Lavender has been used cosmetically and medicinally throughout history. Many people find lavender aromatherapy to be relaxing, and it has been reported to have anxiolytic effects in several small, methodologically flawed trials.
Aromatherapy is a term referring to several modalities that deliver essential oils to the body. While the root, "aroma," points to olfaction as the main mode of intervention, methods involving direct application to the skin for absorption are also sometimes referred to as aromatherapy.
The new study included 47 participants diagnosed with migraines. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group inhaled lavender essential oil for 15 minutes, while the placebo group inhaled paraffin oil for 15 minutes. All participants answered questions about migraine severity and migraine-related symptoms.
Compared to the placebo group, the lavender essential oil group had significantly more participants experiencing fewer migraines. The lavender essential oil group also had a greater reduction in migraine severity than the placebo group.
For more information about integrative therapies for migraines, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness database.