The scent of lavender is a favorite in the beauty industry—used in bath and body products and marketed as a soothing smell with a spa-like quality. But this isn’t some marketing gimmick; lavender scent truly does relax and soothe the body. Lavender essential oil has a variety of beneficial effects in addition to its relaxing qualities. One of these, recently affirmed by Iranian researchers, is in the treatment of migraines.
Migraines are intense headaches that aren’t usually relieved with traditional methods. They are usually accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to lights and sounds, vomiting, and vision anomalies. They are more common in women than men, and affect around 37 million Americans.
Researchers with Mashhad University of Medical Science Department of Neurology divided 47 participants into two groups. One group received lavender essential oil which they were instructed to inhale for about 15 minutes. The control group received paraffin to inhale for the same amount of time. Then, participants recorded their headache symptoms and severity in 30 minute intervals for a two hour period.
In the lavender group, there was a 74% improvement in the severity of symptoms. Also, there were fewer migraines over the course of the study when compared with the control group.
These results are particularly remarkable when you compare the lavender oil effectiveness rate with the rates of effectiveness for other conventional migraine treatments. The study concluded:
“The present study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches.”
As reported by Paul Fassa for Natural News, high doses of Tylenol (acetaminophen) only helps migraine sufferers about 50% of the time. Ibuprofen is slightly more effective, with improvement in 57% of cases, while the number one prescribed migraine medication, Imitrex, is effective 59% of the time. Lavender oil seems to rival the effectiveness rate of all of these options and without the side effects.
In addition to migraine treatment, lavender oil is antifungal, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. It’s great to use topically on bug bites and rashes and can be inhaled for anxiety or insomnia.
For other options for headache relief check out our posts herbal remedies for headaches, and natural remedies for migraines.