Better living through nature
Lavender oil may help reduce the perceptions of stress and pain, new research suggests.
In a recent study conducted at Kyungpook National University Hospital in Daegu, Korea, researchers sought to find out whether aromatherapy using lavender oil could have any effect on stress levels or pain intensity prior to a surgery. Participants were divided into two groups—a lavender treatment group and a control group.
When patients arrived at the hospital, they were taken into a preoperative room and asked to rest on a bed for five minutes. Then, the baseline bispectral index (BIS) values were assessed to find out the patients’ levels of consciousness. The patients rated their stress and tension levels on a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the highest level of stress. Sixty seconds later, researchers inserted a needle into the patients’ non-dominant forearms and held it there for 30 seconds. Afterward, the patients rated their level of pain on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain imaginable.
Researchers have found yet another use for this plant's calming essential oil.
Photo by Hsu/ Courtesy Flickr
This process was then repeated again with both groups. This time, however, the lavender treatment group received an oxygen face mask coated with 2 drops of 2 percent lavender oil for five minutes, and then the same process commenced.
The findings were very promising. At baseline, the patients all had similar levels of pain intensity, BIS values and stress. However, when the procedure was repeated, the lavender treatment group scored significantly lower levels of all tested factors, and the patients experienced no adverse effects as a result of the essential oil.
Of course, this is not the first time lavender (Lavandula officinalis) has been noted for its benefits. Lavender oil vapors are often used to open sinus and breathing passages. The essential oil has also been known to help heal burns, bruises and bug bites. It can help lift a bad mood and is sometimes used to sooth the intestines.