Lavender is a common herb that can be found in many gardens and is often renowned for its strong and fragment aroma coupled with its beautiful purple flowers. This herb is not only a lovely herb to have in the garden but it has also has great therapeutic properties that have a long history of traditional use with recent research now demonstrating its actions and benefits.
Due to its specific actions and indications in health ailments, Lavender is a star and core ingredient used in our Kidney tea formula adding further therapeutic benefits to help with kidney support and associated symptoms.
Let’s look further into this superhero herb and why it is an important inclusion when supporting kidney health.
Lavender: The Wonderful Herb
Botanical Name: Lavandula anguvstifolia
Plant part used: flowers
Other common names: English Lavender, Common Lavender, French Lavender, Spanish Lavender
Lavandula angustifolia is the official botanical name for Lavender and is often called English Lavender which is due to originally some of the finest lavender oil being produced in the cooler English climate with long summer sunlight hours. Originally derived from the Western Mediterranean, Lavender can now be found to be grown commercially in many countries.
The active constituents of the Lavender flowers come predominately from its volatile oils with its main active components including linalool, lineally acetate, camphor coumarins, tannins, triterpenes, and flavonoids, sesquiterpenes and phenolic acids.
A powerful plant!
The volatile oils contribute significantly to the powerful actions of the Lavender flower with up to 36 different constituents of the oil identified which can vary slightly depending on the origin of the plant and growing conditions, time of year harvested and method of extraction.
Sourcing your herbs from a reputable and organic grower is always recommended for quality products and bet therapeutic benefits.
The pharmacological actions of Lavender are varied with research now demonstrating its benefits in many health conditions. Some of the limitations in studies are due to the combination of Lavender and other herbs administered together however there have been some of the main actions found. Some of the important actions that have been found are listed below.
Lavender demonstrates a carminative action relieving dyspepsia and bloating due to its anti-spasmodic activity. Linalool, one of the main constituents, is the main component contributing to the antispasmodic action. Lavender is often recommended for digestive complaints to help soothe indigestion, dyspepsia and bloating through its carminative and anti-flatulent actions.
Lavender is most well known for its effect on relaxation and the nervous system with liquid extracts of Lavender demonstrating potent sedative and hypnotic activities, both in vivo and in human studies. The sedative properties of Lavender have been shown in studies to be dose-dependent inducing relaxation, sedation, reduced cortisol and stress levels and altered EEG responses.
Enhancing sleep and improved alertness on waking are also attributed to the anxiolytic and sedative effects and positive effects on cardiovascular health have also been observed including a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure.
Lavender has traditionally been used for its antibacterial activity with in vitro studies confirming its anti-microbial activities against some common microorganisms. One study by Jianu et al. 2013, found that several of the main constituents displayed significant bactericidal effects again microorganisms including Shigella, E.coli and staphylococcus aureus.
Other various in vitro studies also support the anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties of Lavender with antibacterial activity demonstrated against MSA, Vancomycin and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and antifungal activity against aspergillum nidulans and candida Albicans strains.
Indications and Medicinal Uses
The historical uses of Lavender are diverse with traditional indications related to ‘griefs and pains of the head and brain’, use as a diuretic, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties used in hospitals and sick rooms in world war 1 and the oil topically for variances ulcers and sores.
Contemporary use of Lavender is also diverse ranging from use in perfumes, toiletries, cosmetics and flavour foods however its therapeutic use in different health issues has developed with its great benefits now used in different health conditions. There are several animal studies suggesting its anxiolytic, sedative and analgesic properties with many human studies now supporting its use.
Let’s explore some of the important indications of Lavender.
The Anxiolytic effects of Lavender have been shown to have good benefits for cardiovascular health with several studies highlighting stress and anxiety reduction and consequently improved cardiovascular function.
One study demonstrated a decrease in serum cortisol and improved coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR) in healthy men after 30 minutes of Lavender aromatherapy suggesting the relaxation effect of Lavender may be beneficial for the acute effects on coronary circulation.
Another study in patients with myocardial infarction between the ages of 30-70 years found that after 20-30 minutes of inhalation of lavender essential oil three times per day for 3 days, significantly reduced stress and anxiety and consequently blood pressure.
Hypertension is a commonly diagnosed cardiovascular condition of which one study in 4 male soldiers with hypertension demonstrated significant differences in systolic blood pressure in the treatment group compared to the control group. The treatment group used a combination of the herbs Lavender, yang yang, marjoram and neroli via inhalation using an aroma stone necklace for 2 weeks.
The anxiolytic effects of Lavender are well known with several studies demonstrating its benefits superior to placebo and other treatments for anxiety-related disorders, depression, sleep and mood disorders.
In a study conducted on patients with generalised anxiety disorder lavender essential oil was found to be better than placebo and at least as effective as paroxetine for reducing anxiety and also reducing depression, restlessness and agitation. In a case series with patients with major depression, Lavender oil reduced anxiety-related symptoms and sleep issues.
Recent clinical research demonstrates that oral administration of lavender oil, specifically Silexan, is effective for mild to moderate anxiety and is well tolerated which has now been made available in Germany for the treatment of restlessness and anxious mood.
Sleep issues and insomnia are one of the most common psychiatric disorders with Lavender being one of the most commonly used plants for sleep issues. There have been several reviews of clinical research that demonstrated promising evidence for the use of Lavender to help with sleep disorders and quality.
An interesting study with 56 ICU patients found that using a combination of essential oils (lavender, roman chamomile and neroli) significantly improved sleep quality compared with conventional nursing interventions
A self-reported study conducted with 79 college students demonstrated a significant clinical effect on sleep quality (rather than quantity) and waking refreshed. The study was conducted over five nights with the treatment group wearing a patch with 55ul of lavender essential oil only and the control group a blank patch. Not only did the treatment group experience these clinical effects after five nights but also continued to experience the benefits in the 2 weeks follow up.
Lavender has been reported and demonstrated to be useful in pain management in many different conditions ranging from acute pain to chronic pain and pregnancy and childbirth.
In a study of 100ICU patients receiving artificial ventilation, Lavender essential oil was found to be effective in lowering blood pressure, heart rate and pain.
Aromatherapy with Lavender essential oil for both dysmenorrhea and after caesarean section in childbirth both demonstrated a reduction and reduced duration in pain.
In CKD – Haemodialysis
In CKD, Lavender can have significant benefits in many symptoms and conditions of the body. Reductions in anxiety, blood pressure and improvements in sleep all contribute to improving not only kidney function but overall health.
In a study conducted with 24 patients receiving hemodialysis, patients were randomly assigned to an intervention group receiving lavender essential oil inhalation before the cannulation procedure or a control gourd. The intervention group demonstrated significantly lower anxiety and pain score and a higher comfort score than the control group.
There is probably not another herb that is used in as many different forms as Lavender.
- Lavandula tincture 1:2: 2-4.5ml per day
- Dried herb infusion:: 1g-2g /day: 1.5g dried flowers in 150ml of water and steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain before drinking
- Lavender Oil: topically use only: mix 20 drops of oil with. 20ml of carrier oil (eg. Almond oil). Can be applied to insect bites or stings.
- Aromatherapy: 2-4 drops of lavender essential oil in an oil diffuser or it can be added to a pillowcase to assist with sleep.
*It is interesting to note that Lavender oil is quickly absorbed into the skin and can be detected in the blood within 5 mins however levels are undetectable after 90 minutes.
Warnings/Contraindications and Cautions
Lavender is classified as a Class 1 herb which represents herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately.
If you have a known allergy or contact dermatitis to Lavender we recommend avoiding this herb.
There is a potential for skin irritation or allergenic skin reactions which are cumulative therefore we recommend always testing first on a patch of skin and waiting for 24 hours before applying.
If you are pregnant or in lactation we advise professional supervision as a precaution.
We recommend discontinuing this herbal remedy 7 days prior to general anaesthesia and to consult with your doctor when undergoing any changes to your treatment.
Theoretically, Lavender may enhance the effects of any sedatives therefore we recommend monitoring closely if you are taking medications with a sedative action.
Lavandula angustifolia is a common herb with many traditional and clinical uses and is one of the most popular herbs used by people globally. The diverse applications for Lavender in health conditions and symptoms make this herb an important consideration as a complementary therapy, particulate in nervous system disorders, sleep issues and pain.
The ease of use of this popular herbal remedy makes it an easy and safe choice when seeking relief and healing for common ailments and its ability to relax the nervous system and improve sleep can have additive benefits in many other areas of health.
Eat, Sleep and breathe Lavender. The path to relaxation.
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- Fisher 2009, Materia Medica of Western Herbs, Vitex Medica
- Braun L & Cohen, M 2015. Herbs & Natural Supplement. An Evidenced Based Guide. Volume 2, Elsevier, Australia.
- Jianu, C., G. Pop, A.T. Gruia and F.G. Horhat, 2013. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of essential oils of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and lavender (Lavandula x intermedia) grown in Western Romania. Int. J. Agric. Biol., 15: 772‒776