Essential oils have become increasingly popular in recent years for their purported aromatherapy and health benefits. According to a new study though, one blend is rising above the rest and could give you a much-needed health boost on multiple fronts: Lavender.
Recently, Australian scientists at Monash University wanted to take a closer look at which essential oils actually help our health and which mechanisms are at play to make that happen. Many previous claims around these oils have said they can heal all sorts of physical and mental ailments, like anxiety, depression, hair loss, migraines, and inflammation, but few have actually been backed by real scientific evidence or experimentation.
Researchers took a microscopic look at a number of essential oil samples to view their composition, and what they found was that while all oils are different, a few had one thing in common: They contained loads of vitamin C. “We believe the interaction of essential oils with the naturally high levels of ascorbate (e.g. vitamin C) in the brain can produce either anti-oxidant or pro-oxidant effects,” explained Louise Bennett, PhD, a co-author of the study. Given that antioxidants are known for preventing harmful free radicals from damaging our cells as we age, it makes sense that oils that contain them may contribute to keeping us healthy.
Dr. Bennett cited lavender as being one of the essential oils that contained the most vitamin C and therefore had the most potential for improving conditions like anxiety and potentially also affecting other aspects of health, like inflammation, infection, and even cancer.
While researchers want to dive further into the mechanisms that make essential oils like lavender effective and figure out appropriate doses to see results, it’s good to know that a little aromatherapy or skin application could go a long way.