Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) was originally found only in the Mediterranean, but now blooms in many sunny locations around the world and is also very popular as a decorative garden shrub as it produces beautifully scented purple flower heads. The flowers come in a light blue to a deep purple color. These flowers are full of medicinally active compounds. Holistic practitioners have often advised that lavender oil is a healthy alternative to prescription medications to treat depression and anxiety disorders. In 2009, The International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology published a report in which a double-blind study was performed to investigate lavender as an alternative to benzodiazepine. The six-week study, compared larazapam; a common medication prescribed for depression to silexan; a lavender oil capsule. During the study, results were compared using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale. Lavender flowers can be crushed and steeped in hot water to create a tea that can be ingested. The flower should steep in the hot water until it cools and then drink the tea. The aroma helps to relax the sleepless person, and help to induce sleep. It is thought to be the combination of warmth, aroma and natural sedative properties from ingesting the tea that all help you to fall asleep.
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