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Concept: Aromatherapy


Patchouli is used as an incense material and essential oil. The characteristic odor of patchouli leaves results from the drying process used in their production; however, there have to date been no reports on the changes in the odor of patchouli leaves during the drying process. We investigated the aroma profile of dried patchouli leaves using the hexane extracts of fresh and dried patchouli leaves. We focused on the presence or absence of the constituents of the fresh and dried extracts, and the differences in the content of the common constituents. Fourteen constituents were identified as characteristic of dried patchouli extract odor by gas chromatography-olfactometry analysis. The structures of seven of the 14 constituents were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (α-patchoulene, seychellene, humulene, α-bulnesene, isoaromadendrene epoxide, caryophyllene oxide, and patchouli alcohol). The aroma profile of the essential oil obtained from the dried patchouli leaves was clearly different from that of dried patchouli. The aroma profile of the essential oil was investigated by a similar method. We identified 12 compounds as important odor constituents. The structures of nine of the 12 constituents were determined by gas chromatographymass spectrometry (cis-thujopsene, caryophyllene, α-guaiene, α-patchoulene, seychellene, α-bulnesene, isoaromadendrene epoxide, patchouli alcohol, and corymbolone). Comparing the odors and constituents demonstrated that the aroma profile of patchouli depends on the manufacturing process.

Concepts: Olfaction, Drying, Perfume, Odor, Essential oil, Aroma compound, Aromatherapy, Patchouli


OBJECTIVE:Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is high among children and youth with chronic illnesses. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence and patterns of CAM use in 10 subspecialty clinics in Canada and to compare CAM use between 2 geographically diverse locations.METHODS:This survey was carried out at 1 Children’s Hospital in western Canada (Edmonton) and 1 Children’s Hospital in central Canada (Ottawa). Questionnaires were completed by parents in either French or English.RESULTS:Although demographic characteristics of the 2 populations were similar, CAM use at the western hospital was 71% (n = 704) compared with 42% (n = 222) at the central hospital (P < .0001). Most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they feel comfortable discussing CAM in their clinic. The most common CAM products currently used were multivitamins/minerals, herbal products, and homeopathic remedies. The most common CAM practices currently used were massage, chiropractic, relaxation, and aromatherapy. Eighty adverse effects were reported, and 55 (68.8%) of these were self-assessed as minor.CONCLUSIONS:Results of this study indicate that CAM use is high among pediatric specialty clinic outpatients and is much greater in the western than in the central hospital. Most respondents felt that their CAM use was helpful with few or no harms associated. Many patients, using CAM alongside their conventional medicines, are still not discussing their CAM use with their physicians and are increasing the likelihood for potential interactions and preventable harms.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Ayurveda, Physician, Pediatrics, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Aromatherapy


Abstract Objectives: The objective of this pilot study was to determine the effectiveness of a mixture of essential oils (peppermint, basil, and helichrysum) on mental exhaustion, or moderate burnout (ME/MB) using a personal inhaler. Design: This was a randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study. Data were collected 3 times a day for 3 weeks (Monday-Friday). The first week was baseline for both groups, the second week was intervention (aromatherapy or placebo), and the third week was washout. Settings/location: Participants used a personal inhaler at home or at work. Subjects: The subjects comprised a convenience sample of 13 women and 1 man who each had self-assessed ME/MB. Interventions: Participants were randomized to receive a personal inhaler containing either a mixture of essential oils or rose water (as used in Indian cooking). Outcome measures: The outcome measures were a 0-10 scale with 10=worst feeling of burnout, 0=no feeling of burnout. There was a qualitative questionnaire rating aroma and a questionnaire listing perceived stressors. Results: While both groups had a reduction in perception of ME/MB, the aromatherapy group had a much greater reduction. Conclusions: The results suggest that inhaling essential oils may reduce the perceived level of mental fatigue/burnout. Further research is warranted.

Concepts: Psychology, Effectiveness, Perception, Mind, Essential oil, Oil, Rose, Aromatherapy


Melissa officinalis L. (lemon balm) is normally consumed as an infusion and presents therapeutic properties, such as sedative, carminative and antispasmodic, also being included in some pharmaceutical preparations. The phenolic profiles of different samples of lemon balm, prepared as infusions, were evaluated by HPLC-DAD-ESI/MS. The profiles were compared in order to understand the differences between cultivated, in vitro cultured and commercial (bags and granulated) samples. All the samples showed a similar phenolic profile, presenting differences only in the quantities found of each compound. Rosmarinic acid was the most abundant compound, being higher in commercial samples, especially in tea bag sample (55.68mg/g of infusion) and lower in in vitro cultured sample (15.46mg/g). Moreover, dimers, trimers and tetramers of caffeic acid were identified and quantified for the first time in lemon balm. Only one flavonoid, luteolin-3'-O-glucuronide was found in all the samples, ranging from 8.43mg/g in commercial granulate sample to 1.22mg/g in in vitro cultured sample. Overall, cultivated and in vitro cultured samples presented the lowest amounts of phenolic compounds (59.59 and 30.21mg/g, respectively); otherwise, commercial samples showed the highest contents (109.24mg/g for tea bag and 101.03mg/g for granulate sample). The present study shows that infusion of lemon balm can be a source of phenolic compounds, known for their bioactive effects.

Concepts: Tea, Phenols, Essential oil, Lemon, Rosmarinic acid, Aromatherapy, Lemon balm, Melissa


Frankincense has been known, traded and used throughout the ages for its exceptional aroma properties, and is still commonly used in both secular and religious settings to convey a pleasant odor. Surprisingly, the odoriferous principle(s) underlying its unique odor profile have never been published. In this study, resin samples of Boswellia sacra Flueck. from both Somalia and Oman were investigated by aroma extract dilution analysis. In a comprehensive, odor-activity guided approach both chemo-analytical and human-sensory parameters were used to identify odor active constituents of the volatile fraction of B. sacra. Among the key odorants found were α-pinene, β-myrcene, linalool, p-cresol and two unidentified sesquiterpenoids. Overall, a total of 23 odorants were detected and analyzed by gas chromatography-olfactometry and heart-cut two-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry. The majority of the identified odorant compounds were oxygenated monoterpenes, along with some relevant mono- and sesquiterpenes and only one diterpenoid substance. Several of these compounds were reported here for the first time as odorous constituents in B. sacra. Identifying bioactive compounds might support a better understanding with regard to the potential benefits of frankincense, for example in aromatherapy or ecclesial settings.

Concepts: Olfaction, Perfume, Odor, Aroma compound, Flavors, Aromatherapy, Body odor, Frankincense


BACE-1 is an aspartic protease involved in the conversion of amyloid precursor protein (APP) to amyloid-β (Aβ) in vivo, which is one of the key steps in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In a previous screening procedure for inhibitors of BACE-1 activity, the oil of Lavandula luisieri was identified as the most potent among several essential oils. The inhibitory effect of this essential oil on Aβ production was also demonstrated in a cellular assay. The composition of the volatile oil and the isolation of the compound responsible for the inhibitory activity were also reported. The present work focused on the characterization of the inhibition of BACE-1 by this active compound, a monoterpene necrodane ketone, 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylenecyclopent-2-enone (1), with assessment of its Ki value and the type of inhibition. The dose-related effects of the compound were also evaluated using two different cell lines, with determinations of the respective EC50 values. The entire oil and the 2,3,4,4-tetramethyl-5-methylenecyclopent-2-enone (1) were tested on a triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. The overall results showed that compound 1 displayed a dose-dependent inhibition of BACE-1 in cellular and mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease and is therefore capable of passing through cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Amyloid precursor protein, Essential oil, Oil, Oils, Lavender, Presenilin, Aromatherapy


Clinical aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that may be very helpful for elderly dementia care. Aromatherapy may reduce the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD), improve quality of care, and thus improve the quality of life for people with dementia. In this pilot study, aroma hand massage therapy was used for elderly patients in a medical institution in Japan. The study assessed the effectiveness and safety of clinical aromatherapy as part of routine integrative care among people with dementia in a clinical care setting.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Clinical trial, Ayurveda, Effectiveness, 2002 albums, Psychiatry, Aromatherapy


The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) is growing in the general population. Herbal medicines are used in all countries of the world and are included in the top CAM therapies used.

Concepts: Medicine, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, Traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional medicine, Aromatherapy


BACKGROUND: A majority of reproductive-age women experience a constellation of various symptoms in the premenstrual phase, commonly known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Despite its prevalence, however, no single treatment is universally recognized as effective, and many women turn to alternative approaches, including aromatherapy, a holistic mind and body treatment. The present study investigated the soothing effects of aromatherapy on premenstrual symptoms using lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), a relaxing essential oil, from the perspective of autonomic nervous system function. METHODS: Seventeen women (20.6 +/- 0.2 years) with mild to moderate subjective premenstrual symptoms participated in a randomized crossover study. Subjects were examined on two separate occasions (aroma and control trials) in the late-luteal phases. Two kinds of aromatic stimulation (lavender and water as a control) were used. This experiment measured heart rate variability (HRV) reflecting autonomic nerve activity and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) as a psychological index before and after the aromatic stimulation. RESULTS: Only a 10-min inhalation of the lavender scent significantly increased the high frequency (HF) power reflecting parasympathetic nervous system activity in comparison with water (aroma effect: F = 4.50, p = 0.050; time effect: F = 5.59, p = 0.017; aroma x time effect: F = 3.17, p = 0.047). The rate of increase in HF power was greater at 10–15 min (p = 0.051) and 20–25 min (p = 0.023) in the lavender trial than in the control trial with water. In addition, POMS tests revealed that inhalation of the aromatic lavender oil significantly decreased two POMS subscales—depression–dejection (p = 0.045) and confusion (p = 0.049)—common premenstrual symptoms, in the late-luteal phase, as long as 35 min after the aroma stimulation. CONCLUSIONS: 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. This study further implies that HRV could evaluate the efficacy of aromatherapy using various fragrances to relieve premenstrual symptoms, and ultimately, support the mind and body health of women.

Concepts: Nervous system, Brain, Crossover study, Autonomic nervous system, Parasympathetic nervous system, Essential oil, Lavender, Aromatherapy


Preclinical studies have recently highlighted that bergamot essential oil (BEO) is endowed with remarkable neurobiolological effects. BEO can affect synaptic transmission, modulate electroencephalographic activity and it showed neuroprotective and analgesic properties. The phytocomplex, along with other essential oils, is also widely used in aromatherapy to minimize symptoms of stress-induced anxiety and mild mood disorders. However, only limited preclinical evidences are actually available. This study examined the anxiolytic/sedative-like effects of BEO using an open field task (OFT), an elevated plus-maze task (EPM), and a forced swimming task (FST) in rats. This study further compared behavioural effects of BEO to those of the benzodiazepine diazepam. Analysis of data suggests that BEO induces anxiolytic-like/relaxant effects in animal behavioural tasks not superimposable to those of the DZP. The present observations provide further insight to the pharmacological profile of BEO and support its rational use in aromatherapy.

Concepts: Psychology, Activity, Essential oil, Oil, Oils, Bergamot orange, Aromatherapy