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Ah, lavender. Not only does it give off a soothing, dreamy scent, but it also makes a great tea. And, lavender tea could provide benefits for the body and brain that may make it worth brewing a cup.
There’s some evidence on the positive effects of lavender itself on the nervous system and anxiety symptoms. But, there’s much less research out on health benefits of lavender tea, which involves brewing the flower buds rather than smelling the essential oils.
So we put the kettle on and brewed up a concoction of research to get to the truth about lavender tea benefits, and what it could do for your health.
Some people swear by lavender tea. Here’s why — and whether science agrees.
1. Anxiety and mood
Many people count on the scent of lavender essential oil to improve their mood. Brewing lavender tea for anxiety might also be a quick fix for low mood or anxiety. However, little research has taken place on lavender tea, specifically.
Research from 2013 indicates that active compounds in lavender might impact impulses between brain cells. By doing so, they improve mood and have a calming effect.
However, a very recent study from 2020 on older adults found that lavender tea may help with symptoms of anxiety and depression. The authors recommended drinking lavender tea as a complementary treatment.
This means that while lavender tea won’t single-handedly defeat any chronic worries or sadness you feel, it can support more intensive and traditional treatments and help you feel better.
A 2015 study out of Taiwan look at the effects of lavender on 80 women who had just given birth. The researchers found that women who drank a single cup of lavender tea daily for 2 weeks — and took time to smell the lavender they brewed — reported less fatigue and depression.
Lavender tea has a rep for improving sleep, but there aren’t specific studies confirming that the tea itself has a positive impact on sleep quality.
One study collected data on 158 new mothers in the period after giving birth. Sleep quality improved in those who took 10 deep breaths of lavender fragrance on 4 days of the week for 8 weeks, when compared to a placebo group.
A 2015 report on 79 college students with sleep issues noted that their sleep improved when they practiced proper sleep hygiene (think dark room, consistent sleep schedule, etc.) along with breathing in and applying lavender patches on their chests at night.
3. Period cramps
Got a killer case of cramps? Lavender tea may be just what you need to soothe away the pain.
As with many of lavender tea’s potential benefits, there’s evidence to support using lavender to help reduce discomfort due to menstrual cramps. But, it also might just be the tea itself that really helps with bloating and pain.
When 200 young adult women in a 2016 study smelled lavender for 30 minutes per day in the first 3 days of their menstrual cycle, they had noticeably less painful cramping after 2 months compared to a control group.
Massaging with lavender essential oil (blended with a carrier oil, of course) can also help with menstrual cramps, according to another report.
Think lavender’s only good when you want to chill out? Not so. Lavender tea might also provide benefits for your skin, too.
In one study, when researchers applied lavender oil to rats daily for 14 days, it decreased wound size more than those in a control group. Researchers say that’s because the lavender oil nudged the skin to make collagen, the protein that provides structure to the skin.
There is some research on lavender for headaches and migraines.
Ready to brew up a little Zen in a cup? Drinking lavender tea may be just the elixir you need. It’s easy to make on your own, or you can purchase it.
To make lavender tea the easy way, just steep store-bought tea bags in hot water for about 5 minutes. There are also herbal tea blends that fuse lavender with ingredients such as chamomile or lemon for extra calm or zing.
You can also make your own lavender tea from loose lavender buds by putting a cup of water over 1/2 teaspoon of lavender buds. Let it steep for a few minutes. Some recipes even call for up to 10 minutes of steeping.
Because there’s so little research on lavender tea’s benefits, there’s also barely any research into the adverse effect of drinking it.
There are a few important things to bear in mind when making lavender tea:
- Using lavender essential oil to make tea is a big no-no. Do not ingest lavender oil directly!
- If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, be aware that ingesting lavender may not be safe. There’s just not much research on it. It may be fine. It may not. We just don’t know.
- As with most herbal teas, it could cause an adverse effect. While unlikely, there has been at least one reported case of experiencing abnormally rapid heartbeat after drinking lavender tea.
Talk to your doctor about adding lavender tea to your diet. They’ll be able to advise if there’s likely to be interactions with any medication you currently take.
There’s not enough scientific evidence to confirm the safety of drinking lavender tea during pregnancy. But, lavender oil is one of the most well-researched essential oils.
Generally, lavender essential oil is said to be safe for pregnancy, and it’s not on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy’s list of oils to avoid during pregnancy.
But those studies didn’t assess lavender tea, only using lavender for aromatherapy. Ingesting lavender is a different deal entirely.
So use your discretion about trying lavender tea during pregnancy, or ask your doctor if they recommend it.
If the idea of drinking lavender is a little outlandish for you, try using lavender essential oil to help with anxiety or sleep problems. After all, there’s science that backs up the use of oils.
However, as with any essential oil, there are directions for safety that you should follow. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate essential oils. You cannot be 100 percent sure of what you’re getting in a product, so it’s safest to research when making a purchase.
The best steps for using lavender oil safely include:
- Do NOT consume it.
- Dilute lavender oil with a carrier oil if you’re applying it directly onto your skin.
- Dilute lavender oil in water if you’re going to diffuse it into the air.
- Seriously, and we cannot stress this enough, do 👏 not 👏 drink 👏 lavender oil!
When applying lavender oil on your skin, you can mix it with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, and then rub the oil into your skin.
You can find proper dilution rates from essential oil providers, as well as the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA). Alternatively, perform a patch test to see how your skin responds to using lavender oil.
Putting lavender oil directly on your skin isn’t a good idea, as it can cause irritation.
Lavender essential oil may be able to ease our nervous system, improve sleep, ease cramps, and eliminate headaches. Studies have proven less about drinking lavender tea directly from the plant, but anecdotes claim it’s just as useful.
Ultimately, whether you find lavender tea relaxing or not is down to personal taste until science says otherwise. If you want to make lavender tea, do your research first and consult your doctor.