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Aromatherapy

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Annonaceae (family), aromatherapy massage, bergamot, Cananga odorata, chamomile, Citrus aurantium, clary sage, essential oils, geranium, grapefruit, inhalation, inunction, lavender, lavender oil, lavender vera, Lavendula officinalis, lemon balm, Melaleuca alternifolia, mandarin, massage therapy, meditation, Melissa officinalis, myrrh, neroli, orange, peppermint, relaxation therapy, Roman chamomile, rose, sandalwood, Santalum album, sitz bath, sweet orange, tea tree, vetivert, ylang ylang oil.
  • Note: See separate monographs on chamomile, lavender, massage, meditation, and relaxation therapy.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Aromatherapy is a loosely applied term that refers to several modalities that deliver essential oils to the body. While the root, "aroma," points to olfaction as the main mode of intervention, methods involving direct application to the skin for absorption are also sometimes referred to as aromatherapy.
  • Essential oils (also known as aromatic oils) are usually mixed with a "carrier" oil, usually a vegetable oil (such as soy, evening primrose, or almond), or weakened (diluted) in alcohol before being applied to the skin, sprayed in the air, or inhaled.
  • Massage is a common means of delivering oils into the body through the skin, and aromatherapists consider it to be the most effective method to deliver essential oils.
  • There is no formal training or licensing procedure for aromatherapists in the United States. Aromatherapy is offered by a wide range of practitioners with licenses in other fields, including massage therapists, chiropractors, and other disciplines.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.