The English Aromatherapist

Jun
29

Where’s the scientific proof?

Where is the scientific evidence for aromatherapy

One of the most common objections to aromatherapy is the belief that it has no scientific basis, and therefore should not be taken seriously as a credible treatment.

 

As I explained in Does Aromatherapy Really Work? many people assume aromatherapy is all about scented candles and lavender baths – not something that has any quantitative value.

 

In reality, essential oil research is being carried out all the time to learn more about their chemical properties and how they can affect our physical and mental health.

 

The PubMed website is an online index of medical studies. Type “essential oil” into the search box and you’ll see over 7,000 results.

 

Essential Oil Research

 

You’ll often find medical literature claiming that there is “insufficient evidence” that aromatherapy can help with specific conditions. The reason is that, until fairly recently, essential oil research was thin on the ground.

 

As much medical research is sponsored by pharmaceutical companies, it can be difficult to obtain funding for research into essential oils, as they can’t easily be patented into a profitable product. Essential oils are not standardized like synthetic drugs – they are subject to natural variations of climate and unpredictable harvests. From a commercial point of view, it’s far better to create a synthetic version and sell it as a drug.

 

The good news is that alternative therapies are – albeit slowly – becoming more mainstream. There’s a growing trend towards drug-free alternatives, which could eventually lead to a more holistic approach to medicine. The medical industry is realising that over-prescribing drugs is not the only solution, and could actually be a ticking time bomb.

 

The antibiotic resistance crisis has shown that hurling drugs at a problem is not always the best solution. Essential oils are gradually being taken seriously as valid alternatives, but it won’t change overnight. Aromatherapy clinical trials are usually on a small scale, and much more research is needed.

 

In the meantime…

 

I thought it would be useful to gather some relevant examples of scientific studies that illustrate the effectiveness of essential oils for health-related issues.

 

So, next time someone tells you there’s “no scientific proof” that essential oils work – point them in the direction of this page!

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There’s a huge amount of research out there and new studies are being published all the time.

 

It would be impossible for me to list every piece of essential oil research – so I’ve capped it at 100, which amply demonstrates that “yes, there is scientific evidence for aromatherapy!”

 

Not all Drs are medical doctors

 

100 examples of “scientific evidence”

 

Anxiety

 

Citrus aurantium blossom and preoperative anxiety
“Citrus aurantium blossom may be effective in terms of reduction in preoperative anxiety before minor operation” (2011)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22063371

 

A Systematic Review on the Anxiolytic Effects of Aromatherapy in People with Anxiety Symptoms
“Most of the studies indicated positive effects to quell anxiety. No adverse events were reported. It is recommended that aromatherapy could be applied as a complementary therapy for people with anxiety symptoms” (2011)
http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2009.0277

 

A Randomized Controlled Trial Provides Evidence to Support Aromatherapy to Minimize Anxiety in Women Undergoing Breast Biopsy
“The use of aromatherapy tabs offers an evidence-based nursing intervention to improve adaptation and reduce anxiety for women undergoing breast biopsy” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28395396

 

Effects of aromatherapy massage on anxiety and self-esteem in korean elderly women: a pilot study
“These results suggest that aromatherapy massage exerts positive effects on anxiety and self-esteem” (2006)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17145679

 

Comparing effects between music intervention and aromatherapy on anxiety of patients undergoing mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit: a randomized controlled trial
“Music and Aromatherapy groups had lower heart rate and blood pressure than the Control group” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28236262

 

The effects of inhalation aromatherapy on anxiety in patients with myocardial infarction: a randomized clinical trial
“after the administration of aromatherapy, anxiety mean in the experimental group was significantly lower than the control group” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25389481

 

The Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test‐Taking Anxiety Among Graduate Nursing Students
“In this study, the use of lavender and rosemary essential oil sachets reduced test-taking stress in graduate nursing students as evidenced by lower scores on test anxiety measure, personal statements, and pulse rates.” (2009)
http://journals.lww.com/hnpjournal/Abstract/2009/03000/The_Effects_of_Lavender_and_Rosemary_Essential.5.aspx

 

Effectiveness of aromatherapy in decreasing maternal anxiety for a sick child undergoing infusion in a paediatric clinic
“Maternal state anxiety was significantly lower in the aromatherapy than in the control group” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25453522

 

A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder
“In conclusion, our results demonstrate that silexan is as effective as lorazepam in adults with GAD. The safety of silexan was also demonstrated. Since lavender oil showed no sedative effects in our study and has no potential for drug abuse, silexan appears to be an effective and well tolerated alternative to benzodiazepines for amelioration of generalised anxiety” (2010)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19962288

 

Effect of Inhalation of Aroma of Geranium Essence on Anxiety and Physiological Parameters during First Stage of Labor in Nulliparous Women: a Randomized Clinical Trial
“The mean anxiety score decreased significantly after inhalation of the aroma of geranium essential oil. There was also a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure… Aroma of essential oil of geraniums can effectively reduce anxiety during labor and can be recommended as a non-invasive anti-anxiety aid during childbirth.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26161367

 

Aromatherapy with two essential oils from Satureja genre and mindfulness meditation to reduce anxiety in humans
“Aromatherapy based on essential oil of S. brevicalyx and S. boliviana as well as mindfulness meditation, used isolated or associated, may be considered alternative treatment options for anxiety” (2017)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411016300438

 

Anxiolytic Effect of Citrus aurantium L. on Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
“The results showed that C. aurantium exhibits an anxiolytic effect and reduces the signs and symptoms associated with anxiety in patients with CML.” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26787366

 

Effect of Lemongrass Aroma on Experimental Anxiety in Humans
“Individuals exposed to the test aroma (three and six drops), unlike the control groups, presented a reduction in state anxiety and subjective tension, immediately after treatment administration. In addition, although they presented an anxious response to the task, they completely recovered from it in 5 min, unlike the control groups…this work shows that very brief exposure to this aroma has some perceived anxiolytic effects.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26366471

 

The Effect of Inhalation of Essential Oils of Polianthes Tuberosa on Test Anxiety in Students: A Clinical Trial
“The result showed that aromatherapy with essential oil of Polianthes tuberosa was effective in reducing test anxiety among students.” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27840479

 

Mood

 

Effects of olfactory stimulation with rose and orange oil on prefrontal cortex activity
“Olfactory stimulation by rose or orange oil induced: (1) a significant decrease in oxyhemoglobin concentration in the right prefrontal cortex and (2) an increase in “comfortable,” “relaxed,” and “natural” feelings. These findings indicate that olfactory stimulation by rose or orange oil induces physiological and psychological relaxation.” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25453523

 

Modulation Of Cognitive Performance And Mood By Aromas Of Peppermint And Ylang-Ylang
“The results of this study clearly support the contention that the aromas of essential oils can modulate mood and cognitive performance in healthy adult volunteers” (2008)
http://www.dr-hatfield.com/educ538/docs/moss%2B2008.pdf

 

The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy for Depressive Symptoms: A Systematic Review
“Aromatherapy showed potential to be used as an effective therapeutic option for the relief of depressive symptoms in a wide variety of subjects. Particularly, aromatherapy massage showed to have more beneficial effects than inhalation aromatherapy.” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241490/

 

Aromatherapy massage seems to enhance relaxation in children with burns: An observational pilot study
“Aromatherapy massage seems to be a helpful nonpharmacological approach to reduce hospitalized paediatric burn patients’ distress” (2012)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305417912000216

 

Effects of bergamot ( Citrus bergamia (Risso) Wright & Arn.) essential oil aromatherapy on mood states, parasympathetic nervous system activity, and salivary cortisol levels in 41 healthy females
“These results demonstrate that BEO inhaled together with water vapor exerts psychological and physiological effects in a relatively short time.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25824404

 

Effect of Lavender Oil Aroma in the Early Hours of Postpartum Period on Maternal Pains, Fatigue, and Mood: A Randomized Clinical Trial
“Lavender oil aromatherapy starting in the first hours of postpartum period resulted in better physical and mood status compared to nonaromatic group” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28567231

 

The effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents
“Stress levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment compared to when they received the placebo treatment…Aroma inhalation could be a very effective stress management method for high school students.” (2009)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19571632

 

Aromatherapy Improves Work Performance Through Balancing the Autonomic Nervous System
“Aromatherapy (inhaling petitgrain essential oil) can improve performance in the workplace. These results could be explained by an autonomic balance on the sympathetic/parasympathetic system through a combined action of the petitgrain main components (linalyl acetate, linalool, and myrcene). The final effect could be an improvement of the mental and emotional condition by a combination of reducing the stress level and increasing the arousal level of the participants in terms of attentiveness and alertness.” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27763785

 

Differential effects of the aromas of Salvia species on memory and mood
“Data analysis revealed that the S. officinalis aroma group performed significantly better than the control group on the quality of memory and secondary memory primary outcome factors from the test battery. The Alert mood measure displayed significant differences between both aromas and the control condition” (2010)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20589925

 

Effect of inhaled essential oils on mental exhaustion and moderate burnout: a small pilot study
“While both groups had a reduction in perception of ME/MB, the aromatherapy group had a much greater reduction…The results suggest that inhaling essential oils may reduce the perceived level of mental fatigue/burnout” (2013)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23140115

 

A pilot study addressing the effect of aromatherapy massage on mood, anxiety and relaxation in adult mental health
“The subjects’ levels of mood, anxiety and relaxation were recorded using a visual analogue before and after each massage and then again 6 weeks after the last massage…Improvements were shown in six out of eight subjects’ HAD Scale results. Improvements were also shown in all areas when comparing the visual analogue scale results.” (2003)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S135361170200104X

 

Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma
“These findings suggest that compounds absorbed from rosemary aroma affect cognition and subjective state independently through different neurochemical pathways” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736918/

 

Pain

 

Aromatherapy Massage for Neuropathic Pain and Quality of Life in Diabetic Patients
“Neuropathic pain scores significantly decreased in the intervention group…Aromatherapy massage is a simple and effective nonpharmacological nursing intervention that can be used to manage neuropathic pain and improve QoL in patients with painful neuropathy” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28605119

 

In Vivo Potential Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Melissa officinalis L. Essential Oil
“We can conclude that the essential oil of M. officinalis L. possesses potential anti-inflammatory activities, supporting the traditional application of this plant in treating various diseases associated with inflammation and pain.” (2013)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3870089/

 

The effect of aromatherapy with lavender essence on severity of labor pain and duration of labor in primiparous women
“The results showed that difference in the labor pain before and after intervention in two groups was significant…Lavender essence aromatherapy may be an effective therapeutic option for pain management for women in labor.” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27863615

 

Comparison of the effect of aromatherapy with Jasminum officinale and Salvia officinale on pain severity and labor outcome in nulliparous women
“pain severity and duration of the first and second stages of labor were significantly lower in the aromatherapy group of salvia 30 min after the intervention” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25558267

 

Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial
“The present study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298

 

Evaluation of the effect of aromatherapy with Rosa damascena Mill. on postoperative pain intensity in hospitalized children in selected hospitals affiliated to Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2013: A randomized clinical trial
“After each time of aromatherapy and at the end of treatment, the pain score was significantly reduced in the aromatherapy group with R. damascena Mill. compared to the placebo group.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25878704

 

The effectiveness of lavender essence on strernotomy related pain intensity after coronary artery bypass grafting
“The findings showed that the pain perception intensity in the case group was lower than that in the control group at the 30- and 60-minute phases after intervention… The result indicated that aromatherapy can be used as a complementary method in postoperative pain reduction, as it reduced pain.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26261829

 

The effect of inhalation aromatherapy with damask rose (Rosa damascena) essence on the pain intensity after dressing in patients with burns: A clinical randomized trial
“Inhalation aromatherapy with damask rose could be effective for relieving the pain caused after dressing in patients with burns. Therefore, it could be suggested as a complementary therapy in burn patients for pain relief.” (2016)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27186201

 

The Effects of Aromatherapy Massage and Reflexology on Pain and Fatigue in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Randomized Controlled Trial
“Pain and fatigue scores significantly decreased in the aromatherapy massage and reflexology groups compared with the control group” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27091583

 

The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
“There is a significant positive effect of aromatherapy (compared to placebo or treatments as usual controls) in reducing pain reported on a visual analog scale” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28070420

 

The Effect of Lavender Oil in Patients with Renal Colic: A Prospective Controlled Study Using Objective and Subjective Outcome Measurements
“These findings suggest that the use of aromatherapy, which is a nonpharmacologic treatment method, as an adjuvant to conventional treatment methods will help decrease pain, particularly in female patients” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26222759

 

The effectiveness of essential oils for patients with neck pain: a randomized controlled study
“Comparison of MAS values before and after the intervention showed significant improvement in the 10 motion areas in the experimental group. This finding suggests that the experimental group had better results than the control group…The essential oil cream developed in this study can be used to improve neck pain. This study appears to be the first to quantify this by using PPT and MAS.” (2014)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/o/cochrane/clcentral/articles/849/CN-01035849/frame.html

 

The effect of topical application of lavender essential oil on the intensity of pain caused by the insertion of dialysis needles in hemodialysis patients: A randomized clinical trial
“Based on the findings of the study, the topical application of lavender decreases moderate intensities of pain during the insertion of dialysis needles. Accordingly, lavender oil may be an option to reduce pain by insertion of hemodialysis needles.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26051566

 

Antioxidant, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender essential oil
“The results of this study reveal (in vivo) the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of LEO and demonstrates its important therapeutic potential” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152

 

Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial
“In conclusion, inhalation of eucalyptus oil was effective in decreasing patient’s pain and blood pressure following TKR [total knee replacement], suggesting that eucalyptus oil inhalation may be a nursing intervention for the relief of pain after TKR” (2013)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703330/

 

Antimicrobial

 

Selected Antimicrobial Essential Oils Eradicate Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms
“In summary, we demonstrate here that cassia, Peru balsam, and red thyme essential oils are more effective in eradicating Pseudomonas and S. aureus biofilms than selected important antibiotics, making them interesting candidates for the treatment of biofilms” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3346404/

 

Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils from Palmarosa, Evening Primrose, Lavender and Tuberose
“Essential oil extracted from Cymbopogon martini showed the highest activity against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria among the tested essential oils… Essential oil of palmarosa exhibited potent antibacterial activity among all the essential oils tested” (2009)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2839398/

 

Antimicrobial Efficacy of Various Essential Oils at Varying Concentrations against Periopathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis
“At 100% concentration all the tested oils possess antimicrobial activity against P.gingivalis with eucalyptus oil being most effective followed by tea tree oil, chamomile oil and turmeric oil.” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27790572

 

Use of rosemary, oregano, and a commercial blend of essential oils in broiler chickens: in vitro antimicrobial activities and effects on growth performance
“In general, essential oils contained in rosemary, oregano, and BEO can substitute for growth promoter antibiotics” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22064737

 

Antibacterial Mode of Action of Cinnamomum verum Bark Essential Oil, Alone and in Combination with Piperacillin, Against a Multi-Drug-Resistant Escherichia coli Strain
“From this study, CB has the potential to reverse E. coli J53 R1 resistance to piperacillin through two pathways; modification in the permeability of the outer membrane or bacterial QS inhibition.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25381741

 

The potential of use basil and rosemary essential oils as effective antibacterial agents
“The results showed that both tested essential oils are active against all of the clinical strains from Escherichia coli including extended-spectrum β-lactamase positive bacteria, but basil oil possesses a higher ability to inhibit growth.” (2013)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23921795

 

Comparison of efficacy of alternative medicine with allopathy in treatment of oral fungal infection
“The study concluded that TTO (tea tree oil), being a natural product, is a better nontoxic modality compared to clotrimazole, in the treatment of oral fungal infection and has a promising future for its potential application in oral health products.” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4738066/

 

Synergistic antibacterial activity between Thymus vulgaris and Pimpinella anisum essential oils and methanol extracts
“The essential oils and methanol extracts revealed promising antibacterial activities against most pathogens using broth microdilution method. Maximum activity of Thymus vulgaris and Pimpinella anisum essential oils and methanol extracts (MIC 15.6 and 62.5mug/ml) were observed against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Proteus vulgaris. Combinations of essential oils and methanol extracts showed an additive action against most tested pathogens especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” (2008)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18226481

 

Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices
“Eucalyptus oil (EO) and its major component, 1,8-cineole, have antimicrobial effects against many bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), viruses, and fungi (including Candida)” (2010)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359267

 

The antimicrobial activity of thyme essential oil against multidrug resistant clinical bacterial strains
“Thyme essential oil strongly inhibited the growth of the clinical strains of bacteria tested” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22103288

 

The battle against multi-resistant strains: Renaissance of antimicrobial essential oils as a promising force to fight hospital-acquired infections
“Large prevailing effective zones of inhibition were observed for Thyme white, Lemon, Lemongrass and Cinnamon oil. The other oils also showed considerable efficacy. Remarkably, almost all tested oils demonstrated efficacy against hospital-acquired isolates and reference strains, whereas Olive and Paraffin oil from the control group produced no inhibition. As proven in vitro, essential oils represent a cheap and effective antiseptic topical treatment option even for antibiotic-resistant strains as MRSA and antimycotic-resistant Candida species.” (2009)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19473851

 

Evaluation of Topical Gel Bases Formulated with Various Essential Oils for Antibacterial Activity against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
“The carbopol 940 gel containing lemon grass and thyme oils possess good antibacterial activity against MRSA when applied to human skin, and exhibit no skin irritation.” (2013)
http://www.bioline.org.br/abstract?id=pr13110

 

Antioxidant, antibacterial activity, and phytochemical characterization of Melaleuca cajuputi extract
“In this study, we found that M. cajuputi extracts possess antioxidant and antibacterial activities. The results revealed that both extracts had significant antioxidant and free radical-scavenging activity. Both extracts had antibacterial activity against S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and B. cereus” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26497742

 

Antimicrobial activity of Melaleuca sp. oil against clinical isolates of antibiotics resistant Staphylococcus aureus
“The Melaleuca sp. oil showed antimicrobial properties in vitro against strains isolated from lower limb wounds which were resistant to multiple antibiotics” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26270141

 

Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils against Helicobacter pylori
“These results demonstrate that the essential oils are bactericidal against H. pylori without the development of acquired resistance, suggesting that essential oils may have potential as new and safe agents for inclusion in anti-H. pylori regimens.” (2003)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1523-5378.2003.00146.x/abstract

 

Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses
“thus lemon balm oil is capable of exerting a direct antiviral effect on herpesviruses. Considering the lipophilic nature of lemon balm essential oil, which enables it to penetrate the skin, and a high selectivity index, Melissa officinalis oil might be suitable for topical treatment of herpetic infections.” (2008)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18693101

 

Antifungal activity of the essential oil of Angelica major against Candida, Cryptococcus, Aspergillus and dermatophyte species
“The activity displayed by A. major EO and its main components associated with low cytotoxic activity confirms their potential as an antifungal agent against fungal species frequently implicated in human mycoses, particularly cryptococcosis and dermatophytosis. The association with commercial antifungal compounds could bring benefits, by the effect on germ tube formation, and be used in mucocutaneous candidiasis treatment.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25576097

 

The anti-biofilm activity of lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) essential oils against five strains of Staphylococcus aureus
“In comparison to the other EOs tested, lemongrass exhibited the most effective antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity… The effect of lemongrass EO highlights its potential against antibiotic resistant Staph. aureus in the healthcare environment” (2012)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05418.x/abstract

 

Blood Pressure

 

The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension
“The results suggest that the inhalation method using essential oils can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.” (2006)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211115

 

Essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels in prehypertensive and hypertensive subjects
The experimental group showed significant decreases in the concentration of salivary cortisol in comparison with the concentrations of the placebo group and the control group (P = .012). In conclusion, the inhalation of an essential oil had immediate and continuous effects on the home SBP, daytime BP, and the stress reduction. Essential oils may have relaxation effects for controlling hypertension” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23259002

 

Respiratory

 

Cytological Aspects on the Effects of a Nasal Spray Consisting of Standardized Extract of Citrus Lemon and Essential Oils in Allergic Rhinopathy
“The lemon-based nasal spray was a good alternative to conventional medicine for the treatment of perennial and seasonal allergic and vasomotor rhinopathy” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3523552/

 

Lavender essential oil inhalation suppresses allergic airway inflammation and mucous cell hyperplasia in a murine model of asthma
“Lvn [Lavender essential oil] inhibits allergic inflammation and mucous cell hyperplasia with suppression of T-helper-2 cell cytokines and Muc5b expression in a murine model of asthma. Consequently, Lvn may be useful as an alternative medicine for bronchial asthma.” (2014)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320514005177

 

Digestion

 

The Effect of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial
“Lemon scent can be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005434/

 

Investigating the effects of inhaling ginger essence on post-nephrectomy nausea and vomiting
“The differences between the two groups regarding the numbers of vomiting episodes were statistically significant…Inhaling ginger essence has positive effect on postoperative nausea and vomiting” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26645524

 

Medicinal lavender modulates the enteric microbiota to protect against Citrobacter rodentium-induced colitis
“Overall, our results reveal that OLEO [Okanagan lavender essential oil] can protect against colitis through the microbial-immunity nexus and that a pharmacological agent, in this case OLEO, alters the normal enteric microbiota.” (2012)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22821949

 

Gastroprotective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger
“Results suggest that TEO and GEO could reduce the gastric ulcer in rat stomach as seen from the ulcer index and histopathology of the stomach. Moreover, oxidative stress produced by ethanol was found to be significantly reduced by TEO and GEO” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24756059

 

Enteric-coated, pH-dependent peppermint oil capsules for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children
“After 2 weeks, 75% of those receiving peppermint oil had reduced severity of pain associated with IBS” (2001)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11148527

 

Sleep

 

Effects Of Aromatherapy Massage On The Sleep Quality And Physiological Parameters Of Patients In A Surgical Intensive Care Unit

“Results of the study showed that aromatherapy massage enhanced the sleep quality of patients in a surgical intensive care unit and resulted in some positive changes in their physiological parameters” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28480419

 

Effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients hospitalized in intensive care units of heart hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences
“Data analysis showed that the mean scores of sleep quality in the two groups of experiment and control were significantly different after the aromatherapy with lavender oil …Quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients was significantly improved after aromatherapy with lavender oil.” (2010)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3203283/

 

Effect of Rosa damascene aromatherapy on sleep quality in cardiac patients: a randomized controlled trial
“Rosa damascene aromatherapy can significantly improve the sleep quality of patients hospitalized in CCUs” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25129884

 

Effects of Inhalation Aromatherapy on Symptoms of Sleep Disturbance in the Elderly with Dementia
“These results indicated positive effects of inhalation aromatherapy on symptoms of sleep disturbance in elderly individuals with dementia” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28400839

 

The Effect of Aromatherapy on Insomnia and Other Common Symptoms Among Patients With Acute Leukemia
“aromatherapy had a statistically significant positive impact…Aromatherapy is a viable intervention for improving insomnia and other symptoms commonly experienced by patients with acute leukemia.” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28640576

 

Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality and anxiety of patients
“statistically significant differences in the change in favour of the intervention group… Lavender essential oil increased quality of sleep and reduced level of anxiety in patients… As a non-invasive, cheap, easily applicable, cost-effective, independent nursing intervention and appropriate for cardiac patients, lavender essential oil could be applied in ICUs.” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26211735

 

Well-Being and Self-Assessment of Change: Secondary Analysis of an RCT That Demonstrated Benefit of Inhaled Lavender and Sleep Hygiene in College Students with Sleep Problems
“Findings demonstrate the positive impact of the lavender intervention on three domains of self-assessed well-being are energy, vibrancy, and sleep” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27659004

 

Menopause/Menstrual Problems

 

Does lavender aromatherapy alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms?: a randomized crossover trial
“The present study indicated that lavender aromatherapy as a potential therapeutic modality could alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms, which, at least in part, is attributable to the improvement of parasympathetic nervous system activity.” (2013)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674979/

 

Changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine and cortisol plasma levels in menopausal women after inhalation of clary sage oil
“After inhalation of clary sage oil, cortisol levels were significantly decreased while 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) concentration was significantly increased” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24802524

 

The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on the Pain Severity of Primary Dysmenorrhea: A Triple-blind Randomized Clinical Trial
“Using lavender aromatherapy for 2 months may be effective in decreasing the pain severity of primary dysmenorrhea” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28480095

 

The Effect of Aromatherapy Abdominal Massage on Alleviating Menstrual Pain in Nursing Students: A Prospective Randomized Cross-Over Study
“These results suggests that aromatherapy is effective in alleviating menstrual pain, its duration and excessive menstrual bleeding. Aromatherapy can be provided as a nonpharmacological pain relief measure and as a part of nursing care given to girls suffering of dysmenorrhea, or excessive menstrual bleeding.” (2013)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3638625/

 

Effect of Aromatherapy Massage on Dysmenorrhea in Turkish Students
“When the lavender massage and the placebo massage were compared, the visual analog scale score of the lavender massage was found to decrease at a statistically significant rate. This study showed that massage was effective in reducing dysmenorrhea. In addition, this study showed that the effect of aromatherapy massage on pain was higher than that of placebo massage.” (2012)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1524904210000676

 

Effects of Inhalation of Essential Oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial
“ Systolic blood pressure was significantly lower in the group inhaling 0.5% neroli oil than in the control group. Compared with the control group, the two neroli oil groups showed significantly lower diastolic blood pressure and tended to improve pulse rate and serum cortisol and estrogen concentrations. These findings indicate that inhalation of neroli oil helps relieve menopausal symptoms, increase sexual desire, and reduce blood pressure in postmenopausal women. Neroli oil may have potential as an effective intervention to reduce stress and improve the endocrine system.” (2014)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25024731

 

Effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause hot flushing: A crossover randomized clinical trial
“the flushing number significantly decreased in the intervention group than in the control group…This study indicated that the use of lavender aromatherapy reduced menopause flushing..it would appear that this simple, noninvasive, safe, and effective method can be used by menopausal women with noticeable benefits.” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27388435

 

Skin

 

Tea tree oil reduces histamine-induced skin inflammation
“This is the first study to show experimentally that tea tree oil can reduce histamine-induced skin inflammation” (2002)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.05034.x/abstract

 

Comparative analysis between Chamomilla recutita and corticosteroids on wound healing. An in vitro and in vivo study
“Animals treated with chamomile presented significantly faster wound healing in comparison to those treated with corticosteroids. Based on the conditions of this study, we concluded that chamomile in comparison to corticosteroids promotes faster wound healing process.” (2009)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18803230

 

The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study
“There was a significant difference between tea tree oil gel and placebo in the improvement of the TLC and also regarding improvement of the ASI…Topical 5% tea tree oil is an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne vulgaris” (2007)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314442

 

Others

 

Neuroprotective and Anti-Aging Potentials of Essential Oils from Aromatic and Medicinal Plants
“In conclusion, EOs were effective on several pathological targets and have improved cognitive performance in animal models and human subjects. Thus, EOs can be developed as multi-potent agents against neurological disorders with better efficacy, safety and cost effectiveness” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28611658

 

The effect of inhalation of Citrus sinensis flowers and Mentha spicata leave essential oils on lung function and exercise performance: a quasi-experimental uncontrolled before-and-after study
“Our findings support the effectiveness of M. spicata and C. sinensis essential oils on the exercise performance and respiratory function parameters” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5034497/

 

Antinociceptive and antihyperglycemic effects of Melissa officinalis essential oil in an experimental model of diabetes
“This study shows that chronic administration of MOEO displays efficacy in an experimental model of diabetic hyperalgesia. MOEO may therefore show promise as a treatment for painful diabetic neuropathy.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25402675

 

Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata
“The results show aromatherapy to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata. Treatment with these essential oils was significantly more effective than treatment with the carrier oil alone” (1998)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9828867

 

Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease
“In conclusion, we found aromatherapy an efficacious non-pharmacological therapy for dementia.” (2009)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1479-8301.2009.00299.x/abstract

 

Combined modality treatment of aromatherapy, footsoak, and reflexology relieves fatigue in patients with cancer
“Combined modality treatment consisting of aromatherapy, footsoak, and reflexology appears to be effective for alleviating fatigue in terminally ill cancer patients.” (2004)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15684846

 

The effectiveness of nurse-delivered aromatherapy in an acute care setting
“Sweet marjoram resulted in the largest single oil average pain change at -3.31 units (95% CI: -4.28, -2.33), while lavender and sweet marjoram had equivalent average anxiety changes at -2.73 units, and ginger had the largest single oil average change in nausea at -2.02 units (95% CI: -2.55, -1.49)…Essential oils generally resulted in significant clinical improvements based on their intended use, although each oil also showed ancillary benefits for other symptoms” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27062964

 

Aromatherapy Benefits Autonomic Nervous System Regulation for Elementary School Faculty in Taiwan
“Data showed that that aromatherapy would be effective in promoting parasympathetic activation, reducing blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, aromatherapy may be useful to provide relief from working stress” (2011)
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/946537/

 

The Effect of Massage With Lavender Oil on Restless Leg Syndrome in Hemodialysis Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial
“At the end of study, the mean RLS score significantly decreased in the intervention group, while this score remained relatively un-changed in the control group…Lavender oil massage was effective to improve RLS in hemodialysis patients. It has no adverse effects, is practical and cost-effective” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26835466

 

A Randomized Controlled Trial for the Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Decreasing Salivary Gland Damage following Radioactive Iodine Therapy for Differentiated Thyroid Cancer
“Because an amelioration of salivary gland function was observed in the present study, our results suggest the efficacy of aromatherapy in the prevention of treatment-related salivary gland disorder” (2016)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28042578

 

Comparison of the efficacy of aroma-acupressure and aromatherapy for the treatment of dementia-associated agitation
“Aroma-acupressure had a greater effect than aromatherapy on agitation in patients with dementia. However, agitation was improved in both of the groups, which allowed the patients with dementia to become more relaxed.” (2015)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25880034

 

The repellent efficacy of eleven essential oils against adult Dermacentor reticulatus ticks
“Clove bud, creeping thyme and red thyme essential oils were the most efficient – repelling 83, 82 and 68% of ticks when diluted to 3%, respectively. The mixture of creeping thyme and citronella containing 1.5% of each showed higher repellency (91%) than individual essential oils at the concentration of 3%.” (2017)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28645519

 

Evaluation of Antiseizure Activity of Essential Oil from Roots of Angelica archangelica Linn. in Mice
“The study indicated that the essential oil exhibited antiseizure effect. The antiseizure effect may be attributed to the presence of terpenes in the essential oil.” (2010)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003174/

 

To determine the value of aroma therapy with Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) for agitation in people with severe dementia
“Though both the lemon balm group and sun flower oil (placebo) group experienced significant reductions of agitation (CMA), greater reductions were found for the treatment with lemon balm” (2002)
https://www.vumc.nl/afdelingen-themas/5177225/6657910/6657929/6958297/ballard2002.pdf

 

Antioxidative Properties and Inhibition of Key Enzymes Relevant to Type-2 Diabetes and Hypertension by Essential Oils from Black Pepper
“Conclusively, the phenolic content, antioxidant activity, and inhibition of α-amylase, α-glucosidase, and angiotensin-1 converting enzyme activities by the essential oil extract of black pepper could be part of the mechanism by which the essential oil could manage and/or prevent type-2 diabetes and hypertension” (2013)
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2013/926047/

 

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4 Responses to Where’s the scientific proof?

  1. Pingback: Anti-depressants: The only answer? – The English Aromatherapist

  2. Pingback: Quick Answers to Common Myths – The English Aromatherapist

  3. The left-brained part of me loves this! Thanks for doing the work to compile these in one place. <3

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