Healthcare consumers have demonstrated an increased interest in alternative therapies over the last several years, and this trend has increased even further as populations continue to diversify.
An estimated 32-40% of millennials are open to alternative therapies including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and massage therapies, and are less likely to use traditional prescription drugs than previous generations. In fact, 25% of millennials use alternative therapies more than conventional options.
Organizations such as Harvard, Stanford, Duke University and the Mayo Clinic have established alternative or complementary medicine programs, and clinical evidence is surfacing in favor of some alternative care remedies.
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis conducted to assess the efficacy of lavender, in any form and way of administration, on anxiety and anxiety-related conditions, was recently published in Phytomedicine.
Lavender administration has frequently been suggested as a possible treatment for anxiety, both in alternative medicine and in clinical research, and this study identified 65 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 37 non-randomized studies (NRSs), which included patient data from 1,200 participants.
Approximately 54 RCTs and 25 NRSs reported at least a significant result favoring the use of lavender for anxiety.
The analysis found that lavender inhalation can significantly reduce anxiety levels measured with any validated scale, as well as state anxiety and trait anxiety. Measures utilized included the Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale, the Hamilton Anxiety Scale, and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). However, lavender inhalation did not show a significant effect in reducing systolic blood pressure as a physiological parameter of anxiety.
Utilizing the Zung and Hamilton anxiety scales, a significant effect in diminishing anxiety levels was found in favor of Silexan® (lavender oil) for a least six weeks, with similar measures found in the administration of massage with lavender oil.
Researchers concluded that lavender treatment could be a therapeutic option for the treatment of anxiety, as lavender is simple, safe, and generally inexpensive. However, a majority of the trials were characterized by a high overall risk of bias, and there was a heterogeneity of study designs, indicating a need for more research.