There's been a lot of news lately about some of lavender's many benefits, particularly its ability to help ease pain and depression and relieve symptoms of anxiety. But that's not all it can do. Believe it or not, lavender can actually help you think more clearly - and not just by clearing away the mind-fogging effects of pain or anxiety. Lavender can help sharpen your cognition even if you were feeling great to begin with.
A review study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine listed a number of studies investigating lavender's effects on our brainpower. One such study of 144 participants that used the Cognitive Drug Research computerized cognitive assessment battery found that diffusing four drops of lavender oil helped the participants' working memory and reaction times. The lavender also helped the participants stay content and in a good mood while taking the test, which may have contributed to the good scores.
Another study found that even when the lavender odor is subtle, participants perform better when it's present. The study found that 108 participants made fewer errors on mathematical and letter counting tests when they were unknowingly exposed to the scent of lavender, compared to no odor or the scent of jasmine.
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Lavender can even make a difference for people who are experiencing cognitive decline. An aromatherapy study with 28 elderly participants with dementia found that exposure to rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning followed by lavender and orange essential oils in the evening led to significant improvements in cognitive function.
Lavender could even help you perform better at work. After one workplace added lavender oil in burners for three months, almost 90% of the 66 employees reported having experienced an improvement in their work environment.
So if you want happier, calmer, more productive employees, adding a lavender diffuser could be the answer. Or put one in your home office or bedroom to help you stay focused and peaceful. It also could be a great gift if you're worried about a loved one's cognitive functioning. Lavender has earned its calming reputation - now put it to work for you.
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