International Journal of Aromatherapy

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 0962-4562
Olfactory and visual effects of lavender fragrance and cut flower arrangements on cognitive performance of university students (34 females and 32 males) were examined by measuring their performance of completing a mental arithmetic task (calculating speed and calculating accuracy). For female participants, olfactory effects of the lavender fragrance tended to enhance calculating speed and calculating accuracy, and visual effects of the cut flower arrangements significantly improved calculating speed. For male participants, visual effects of the cut flower arrangements tended to improve calculating accuracy. The combined olfactory and visual treatment did not show positively additive effects to benefit cognitive performance for either gender.
An evaluation was made of the usefulness of fragrance application in discontinuing the long-term use of hypnotic benzodiazepines in primary insomniacs with low-dose dependence. Based on the results of pentobarbital sleep time in rats, we made a new fragrance consisting primarily of sandalwood (35%), juniper berry (12%), rose (8%) and orris (6%). This mixed fragrance was found to prolong the pentobarbital sleep time in rats. A total of 42 outpatients with low-dose dependence on hypnotic benzodiazepines, all of whom met DSM-IV criteria for primary insomnia, participated in the study. In advance, all subjects attempted to reduce the doses of drugs gradually (25% reduction a week if possible) and 29 subjects who had failed to do so at all participated in the study on the application of fragrance. A mixed fragrance described above was used. A gradual tapering of hypnotic benzodiazepines (25% reduction a week if possible) was attempted while sniffing the fragrance in bed. The application of fragrance reduced the doses of hypnotic benzodiazepines in 26 of 29 subjects and 12 subjects did not require any drug for sound sleep. The present study indicated that a kind of fragrance may prove effective as an alternative to hypnotic benzodiazepines.
To clarify whether or not inhaling fragnance of lavender, rosemary or citronella affects physiological conditions, responses of the autonomic nervous system were evaluated by measuring R-wave intervals on an electrocardiogram, blood pressure, blood flow in the fingertip and galvanic skin conductance. Heart rate variability was also examined using spectral analysis.Lavender was the most effective fragnance in terms of eliciting calmness and relaxation. When inhaled for 10 minutes, lavender produced an increase in blood flow and decrease in galvanic skin conductance and systolic blood pressure, indicating a reduction in sympathetic nerve activity followed by decreased blood pressure. Rosemary, which is perceived as having a refreshing effect, decreased blood flow and increased systolic blood pressure immediately after inhalation, resulting from stimulating sympathetic nerve activity. Citronella produced an increase in R-R interval on the electrocardiogram and decreased blood flow and galvanic skin conductance. The high frequency component of spectral analysis, which reflects only parasympathetic nervous activity, was significantly increased following inhalation of lavender or citronella. The ratio of the low frequency/high frequency components, which reflects an autonomic balance, was increased significantly by rosemary or citronella inhalation, indicating that sympathetic nervous activity had become predominant. These results suggested that fragnances that cause feelings of calmness or relaxation, such as lavender, produce a relaxed condition in the autonomic nervous system by increasing parasympathetic whilst depressing sympathetic nervous activity in addition to mental or psychological effects. In contrast, refreshing fragnances, such as rosemary, stimulate sympathetic nervous activity. Citronella seems to activate both para-sympathetic and sympathetic nervous activity. Appreciation of citronella varies widely among individuals, which might be associated with its complex effects on the autonomic nervous system.
Thirty-six aromatic herbs were cultivated in Chichibu district of Japan, and their volatile constituents were elucidated by GC/MS analysis using ethyl acetate extract of the herbs to determine the chemotype. The volatile compositions of 30 herbs were similar to those of commercial essential oils and literature except for Eupatorium japonicum, marjoram, Japanese mint, oregano and yarrow. The volatile composition of Eupatorium laciniatum was first elucidated in this study. The vapour activity of the ethyl acetate extracts was determined by box vapour assay against Trichophyton mentagrophytes to search for the anti-infectious herbs to treat tinea pedis by vapour therapy. For comparison, the contact activity was determined by agar diffusion assay. The results showed that most of herbs exhibited potent vapour activity against the test organism, of which Roman chamomile, curry plant, hyssop, lavandin, marjoram sweet, orange mint, spearmint, monarda, oregano, rosemary, rue sage, tansy, tarragon, thyme common and yarrow showed the most potent activity. Most of the activity was correlated with the contact activity and also with main active ingredients of the herbs, but no correlation was found for curry plant, oregano, rosemary, rue, sage and yarrow.
Optimal health and recovery from sickness - that is what the immune system evolved to do and works to achieve. Optimizing immune potentiality is essential to staying healthy or, should we become ill, recovery from illness. Is that not also one of the goals of the aromatherapist and at-home user of pure essential oils? Really, is it not the goal of everyone? It happens to be the most fortunate consequence of judicious aromatherapy use. The mechanisms by which aromatherapy treatments aid the immune system in staying well or recovery from illness are reviewed in a 4-part series starting here.
The species of Cymbopogon giganteus is widely used in traditional medicine against several diseases. This study reports the inhibitory effect produced by the chemical constituents of the essential oil from leaves of C. giganteus of Benin, in vitro on 5-lipoxygenase. We assayed the antiradical scavenging activity of the sample by the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) method.The essential oil of C. giganteus was analyzed by GC and GC/MS. The major constituents were: trans-p-1(7),8-menthadien-2-ol (22.3%), cis-p-1(7),8-menthadien-2-ol (19.9%), trans-p-2,8-menthadien-1-ol (14.3%), cis-p-2,8-menthadien-1-ol (10.1%).
The volatile constituents of the essential oil of Zygophyllum album L., growing in Algeria, extracted by hydro distillation have been analysed. A total of 100 volatile compounds were identified and (E)-β-damascenone (11.8%) was the major component of the oil. This is the first report on the chemical compounds of the essential oil of this species.
The antifungal potential of tea tree and lavender essential oils alone and in combination, against common causes of tinea infection in humans was investigated via in-vitro investigations, in order to determine a suitable dosage for use in clinical trials. The concept of synergy was considered, in the microbiological environment, and as a chemical phenomenon. Trichophyton rubrum and T. mentagrophytes var. interdigitale were studied, as the most prevalent causes of tinea and onychomycosis. Possible chemical interactions between essential oils were examined using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) infra-red (IR) spectroscopy and polarimetry. There was a clear antifungal action by both tea tree and lavender essential oils on these organisms grown in culture. In combination, appropriate blends demonstrated synergistic action. No changes in retention times or identified compounds were observed by GC-MS. Alterat ions were found using IR spectroscopy in some combinations of the essential oils. The inconsistency in findings between the two analytical techniques may in part be due to a difference in sensitivities of the techniques or the conditions used in the G C-MS equipment; different column parameters have yet to be trialled. These were time dependent and affected by changing temperature. The measurement of optical rotation was determined to be an inappropriate technique for the study of synergy in essentia l oil mixtures. The data from this study confirm that synergistic action does occur between these two commonly used essential oils in effecting antifungal activity. GC-MS analysis demonstrated that there was no chemical interaction resulting in a new c ompound that could be identified using the analytical equipment in this study. IR analysis supports the suggestion that synergistic action may be dependent upon reaction involving the numerous organic substances present in essential oils. These changes m ay be due to as yet unidentified transient chemical interactions between functional groups within the essential oil mixtures.
Honey is reported to have wound healing properties. This study aimed at investigating its effect as well as those of surfactants on the antibacterial activity of the essential oil of Ocimum gratissimum L. (ocimum oil). The antibacterial activity of dispersions of ocimum oil (2%) in methanol, honey, a macrogol blend, nonionic and ionic emulsifiers were assessed by cup–plate method using type bacteria and wound isolates. Honey enhanced the antibacterial activity of ocimum oil to a greater extent than the macrogol blend. The activity of ocimum oil emulsion in cetrimide (cationic) was lower than obtained for cetrimide solution. Emulsion of the oil in sodium lauryl sulphate (anionic) exhibited a slightly higher activity than the solution of the surfactant alone. Although Tween® 20 (nonionic) and aqueous methanol had no activity, the emulsion of the oil in Tween® 20 showed lesser activity than the oil solution in methanol. Honey’s inherent antibacterial activity, surfactant charge interaction and the effect of emulsification were adduced to the observed differences in antibacterial activity of the ocimum oil formulations. Our findings indicated honey as a suitable base for ocimum oil especially in the treatment of infected wounds. Caution is, however, desirable in the use of surfactants with ocimum oil.
The analysis of the microbiological inhibitory data on substances that are mainly found in essential oils, reveals that only a small number of substances are able to inhibit bacteria, moulds, dermatophytes and yeasts in a concentration up to 250 ppm. The essential oil components are: cinnamic aldehyde, 2-heptenal, 2-octenal, 2-nonenal, 2-decenal, nonanal, decanal, citral, geraniol, chavicol, thymol, carvacrol, β- and γ-thujaplicin, nonanol and decanol. Structurally related substances include sesquiterpene dialdehydes, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, propyl and butyl ester as well as some phenols. Sesquiterpene alcohols and fatty acids do not show pronouced growth-inhibitory properties towards Gram-negative bacteria. Most of the monoterpenes, which are typical essential oil constituents, normally do not posses a wide spectrum of activity at low doses.
The prevalence of resistant strains of members of the family Enterobacteriaceae to furazolidone and nitrofurantoin was investigated in 96 clinical isolates from a general hospital in Iran. 10% of the Salmonella spp., 18% of E. coli strains, 63% of Proteus spp., 72% of Enterobacter spp., 75% of Citrobacter spp., 81% of Klebsiella spp. and 100% of Serratia spp. isolated were resistant to both of these drugs. In the presence of a sub-inhibitory concentration of piperitone (1 μl/ml), all of the resistant bacteria showed sensitivity to both furazolidone (0.5–2 μg/ml) and nitrofurantoin (15–25 μg/ml). We conclude that the antimicrobial activities of both furazolidone and nitrofurantoin were increased by piperitone.
After a comparison of the antimicrobial activity of the essential oils of Australian tea tree oil, Australian lavender, New Zealand manuka, lemongrass oil, and eucalyptus oil it was found that the relative antimicrobial activity varied depending upon the microorganism under test.Lavender has useful antimicrobial properties and a product was formulated containing a combination of tea tree oil and lavender for the treatment of burns.A selected New Zealand manuka oil had strong antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. The use of tea tree oil and combinations of tea tree oil and manuka are being investigated for therapeutic use against Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Enterococci (VRE) which is resistant to Vancomycin.For therapeutic use as an antimicrobial active in formulated products the essential oil must have a broad spectrum of activity with the additional properties of being stable and non irritant to sensitive or damaged skin. Overall tea tree oil had the best combination of useful properties including strong antimicrobial activity. Australian Tea Tree Management Limited has assisted in the selection and breeding of superior plants of Melaleuca alternifolia and M. linariifolia which provide a tea tree oil high in terpinen-4-ol. By the end of 1997 over 2 million clones of these selections will have been planted.The use of tea tree oil in pharmaceutical products will be boosted by the production of commercial quantities of highly active oil with a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity suitable for use in formulations for vaginal thrush, tinea, acne and dandruff.
This article is an excerpt from Michael's new book: How Aromatherapy Works. Synthetic and Efficacious Pathways of Essential Oils in the Human Physiology. Volume I: Principal Mechanisms of Olfaction.
Effects of expectancy and chamomile on the cognitive factors derived from the CDR test battery: (a) ''quality of memory'', (b) ''secondary memory'' and (c) ''accuracy of attention'' (see text for details). Figures depict mean values. Error bars represent standard deviations. * p < 0.05.
Effects of expectancy and chamomile on change in self-rated mood as measured using the BondLader visual analogue scales: (a) ''alertness'' and (b) ''calmness''. Figures depict mean change (post-test minus pre-test ratings) such that a positive change represents an increase on that dimension over the test session. Error bars represent standard deviations. * p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01.
To assess the effect of the aroma of the essential oil of Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and the impact of induced expectancy on mood and cognition in healthy adults, 80 volunteers participated in an independent groups design study. There were four conditions: (1) aroma and arousal expectancy, (2) aroma and sedation expectancy, (3) aroma and no expectancy, and (4) no aroma controls. Expectancy effects were induced by means of a pre-test session where participants were provided with false information from a supposed official source. Pre-test mood scales were completed followed by the Cognitive Drug Research (CDR) battery and a final post-test mood scale. Analysis revealed a significant effect of condition on overall quality of memory (p = 0.017), long-term memory (p = 0.008) and accuracy of attention (p = 0.024). Analysis of the pre to post-test changes in mood revealed significant changes in alertness (p = 0.002), and calmness (p = 0.00004). The sedative nature of the aroma appeared to combine with induced sedative expectancy to impair cognitive performance to a greater degree than was found for aroma alone. Subjective alertness was influenced by the sedative effect of the aroma which was ameliorated to some degree by the induced arousal expectancy. Similarly, subjective calmness appeared to be influenced by both the sedative effect of the aroma and induced arousal expectancy.
This paper examines the negative health effects of stress and includes a small study into the possible use of essential oils in reducing stress in a work environment.
The recent restriction imposed by IFRA concerning methyl eugenol may have an impact upon aromatherapy practice. What is the restriction, why was it formed and what is the research behind the decision? Moreover, should aromatherapy be affected? This article attempts an explanation and an answer.
Public and healthcare professionals’ interest in the use of aromatherapy to ease levels of psychological distress and improve the quality of life for cancer patients is greater than ever. Aromatherapy is increasingly incorporated into clinical practice, particularly in palliative care settings, and has been reported as the most commonly used complementary therapy within the NHS. Yet questions remain regarding the safety and efficacy of essential oil use and there are concerns around the evidence available to support actual benefits. Much of the evidence is anecdotal with a distinct lack of quantitative and objective data available, due to concerns about scientific research methods for complementary therapies. This article is a review of the literature relating to the safety and efficacy of aromatherapy use for cancer care, and will highlight methodological issues and implications for research. However, the primary aim is to provide cancer patients and their carers’ access to the body of information and research available, thereby enabling patient empowerment through choice and education.
Although there is now a comprehensive body of research on the pathogenesis of psoriasis, the disease is not well understood. Despite the wide availability of several treatment options, it remains a very difficult condition to cure and realistic treatment objectives concentrate on minimising the severity and extent of symptoms. The purpose of this paper is to review current available information and to explore the role aromatherapy can play in treatment.
The above cases have been chosen because of their relative simplicity by way of a demonstration. Frequently patients have complex problems that need complex therapeutic answers. If nutrition and diet are neglected results will be disappointing. Aromatic medicine is incomparable as a treatment when it is practised within a naturopathic framework. Purist naturopaths may disapprove of such medicine but practising Natural Medicine does not mean that you sit back and wait. Many situations arise where all the available help is needed to restore a patients health. In the real world there are bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites ready to cause problems, especially in patients whose health is compromised. Phyto-aromatherapy can help the patient in a very real way. Modern life poses many threats in the form of toxic overload, bacterial and viral mutagens and psychological stress. This does not mean to imply that essential oils can be used to “whack the bugs” not at all. We need all the beneficial aid we can muster.The external use of essential oils in the classical aromatherapy way can be of tremendous value. When the nervous system is strengthened it has positive effects on the immune function. There are so many ways that aromatic oils can be incorporated into a vitalistic therapy plan.It is our wish to complement the excellent work being achieved in aromatherapy today in the UK, with growth within the medical side. The way forward is by research and clinical experience. It is worth remembering that France was using essential oils for the benefit of patients twenty years ago. British doctors and phytotherapists have a treasure chest awaiting them if they care to look inside.
Previous studies have found that adults respond differently to different odours. In particular, it has been found that emotional reactions and time spent on tasks are dependent upon whether the odour is perceived as pleasant or unpleasant. The present study was designed to examine whether these differences are apparent in children. Three age groups were tested: 2–3 years, 6–7 years, and 10–11 years. Each of the 40 children who participated in the study was presented with three pieces of playdough. The playdough contained either a pleasant, unpleasant or no odour. The researcher presented each piece of playdough to the child individually and asked the child to make an object with it. The amount of time spent with each piece of playdough and the child’s perceived emotional state were recorded. Results showed no significant difference in the time spent with each piece of playdough but significant differences between the emotional scores in the different conditions were recorded. In particular, the older age group responded much more favourably to the pleasant odour than the other age groups, suggesting that emotional responses to ‘pleasant’ odours are often learnt and are not innate.
Feed/water consumption and survival patterns in rats investigated for the effect of Ocimum oil (Oc) on cyclophosphamide-(Cpd) induced hair loss. 
Photo 1 (A) RHS shaved site 72 h (D3) and 14 days (D14) post shaving in control rats investigated for the effect of Ocimum oil (Oc) on Cyclophosphamide (Cpd) induced inhibited hair growth. [Grp 1A ) No Cpd, No Oc AE Grp 2A ) I.p Cpd days 1-14, No Oc]. (B) LHS shaved site 72 h (D3) and 14 days (D14) post shaving in control rats investigated for the effect of Ocimum oil (Oc) on Cyclophosphamide (Cpd) induced inhibited hair growth. [Grp lB ) No Cpd, No Oc AE Grp 2B ) I.p Cpd days 1-14, No Oc]. 
Photo 2 (A) RHS shaved site 72 h (D3) and 14 days (D14) post-shaving in treated rats investigated for the effect of Ocimum oil (Oc) on Cyclophosphamide (Cpd) induced inhibited hair growth. [Grp 3A ) No Cpd, topical Oc days 114, AE Grp 4A ) I.p Cpd + topical Oc days 1-14)]. (B) LHS shaved site 72 h (D3) and 14 days (D14) post shaving in treated rats investigated for the effect of ocimum oil (Oc) on cyclophosphamide (Cpd) induced inhibited hair growth. [Grp 3B ) No Cpd, topical Oc-RHS (Days 1-14) AE Grp 4B ) I.p Cpd days 1-14, topical Oc-RHS (days 1-14)]. 
Hair loss is one of the most feared side effects of cancer chemotherapy. This preliminary study investigated the efficacy of the leaf essential oil of Ocimum gratissimum Linn (Ocimum oil) in promoting hair growth in cyclophosphamide-induced hair loss. Shaved sites, ⩾4 cm2, were created on the flanks of 6 groups each of 7 freshly weaned 4-week old rats. Four groups (groups 2, 4, 5 and 6) were treated with 30 mg/kg cyclophosphamide (Cpd) intra-peritoneally daily to simulate changes seen in human chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Ocimum oil was administered topically alone (group 3) or in combination with Cpd in groups 2, 4 and 5 for 14 days and in group 6 for 8 days. Group 1 received no test substance. Tissue biopsies were obtained from 2 rats selected at random from each group on treatment day 9 for histological examination. Surviving animals were further observed for 7 days after treatment. Histopathology and gross morphologic observations for hair re-growth at shaved sites revealed active follicular proliferation in Ocimum alone and Cpd + Ocimum oil treated groups. Ocimum oil may, therefore, be capable of enhancing normal hair growth and promoting follicular proliferation in cyclophosphamide-induced hair loss.
The antimicrobial activity of essential oils in the gaseous state was evaluated in a closed system using an airtight box. The gaseous activity was expressed by a minimum inhibitory dose (MID) per unit space that allowed no microbial growth after incubation. The MID values of seven oils determined against bacteria and fungi revealed that most oils were more active against filamentous fungi than against bacteria or yeasts. Gaseous essential oils inhibited three stages of the life cycle of filamentous fungi: germination of a conidium, elongation of vegetative mycelium, and sporulation of reproductive mycelium. Perilla and thyme oils exhibited therapeutic efficacy against experimental tinea pedis in guinea pigs and gaseous citron oil extended the survival time of mice exposed to fatal candidiasis.
We examined whether it was possible to practice hygienic massage by using six essential oils (eucalyptus, lavender, niaouli, sage, tea tree, and thyme linalool) that in previous studies or anecdotally have been found to have antibacterial effects. First, to determine the inhibitory properties of the six essential oils against 4.80 × 105 colony forming units (CFU) of strain ATCC-25923 of Staphylococcus aureus, we used a disc method to measure the inhibition zones. Niaouli and eucalyptus showed higher growth inhibitory effects. We then examined the results of using these two essential oils in seven different massage sessions. The niaouli and eucalyptus were each diluted to 1%, 3%, or 6% v/v with jojoba oil base and jojoba oil without any essential oil was used as a control. Bacterial samples were taken from the therapist’s palms and the subject’s skin, and the surviving bacteria were counted.The antibacterial effects were correlated in vitro with the concentration of the essential oil and massage sessions with niaouli oil were more hygienic than those with eucalyptus oil.
The management of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) that occurs in 30% of all surgical cases is indispensable for a rapid recovery, patient comfort and the overall image of general anaesthesia. Currently, allopathic drugs proposed in surgery include major drugs such as morphine as well as analgesics of class IIB such as Nefopam and Tramadol. We wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to treat these negative effects of anaesthesia with a mixture of three essential oils via percutaneous application on the anterolateral aspect of the neck.This study comprised of 73 cases and used a mixture of Zingiber officinale (ginger), Elletaria cardamomum (cardamom) and Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon) essential oils in equal parts.The results were collected approximately 30 min following application as soon as the symptoms appeared in the theatre recovery room. Seventy five percent of cases had a favourable outcome. The best results were obtained with patients who had received a single drug that provoked the symptoms. In all other cases, results were reduced to a 50% success rate.
Currently there is a limited amount of effective conventional antifungal drug therapy and developing resistance to the most common agents poses a real threat. Ongoing research seeks for new, effective, and safe antifungal agents and many natural products including essential oils are being tested. This paper discusses the prevalence of superficial mycoses and how research-based information on the antifungal activity of selected essential oils can be used to produce long lasting and effective results in a range of situations. Three case examples serve to place the information in a practical context.
This review examines the effect of menthol on thermoreceptors, firstly from a historical viewpoint leading to the characterisation of temperature-gated transient receptor channels and then by linking this activity to specific therapeutic effects. The underlying mechanisms involved in these effects, primarily by the dermal and respiratory administration of menthol, are explored.
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