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Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Depression

2/7/2012 Jeremy Appleton, ND

Review of the literature on the safety and efficacy of lavender


Abstract
Lavender flower and its extracts have been used, both internally and by olfaction, for centuries as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Modern analytical research has identified the main active constituents of the oil; in vitro and animal studies have begun to elucidate mechanisms of action; and controlled clinical trials in humans now document lavenders efficacy, safety, and dose. This paper reviews these developments, with summary details from selected studies, and provides a preliminary comparison of lavenders efficacy and safety to its main botanical and pharmaceutical alternatives.

Introduction
Anxiety is a common complaint and may range from every day stress to clinically relevant symptoms requiring medical intervention. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can experience excessive anxiety and worry associated with the stresses of everyday life. Most cases of GAD begin in childhood and can lead without treatmentto a chronic condition, with fluctuating symptoms, often exacerbated by stressful life events.1 Disturbed sleep has been observed to be among the most frequent accompanying disorders of generalized anxiety.2 Individuals with anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (AD NOS) also present with clinically significant symptoms, but they tend to report less worry, negative affect, depression, and comorbidity than those with GAD.3 The most commonly prescribed agents in the medical treatment of anxiety are benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).4 The well-known side effects of benzodiazepines include drowsiness, fatigue, confusion and disorientation, dizziness, decreased concentration, impaired memory, dry mouth, and blurred vision. Benzodiazepines can impair the ability to drive or operate machinery and may thus interfere with essential activities of daily living. They lower the tolerance to alcohol and are widely reported to cause physical and psychological dependence and withdrawal symptoms.5 SSRIs, on the other hand, may cause sedation and fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances, agitation or insomnia. 6,7 The risks and inconveniences associated with available anxiolytic pharmaceutical medications may be one of the reasons anxiety disorder is considered an undertreated condition.8 Herbal preparations have long been a mainstay for treating anxiety and depression. Some botanical agents, most notably kava (Piper methysticum), have demonstrated efficacy for clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders. 913 Others, such as St. Johns wort (Hypericum perforatum), are clinically efficacious for depression in most, 14-25 though not all26,27 clinical studies. Kava, however, has been withdrawn by many manufacturers due to concerns over potential hepatotoxicity,28-32 even though these effects may have been primarily due to drug interactions, misuse, and poor quality extracts of this otherwise well-tolerated phytomedicine; St. Johns worts popularity has suffered because it was found to stimulate cytochrome P450 34, an enzyme that metabolizes at least half of the known pharmaceuticals sold today.33 A safe, non-sedating, nonhabit forming herbal anxiolytic with proven efficacy for GAD and depression is, therefore, of interest to clinicians. Throughout history, lavender has been cultivated for its flowers and oils and used both cosmetically and medicinally. A member of the Labiatae family, lavender is primarily used either dried or as an essential oil. Historical use includes documented activity as an antibacterial, antifungal, carminative, sedative, and antidepressant.34 Lavandula angustifolia, Mill. is the most common species of lavender utilized for health purposes.35 Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia, and Africa. Lavender has a high concentration of volatile oils, which impart its distinctive and pleasing fragrance. The relaxing experience of lavender fragrance led to its deliberate, therapeutic use in aromatherapy to relieve mild anxiety. Lavender has been also used internally for mood imbalances such as anxiety, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress, including nervous stomach.36

Lavender Constituents
Lavender essential oil is obtained from steam distillation processing of the flowering tops of L. angustifolia. Modern analytical methods, such as capillary gas chromatography, have demonstrated that lavender oil contains more than 160 constituents, many of which interact synergistically to contribute to its healing effects. The main active constituents of lavender oil are linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. The quantity of the linalyl acetate is determined by the method of steam distillation as it degrades upon distillation to yield linalool. The highest content of linalyl acetate is obtained when fresh lavender flowers are steam distilled right after harvest. Other constituents found in lavender include: cis-ocimene; terpinen-4-ol, -

caryophyllene; lavandulyl acetate; 1,8-cineole; and small amounts of limonene, geraniol, lavandulol, -pinene, camphene, geranyl acetate, and neryl acetate.37,38 Relative amounts of bioactive constituents can vary significantly from one lavender oil to another. The European Pharmacopoeia includes limits or ranges for the content of the predominant components. Specifically, oils with high concentrations of esters and low concentrations of cineol and other minor components are generally considered to be of higher quality because these parameters indicate that a gentle and careful production process was applied and that high quality raw materials were used. A high quality lavender extract would not only comply with this monograph but would ideally exceed those specifications with a higher content of linalyl acetate (ideally 3345%) and lavandulyl acetate (1.5%), and a lower limit for the content of cineol (2 %).39

Mechanisms of action
In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated multiple possible mechanisms of action of lavender oil, as well as its individual constituents, which may partly account for its relaxing effects when taken orally. Lavender oil has potentiated expression of GABA-A receptors in cell culture;40 it has shown spasmolytic activity on guinea pig ileum;41 linalool, a main active ingredient of lavender oil, has been shown in animals to inhibit glutamate binding in the brain;42 linalool has also inhibited acetylcholine release and influenced ionic conductance in neurons;43 linalyl acetate is described to exert a relaxing effect. 44 Lavender oil has reduced dose-dependently spontaneous motility and caffeine-induced hyperactivity of mice.45

Lavender oil aromatherapy has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and depression and small and medium-sized controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials.
Clinical Efficacy of Lavender
Lavender Aromatherapy
Much prior research on lavender has focused on the administration of lavender via an olfactory route. The anxiolytic activity of lavender olfaction has been demonstrated in several small and medium-sized clinical trials.46-53 The efficacy of aromatherapy of lavender is thought to be due to the psychological effects of the fragrance combined with physiological effects of volatile oils in the limbic system. 54 These calming effects of lavender oil and single constituents may be the origin of the traditional use of lavender. Lavender oil olfaction has been shown to decrease anxiety, as measured by the Hamilton rating scale, 51 and can increase mood scores.55 The following are selected examples of clinical trials on lavender aromatherapy:

Dunn and colleagues demonstrated anxiolytic activity of lavender oil aromatherapy in patients in
intensive care units. Subjects received at least 1 session of aromatherapy with 1% lavender essential oil. Significant anxiolytic effects were noted in the 1st treatment, though 2nd and 3rd treatments did not appear to be as effective.47

Alaoui-Ismaili and colleagues found that the aroma of lavender is considered by subjects to be very
pleasant and is correlated with changes in the autonomic nervous system. 56

Tysoe and colleagues conducted a study of lavender oil in burner use on staff mood and stress in a
hospital setting. A significant number of respondents (85%) believed that lavender aroma improved the work environment following the use of the lavender oil burners .57

Diego and colleagues demonstrated that people receiving lavender oil (10%) olfaction for 3 minutes
felt significantly more relaxed and had decreased anxiety scores, improved mood and increased scores of alpha power on EEG (an indicator of alertness), and increased speed of mathematical calculations.58

Lewith and colleagues investigated the effects of lavender aromatherapy on depressed mood and
anxiety in female patients being treated with chronic hemodialysis. 59 The effects of aromatherapy were measured using the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) and the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HAMA). Lavender aroma significantly decreased the mean scores of HAMA, suggesting an effective, noninvasive means for the treatment of anxiety in hemodialysis patients.

Lavender aromatherapy, with or without massage, may also reduce the perception of pain and the
need for conventional analgesics in adults and children, though more rigorously controlled trials are needed.60

Oral Lavender Supplementation: Anxiety


Lavender oil has also been shown to be effective via the oral route. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the benefit of lavender extracts in comparison to reference or placebo in decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Orally administered lavender capsules (100 mL and 200 mL) were tested in 97 healthy subjects in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.61 Film clips were used to elicit anxiety. Measures included anxiety, State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), mood, positive and negative affect scale (PANAS), heart rate (HR), galvanic skin response (GSR), and heart rate variation (HRV). After baseline measurements, capsules were administered. Participants viewed a neutral film clip, then an anxiety-provoking and lighthearted recovery film clip. For the 200 mL lavender dose during the neutral film clip, there was a trend toward reduced state anxiety, GSR, and HR and increased HRV. In the anxiety-eliciting film, lavender was mildly beneficial in females but only on HRV measures. In males, sympathetic arousal increased during the anxiety film (GSR). HRV significantly increased at 200 mL during all 3 film clips in females, suggesting decreased anxiety. The authors concluded that lavender has anxiolytic effects in humans under conditions of low anxiety, but they were unable to draw conclusions about high anxiety or clinical anxiety disorders. Kasper and colleagues investigated the efficacy of lavender oil (WS 1265) for AD NOS in comparison to placebo in a primary care setting.62 This study was the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to document the anxiolytic efficacy of orally administered lavender essential oil for anxiety disorder. In 27 general and psychiatric practices, 221 adults reporting unspecified anxiety were randomized to receive 80 mg per day of lavender oil or placebo for 10 weeks with office visits every 2 weeks. A baseline HAMA total score of ?18 and a total score > 5 for the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) were required. The primary outcome measures were HAMA and PSQI total score decrease between baseline and week 10. Secondary efficacy measures included the Clinical Global Impressions scale, the Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale, and the SF-36 (Quality of Life) Health Survey Questionnaire. Subjects taking WS 1265 showed a total score decrease by 16.0 8.3 points (mean SD, 59.3%) for the HAMA and by 5.5 4.4 points (44.7%) for the PSQI compared to 9.5 9.1 (35.4%) and 3.8 4.1 points (30.9%) in the placebo group (P<0.01 one-sided, intention to treat). WS 1265 was superior to placebo regarding the percentage of responders (76.9 vs. 49.1%, P<0.001) and remitters (60.6 vs. 42.6%, P=0.009). Adverse effects were uncommon and included dyspepsia (4.7% in the treatment group vs 1.8% in the placebo group) and eructation (3.7% in the treatment group and none in the placebo group). Lavender had a significant beneficial influence on quality and duration of sleep and improved general mental and physical health without causing any unwanted sedative or other drug-like effects. Researchers concluded that the lavender oil is both efficacious and safe for AD NOS and predicted that it could emerge as a gentle therapeutic alternative in the treatment of anxiety. Woelk and Schlaefke conducted a multicenter, double-blind, randomized Phase III study of lavender oil (Silexan, WS 1265, Dr. Willmar Schwabe, Karlsruhe, Germany) in comparison to low-dose lorazepam for patients with GAD.63 The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA-total score) was used as the primary objective measurement to monitor changes in the level of tension and relaxation beginning at baseline through week 6 of the trial. Additional data were collected using the Self-rating Anxiety Scale, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, SF-36 Health Survey Questionnaire, and specific sections of the Clinical Global Impressions of severity disorder. A total of 77 female (76.6%) and male (23.4%) subjects 1865 years of age were randomized into groups. Participants were eligible for the study if they met the inclusion criteria of a HAMA-total score of greater than 18, as well as a score equal to or greater than 2 on both anxious mood and tension items. Secondary objective outcome data were obtained from responder and remission rate comparisons made between the 2 treatment groups. In order for a participant to qualify as having a significant response to treatment they were required to have a reduction of at least 50% in the HAMA-total score during the 6-week trial. Remission was defined as a HAMA-total score of less than 10 points at the end of the 6-week study. The results demonstrated that WS 1265 was comparable to the conventional approach in its ability to promote relaxation.* The HAMAtotal score decreased by 45% in the WS 1265 group and decreased by 46% in the conventional group. At the conclusion of the 6-week intervention, 40% of the WS 1265 group and 27% of the conventional treatment group were determined to be in remission. The WS 1265 group had a response rate of 52.5% compared to only 40.5% taking the conventional option. Adverse effects in the WS 1265 group were uncommon and included nausea (5.2%), eructation (3.9%), and dyspepsia (2.6%).

Oral Lavender Supplementation: Depression


In a 4-week randomized, double-blind study, researchers compared the efficacy of a tincture of L. angustifolia with imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. 64 Forty-five adult outpatients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) for major depression based on the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV participated in the trial. Patients had a baseline Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD) score of at least 18. In this study, patients were randomly assigned to receive lavender tincture (1:5 in 50% alcohol ) 60 drops per day plus placebo tablet (Group A), imipramine tablet 100 mg per day plus placebo drops (Group B), or imipramine tablet 100 mg/per day plus lavender tincture 60 drops per day (Group C) for 4 weeks. Lavender tincture at this concentration was found to be less effective than imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression (P=0.001). In the imipramine group, anticholinergic effects such as dry mouth and urinary retention were observed, whereas headache was observed more in the lavender tincture group. The combination of imipramine and lavender tincture was more effective than imipramine alone (P<0.0001). Researchers concluded that lavender tincture may be of therapeutic benefit in the management of mild to moderate depression, but only as adjuvant therapy. In an open-label Phase II trial, Stange and colleagues administered 80 mg per day of lavender oil (Silexan, WS 1265, Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, Karlsruhe, Germany) to 50 patients with neurasthenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, or somatization disorder for 3 months.65 Using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, von Zerssens Depression Scale, and a sleep diary for assessment, researchers found that state and trait anxiety as well as depression were reduced and efficiency of sleep was improved significantly. Controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm whether oral lavender oil is an effective treatment for depression.

Comparison to Kava, Benzodiazepines, and Antidepressants


To date, lavender has been compared to benzodiazepines, 66 paroxetine (an SSRI antidepressant), and imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant). It has also been compared to kava. 67 Kava was perhaps the best studied botanical anxiolytic and was the leading product in this category until concerns about liver toxicity prompted many companies to discontinue offering it. In a 6-week study, kava was found to produce a mean reduction of the HAMA score of 10 points, whereas the mean reduction of that score from lavender (WS 1265) has ranged from 11.3 points (6-week study)63 to 16 points (10-week study),62 suggesting comparable to superior efficacy. Pharmaceutical anxiolytics (primarily benzodiazepines) typically produce HAMA reductions in the range of 11 to 15.3, suggesting comparable to superior efficacy of WS 1265 without the attendant side effects.62,63,68,69 The Hamilton Anxiety Scale is used in most clinical trials of anxiolytic agents for GAD. In the study by Kasper and colleagues,62 a diagnosis of AD NOS was used instead, but the HAMA scale was still employed and baseline HAMA scores were similar across all trials (ie, > 18). At first glance it might appear that patients with AD NOS responded better to lavender than patients with GAD. However, the study of lavender for GAD was of shorter duration (6 weeks) than the study of lavender for AD NOS. In the longer study, the mean HAMA score change at the 6-week mark was nearly identical to that seen at the end of the 6-week study of patients with GAD. Therefore, the additional month of therapy at the same dose is likely to have had additional effects. In a meta-analysis of 21 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in patients with GAD, Hidalgo and colleagues determined average effect sizes for HAMA total score change versus baseline of 0.50 for pregabalin, 0.45 for hydroxyzine, 0.42 for venlafaxine XR, 0.38 for benzodiazepines, 0.35 for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and 0.17 for buspirone.70 The effect size of lavender (WS 1265) was computed to be 0.75 in AD NOS. The significant reduction of anxiety-related symptoms in patients treated with lavender was not only evident in the judgment of the investigators, but was also perceived by the study participants subjectively according to the results of the self-rating questionnaire. The effects of lavender extract (WS 1265) and other anxiolytic agents on HAMA scores are compared in Table 1 below. They are expressed as a mean HAMA score change. TABLE 1
Dose Lavender (WS 1265)62 Lavender (WS 1265)63 80 mg/d 80 mg/d Length of study 10 weeks 6 weeks Diagnosis AD NOS GAD HAMA score at baseline 26.8 25 Mean HAMA score change -16 -11.3

Lorazepam63 Bromazepam Oxazepam70 Kava(WS 1490)70 Escitalopram72 Paroxetine71 Duloxetine68


71

0.5 mg/d 3 mg TID 5 mg TID 100 mg (70% kavalactones) TID 10-20 mg/d 20-50 mg/d 60-120 mg/d

6 weeks 6 weeks 6 weeks 6 weeks 24 weeks 24 weeks 9-10 weeks

GAD GAD GAD GAD

25 28.07 28.24 28.35 23.7 23.4

-11.6 -13 -11 -10 -15.3 -13.3 -11.1

GAD GAD GAD

Based upon the available data, it appears that therapy with at least some lavender extracts is comparable or superior in efficacy to many commonly prescribed anxiolytics, including benzodiazepines, SSRIs, and kava. The adverse event profile for lavender is the least severe of these options by a wide margin. In particular, benzodiazepines are well-known for their significant habit-forming potential, a drawback not found with lavender preparations.

Adverse Events, Safety and Dosage


The German Commission E Monographs list no contraindications, side effects, or drug interactions for lavender flower. Internal use of the volatile oil of lavender oil has been reported to cause nausea 73 and drowsiness after excessive intake.74 This effect may be dose- and/or quality-dependent, as the occurrence of nausea was higher in the placebo group than in the treatment group (WS 1265) in the largest and longest controlled clinical trial of lavender oil supplementation. 62 In a brief report, Henley and colleagues described 3 cases of otherwise healthy boys with prepubertal gynecomastia,75 all of whom had normal serum concentrations of endogenous steroids and none of whom had been exposed to any known exogenous endocrine disruptors. The repeated topical application of 1 or more over-the-counter personal care products that contained lavender oil or lavender oil and tea tree oil was documented for all 3 patients. The authors performed in vitro tests that suggested weak estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities of the oils that may have contributed to an imbalance in estrogen and androgen pathway signaling. The effective dose of lavender oil is suggested to be 2080 mg per day.36 The best-designed clinical studies with the most robust combination of efficacy and tolerability used 80 mg per day of a well-defined lavender oil. No serious adverse events during either of the published studies on this extract were reported.

Conclusion
Lavender oil aromatherapy has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and depression and small and medium-sized controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials. The best validated use of lavender as an anxiolytic agent is oral supplementation of 80 mg per day of a high-quality, well-defined lavender essential oil that has a demonstrated efficacy comparable or superior to benzodiazepines and kava, with a super safety profile.

Conflict of Interest Statement


Jeremy Appleton, ND, is an employee of Schwabe North America, a subsidiary of Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co, which manufactures and distributes WS 1265, discussed in this article.

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1999;5:42-51. 61. Bradley BF, Brown SL, Chu S, Lea RW. Effects of orally administered lavender essential oil on responses to anxiety-provoking film clips. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2009;24(4):319-330. 62. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Mller WE, et al. Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of 'subsyndromal' anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol 2010;25:277-287. 63. Woelk H, Schlaefke S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010;17:94-99. 64. Azkhondzadeh S, Kashani L, Fotouhi A, et al. Comparison of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. tincture and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized trial. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2003;27(1):123-127. 65. Stange R, Schaper S, Uehleke B, Dienel A, Schlaefke S. Phase II study on the effects of lavender oil (Silexan) in patients with neurasthenia, posttraumatic stress disorders or somatisation disorder. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 2007;12:46. 66. Tisserand R. Lavender beats benzodiazepines. Int J Aromather. 1988;1:1-2. 67. Woelk H, Kapoula O, Lehr S, Schrter K, Weinholz P. A comparison of Kava special extract WS 1490 and benzodiazepines in patients with anxiety. Healthnotes Review. 1999;6:265-270. 68. Bielski RJ, Bose A, Chang CC. A double-blind comparison of escitalopram and paroxetine in the long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2005;17(2):65-69. 69. Allgulander C, Hartford J, Russell J, et al. Pharmacotherapy of generalized anxiety disorder: results of duloxetine treatment from a pooled analysis of three clinical trials. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007;23(6):1245-1252. 70. Hidalgo RB, Tupler LA, Davidson JR. An effect-size analysis of pharmacologic treatments for generalized anxiety disorder. J Psychopharmacol. 2007;21:864-872. 71. Woelk H, Kapoula O, Lehr S, Schrter K, Weinholz P. A comparison of Kava special extract WS 1490 and benzodiazepines in patients with anxiety. Healthnotes Review. 1999;6:265-270. 72. Bielski RJ, Bose A, Chang CC. A double-blind comparison of escitalopram and paroxetine in the long-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2005;17(2):65-69. 73. Atanassova-Shopova S, Roussinov KS. On certain central neurotropic effects of lavender essential oil. Izv Inst Fiziol. 1970;13;69-77. 74. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1996:339-342. 75. Henley DK, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 2007;356:479-485.

J Korean Acad Nurs. 2009 Jun;39(3):357-365. Published online 2009 June 29. http://dx.doi.org/10.4040/jkan.2009.39.3.357 Copyright 2009 Korean Society of Nursing Science

The Effects of Aromatherapy on Stress and Stress Responses in Adolescents


Ji-Yeong Seo Full-time Lecturer, Department of Nursing, Youngnam Foreign Language College, Gyeongsan, Korea. Address reprint requests to: Seo, Ji-Yeong. Department of Nursing, Youngnam Foreign Language College, 220-1 Hyeopseok-ri, Namcheon-myeon, Gyeongsan 712-717, Korea. Tel: 82-53-810-7763, Fax: 82-53-810-0199, Email: marseo@hanmail.net Received August 13, 2008; Accepted May 18, 2009. Abstract

Purpose This study was done to examine the effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents. Methods A two-group cross-over design was used for this study. The experimental treatment was aroma essential oil inhalation and the placebo treatment was carrier oil inhalation using a necklace. The sample included 36 female high school students. Fisher's exact test, t-test, and paired t-test using SPSS/WIN program were used to analyze the data. Results Stress levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment compared to when they received the placebo treatment. The stress responses except salivary IgA levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment. Conclusion Aroma inhalation could be a very effective stress management method for high school students. Therefore, it is recommended that this program be used in clinical practice as an effective nursing intervention for high school students. Keywords: Aromatherapy, Adolescents, Stress, Stress response. Figures

Figure 1 Research design. O1, O2, O3, O4=stress, anxiety, physical symptoms, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), pulse rate (PR), Cortisol, IgA. X1=aroma (bergamot essential oil) inhalation (solid line). X2=placebo (carrier oil & artificial flavor) inhalation

(dotted line). Group 1=aroma inhalation-1st & Placebo inhalation-2nd; Group 2=placebo inhalation-1st & Aroma inhalation-2nd.

Tables

Table 1 Homogeneity Test for General Characteristics between the Group 1 and Group 2 at Pre-test (O1) (N=36) Group 1=aroma inhalation-1st & placebo inhalation-2nd; Group 2=placebo inhalation-1st & aroma inhalation-2nd.

Table 2 Homogeneity Test for Dependent Variables at Pre-test (O1) (N=36) Group 1=aroma inhalation-1st & placebo inhalation-2nd; Group 2=placebo inhalation-1st & aroma inhalation-2nd; SBP=systolic blood pressure; DBP=diastolic blood pressure; PR=pulse rate; IgA=immunoglobulin A.

Table 3 Stress Score and Stress Response per Every Period in Group 1 and Group 2 O1 & O3 was pre-test in both group 1 and group 2; O2 was after aroma inhalation in group 1, and after placebo inhalation in group 2; O4 was after placebo inhalation in group 1, and after aroma inhalation in group 2. SBP=systolic blood pressure; DBP=diastolic blood

pressure; PR=pulse rate; IgA=immunoglobulin A.

Table 4 Changes in Stress Score and Stress Response between the Post-Aroma and Post-Placebo Mean difference of aroma group=O2-O1 of Group 1 and O4O3 of Group 2; Mean difference of placebo group=O4-O3 of Group 1 and O2-O1 of Group 2; SBP=systolic blood pressure; DBP=diastolic blood pressure; PR=pulse rate; IgA=immunoglobulin A.

Notes This study is a part of Ph.D. dissertation. References 1. Byeon Y.J. A study of the relations between parents' rearing attitude, irrational beliefs and stress of adolescents. Seoul: Yonsei University; 1995.
Unpublished master's thesis

2. Deinzer R., Schuller N. Dynamics of stress-related decrease of salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA): Relationship to symptoms of the common cold and studying behavior. Behavioral Medicine 1998;23:161169.

3. Han S.H. Effects of aromatherapy on headache, stress and immune response of students with tension-type headache. Seoul: The Catholic University of Korea; 2002.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation

4. Han S.S., Lee S.C. SPSS Nursing Health Statistical Analysis. Seoul: Hyunmoonsa; 2006.

5. Hwang J.H. The effect of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension. Journal of Korean Academy

of Nursing 2006;36:11231134.

6. Ju K.Y. The effect of aromatherapy on psychological stress and stress hormones in blood after maximal exercise. Seoul: Kookmin University; 2002.
Unpublished master's thesis

7. Kim J.S. A Study on stress, anxiety, mental health in high school students. Daejeon: Chungnam National University; 2001.
Unpublished master's thesis

8. Kim J.T., Shin D.K. A study based on the standardization of the STAI for Korea. The New Medicine Journal 1979;21(11):6975.

Lavender Essential Oil


by

Joie Power, Ph.D.


INFORMATIONAL MONOGRAPH LATIN NAME: Lavandula angustifolia (aka L. Vera; L. officinalis) COMMON NAME: LAVENDER (aka TRUE LAVENDER) FAMILY: Labiatae DESCRIPTION/HABITAT: True lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one member of a genus of 39 species of flowering plants of the mint family (Labiatae) that are considered "lavenders" and it is important not to confuse "true" lavender with other members of the Lavandula genus as their actions and properties are distinctly different. The Lavandula genus includes annuals, woody perennials and small shrubs. Lavandula angustifolia is a small, evergreen woody herb reported by most sources to be native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, tropical areas of Africa, southern India, and the area around modern day Iraq. Today, it is in medicinal use by indigenous people in Mexico, outside its region of origin, where it is mixed with the native Heimia salicifolia together with Tagetes lucida, and Rosmarinus officinalis as a bathing preparation used to aid women who are infertile (Ratsch, C., The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants, Park Street Press, 1998, p. 267). It seems logical that the plant would have been introduced by invading Europeans who brought it with them. Today, several species of lavender, including true lavender, grow wild in the alkaline soils of the mountainous regions of France. These types of poor soils produce the best plants for essential oil. The natural habitat of lavender is restricted to a relatively small area between 2,296 and 3,609 feet in the southern French Alps and this area is now the only source of true wild lavender (L. vera). The mountains around the French towns of Barles, Bayons and Barreme have long been important for the cultivation of lavender. The town of Digne-les-Bains is famous for its five day lavender festival, which draws members of the fragrance industry from all over the world. The area around Vaucluse also produces some fine lavender.

Lavender is commercially grown outside its native range in Europe, England, Australia, Russia, and America. Today, the major producers of the essential oil are in France, Bulgaria, Croatia and Russia. The French essential oils are generally regarded as the best. Lavender flowers produce abundant nectar and yield a high quality honey which is sold and marketed worldwide and this enterprise also makes an important economic contribution to those areas where lavender is grown. HISTORY: The name "lavender" is often said to come from the Latin word "lavare" meaning "to wash" because the Romans were known to use it in their baths. However, Sally Festing in The Story of Lavender (Festing, S., The Story of Lavender, Hyperion Books, 1985) suggests that the English name "lavender" most likely came from the Latin word "livendula" which means "bluish" and is the root of the word "livid". Lavender is one of the oldest medicinal herbs, having over 2500 years of recorded use. The Phoenicians and Egyptians had at least primitive methods of extracting the oil and used it in the mummification process. The lavender plant may have first been domesticated in Arabia well before the time of Jesus and was used there as an expectorant and antispasmodic. From Arabia, it was then carried by the Greeks and Romans, who used it to cure or ward off a host of illnesses. Eventually it reached France, Spain, Italy and England where it became well established as a remedy for stomach complaints and nervousness and as a cosmetic water to benefit the skin. It was used from very early times as a strewing herb for its deodorizing and disinfecting properties. It is also said to repel scorpions and is still used in parts of Europe for this purpose, where houses in the countryside will often have little bowls of lavender flowers resting on the window ledges. It was said to repel moths and to help prevent "mustiness" from mildew and it has a long history of use in sachets for drawers and closets. Dioscorides, the famous first century Greek physician, recommended lavender for "griefs of the thorax" and also noted that it relieved headaches, indigestion and sore throats when used internally and was good for treating wounds or burns and for skin conditions when used externally (Dioscorides, De Materia Medica, and c. 65 A.D.). It was often cited by Hildegard of Bingen, the famous 12th century mystic. It was one of her favorite herbs and she recommended it for migraine headaches, a use which has persisted into modern times, as well as for "maintaining a pure character". Later, it was one of the major ingredients of the so-called Thieves Vinegar used in the Middle Ages during the Plague and was also considered an aphrodisiac. The Pilgrims brought Lavender with them to the New World, although it reportedly did not grow well in the climate. According to some sources, the Shakers were the first to grow lavender commercially in the USA and Canada. By the 19th Century, doctors used lavender essential oil to treat headaches, memory loss, fainting, depression, and infertility in women. Maude Grieve, the famous 20th Century herbalist, offered an extensive treatise on various species of lavender in her Herbal and this has been the source of much of the historical information on this plant that is now widely quoted in many books and articles (including this one!). She mentions the use of Lavandula stoechas as a strewing herb used in the churches of Spain and Portugal as well as in bonfires on St. John's Day, when evil spirits were said to be about. Regarding the therapeutic actions and uses of lavender, she mentions its carminative and nervine properties and its use in depression, fatigue, snake bite, headache, loss of memory and an extensive array of other aliments. Grieve's entries on lavender are well worth reading (A Modern Herbal, Vol. II by Mrs. M. Grieve, Dover Edition, 1971). In addition to the impressive documented history of lavender, there are many other interesting stories. Lavender was said to have been brought out of the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve because of its beautiful flowers. However, according to one popular legend, it had no scent until

Mary laid the wet clothes of the infant Jesus on a lavender bush to dry: when the clothes were removed, the plant exuded its beautiful scent which it has kept to this day. Many scholars believe that lavender was the herb referred to in the Gospel of Luke which tells of Mary Magdalene applying a fragrant ointment to the feet of Jesus. Although in most translations the ointment is said to contain "spikenard", a name given today to an entirely different herb (Nardostachys jatamansi), the Greek name for lavender was "nardus" and the plant was often just called "nard" and possibly "spikenard". Legend says that Cleopatra used the lovely fragrance of lavender oil to seduce Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony but, of course, since this was before the time of Jesus, this story conflicts with the story cited above of how the lavender plant got its scent (but these are myths after all!). The Romans believed that asps (snakes) lived under lavender bushes and the asp that killed Cleopatra is said to have been found under one of her lavender plants. Maude Grieve, in A Modern Herbal, quotes a Dr. Fernie as saying that lavender was formerly believed to be the "habitual abode of snakes" . Lavender has been used as a "witch's herb" for many centuries. It is said to protect against evil eye, evil spirits and ghosts. In the esoteric texts of the Middle Ages it was said to be ruled by Jupiter, although some modern Wiccans place it under Mercury. Paul Beyerl, author of the well known Wiccan reference A Compendium of Herbal Magic, identifies it as an herb with associations to Saturn as well as Mercury and the sign of Virgo. (Beyerl, P. A Compendium of Herbal Magic, Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1998, p. 219. In the mythology of Greece, Lavandula stoechas was said to be one of the plants found in the Garden of Hecate. Hecate is a complex mythological character, said to be the immortal daughter of a Titan, who Zeus worshipped above all others and to whom he gave a part of the sky, the earth and the underworld so that she could be effective in each of those realms. She has been honored as a representation of the three fold goddess, manifesting in her various forms as Hecate, Artemis, and Selene. Persephone, the wife of Pluto, was also often considered to be a manifestation of Hecate. In modern ritual use lavender is considered primarily an herbe of fertility, love, protection and purification, and visionary abilities. It has very old uses in divining the identity of one's true love and is still used in this way. It is also used in handfasting and marriage rituals, and for smudging homes and aspurging magical circles and ritual spaces. Its use as a visionary herbe may stem from its ancient association with Hecate and her status as an archetype of shamanic abilities. Lavender is used in rituals to invoke Hecate, Jupiter, Saturn or Mercury. Paul Beyerl identifies it as an herbe to use for magical assistance in bringing any goal into manifestation. PARTS USED: The essential oil is distilled from the flower stalks and flowers. The best quality oil is distilled from just the flowers which are stripped from the stalks. In herbal medicine, the fresh or dried flowers are used in infusions, tinctures, or macerated oils. The fresh or dried flowers are also used in cooking and impart a delicious, distinctive flavor to cookies, sauces, and other dishes. BUYING PRECAUTIONS AND ADVICE: Lavender oil is frequently adulterated and even among unadulterated oils there is wide variation in quality so it's important to deal only with companies that specialize in supplying therapeutic quality oils and to consider the country of origin. Lavender grown in America is often nicely fragrant and can be used for fragrancing products but it will not have the therapeutic properties of a French or even an English or Bulgarian lavender. Lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia), which is more plentiful and therefore cheaper, is often passed off as "lavender"; this mistake can be avoided by looking for the botanical name. Between 1960 and 1992, the French production of lavender decreased from about 150 tons to 25 tons a year. Because the lavender industry provided the main employment for people living in many areas, the French government took steps to revive it. They introduced "improved"

varieties of lavender that were selected for greater vigor and higher yields of essential oil, which could be grown at lower altitudes, and which could be propagated by cuttings. These plants produce a good essential oil but it is not as good as the oil produced by the "original" wild plants. The best essential oil comes from the wild type lavender, which can be propagated only by seed and is grown only at the higher altitudes. This is called "fine" lavender. The fine lavender that is grown in some of the areas around Vaucluse, Drome, and Haute-Alpes that are above 2600 feet is given an official mark of quality by the French government. This mark is called the Appellation d'orgine Controlee (AOC). There is a maximum annual output of 25 tons of essential oil with this designation. This essential oil is not available from regular commercial retailers in the US and must be sought from small companies; it's hard to find and very expensive. Other fine lavenders which come from the same region but do not carry the AOC award are a little cheaper and easier to find: look for High Alpine or "Provence" lavenders from France. HARVESTING AND EXTRACTION: Flowers stalks are harvested in full bloom and during the hottest part of the day. The best oils come from flowers that are distilled immediately, with no drying or fermentation since fresh lavender yields more esters. The altitude of the distillery also influences the ester content due to the fact that water boils at a lower temperature at high altitudes and a lower distillation temperature captures and preserves esters. An absolute and concrete of lavender are also produced by solvent extraction for use in perfumery but should not used in aromatherapy. CHARACTERISTICS: Lavender oil is clear and colorless to pale yellow or yellowish green. It has a sweet, floral-herbaceous scent. Lavenders with noticeable camphor have a sharper, more penetrating smell. It feels slightly slick between the fingers and absorbs quickly. The taste is somewhat camphoraceous and sharp. BLENDING: Lavender essential oil has wonderful aromatic properties and blends well with most other essential oils, especially citrus and floral oils. It can aid in blending some challenging aromas, such as patchouli, pine, and tea tree. It helps also to soften the impact of oils that may be too stimulating for some people. ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS: This is a complex essential oil with over 100 constituents including linalyl acetate, linalool, lavandulol, lavandulyl acetate, terpineol, cineol, limonene, ocimene, pinene, caryophyllene, linalyl butyrate, geranyl acetate, camphor, coumarin, etc. The essential oils of lavender with a high ester content and relatively low cineol and camphor are preferred; French lavenders grown above 2000 feet yield these profiles if properly distilled. FREQUENTLY CITED THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS: analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, antitussive, calming/sedative, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue (mild), hypotensive, immune stimulant (leukocytosis), insecticide, nervine, stimulant (dose related), pulmonary antiseptic; sudorific, stomachic, sudorific, tonic (cardio and nervine), vulnerary, increases gastric secretions and peristalsis FREQUENTLY CITED USES: Internal (for discussion purposes only; not recommended except under medical supervision): Amenorrhea, anorexia, asthma, colic, cough, cystitis, poor digestion, earache, enteritis, eruptive fevers, flatulence, headache, hypertension, irritability, melancholy, nervous indigestion, neurasthenia, infection, insomnia, measles, migraine, nausea, intestinal parasites, tension, ulcers, vertigo External: abscesses, abdominal cramps, acne, anxiety, athlete's foot, arthritis, boils, bronchitis, bruises, burns, catarrh, cellulite, colds/flu, colic, dandruff, debility, depression, dermatitis/eczema, dysmenorrheal, flatulence, headache, hypertension, insect bites, insomnia,

leucorrhoea (intra-vaginal use not recommended except with professional supervision), muscular aches and pain, neuralgia, psoriasis, rheumatism, scalds, scanty periods, scars, sinus congestion/infection, sores, spasmodic coughing, sprains, stress, sunburn, thread veins, toothache, minor wounds Lavender essential oil is described as one of the most versatile essential oils and a wide range of therapeutic uses is reported. It is described as having outstanding cooling, soothing, and calming properties which make it useful in conditions involving inflammation, spasm, pain and restlessness. Lavender can be used alone but, like all essential oils, may be optimally effective when used in a blend. NOTE: LAVENDER MUST BE USED IN THE APPROPRIATE DOSE TO ACHIEVE BEST RESULTS. 4 DROPS OR LESS PER APPLICATION PRODUCES A RELAXING, BALANCING EFFECT. WHEN MORE THAN 4 DROPS ARE GIVEN IN A TWO HOUR PERIOD, LAVENDER MAY LOOSE ITS BALANCING AND CALMING EFFECT AND CAN BECOME TOO STIMULATING, LEADING TO RESTLESSNESS AND ANXIETY. Lavender essential oil is credited with being a welcome component in remedies for colds/flu and other respiratory conditions because of its reported abilities to fight infection, support the immune system, ease muscle and joint aches, reduce inflammation, relax the mind and body, and quell restlessness. It is said to help the body to rest and heal and to overcome exhaustion. For colds and flu, it has been recommended to blend lavender with marjoram to help relieve body aches and with eucalyptus to fight infection and help clear the respiratory system. A mixture of lavender and tea tree oil put in the diffuser is said to help prevent the spread of infection. Inhalations of lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus and lemon may help clear the patient's head and nose and fight infection in the whole respiratory system (make a mixture of 2 parts lavender essential oil to one part of any or all of the other ingredients and put 1 to 3 drops of this mixture into a bowl of steaming water; the aroma should be barely detectable; repeat as desired at 3 hour intervals). A "massage" oil made by blending 4 drops of lavender and 2 drops of marjoram in a tablespoon of carrier oil (such as grapeseed oil) and applied gently to the body, especially around the joints, may help to relieve the body pain and aches that can accompany colds and flu. Do not actually "massage" someone who has a cold, the flu, or other respiratory infection - just gently rub a little of the "massage" oil into the skin, either where there is pain or on the chest and throat, where the vapors will rise towards the face and be inhaled. If the patient is strong enough for a warm bath, 4 drops of lavender and 2 drops of marjoram can be mixed in a tablespoon of whole milk or honey and added to the bath water. Take care when bathing a person who is weak and debilitated - fainting can occur easily and without warning. Lavender also blends well with Ravensara and this combination may be useful in cases of colds/flu and other respiratory infections. Lavender has been described as having remarkable balancing effects on the central nervous system (provided it's used in proper doses, as noted above) and as being an outstanding choice for people who are suffering from stress, tension, insomnia, nervous exhaustion and related depression. It is described as calming and soothing to the nervous system and the body-mind and its reputed tonic properties are believed to help overcome exhaustion and apathy. Lavender blended with Frankincense may help to overcome fatigue and nervous exhaustion. Its calming and sedative properties are said to be enhanced by combining it with other reportedly calming oils such as Roman chamomile, marjoram, and neroli. Citrus oils and other floral oils are believed to enhance its ability to uplift the spirit and combat depression. A beautiful blend for nervous exhaustion can be made with lavender, frankincense, and petitgrain. Lavender essential oil is widely used for all kinds of muscular aches and pains and arthritis. It combines well for these purposes with German chamomile, Roman chamomile, cajuput, eucalyptus, and marjoram. For menstrual cramps and other pain caused by smooth muscle spasm (such as stomach cramps or gall bladder pain), try a combination of lavender, bergamot, Roman chamomile and a smaller amount of peppermint applied as a warm compress (put three drops of your mixture in a soup bowl of warm water, soak a clean rag in this, wring it out and apply it over the abdomen). When using essential oils in a warm (never hot) compress be sure to monitor for skin irritation, since heat increases the potential for this. Although some practitioners advise covering the compress with plastic wrap, I prefer to use a clean, dry towel.

Or, blend a few drops of this mixture with a vegetable oil at proper dilutions and applied over the painful area. A single drop of lavender rubbed on each temple or the base of the skull is often reported as being effective for relieving headaches, including migraines - some, but not all, people reportedly get better results from 1 drop of lavender combined with 1 drop of peppermint; this is one of the rare applications where essential oils are used undiluted. SELECTED RESEARCH: Note: Proper evaluation of research findings is a complex process which requires appropriate training in research design and methodology as well as statistics. Many variables may confound an investigation's results and limit the applicability or generalization of results. In any field of research one will find conflicting results and one way in which scientists attempt to resolve and understand these conflicts is by evaluating the appropriateness of the project's design and execution. In the field of aromatherapy, one thing that has especially hampered attempts to reconcile conflicts in research findings is that investigators rarely specify the source of the essential oils used in their study and since the quality of essential oils varies greatly and has an enormous impact on the results achieved this is a significant problem. Another problem in determining the actions and efficacious uses of essential oils arises from the fact that a significant amount of what is described in references on aromatherapy has been taken either from tradition or research in the broader field of herbal medicine and is based on the actions and uses of other herbal preparations (such as teas, tinctures or whole herbs) of the plants in question. Also, many studies cited in the aromatherapy literature have been based on individual components (so-called "active" constituents) isolated from whole essential oils. While these types of studies are not without merit, I have purposely chosen to limit this section to studies that have employed whole essential oils. This section is by no mean exhaustive Moss M, Cook J, et al, "Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differentially Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults", International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 113, Issue 1, Jan. 2003, pp. 15-38: Results suggest that olfactory presentation of lavender essential oil decreased performance on cognitive tasks while rosemary oil produced mixed results (performance on some measures was enhanced compared to controls while on other measures it was degraded); the rosemary group was found to have greater alertness than the control or lavender groups, while both the lavender and rosemary groups reported better mood than controls. The authors conclude that the olfactory properties of essential oils can produce objective effects on cognitive performance and subjective effects on mood. Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, et al, "Aromatherapy: evidence for the sedative effects of the essential oil of lavender after inhalation", Naturforsch C. 1991, Nov-Dec; 46 (11-12): pp 1067 - 72. Inhalation of lavender essential oil was found to reduce caffeine-induced hyperactivity in mice to near-normal motility. The reduction showed a correlation with serum linalool levels and the authors conclude that the study provides support for the aromatherapeutic use of herbal pillows to facilitate falling asleep and to reduce stress. Saeki Y, "The effect of foot-bath with or without essential oil of lavender on the autonomic nervous system: a randomized trial", Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, 2000, Vol. 8, Issue 1, pp. 2-7. Subjects sat with their feet soaking in hot water, with or without lavender essential oil, for ten minutes during which electrocardiogram, finger-tip blood flow and respiration were recorded; autonomic function was evaluated using spectral analysis of heart rate variability. The foot baths caused no changes in heart rate or respiratory rate but produced a significant increase in blood flow. On spectral analysis, the parasympathetic activity increased significantly during both types of foot-bath. In the lavender foot-bath, there were delayed changes to the balance of autonomic activity in the direction associated with relaxation. Soden K, Vincent K, et al, "A randomized controlled trial of aromatherapy massage in a hospice setting", Palliative Medicine, 2004, Vol. 18, No. 2, 87-92. Forty-two patients were randomly assigned to receive massage with or without lavender essential oil added to the inert massage

base. Outcome measures include a Visual Analog Scale of pain intensity, a sleep scale, an anxiety and depression scale, and symptom checklist. No significant long-term effects were found for lavender essential oil in terms of improving pain control, anxiety or quality of life. Sleep scores improved in both groups and depression scores improved in the massage-only groups. The authors conclude that lavender essential oil did not increase the beneficial effects of massage. Bardeau F., "Utillisation d'HE aromatiques pour purifier et desodoriser l'air (Use of essential aromatic oils to purify and deodorize the air", Le Chirurgien-dentiste de France, 1976, Sept 29; 46 (319): 53 Vaporized essential oils and their capacity to destroy bacteria such as Proteus, Staph. Aureus, Strep. Pyrogenes and others were examined. Oils which were found to be the most effective in destroying air borne bacteria included clove, lavender, lemon, marjoram, mint, niaouli, pine, rosemary, and thyme. Piccaglia R, Deans S G, et al, "Biological activity of essential oils from lavender, sage, winter savory, and thyme of Italian origin", 1993 Programme Abstracts 24th International Symposium on Essential Oils. The oils were tested for antimicrobial activity against 25 species including food poisoning types and human disease pathogens. All oils showed good activity against the majority of the bacteria. Lavender was most effective against Clostridium sporogenes. Imberger I, Rupp J, et al, "Effect of Essential Oils on Human Attentional Processes" 1993 Programme Abstracts 24th International Symposium on Essential Oils, The authors investigated the effects of inhaled jasmine and lavender on human attentional processes. The excitatory effects of jasmine and sedative effects of lavender were clearly indicated in the results of vigilance tests. No effects were demonstrated regarding alertness as measured by reaction time. Dale A, Cornwall S, "The role of lavender oil in relieving perineal discomfort following childbirth: a blind randomized clinical trial", Journal of Advanced Nursing, 1994, 19:89-96. 635 women participated in a clinical trial to asses the possible benefits of adding lavender oil to daily bath water for the first 10 days following childbirth. Subjects were assigned to one of 3 groups: one in which 6 drops of lavender essential oil was added, one with the addition of an inert aromatic substance, and one with synthetic lavender oil. Analysis of daily discomfort scores showed no significant differences between the groups. The authors concluded that lavender essential oil was not effective in this application. SAFETY DATA: Lavender essential oil is generally considered non-toxic, non-irritant, and nonsensitizing in normal doses. However, at least one author has reported that it can cause dermatitis (J.A. Duke, 1985, cited in Aromatherapy for Health Professionals by Shirley and Len Price, 2nd Edition, 1999). Also, as with most essential oils, the potential for skin irritation increases as the product oxidizes with age. An article in the Feb1, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reported one researcher's concern that products containing lavender and/or tea tree essential oils may have been responsible for abnormal breast development in three pre-pubertal boys. Each of these boys had used a product, such as a soap or hair product, containing one or both of these essential oils and the author hypothesized that since these oils have a weak hormonal effect in vitro, they could have caused the abnormal growth in the boys. This article received a lot of press and has raised concerns for some about the use of these oils, despite the fact that the study was poorly designed and not well controlled. The Aromatherapy Trade Council (Great Britain) has published a critique of the study and dismisses the conclusions of the original article as unfounded. My review of both articles suggests that the study was poorly designed and I feel that it's unlikely that the abnormal breast growth was caused by either lavender or tea tree oil. However, I would like to see further, better designed research on this issue. COMMENTS: Lavender is relaxing at low doses (4 drops or less) but stimulating at higher doses. Also, when using it as an anti-inflammatory, use low concentrations (less than 1%) as in higher

concentrations it may over-stimulate circulation. For muscular complaints use concentrations of 2 to 4%. Gabriel Mojay calls it an "aromatic Rescue Remedy" because it acts to calm any strong emotion that threatens to overwhelm the Mind (Gabriel Mojay, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, 1997). *This information is provided for educational interest and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Copyright 2010 Joie Power, Ph.D. / The Aromatherapy School | All Rights Reserved

Gestin del estrs con aromaterapia Estudios cientficos sobre el efecto ansioltico de los aceites esenciales de lavanda y limn Un estudio llevado a cabo sobre el aceite esencial de lavanda concluye que el linalol es el constituyente responsable de la actividad ansioltica de la lavanda (PubMed 17173962), otro estudio compara el efecto del aceite de lavanda al del diazepan (PubMed 17289317). Tambin existe otra publicacin cientfica sobre el efecto antidepresivo y ansioltico de la esencia de limn (PubMed 16780969).