A randomized, controlled cross-over trial of dermally-applied lavender (lavandula angustifolia) oil as a treatment of agitated behaviour in dementia

Journal article


O'Connor, Daniel W., Eppingstall, Barbara, Taffe, John and van der Ploeg, Eva S.. (2013) A randomized, controlled cross-over trial of dermally-applied lavender (lavandula angustifolia) oil as a treatment of agitated behaviour in dementia. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 13(315), pp. 1 - 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-315
AuthorsO'Connor, Daniel W., Eppingstall, Barbara, Taffe, John and van der Ploeg, Eva S.
Abstract

Background: Lavender essential oil shows evidence of sedative properties in neurophysiological and animal studies but clinical trials of its effectiveness as a treatment of agitation in people with dementia have shown mixed results. Study methods have varied widely, however, making comparisons hazardous. To help remedy previous methodological shortcomings, we delivered high grade lavender oil in specified amounts to nursing home residents whose agitated behaviours were recorded objectively.

Methods: 64 nursing home residents with frequent physically agitated behaviours were entered into a randomized, single-blind cross-over trial of dermally-applied, neurophysiologically active, high purity 30% lavender oil versus an inactive control oil. A blinded observer counted the presence or absence of target behaviours and rated participants’ predominant affect during each minute for 30 minutes prior to exposure and for 60 minutes afterwards.

Results: Lavender oil did not prove superior to the control oil in reducing the frequency of physically agitated behaviours or in improving participants’ affect.

Conclusions: Studies of essential oils are constrained by their variable formulations and uncertain pharmacokinetics and so optimal dosing and delivery regimens remain speculative. Notwithstanding this, topically delivered, high strength, pure lavender oil had no discernible effect on affect and behaviour in a well-defined clinical sample.

Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN 12609000569202)

Keywordslavender; dementia; behaviour; mood; randomised controlled trial
Year2013
JournalBMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Journal citation13 (315), pp. 1 - 7
PublisherBiomed Central Ltd
ISSN1472-6882
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-13-315
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84887366792
Open accessOpen access
Page range1 - 7
Research GroupInstitute for Health and Ageing
Publisher's version
License
Grant IDnhmrc/545843
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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