Monday, July 12, 2010

The Facts on Lavender Soap for Restless Leg Syndrome

Television host Dr. Mehmet Oz recently recommended an unusual herbal remedy for restless leg syndrome. He claims placing a bar of lavender soap beneath the bed sheets has relaxing effects that alleviate the syndrome’s symptoms and encourage better sleep.

See the clip below:

It’s debatable whether lavender soap actually works as Dr. Oz claims. While you can find testimonials from patients and herbalists on all over the web, the scientific evidence is somewhat lacking. There has yet to be a peer-reviewed study that backs lavender to specifically treat restless leg syndrome.

Several published reports suggest lavender may help with insomnia and even depression. There are some side effects to consider before starting lavender aromatherapy. The National Cancer Institute warns lavender may not be safe for women at risk for breast cancer due to some “hormone-like effects.” Lavender can also cause skin irritation and may be poisonous if swallowed.

You may want to consider other natural treatments for restless leg syndrome. Regular exercise routines including walking and riding a bike can reduce the “creepy crawly” sensation that makes sleep difficult. A hot bath in the evening can relax your muscles and help you wind down.

Avoid using caffeine or alcohol, especially in the afternoon or evening, as Dr. Oz warned in the segment. Certain medications may cause restless leg symptoms, including antidepressants and antihistamines. Other secondary causes include pregnancy and iron deficiency.

Many medications can treat restless legs. If it is preventing you from getting adequate sleep you may want to see a sleep specialist.

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