In folk medicine, it has long been believed that compounds derived from plant extracts that have a particular smell can have medicinal effects. Turns out lavender is one of those magical elixirs. After all, flowering plants are the basis of chemical combinations that create medicines in laboratories around the world.
In a scientific study published in October of 2018, Dr. Hideki Kashiwadani at Kagoshima University and a team of researchers found interesting links between the effects of smelling lavender and taking medications like Valium.
Linalool, one of the terpene alcohols in lavender extracts, turns out to have anti-anxiety effects, what scientists call “anxiolytic,” a term they made up in 1963, the same year Valium was launched. The root “anxi” can be recognized from “anxiety” and “lytic” is a medical term for “loosening” or “destroying.” The “o” ties the two parts together.