To Blend or Not to Blend? Anxiety Buffering Effects of Essential Oil Aromas

Sophie Swinburne, Samantha Bowerbank, Mark Moss*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Essential oils of pure lavender and lavender blends have been employed as
potential anxiolytic aromas in aromatherapy, but a direct comparison of their
effectiveness is lacking. The current study investigated the effects of aroma on
induced anxiety in non-clinical adults, comparing pure lavender, a commercially
available blend and a no aroma control. An experimental, quantitative,
mixed factorial design with an opportunity sample of 60 participants was employed. Participants were randomly allocated to three equal groups, one
tested in a room infused with lavender aroma, the second with the doTerra
Peace® blend, and the third free from any aroma. Participants’ state anxiety
scores were measured before and after a novel video-based anxiety induction
procedure. Data analysis revealed that the anxiety induction was successful
and that both aromas delivered small to medium-sized buffering effects
compared to no aroma. The findings add to a small body of research in an
area where the practice is global yet has limited scientific evaluation. Future
studies utilising brain imaging and blood serum analysis to investigate the
anxiolytic mechanism of aromas would be beneficial to further our understanding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-414
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Journal of Plant Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date31 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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