Compared to another well-studied botanical, kava, lavender oil (Silexan) out-performed it for anxiety. And adverse events associated with lavender oil are minimal – – much better than the aforementioned interventions, including kava. There is variation in product quality and strength, suggesting that using the preparation studied in the research trials is a good idea. There is some variation in dosing- read on to hear how two highly regarded clinicians use Lavela in clinical practice. ~ DrKF
When a nutritional supplement has been studied in more than one dose for one or more indications, it’s imperative to decide what the best starting dose should be in a typical case.
This seems simple; however, even reviewing the same data, clinicians can come to opposing conclusion and thus, dosing strategies.
One such evidence-based dietary supplement is Silexan oral lavender oil – the brand utilized in our Lavela WS 1265, which has been studied in both 80 mg and 160 mg doses.
In fact, there is even a dose escalation study that compares different arms using these two doses to placebo and a conventional agent in two other arms among 539 adult subjects.1
Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO regularly uses oral lavender oil for her patients.
She has practiced naturopathic medicine since 1994, is the author of two books, several booklets, articles, and chapters and is the Executive Director of TAP Integrative, a non-profit organization which provides unprecedented access to integrative healthcare experts and a unique opportunity to learn from the expertise of fellow clinicians in order to improve clinical outcomes.
Question: Dr. Alschuler, for which types of patients do you typically recommend oral lavender oil?
Dr. Alschuler: I am heavily influenced by the evidence associated with oral lavender oil and refer to the work of Kasper, Uehleke, Woelk, and others. In many of the studies, the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) was used as a tool in this research which consists of fourteen categories of observable behaviors and reported experiences. When I have a patient that meets the criteria for occasional anxiety, it is common for me to recommend oral lavender oil.
Question: Dr. Alschuler, how do you typically recommend oral lavender supplements?
Dr. Alschuler: This is a great question given the available evidence and my clinical experience. The first studies that were published on the use of oral lavender oil were on 80 mg. This was shown to be an effective dose. In very simple terms, I generally like using the lowest effective dose of what I recommend. Oral lavender extract is no different. I start at 80 mg and if, after consultation, the patient and I decide that a higher dose is needed, I make that recommendation.
I feel comfortable with the increased dose because of the published studies using the higher dose, but I typically do not find it necessary to begin there. In some circumstances, I may recommend that the patient make the decision on their own and just report to me if they have decided to increase the dose. This provides them a bit of flexibility in its use and I can keep track of what dose they routinely use.
Question: Is there ever a time that you may not choose this style of dosing for oral lavender oil?
Dr. Alschuler: There are some cases where the patient wants to be more aggressive right out of the gate or they have previously used oral lavender oil at the lower dose or perhaps topically without an adequate response. Also, there are some patients who experience anxiety at predictable times and wants to mitigate these peaks of anxiety. For instance if patients have generalized anxiety and experience a surge of anxiety in evenings, I will suggest 80mg in both the morning and in the later afternoon.
Dr. Lise Alschuler
Dr. Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO practices naturopathic oncology out of Naturopathic Specialists, LLC. Dr. Alschuler is the Executive Director of TAP Integrative, a nonprofit web-based educational resource for integrative practitioners.
Dr. Alschuler is a Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Arizona School of Medicine where she is on the faculty of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. She co-hosts a radio show, Five To Thrive Live! and is the co-founder of the iTHRIVE Plan, a lifestyle app for cancer survivors.
She has been an invited speaker to more than 100 scientific/medical conferences, has authored numerous articles and book chapters, and has been co-investigator on several research studies. She is co-author of Definitive Guide to Cancer, now in its 3rd edition, and Definitive Guide to Thriving After Cancer.
Dr. Alschuler is past-President of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a founding board member, immediate Past-President and current Board member of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Corey Schuler, RN, MS, CNS, LN, DC also regularly uses oral lavender oil for his patients but has a different recommendation style.
He focuses his practice on nutrition assessment and robust response-guided dosing. His experience in both conventional and integrative approaches has taught him to seek the fastest yet safe route to patient outcomes.
Question: How is your dosing strategy different than Dr. Alschuler’s?
Dr. Schuler: I like to see change as fast as possible. While I know that some of my patients will have an effect of oral lavender oil supplementation at the lower 80 mg dosage, I want to know if this particular patient is going to have a benefit from this product and I want to know it as soon as possible. The best way I know to test this is to start at the upper dosage studied or 160 mg. If we gain a satisfactory response, we can then either continue on that dose or do a trial of partial discontinuation. We drop down to the 80 mg dose to see if the response is still adequate.
There are two particular studies that give me great confidence that there are minimal, if any, interactions with commonly prescribed agents.2, 3
In both of these studies, the higher dose of 160 mg was used. In all of the studies, oral lavender oil was well tolerated.4, 5, 6, 7
Question: Would you ever start at 80 mg instead?
Dr. Schuler: I do. When a patient reports to me that they are “sensitive” and often use a low dose of most oral supplements or medications, I will start with the lower dose of oral lavender oil of 80 mg.
Which is Correct?
The reality is that neither style is correct. Such a style is determined by the existing evidence, experiences with the particular intervention, recommendations by colleagues, and patient preferences. It is also informed by aspects of the therapeutic encounter that are often difficult to quantify. The art of integrative medicine is complex and often requires a conscious awareness of the clinician’s dosing habits, behaviors, and bias.
Dr. Corey Schuler
Dr. Schuler is the Director of Clinical Affairs for Integrative Therapeutics. He is a board-certified medical affairs specialist, certified nutrition specialist, licensed nutritionist, registered nurse, and chiropractic physician board-certified in clinical nutrition. He has additionally earned degrees in phytotherapeutics and business administration, and has a private integrative medicine practice in Wisconsin.
Dr. Schuler is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Health Sciences and Education at New York Chiropractic College. He volunteers for the Board of Certification for Nutrition Specialists and is a member of Institute for Functional Medicine and American College of Nutrition. Corey prides himself on communicating scientific information in the most palatable forms possible as a speaker and writer. He is a chapter contributor to Integrative Medical Nutrition Therapy and the Disease Prevention and Treatment textbook.
- Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder–a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Jun;17(6):859-69.
- Heger-Mahn D, Pabst G, Dienel A, Schläfke S, Klipping C. No interacting influence of lavender oil preparation silexan on oral contraception using an ethinyl estradiol/levonorgestrel combination. Drugs R D. 2014 Dec;14(4):265-72.
- Doroshyenko O, Rokitta D, Zadoyan G, et al. Drug cocktail interaction study on the effect of the orally administered lavender oil preparation silexan on cytochrome P450 enzymes in healthy volunteers. Drug Metab Dispos. 2013 May;41(5):987-93.
- Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87.
- Woelk H, Schälfke S. Phytomedicine. 2010;17:94–9.
- Kasper S, Anghelescu I, Dienel A. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Nov;25(11):1960-7.
- Uehleke B, Schaper S, Dienel A et al. Phytomedicine. 2012. Jun 15. 19(8-9):665-71.
Is it safe for use in pregnancy?
There’s not enough research on safety in pregnancy. A better option might be to using lavender essential oil in a diffuser or bath.