeared helpful for reducing anxiety (Hedges’ g = −0.66; 95% CI, −0.97 to −0.35; P< .0001). However, the studies are not sufficient to determine with certainty whether the benefit is because of a specific effect of lavender, thus impeding from clearly differentiating it from the beneficial effect of massage, the authors note.

At Botanica Medica Herbal Centre we always seek to address the underlying cause of your health condition and you can be sure we will always treat you as an individual.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our Naturopaths call Botanica Medica on 8271-1827 today. They are only to happy to share the knowledge they have gained through their studies and patient outcomes, and get you feeling better. Botanica Medica is located at 97 Glen Osmond Road, Eastwood and appointments are available Monday to Saturday including some after hours.

 

References

Lavender Promising for Anxiety but Evidence Base Needs to Grow, Megan Brooks

study investigator Davide Donelli, MD, Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy, Medscape Medical News.

The study is published in the December issue of Phytomedicine.

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