Lavender Tea Benefits For Sleep and Anxiety
Lavender is a lovely floral that is beloved for its sweet scent and aromatic fragrance. The plant is harvested to produce botanicals, skincare products, and culinary grade extracts. It's also the perfect plant to brew a floral, herbal tea. Discover more about lavender tea and its health benefits right here.
Lavender Tea Basics
Lavender is a sweet-smelling plant that can be found in everything from naturally scented soaps and shampoos to aromatherapy essential oils. Lavender tea is made from the lavender plant known by the botanical name Lavandula angustifolia. The plant is native to Europe and Africa — particularly the Mediterranean — but is also a popular garden plant that can be found in many household gardens.
The lavender flowers brew into a light lilac-colored tea that is known for its calming effects. The tea emits a floral scent and features a flavor that is mildly sweet. The tea can be brewed using fresh lavender, dried lavender, or tea bags. Fresh and dried lavender buds tend to offer better flavor since tea bags often contain the dust and fannings of the flower petals.
Lavender tea offers notes of rosemary and mint and the flavor can vary depending on where the flowering plant is grown. Some varieties feature smoky and woody hints while others have more prominent floral and sweet notes.
The plant has been well researched and shown to offer numerous potential health benefits. Read on to discover some potential benefits of lavender tea that are backed by science.
Health Benefits of Lavender Tea
1. Sleep Benefits
Lavender tea is most well-known for its ability to help improve sleep. The National Institutes of Health states that more than 70 million people in the United States suffer from poor sleep. There are dozens of scientific studies demonstrating the calming effects of this tea and some lavender supplements are even approved to treat sleep disorders and anxiety disorders in Europe.
Research published in 2005 examined the effects of lavender on sleep in 31 individuals who demonstrated healthy sleep cycles. Researchers found that participants who inhaled the scent of lavender had increased duration of deep and slow-wave sleep (1).
2. Anxiety and Depression Benefits
The soothing nature of lavender may help to treat anxiety and depression symptoms. The plant has proven so powerful it is now the staple ingredient in Silexan, a lavender supplement approved in Germany to treat anxiety.
A study published in Phytomedicine investigated the effects of lavender oil on patients who had generalized anxiety disorder. Researchers found that participants who took Silexan had significant improvements in mood and decreased stress levels. The evidence showed Silexan was just as effective as Lorazepam — a common anti-anxiety medication that has been associated with severe side effects (2).
Additional Research showed that lavender essential oil and aromatherapy also helped to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in women with post-partum depression after four weeks (3). The plant also demonstrating calming effects on dentistry patients before procedures, though these benefits were only short-term (4).
Researchers believe lavender works directly on the nervous system to inhibit GABA receptors. Compounds in lavender work to mimic the role of neurotransmitters, helping to decrease stress levels and reduce anxiety (5). For the best benefits, combine lavender tea with other sleep teas like chamomile tea or valerian root tea.
Lavender tea contains compounds that help to decrease inflammation. While inflammation is a normal part of the healing process, chronic inflammation can cause serious problems from heart attack to arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of lavender work to decrease inflammation and improve circulation in blood vessels (6).
4. Antioxidant Properties
Lavender tea also contains antioxidants and vitamins that help to promote immune health. Antioxidants in lavender tea help to fight free radicals that can cause oxidative stress — a process that results in the breakdown of healthy cell function (7). Oxidative stress has been linked to everything from premature aging to certain types of cancers. The tea also contains high concentrations of vitamin C and calcium, which are great for immune and bone health.
5. Digestive Benefits
Lavender may help to soothe digestive issues by decreasing inflammation that can cause an upset stomach, stomach cramps, and indigestion. The tea also boasts antispasmodic effects that help to ease symptoms of gas and bloating. The antispasmodic effects also help to decrease muscle spasms that can nausea and cramps. Inhaling the scent of lavender tea can help to stimulate the production of bile, which aids the body in the breakdown of food.
Side Effects of Lavender Tea
Lavender tea may cause allergic reactions in people who are allergic to the lavender plant. The strong scent of the tea can also be nauseating to some people. Avoid the use of lavender if you are allergic to the plant and stop us if you experience side effects such as nausea and dizziness.
Some studies have connected lavender to gynecomastia — the growth of breast tissue. Most of these effects have been documented in prepubescent males and effects diminish when lavender use is discontinued. Limit lavender consumption for males who haven't completed puberty.
Pregnant women should also be careful drinking lavender tea due to the estrogen-like effects. Do not drink lavender tea without consulting your obstetrician or midwife first.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve the use of lavender in the treatment of any diseases or ailments. Always talk to a doctor before drinking lavender tea especially if you are taking any medications.
Laid Back With Lavender
The purple flowers of the lavender plant brew into a subtly sweet and powerfully floral herbal tea that is known for boosting relaxation. Brew yourself a cup of lavender tea and enjoy the calming benefits of this tasty tea. Simply add a few lavender petals to boiling water and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Add a dash of lemon or honey to the hot water if desired and enjoy the delicious teacup of relaxation. Try these refreshing summer lavender recipes if you want to up the flavor.