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The scented liquid taken from certain plants using steam or pressure. Essential oils contain the natural chemicals that give the plant its "essence" (specific odor and flavor). Essential oils are used in perfumes, food flavorings, medicine, and aromatherapy.

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Aromatherapy with the use of essential oils has been studied in cancer patients to help with symptom relief. Read about how aromatherapy massage or inhalation of essential oils have reduced symptoms in cancer patients in this expert-reviewed summary.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: June 7, 2018

Aromatherapy research with cancer patients has studied the effect of essential oils on anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and other health conditions. Learn more about aromatherapy use as a complementary therapy in this expert-reviewed summary.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: August 7, 2018

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this review is to systematically evaluate the effects of an essential-oil mouthwash (EOMW) compared to a chlorhexidine mouthwash with respect to plaque and parameters of gingival inflammation.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2011

This review assessed the effects of mouthrinse containing essential oils on gingivitis and plaque. The authors concluded that mouthrinse containing essential oils used as an adjunct to unsupervised dental hygiene provided an additional benefit on both outcomes compared with a placebo or control. This conclusion reflects the evidence of the review and appears likely to be reliable.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2007

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this review was to systematically evaluate the effects of an alcohol vehicle solution (V-Sol) compared with an essential-oils mouthwash (EOMW) and if available with a water-based control (WC) on plaque, gingival inflammation parameters and extrinsic tooth staining.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

OBJECTIVE: Sleep disturbances are recognized as an important health and public health problem that affects physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being. Inhalation of essential oils may be a safe alternative to pharmaceutical interventions for mild to moderate sleep disturbances. Quantitative human studies on the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep that were published between 1990 to 2012 were reviewed.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2014

Dementia is a progressive illness which mainly affects older people. Previous research from observational studies has suggested that increased consumption of fish oils rich in omega‐3 long‐chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega‐3 PUFA) may reduce the chance of developing dementia, while other studies show no effect. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are a rich source of omega‐3 PUFA which are essential for brain development.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: June 13, 2012

Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils from fragrant plants (such as peppermint, sweet marjoram, and rose) to help relieve health problems and improve the quality of life in general. The healing properties of aromatherapy are claimed to include promotion of relaxation and sleep, relief of pain, and reduction of depressive symptoms. Hence, aromatherapy has been used to reduce disturbed behaviour, to promote sleep, and to stimulate motivational behaviour of people with dementia. Of the seven randomised controlled trials that we found, only two trials including 186 people had useable data. The analysis of these two small trials showed inconsistent effects of aromatherapy on measures of agitation, behavioural symptoms and quality of life. More large‐scale randomised controlled trials are needed before firm conclusions can be reached about the effectiveness of aromatherapy for dementia.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: February 25, 2014

Aromatherapy draws on the healing power of plants with the use of essential oils to enhance physical and mental wellbeing. The oils may be massaged into the skin, in a bath or inhaled using a steam infusion or burner. The pain of labour can be intense, with tension, fear and anxiety making it worse. Many women would like to labour without using drugs, or invasive methods such as an epidural, and turn to complementary therapies to help reduce their pain perception Many complementary therapies are tried and include acupuncture, mind‐body techniques, massage, reflexology, herbal medicines or homoeopathy, hypnosis, music and aromatherapy. The review identified two randomised controlled trials of aromatherapy. One trial involving 513 women compared one of Roman chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, lavender or mandarin essentials oils with standard care. The aromatherapy was applied using acupressure points, taper, compress, footbath, massage or a birthing pool. The second trial involved 22 women randomised to bathe for at least an hour in water with either essential oil of ginger or lemongrass added. All women received routine care and had access to pain relief. The trials found no difference between groups for pain intensity, assisted vaginal birth, caesarean section or the use of pharmacological pain relief (epidural). Overall, there is insufficient evidence from randomised controlled trials about the benefits of aromatherapy on pain management in labour. More research is needed.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: July 6, 2011

Pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and newborn care: a guide for essential practice (3rd edition) (PCPNC), has been updated to include recommendations from recently approved WHO guidelines relevant to maternal and perinatal health. These include pre-eclampsia & eclampsia; postpartum haemorrhage; postnatal care for the mother and baby; newborn resuscitation; prevention of mother-to- child transmission of HIV; HIV and infant feeding; malaria in pregnancy, interventions to improve preterm birth outcomes, tobacco use and second-hand exposure in pregnancy, post-partum depression, post-partum family planning and post abortion care.

World Health Organization.

Version: 2015

The study found that supervised person-centred care, communication skills and dementia-care mapping, as well as sensory therapy activities and structured music therapies, reduce agitation in care-home dementia residents. Health and social care costs were between £7000 and £15,000 depending on the severity of agitation. Further work is required to investigate interventions for agitation for use with people with dementia living in their own homes.

Health Technology Assessment - NIHR Journals Library.

Version: June 2014

AIM: This systematic review was aimed at critically evaluating the evidence regarding the adverse effects associated with aromatherapy.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2012

This guideline has been developed to advise on supporting people with dementia and their carers in health and social care. The guideline recommendations have been developed by a multidisciplinary team of health and social care professionals, a person with dementia, carers and guideline methodologists after careful consideration of the best available evidence. It is intended that the guideline will be useful to practitioners and service commissioners in providing and planning high-quality care for those with dementia while also emphasising the importance of the experience of care for people with dementia and carers.

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK).

Version: 2007

This review assessed the effects of essential fatty acid (EFA) supplements on atopic dermatitis (AD). The authors concluded that there was no evidence that EFA supplements improve AD. Full details of the review methods were not reported, but the authors' conclusions appear to follow from the evidence presented.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet] - Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK).

Version: 2004

Topics in Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies gives a brief description of some of these therapies used by people with cancer. Links to additional information, references, and resources on the NCI website are provided in this summary for clinicians.

PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet] - National Cancer Institute (US).

Version: June 27, 2018

Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a chronic inflammatory itchy skin condition that develops in early childhood in the majority of cases. It is typically an episodic disease of exacerbation (flares, which may occur as frequently as two or three per month) and remissions, except for severe cases where it may be continuous. Certain patterns of atopic eczema are recognised. In infants, atopic eczema usually involves the face and extensor surfaces of the limbs and, while it may involve the trunk, the napkin area is usually spared. A few infants may exhibit a discoid pattern (circular patches). In older children flexural involvement predominates, as in adults. Diagnostic criteria are discussed in Chapter 3. As with other atopic conditions, such as asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever), atopic eczema often has a genetic component. In atopic eczema, inherited factors affect the development of the skin barrier, which can lead to exacerbation of the disease by a large number of trigger factors, including irritants and allergens. Many cases of atopic eczema clear or improve during childhood while others persist into adulthood, and some children who have atopic eczema `will go on to develop asthma and/or allergic rhinitis; this sequence of events is sometimes referred to as the ‘atopic march’. The epidemiology of atopic eczema is considered in Chapter 5, and the impact of the condition on children and their families/caregivers is considered in Sections 4.2 and 4.3.

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health (UK).

Version: December 2007

People with cancer may experience symptoms such as pain, anxiety, or distress. Massage with or without aromatherapy (using essential oils, which are natural oils that may have the odour of the plant from which it was extracted) may help relieve these symptoms. Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure. Massage is given using a carrier oil (base oil or vegetable oil) with or without essential oils. Massage with essential oils such as rose or lavender oil is known as aromatherapy massage.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: June 3, 2016

Psoriasis is a common, chronic disease, which for many people, is associated with profound functional, psychological and social morbidity and important comorbidities. Effective treatments are available. Some treatments are expensive; all require appropriate monitoring and some may only be accessed in specialist care settings. Evidence indicates that a substantial proportion of people with psoriasis are currently dissatisfied with their treatment.

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Clinical Guideline Centre (UK).

Version: October 2012

This guideline has been developed to advise on the short-term physical and psychological management and secondary prevention of self-harm in primary and secondary care. The guideline recommendations have been developed by a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals, patients and their representatives, and researchers after careful consideration of the best available evidence. It is intended that the guideline will be useful to clinicians and service commissioners in providing and planning high quality care for those people who self-harm while also emphasising the importance of the experience of care for service users and carers.

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK).

Version: 2004

The guideline on Borderline Personality Disorder, commissioned by NICE and developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, sets out clear, evidence- and consensus-based recommendations for healthcare staff on how to treat and manage borderline personality disorder.

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK).

Version: 2009

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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