Turns out it treats nerve and muscle pain, brain fog, anxiety, and sleep problems.
Sounds like fibro, doesn't it?
and remember this blog post? http://beccajones.blogspot.com/2017/03/is-fibro-caused-by-breakdown-in.html The one where I was pondering on acetylcholine and coenzyme-A?
Well, it turns out that lavender oil is involved in the acetylcholine system, just like coenzyme-A is.
They've found if you use anti-opioid medication, anti-nicotine medication, or muscarinic receptor blockers, it blocks lavender oil from working. That means it works through the same neurological systems in the body as opioids (blocking pain) and nicotine. Those receptors (the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors) are part of the acetylcholine system, too. But there is no sign of "central adverse effects." It's not bad for you like nicotine or opioids. Those systems in the body help control nerve impulses, which seem to be out of whack for people with fibro. In many, many studies, lavender reduces pain and speeds healing from all kinds of pain and all kinds of injury, including reducing pain and duration of migraines, menstrual cramps, and menopause, and reducing pain and increasing mobility in back pain patients.
It also apparently causes wounds and injuries to heal faster and minimizes inflammation in the body. All of those things seem like they would help people with fibro.
Memory problems caused by dysfunction of the cholinergic systems in the body (acetylcholine again!) can be healed by lavender oil, including reducing symptoms of mental decline like in Alzheimer's (at least in rodents). It can cure brain fog, apparently.
It helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer and better. And it can apparently help prevent and cure neuronal damage. Also helpful for fibro.
"Cholinergic system is suggested to play a role in lavender analgesic, antianxiety, antidepression, and anticonvulsant effects of lavender." There's that acetylcholine again! I need to learn more about this system.
It also interacts with the dopamine systems (D3 receptors) and the GABA-a receptors, and "enhances inihibitory tore of the nervous system" (which is great if you have an overactive nervous system!).
Overall, it appears that lavender oil helps regulate the nervous system. And since recent research is indicating fibromyalgia "pain is primarily maintained by a dysregulated central nervous system," regulating the nervous system might be a good first step to helping fibro. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272134/)
Lavender reduces activity in the the pre/post-central gyrus and frontal eye field of the brain. The pre- and post-central gyrus are the parts of the brain that control sensory information. Fibro is widely considered a disorder of sensory input, so it makes sense that something that interacts with the sensory part of the brain might interact with fibro as well. The sensory information is integrated in the temporal gyrus. Interestingly, in a study released this month, researchers report that they found that "FM patients had reduced connectivity within default mode network, between middle/inferior temporal gyrus and visual cortex." These are areas in the brain the lavender directly affects. (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18999-z) Lavender apparently affects the brain waves in a way the makes them match the brain waves of people who say they are "comfortable." What is fibro but constant discomfort?
Apparently people with fibro have disruption in their alpha and theta brain waves. And lavender increases both alpha and theta brain wave activity. In addition, the connections in the posterior cingulate gyrus in people with fibro are wrong somehow (hard to read neurology research!), and lavender increases activity in the posterior cingulate gyrus. (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0178516 for more on brain stuff in fibro).
The nice thing is, lavender oil works in people like us who can't take fish oil.
So what does this all mean?
I have no idea. I just didn't want to lose my notes before I figure it out. Meanwhile, it might be a good idea to test lavender oil (silexan) on fibro.