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Lavender, A Natural Treatment For Anxiety

Mental health is such a fascinating field to me, peoples lives are often profoundly affected by their diseases and often times western medications are ineffective or come with such horrendous side effects that people are non-compliant. Have you listened to the adds for antidepressants or anxiety meds lately? Did you notice the insanely long list of side effects they mention? Did you happen to catch that increased depression, suicide, or harming others are side effects? Did you also know that most of the public shootings and people killing their children or entire families are linked to the killer being on SSRIs (the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants)?

Yes, it is terrifying that America is at the hands of the pharmaceutical companies, without reguard for our welfare they have tricked us all into thinking "meds" are a normal part of life. Take the green pill to fix this, but wait you will need this blue one to treat the side effects of the green. Being an RN, I am at the front lines of this incredibly powerful propaganda Big Pharma feeds us...it is radical.

I completely understand that the majority of the public is unaware of alternative treatments as well as most classically trained MDs. Big Pharma spends billions to stifle alternative medicine (go watch Burzynski on netflix to get a glimpse). However, the grassroots movements are taking hold, and many can no longer deny that alternative treatments are effective. Don't get me wrong there is a place for Western Medicine, and yes there are many people who need their medications...I am not denying this. I am just here to spread the word to those looking for options, those unsatisfied with their current treatment, fed up with medication side effects, and looking for real solutions not just a bandaid. Ok....stepping off the soapbox now. 😉

I recently took part in listening to The Anxiety Summit, a two week series of lectures by some of the top practitioners in holistic mental health. It was such a breath of fresh air because it taught me, once again, there are alternative treatments for mental health and they are quite effective. In the weeks to come I am going to share with you some of the cool things I have learned. 

A natural anxiety treatment that's proven as effective as Ativan

Today is about a natural treatment for anxiety...

it is well studied and has only one very minor side effect...can I get a hurrah. The treatment is oral lavender, the standard preparation is called Silexan. Here is where to get it.

The brand I recommend, Integrative Therapeutics, contains only Silexan, canola oil, gelatin (capsule), glycerin, sorbitol, and annato extract color. I called to verify with the company and the canola oil is GMO free. Also each of their lots are tested for and free of heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes. Also for inquiring minds, "Silexan is a patented active substance produced from Lavandula angustifolia flowers by steam distillation consisting of the main active constituents. Linalool (36.8%) and linalyl acetate (34.2%)," (1). Now on to what it can do. 

The Evidence

In multiple double-blind studies Silexan has shown to be as effective as oral benzodiazepines, such as Ativan and Xanax for reducing anxiety. This study compares it to Ativan, with participants reporting equal levels of anxiety reduction between the two treatments.  

Here it was also shown to be comparable to Paxil in anxiety reduction. The study also reported the Silexan group to have a decrease in depression and improved general mental health. Pretty remarkable it you ask me. 

Yet, another study (link) shows that those who took Silexan also had greatly reduced anxiety when compared to the placebo group as well as better sleep. And if you needed another study here is an evidence based review of the recent clinical trials, once again showing its efficacy.

How Does It Work

The anxiety reducing effects are due to lavender inhibiting voltage dependent calcium channels within the brain. Which is a somewhat similar action of other anti-anxiety medications. This was discovered in this study and is quite remarkable as it is proof that true changes are taking effect within the brain. Western medicine is coming to an era where they can no longer dismiss the validity of herbs as bonafide treatments....hooray!

In the studies I have read and from The Anxiety Summit suggested dosage is 80 mg or 160 mg once daily. The preparation I recommend is 80mg in one pill, so just one pill a day! 

The Side Effects

The only reported side effect in this and all other studies...with all medicalese removed...lavender tasting burps.

Oh how I would rather trade the drowsiness, constipation, sedation, impotence, rage, hallucinations, and on and on and on that are reported side effects of Ativan for lavender burps. Anyone with me? Also, the lavender burps have been reported to be reduced or eradicated when the capsule is taken with a bit of food.  

Lastly, oral lavender has no issues of dependence or withdrawal. So my friends I hope that this exciting information will help some of you and/or your families. Spread the word...tell everyone you know and shout it from the rooftops...lavender for all! Anxiety is no joke, finally there are natural treatment options that are proven to work. 

If you are looking for natural depression treatments check out this post and this one


As always please consult your physician before changing any prescribed medications or perusing a new course of treatment. The above is only my opinion and not to be taken as medical advice. Read my full disclaimer here.   

Standard disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary or other types of compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I always give my honest opinion and findings of the products and would not recommend anything that I do not use for myself or family.  Cheers!


References

  1. Schuwald AM, Nöldner M, Wilmes T, Klugbauer N, Leuner K, et al. (2013) Lavender Oil-Potent Anxiolytic Properties via Modulating Voltage Dependent Calcium Channels. PLoS ONE 8(4): e59998. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059998
  2. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Schläfke S, Dienel A. Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder--a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Jun;17(6):859-69. doi: 10.1017/S1461145714000017. Epub 2014 Jan 23. PubMed PMID: 24456909.
  3. Kasper S. An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2013 Nov;17 Suppl 1:15-22. doi: 10.3109/13651501.2013.813555. Epub 2013 Aug 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 23808618.
  4. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S. Efficacy and safety of silexan, a new, orally administered lavender oil preparation, in subthreshold anxiety disorder - evidence from clinical trials. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2010 Dec;160(21-22):547-56. doi: 10.1007/s10354-010-0845-7. Review. PubMed PMID: 21170695.
  5. 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. PubMed PMID: 19962288.
  6. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S. Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of 'subsyndromal' anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32833b3242. PubMed PMID: 20512042.


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