Lavender is probably most appreciated for the fragrance of its little blue flowers. Lavender essential oil is often used in aromatherapy application and many bath and body products are available with a lavender fragrance. In this capacity, its popularity has been apparent for centuries. Lavender actually comes from the Latin root word lavare, which means, “to wash.”
However, the benefit of lavender aroma is more than simply, “smelling nice” and lavender has a very real calming effect. Lavender tea is commonly used to relax and unwind. Research has confirmed that lavender produces a slight calming, soothing, and sedative effect when its scent is inhaled. The calming effects of lavender have prompted some researchers to examine its potential to positively affecting conditions that lead to excess weight gain.
How Is Lavender Essential Oil Linked to Weight Loss?
Weight gain and excess body weight have various sources and aspects and are typically addressed with a corresponding, multifaceted approach. Certain herbs can help block sugar absorption, preventing fat storage. Other herbs help boost metabolic output to more effectively burn calories. Some herbs suppress the appetite. It deserves mention that overeating often stems from anxiety or depression. There is evidence that suggests lavender essential oil could be a natural relief to these conditions that contribute to overeating.
According to the National Centre for Eating Disorders, generalized anxiety disorder and compulsive overeating are often hand-in-hand problems. Lavender essential oil has been found to be helpful in relieving symptoms of mild anxiety and may also benefit those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder.
A 2010 controlled clinical study compared lavender oil to lorazepam, a benzodiazepine. The study found that, for many of the test subjects, lavender oil worked almost as well as the drug.
A study published in “International Clinical Pharmacology” showed that subjects receiving 80 mg per day of lavender oil showed statistically significant reductions in anxiety levels compared to controls receiving a placebo. It is important to note that most clinical studies of lavender have used the oil rather than the tea because it is easier to measure the amount of active compounds the person is consuming.
Furthermore, lavender essential oil has been shown to improve sleep quality. Studies have shown a direct correlation between healthy sleep patterns and weight loss.
Other beneficial herbs for weight loss are green coffee bean, uva-ursi, gymnema, damiana, and hoodia gordonii.
As part of an overall weight loss strategy and program, lavender can offer some benefit. Turning to lavender, instead of high calorie snacks, when feelings of anxiety or a desire to overeat comes on, may provide relief.
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
- Chaput JP, Tremblay A. Adequate sleep to improve the treatment of obesity. CMAJ. 2012 Dec 11;184(18):1975-6. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.120876. Epub 2012 Sep 17.
- Deane Jade. Compulsive overeating & binge eating disorder. National Centre for Eating Disorders. 2010.
- Woelk H, Schläfke S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.006. Epub 2009 Dec 3.