Rather than reaching for aspirin the next time a headache strikes, try grabbing a drink of lemonade instead. Not only can it help ease your head pain, but it can also help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. But not just any old lemonade will do the trick—reach for the lavender lemonade.
Lemonade, though known as a sweet summery beverage, offers therapeutic benefits all by its lonesome thanks to its fruity contents. Lemon juice is a great source of many nutrients, from folate to vitamin C (the latter can help with migraines), and lemons can give the immune system a boost. Pretty much anything citrus-based is widely known in aromatherapy as an antidepressant and can help improve concentration.
With the addition of lavender, lemonade becomes especially helpful for stressed-out minds. Lavender essential oil has been used for centuries as a soothing scent, and researchers have found proof that the herb reduces anxiety, slows pulse rates, and calms our entire body. Lavender oil is gentle and powerful, and it works as an anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, detoxifier, and sedative.
Also, according to research conducted by naturopathic physician Jeremy Appleton, the scent of lavender works to change our perception of pain. Appleton's work indicates that when we smell lavender, we are better able to tolerate pain like headaches.
To create your own lavender lemonade, the recipe is an easy one. Mix the following ingredients together:
- 1 cup raw honey (or 3–4 cups sugar)
- 12 cups pure water
- 1 drop lavender essential oil, available at health food stores
- The juice of six lemons
- Lavender sprigs for garnish
Once the ingredients are well combined, cool the lemonade in your refrigerator until it's perfectly chilled. If you prefer your drink sweeter, add more honey, or take down the sweetness with added water.
If you're worried about ingesting essential oil, don't be. Though most essential oils are labeled for external use only, it's only a precaution because they are very strong, according to Now Foods (you can get a bottle from them here). Most essential oils are safe for consumption in very small quantities, so don't use more than a drop. If you want to get something that specifically states food-grade, LorAnn is a good choice (which claims it's great for savory dishes, baked goods, and chocolates).
If you still can't fathom the idea of ingesting lavender essential oil, The Kitchn has a good recipe for you to try.
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 tbsp dried lavender flowers (English or Provençal lavender is probably best)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Ice cubes
- Lavender sprigs for garnish
The process of making this is a little more time-consuming than the oil method above, so head to The Kitchn for the full instructions. If you want to make less, Martha Stewart has a good recipe, though it ups the sugar significantly.
While you'll get the best benefits from a fresh glass of lavender lemonade, you can also add a little lemon and lavender to your food, too. (Click on a link to go to its recipe.)
Lemon Lavender Cookies from Elana's Pantry:
Lavender Lemon Bars from SugarHero:
Lemon Lavender Pound Cake form The Baker Chick:
Lemon & Lavender Posset with Lavender Biscuits from BBC Food:
Lavender, Lemon, & Honey Spatchcocked Roast Chicken from Serious Eats:
Lemon Lavender Gelato from Italian Food Forever:
Lavender-Lemon Roasted Salmon from Cooking with Chopin:
Lavender Lemon Sablé Cookies from Food for My Family:
Lavender & Lemon Pasta from Eat 2 Be Healthy:
Lemon Whoopie Pies with Lavender Frosting from Styling My Everyday:
Lemon Lavender Polenta Cake from Food52:
Potato Pizza with Lavender, Lemon, & Rosemary from Cook Play Explore:
Lemon Lavender Cookies from The Perfect Pantry:
Lemon Lavender Cupcakes from Wilton:
Lemon Ricotta Pizza with Honey & Lavender from Creative Culinary:
As Dr. Julian Whitaker notes, aromatherapy with lavender is beneficial beyond painful headaches and frantic worries. He writes that lavender's fragrance is so calming, it relaxes individuals more than a quick nap or a lengthy massage. With its scent, you can lighten a negative mood, sleep easier at night, and soften the blow of aches and pains caused by hangovers, colds, and more. By adding the fragrance of lavender, you can find peace from all that worries you.