Medicinal plant of the year: Lavender works against sleep disorders and anxiety

Medicinal plant of the year: Lavender works against sleep disorders and anxiety

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The real lavender is the medicinal plant of 2020

The real lavender has been chosen as the medicinal plant of the year 2020. Lavender has been used as a herbal medicine for calming and relaxing for centuries. The plant also works against sleep disorders and anxiety. This is also shown by scientific studies.

The real lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has many talents. In sachets it is used as a home remedy for food moths; it is also used as a herbal medicine and spice in the kitchen. Therefore, lavender has been rightly chosen as the medicinal plant of 2020.

Herbal medicine for calming and relaxing

As the Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE) explains on its website, the real lavender belongs to the labiate family. The aromatic-smelling subshrub has a height of about 30 to 80 cm. The flowers are purple and the leaves narrow, gray-green and hairy.

The plant grows naturally on dry slopes in southern Europe. The blooming lavender fields of French Provence are particularly well known.

The real lavender has been used as a herbal medicine for calming and relaxing for centuries. According to a message from the research group monastery medicine, due to its diverse uses in history and new research results, the real lavender was chosen as the medicinal plant of the year 2020 by the interdisciplinary study group Development History of Medicinal Herbology at the University of W├╝rzburg.

Remedy for nervous conditions and for insomnia

Lavender as a medicinal plant has a long history. According to the BZfE, the plant was initially used for wash water and baths. This can also be recognized from the name, which is probably derived from the Latin verb "lavare" for "wash".

As early as the middle of the 12th century, Hildegard von Bingen recommended real lavender for external use and against vermin. Since the late 19th century, the plant has been described as a remedy for nervous conditions and for insomnia. Because the essential lavender oil has a calming, anxiolytic and relaxing effect.

This is also confirmed by current scientific studies.

Effectiveness against anxiety disorders proven

The research group of monastery medicine draws attention to current reviews that impressively demonstrate its effectiveness against anxiety disorders.

In a work published in the specialist magazine "Phytomedicine", a total of 65 randomized controlled studies with 7,993 participants and 25 non-randomized studies with 1,200 participants were taken into account.

The Italian research team found among other things:

  • Oral administration of lavender essential oil is clearly effective in treating anxiety.
  • Inhalation of lavender oil also appears to be effective, but based on the available studies, no clear statements can be made.
  • Massages with lavender essential oil showed evidence of a positive effect, but it was not possible to determine from the available studies whether the benefit was due to a specific effect of lavender.

The most widely used oil in aromatherapy

But that's not all: "Lavender oil is also the most widely used essential oil in aromatherapy and, alongside rose oil, is considered a therapeutic agent with a wide variety of uses," explains the biologist and aromatherapist Dr. Elke Puchtler from Erlangen.

According to the information, the most important areas of application of lavender essential oil today are in the psychological area. The calming, stress-reducing, anxiety-relieving, relaxing effects of lavender oil are in the foreground.

Essential lavender oil is an important therapeutic agent for stress, anxiety, insomnia, neurasthenia, post-traumatic disorders and panic attacks. The intake of essential lavender oil in the form of capsules or the external use of therapeutically dosed body oils is particularly suitable here.

Lavender in the kitchen

As the BZfE writes, the lavender also got into the kitchen due to its healing properties. It can be easily combined with other spices and, in addition to sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano and savory, is part of the well-known spice mix "Herbs of Provence".

Lavender has a spicy-tart, slightly bitter aroma that can be compared to rosemary. It goes well with meat, grilled vegetables, cheese, salads, soups, sauces or with desserts and desserts.

The leaves and flowers can be used fresh and dried. However, the Mediterranean spice should be dosed sparingly. Because the intense note can easily dominate the whole dish. When stored dry, cool and airtight, its aroma lasts for up to twelve months. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE): Real Lavender: Medicinal Plant of the Year 2020, (accessed: 04.01.2020), Federal Center for Nutrition (BZfE)
  • Monastery Medicine Research Group: Medicinal Plants of the Year 2020: Real Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia, (accessed: January 4, 2020), Monastery Medicine Research Group
  • Phytomedicine: Effects of lavender on anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis, (retrieved: 04.01.2020), Phytomedicine

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