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Aromatherapy in dementia

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clive Ballard


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The use of plant essential oils in aromatherapy has been recorded for thousands of years, but until recently there was very little formal evidence regarding the use of these treatments in people with dementia. Over the past few years a number of clinical trials have compared aromatherapy, principally using either lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis) or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), with inactive treatment. All of these studies demonstrated a significant impact on behavioural problems in patients with dementia, with negligible side-effects. However, there is still not sufficient evidence to recommend widespread use in clinical practice and the key question of whether these treatments can provide a viable alternative to existing pharmacological agents needs to be addressed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holmes C, Ballard C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advances in Psychiatric Treatment

Year: 2004

Volume: 10

Issue: 4

Pages: 296-300

Print publication date: 01/07/2004

ISSN (print): 1355-5146

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1481

Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists


DOI: 10.1192/apt.10.4.296


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