Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of ajtcamLink to Publisher's site
Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2012; 9(4): 503–518.
Published online 2012 July 1.
PMCID: PMC3746639

Aromatherapy as an Adjuvant Treatment in Cancer Care — A Descriptive Systematic Review


Claims of benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients include reduced anxiety levels and relief of emotional stress, pain, muscular tension and fatigue. The objective of this paper is to provide an updated descriptive, systematic review of evidence from pre-clinical and clinical trials assessing the benefits and safety of aromatherapy for cancer patients. Literature databases such as Medline (via Ovid), the Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Cochrane Central were searched from their inception until October 2010. Only studies on cancer cells or cancer patients were included. There is no long lasting effect of aromatherapy massage, while short term improvements were reported for general well being, anxiety and depression up to 8 weeks after treatment. The reviewed studies indicate short-term effects of aromatherapy on depression, anxiety and overall wellbeing. Specifically, some clinical trials found an increase in patient-identified symptom relief, psychological wellbeing and improved sleep. Furthermore, some found a short-term improvement (up to 2 weeks after treatment) in anxiety and depression scores and better pain control. Although essential oils have generally shown minimal adverse effects, potential risks include ingesting large amounts (intentional misuse); local skin irritation, especially with prolonged skin contact; allergic contact dermatitis; and phototoxicity from reaction to sunlight (some oils). Repeated topical administration of lavender and tea tree oil was associated with reversible prepubertal gynecomastia.

Keywords: aromatherapy, essential oil, massage, cancer, review


Aromatherapy encompasses the use of essential oils derived from different types of plant sources for a variety of application methods. Generally, the whole fresh plant (not crushed or powdered) is used for the essential oil distillation process. The specific ingredients of an essential oil are derived from plant materials or parts that are claimed to possess therapeutic properties. Essential oils are “the steam distillate of aromatic plants” (Tisserand and Balacs, 1995). They have been described as “the volatile, organic constituents of fragrant plant matter and contribute to both flavor and fragrance and are extracted either by distillation or by cold pressing (expression)” (Tisserand and Balacs, 1995). The history of distillation of essential oils started with the medieval physician Avicenna (Abu Ali al-Hussein Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina; 980 – 1037) from Persia who invented the process of distillation and was probably the first to distil oil of the rose plant (Tisserand, 1988). Today, approximately 40 different oils derived from plants are used in aromatherapy. Lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, chamomile, marjoram, jasmine, peppermint, lemon, ylang ylang, and geranium are some of the most popular.

The term ‘aromatherapy’ was coined by French chemist and perfumiér René Maurice Gattefossé in the 1920s and is a subcategory of ‘herbal medicine’ (Gattefosse, 1993). Gattefossé's book was published in 1937. He suggested that aromatherapy could be used to treat diseases in virtually every organ system, citing mostly anecdotal and case-based evidence. In the 1960s, aromatherapy was revived by the French homeopath Dr. Maury, and in the 1980s it increased in popularity in the United States. It is fairly well-established in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and the UK.

There are various forms of application. Most commonly, oils are applied topically in diluted forms, often together with a carrier oil as part of massage therapy to manipulate the soft tissue of the body, or by using an incense burner for inhalation of the aroma. Essential oils may be inhaled by adding a few drops to steaming water, thereafter an atomizer or humidifier spreads the aroma throughout the room. Certain aromatherapy oils are also ingested through teas, whereas others can be added to bathwater or pillows, or used to make ointments, creams and compresses. Some aromatherapists argue that the use of certain herbs in food can also be considered part of aromatherapy, although this should be considered as a specific alimentation rather than a precise use as essential oils.

Essential oils are supposed to improve physical and emotional wellbeing ( A wide range of claims for the effect of certain oils have been put forward, ranging from: to affect a patient's “subtle body”; bring balance to a distinct “chakra”; restore harmony to the “energy flow”; become centered; contribute to “spiritual growth”; alter mood and improve overall health; to more specific claims such as having anticonvulsive and spasmolytic properties ( It has been suggested that the topical application of aromatic oils may exert antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.

For cancer patients, claims of benefits include reduced anxiety levels and relief of emotional stress, pain, muscular tension and fatigue (Fellowes et al, 2004). Some of these alleged outcomes are vaguely defined.

The chemical properties and composition of a specific type of oil gives it whatever therapeutic qualities the essential oil might have. A number of theories try to explain the mechanism of action of aromatherapy and essential oils. The most often cited is the proposed connection between olfaction and the limbic system in the brain as the basis for the effects of aromatherapy on mood and emotions (Smith, 1999). These assertions have been contested by the biochemistry and psychology communities, which take a different view of the possible mechanism of action of odors on the human brain and do not differentiate the odors produced by essential oils from those of synthetic fragrances (Perry and Perry, 2006). Little is said about proposed mechanisms for its effects on other parts of the body. Unfortunately, many of these assumptions are primarily theoretical because of the lack of significant research addressing this topic. There is also a lack of in-depth neurophysiological studies on the nature of olfaction and its link to the limbic system.

An individual's expectation and subjective perception of oil supposedly influences treatment outcomes, including whether or not an individual has previous experience with a particular scent and whether it is perceived as pleasurable ( Marked association of odors with emotional response has been shown to be due to the prominence of afferent links from the olfactory bulb to the amygdala, where emotional significance is attached to incoming stimuli (Clark and Boutros, 1999).

Neuro-chemical aspects involve a suggested inhibition of glutamate binding, γ-amiobutyric acid (GABA) augmentation and acetylcholine receptor binding. As an example, the main terpenoid component of lavender oil is linalool. Linalool has been shown to inhibit glutamate binding in rats (Watt, 1995) and inhaled lavender oil reduces electroshock-induced convulsions in mice, which suggests augmentation of GABA (Yamada et al, 1994). Linalool's inhibitory effect was demonstrated to be dose dependent with increasing concentrations; all response was abolished by the use of 6.5 mM linalool. This modifying effect on the glutamatergic system is comparable with phenobarbital, a known anticonvulsant (Elisabetsky et al, 1995). Further evidence for this mechanism comes from the finding of a potentiation of GABA receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes by lavender oil components (Aoshima et al, 2001).

It has been suggested that compounds from essential oils may enter the body (via the olfactory mucosa or the bloodstream by lung absorption) and may directly influence the brain (Watt, 1995). It is suggested that there are scent receptors in the nose which send chemical messages via the olfactory nerve to the brain's limbic region. This in return can affect a person's emotional responses, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing.

Generally speaking, the application of aromatherapy is suggested to help patients cope with stress, chronic pain, nausea and depression. One can assume both direct effects of the oils, but also positive expectations of the patients. Furthermore it has been suggested that the use of essential oils can relieve bacterial infections (Geda, 1995), stimulate the immune system (Komori et al, 1995), help to fight colds, flues and sore throats (Hasani et al, 2003), improve urine production (Morimoto and Shibata, 2010), increase circulation (Shiina et al, 2008) and aid in the healing of cystitis (Eriksen, 2000), herpes simplex (Buckle, 2002), acne (Eriksen, 2000), headaches (Eriksen, 2000), indigestion (Schnaubelt, 1999), premenstrual syndrome (Eriksen, 2000), muscle tension (Lis-Balchin et al, 2000), and even cancer (Fellowes et al, 2004). Specific indications can only be discussed by choosing a selected number of essential oils.

In Australia, three surveys showed that up to 1% of cancer patients used aromatherapy (Girgis et al, 2005, Salminen et al, 2004, Correa-Velez et al, 2003). In Canada, two surveys revealed that up to 4% of cancer patients used it (Tough et al, 2002, McKay et al 2005). In Italy, Spain and Turkey prevalence ranges from <1 to 2% (Johannessen et al, 2008, Fernandez-Ortega et al, 2008, Akyuz et al, 2007). In contrast, six surveys carried out in the UK showed that 40.6% of cancer patients were using it (Lewith et al., 2002, Maher et al., 1994, Rees et al., 2000, Harris et al., 2003, Scott et al., 2005, Shakeel et al., 2008). A US survey revealed that 11% of cancer patients may be using aromatherapy and in New Zealand 6% (Lawsin et al., 2007, Chrystal et al., 2003). However, it is unclear whether this usage is a specific anti-cancer intervention or simply to increase general well-being and thus life-style associated rather than a therapeutic approach. One could assume that a similar percentage of healthy individuals is using essential oil, too.

Since aromatherapy can also be applied orally or rectally, the administration of such oils may not be legally permitted in several countries, unless it is applied by a medically qualified person. There may be legal issues resulting from the fact that diluted essential oils can “penetrate the skin”, which could be considered as administering a drug. This review was carried out as a project for the European CAM cancer consortium ( and includes studies which assess the effect of aromatherapy on its own or in conjunction with massage therapy. The objective of this paper is to provide an updated review of evidence from pre-clinical and clinical trials assessing the benefits and safety of aromatherapy for cancer patients.


Literature databases such as Medline (via Ovid), the Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Cochrane Central were searched from their inception until October 2010. The main search terms were ‘aromatherapy’ AND ‘cancer’. For specific literature search procedures see Table 1 (OVID) and Table 2 (Cochrane Central and Cochrane database of systematic reviews). As this review was supposed to be comprehensive, we decided to also include results from pre-clinical studies on cancer cells. Thus, studies on cancer cells or cancer patients were included. The quality of publications was assessed by looking at the internal validity (study design and conduct), external validity (applicability and generalizability of results) and summarizing the direction of evidence (positive, uncertain, negative).

Table 1
OVID search strategy and results Ovid MEDLINE(R) In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and Ovid MEDLINE(R) 1950 to Present
Table 2
Cochrane Central and Cochrane database of systematic reviews


One systematic review, 18 clinical trials and a selected number of pre-clinical trials are summarized here. Further data are presented in Tables 3 and and4.4. Safety aspects are also discussed.

Table 3
Results — extracted data of included studies
Table 4
Results — preclinical studies

Systematic reviews

Yim et al (2009) carried out a systematic review specifically including trials for aromatherapy for depression (Yim et al., 2009). They included six studies applying aromatherapy massage in patients with depression. Three of the included studies evaluated the benefit of Swedish massage (two with lavender oil) for depressive symptoms of patients with cancer (mainly women with breast cancer). Results showed significant short term-improvement in anxiety and/or depression compared with usual care. No effect sizes were described. According to the authors this might be explained by an induction of a relaxation response in the autonomic nervous system. However, there was no adequate control intervention (i.e., massage without essential oils), and thus the relevance of this finding remains elusive.

Clinical trials

All clinical studies which applied essential oils with or without massage to cancer patients were included. For the data selection process see flow diagram. A total of 18 clinical studies have been included in this review (Barclay et al., 2006; Chang 2008; Corner et al., 1995; Evans, 1995; Graham et al., 2003; Gravett, 2001a,b; Hadfield, 2001; Imanishi et al., 2009; Kirshbaum 1996, Kite et al., 1998, Louis & Kowalski 2002, Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2009, Soden et al., 2004, Stringer et al., 2008, Wilcock et al., 2004; Wilkinson et al., 1999; Wilkinson et al., 2007). Nine are randomised controlled studies (Barclay et al., 2006; Chang 2008; Corner et al., 1995; Maddocks-Jennings et al., 2009; Soden et al., 2004; Stringer et al., 2008; Wilcock et al., 2004; Wilkinson et al., 1999; Wilkinson et al., 2007), two are controlled (Graham et al., 2003; Louis and Kowalski 2002), three are uncontrolled (Gravett, 2001a,b; Hadfield, 2001) and four are case series (Evans, 1995; Imanishi et al., 2009; Kirshbaum, 1996; Kite et al., 1998) (see Table 3). The evidence of these trials points to a short-term benefit of aromatherapy / essential oils which could possibly last up to 2 weeks with reduction in anxiety and depression scores, improved sleep and an overall increase in wellbeing. Some of these trials also found an increase in patient-identified symptom relief and psychological wellbeing. However, other trials did not report any significant difference between groups. Since the comparator interventions used in the included trials vary greatly, it is not possible to assess the system and component efficacy of specific essential oils. The quality of publications ranged from mediocre to low. Double-blinding is practically impossible in the field of aromatherapy.

In conclusion, existing evidence provides weak evidence that aromatherapy might have some short-term effects on anxiety and depression, and possibly on pain relief. However, it is unclear whether this is a matter of positive expectation or a pharmacologically mediated effect.

Pre-clinical trials

There is considerable published research available on the in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity of a number of essential oils. Furthermore, the cytotoxic, free radical scavenging, carcinogenetic, apoptosis inducing and anti-neoplastic effects of a number of essential oils has been investigated in pre-clinical trials (Gould, 1997). For a summary of the selected pre-clinical studies see Table 4 (Abe et al., 2003; de Sousa et al., 2004; Legault et al., 2007; Ait Mbarek et al., 2007a, b; Horvathova et al., 2007; Atsumi et al., 2007; Banerjee et al., 1994; Li et al., 2004; Xiao et al., 2008; Paik et al., 2005; Crowell et al., 1992). However, the concentrations applied in the respective studies might not be comparable to those in conventional aromatherapy, either volatile or directly resorbed.

Safety aspects

It is generally accepted by aromatherapists that a safe and effective dilution for most aromatherapy/essential oils in massage therapy is a maximum of 2.5 % for adults, which translates to 2 drops of essential oil per 100 drops of carrier oil (2% dilution: 10–12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil). For full-body baths, the dosage of essential oil is usually 5–10 drops per bath. As long as practitioners know how to dilute them, non-toxic essential oils used on the skin are unlikely to harm the patient.

The testing of essential oils for safety has shown minimal adverse effects. A number of oils have therefore been approved for use as food additives and are classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US Food and Drug Administration). There is, however, a risk involved with ingestion of large amounts of essential oils. For instance, severe, extensive, life threatening phototoxic reactions, such as the case of a woman who died of a massive phototoxic skin reaction, have been described after ingestion of food and medication containing psoralen and subsequent exposure to artificial UV radiation (Kaddu et al., 1998).

Some essential oils (e.g. camphor oil) can cause local irritation. The main safety issue with essential oils seems to be that cases of contact dermatitis have been reported, mostly in aromatherapists who have had prolonged skin contact with oils in the context of aromatherapy massage. In a mailed 2004 survey including members of a national massage therapy organization in the greater Philadelphia region found that the 12-month prevalence of hand dermatitis in subjects was 15% by self-reported criteria and 23% by a symptom-based method (Crawford et al., 2004). This problem had also been reported much earlier in the UK (Bilsland and Strong, 1990).

It has been suggested that since fragrance ingredients are still major causes of allergic contact dermatitis, the concentration of essential oils and materials with unknown composition can be problematic (Jansson and Loden 2001). Moreover, phototoxicity may occur when essential oils (particularly citrus oils) are applied directly to the skin before sun exposure (Kaddu 2001). Individual psychological associations with odors may result in adverse responses, especially if the memory of a scent provokes strong emotions (Holmes and Ballard 2004).

Repeated exposure to lavender and tea tree oils by topical administration was shown in one study to be associated with reversible prepubertal gynecomastia (Henley et al., 2007). The respective effect appears to have been caused by the purported weak estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities of lavender and tea tree oils. Therefore, these two essential oils could cause problems in patients with estrogen-dependant tumors. A review on the safety assessment of St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) oil concluded that the available data are insufficient to support the safety of ingredients from this plant in cosmetic formulations (Anonymous, 2001).


Findings on the interventional use of aromatherapy in cancer patients suggests a short-term benefit to reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep and increase overall wellbeing; this effect has been suggested to last up to 2 weeks. Some of the trials also found an increase in patient-identified symptom relief and psychological wellbeing. However, other trials did not report any significant difference between groups. Since the comparator interventions used in the included trials vary greatly, it was not possible to make an easy assessment regarding the system and component efficacy of specific essential oils. Although there were some RCT, the quality of publications ranges from mediocre to low. In particular, double-blinding as a quality marker of clinical trials is nearly impossible in trials in the field of aromatherapy, and thus study quality tends to be lower compared to conventional pharmacological trials. Moreover, adequate control interventions are needed. For example, massage therapy generally has a positive effect on the recipient and most positive effects discussed above stem from trials that in adjunction apply essential oils. Thus, it is difficult to be certain as to where exactly the reason for a positive effect lies. However, wellbeing and offering these effects in a package are of limited harm and thus some cancer clinics or other voluntary organizations now offer aromatherapy or aromatherapy massage free of charge or at a lower cost.

The cost of essential oils varies depending on the quality, i.e. what part of the plant the oil is extracted from and which method that was used to extract it. Oils may be purchased from a licensed aromatherapist. For instance, essential oil from rose petals retails at €100 per ounce (appr. 28 grams) - based on the 110 pounds (50 kg) of rose petals needed for a single ounce of essential oil. Other plants retail at much lower prices as they yield more essential oil (for instance lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus). Lavender can be bought at €22 per ounce. Treatments of aromatherapy usually are priced from €40 to €75 for a 90 minute session.

The number of theories that try to explain the mechanism of aromatherapy can be categorized into psychological aspects and neuro-chemical effects. Proposed mechanisms claim effects on the limbic and olfactory system, which in turn is suggested to have an effect on mood (Diego et al., 1998). However, only very limited research confirms effectiveness or mechanism of action and in-depth studies have yet to shed sufficient light on these possible mechanisms and the connection between the olfactory and limbic system. Proponents of essential oils / aromatherapy also believe that the effects these oils have on the body are greater than the sum of the individual components of the scents (Perry and Perry, 2006). Furthermore, there are various discussions amongst aromatherapists as to whether natural oils are superior to synthetic ones. Currently, there are no references to scientific studies of the issue.


The limitations of this descriptive, systematic review include the fact that despite modern search engines and well-organized literature databases sometimes it is impossible to identify all the ‘grey literature’ regarding one topic. Thus, it is possible that the one or other study or case series is not included in this review. For instance, the medical search engine EMBASE was not searched. Furthermore, outcome measures and study designs of included studies varied to an extent that meta-analyzing the data was omitted due to heterogeneity.

As providers of essential oils are numerous and widespread in countries where aromatherapy is practiced, mainly on the European, North American, Australasian and Asian continents, comparability in trials with the same substance still may result in different outcomes. Moreover, training of aromatherapists and courses offered by some colleges and schools do not have a concerted curriculum which also includes a potential source of bias.


In summary, the use of diluted essential oils has minimal risks. Prolonged topical application may nevertheless cause allergic contact dermatitis. Repeated exposure to lavender and tea tree oils by topical administration was shown in one study to be associated with reversible prepubertal gynecomastia. Thus, patients with estrogen-dependant tumors should exercise caution. Aromatherapy/essential oils may be used safely by cancer patients for a short-term benefit in regard to reducing anxiety and depression symptoms and to increase sleep patterns and wellbeing.

Figure 1
Flow diagram


We would like to thank the reviewers, Petter Viksveen and all the steering committee members of the European CAM cancer consortium for their valuable contribution to this piece of research. A small grant (€ 1250) was received by KB from the European CAM cancer consortium for carrying out the review.


1. Abe S, Maruyama N, Hayama K, Ishibashi H, Inoue S, Oshima H, Yamaguchi H. Suppression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced neutrophil adherence responses by essential oils. Mediators of Inflammation. 2003;12(6):323–328. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Ait Mbarek L, Ait Mouse H, Elabbadi N, Bensalah M, Gamouh A, Abouatima R, Benharref A, Chait A, Kamal M, Dalal A, Zyad A. Anti-tumor properties of blackseed (Nigella sativa L.) extracts. Brazilian Journal of Medical & Biological Research. 2007;40(6):839–847. [PubMed]
3. Ait Mbarek L, Ait Mouse H, Jaafari A, Aboufatima R, Benharref A, Kamal M, Bénard J, El Abbadi N, Bensalah M, Gamouh A, Chait A, Dalal A, Zyad A. Cytotoxic effect of essential oil of thyme (Thymus broussonettii) on the IGR-OV1 tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy. Brazilian Journal of Medical & Biological Research. 2007;40(11):1537–1544. [PubMed]
4. Akyuz A, Dede M, Cetinturk A, Yavan T, Yenen MC, Sarici SU, Dilek S. Self-application of complementary and alternative medicine by patients with gynecologic cancer. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2007;64(2):75–81. [PubMed]
5. Final report on the safety assessment of Hypericum perforatum extract and Hypericum perforatum oil. International Journal of Toxicology. 2001;20(Suppl 2):31–39. Anonymous. [PubMed]
6. Aoshima H, Hossain SJ, Hamamoto K, Yokoyama T, Yamada M, Shingai R. Kinetic analyses of alcohol-induced potentiation of the response of GABA(A) receptors composed of alpha(1) and beta(1) subunits. J Biochem. 2001;130(5):703–709. [PubMed]
7. Atsumi T, Tonosaki K, Atsumi T, Tonosaki K. Smelling lavender and rosemary increases free radical scavenging activity and decreases cortisol level in saliva. Psychiatry Research. 2007;150(1):89–96. [PubMed]
8. Banerjee S, Sharma R, Kale RK, Rao AR. Influence of certain essential oils on carcinogenmetabolizing enzymes and acid-soluble sulfhydryls in mouse liver. Nutrition & Cancer. 1994;21(3):263–269. [PubMed]
9. Barclay J, Vestey J, Lambert A, Balmer C. Reducing the symptoms of lymphoedema: is there a role for aromatherapy? Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2006;10(2):140–149. [PubMed]
10. Bilsland D, Strong A. Allergic contact dermatitis from the essential oil of French marigold (Tagetes patula) in an aromatherapist. Contact Dermatitis. 1990;23(1):55–56. [PubMed]
11. Buckle J. Clinical aromatherapy and AIDS. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2002;13(3):81–99. [PubMed]
12. Chang SY. Effects of Aroma Hand Massage on Pain, State Anxiety and Depression in Hospice Patients with Terminal Cancer. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2008;38(4):493–502. [PubMed]
13. Chrystal K, Allan S, Forgeson G, Isaacs R. The use of complementary/alternative medicine by cancer patients in a New Zealand regional cancer treatment centre. N Z Med J. 2003;116(1168):296. [PubMed]
14. Clark DL, Boutros NN. The Brain and Behaviour: An Introduction to Behavioural Neuroanatomy. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 1999.
15. Clark SM, Wilkinson SM. Phototoxic contact dermatitis from 5-methoxypsoralen in aromatherapy oil. Contact Dermatitis. 1998;38(5):289–290. [PubMed]
16. Corner J, Cawler N, Hildebrand S. An evaluation of the use of massage and essential oils on the wellbeing of cancer patients. Int J Palliat Nurs. 1995;1(2):67–73.
17. Correa-Velez I, Clavarino A, Barnett AG, Eastwood H. Use of complementary and alternative medicine and quality of life: changes at the end of life. Palliat Med. 2003;17(8):695–703. [PubMed]
18. Crawford GH, Katz KA, Ellis E, James WD. Use of aromatherapy products and increased risk of hand dermatitis in massage therapists. Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(8):991–996. [PubMed]
19. Crowell PL, Kennan WS, Haag JD, Ahmad S, Vedejs E, Gould MN. Chemoprevention of mammary carcinogenesis by hydroxylated derivatives of d-limonene. Carcinogenesis. 1992;13(7):1261–1264. [PubMed]
20. de Sousa AC, Alviano DS, Blank AF, Alves PB, Alviano CS, Gattass CR. Melissa officinalis L. essential oil: antitumoral and antioxidant activities. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2004;56(5):677–681. [PubMed]
21. Diego MA, et al. Aromatherapy positively affects mood, EEG patterns of alertness and math computations. International Journal of Neuroscience. 1998;96(3–4):217–224. [PubMed]
22. Elisabetsky E, Marschner J, Souza DO. Effects of linalool on glutamatergic system in the rat cerebral cortex. Neurochem Res. 1995;20(4):461–465. [PubMed]
23. Eriksen Marlene. Healing with Aromatherapy. Los Angeles: Keats Publishing; 2000.
24. Evans B. An audit into the effects of aromatherapy massage and the cancer patient in palliative and terminal care. Complement Ther Med. 1995;3(4):239–241.
25. Fellowes D, Barnes K, Wilkinson S. Aromatherapy and massage for symptom relief in patients with cancer. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2004;(3) doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002287.pub2. Art. No.: CD002287.pub2. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
26. Fernandez-Ortega P, Sanfrancisco A J, Chirveches P E, Sánchez L C. Estudie multicentrico nacional de prevalencia en el uso de terapias complementarias (TC)/alternativas por el enfermo oncologico. nuevos ambitos socioculturales. 2008 (Fre).
27. Gattefosse RM. Gattefosse's Aromatherapy. Essex, England: CW Daniel; 1993.
28. Geda A. Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their combinations. Fat Sci Tech. 1995;97:458–460.
29. Girgis A, Adams J, Sibbritt D. The use of complementary and alternative therapies by patients with cancer. Oncol Res. 2005;15(5):281–289. [PubMed]
30. Gould MN. Cancer chemoprevention and therapy by monoterpenes. Environmental Health Perspectives. 1997;105(Suppl 4):977–979. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
31. Graham PH, Browne L, Cox H. Inhalation aromatherapy during radiotherapy: results of a placebocontrolled double-blind randomized trial. J Clin Oncol. 2003;21(12):2372–2376. [PubMed]
32. Gravett P. Aromatherapy treatment for patients with Hickman line infection following high-dose chemotherapy. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 2001a;11(1):18–19.
33. Gravett P. Treatment of gastrointestinal upset following high-dose chemotherapy. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 2001b;11(2):84–86.
34. Hadfield N. The role of aromatherapy massage in reducing anxiety in patients with malignant brain tumours. Int J Palliat Nurs. 2001;7(6):279–285. [PubMed]
35. Harris P, Finlay IG, Cook A, Thomas KJ, Hood K. Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with cancer in Wales: a cross sectional survey. Complement Ther Med. 2003;11(4):249–253. [PubMed]
36. Hasani A, Pavia D, Toms N, Dilworth P, Agnew JE. Effect of aromatics on lung mucociliary clearance in patients with chronic airways obstruction. J Altern Complement Med. 2003;9(2):243–249. [PubMed]
37. Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, et al. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 2007;356(5):479–485. [PubMed]
38. Holmes C, Ballard C. Aromatherapy in dementia. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 2004;10:296–300.
39. Horvathova E, Turcaniova V, Slamenova D. Comparative study of DNA-damaging and DNA-protective effects of selected components of essential plant oils in human leukemic cells K562. Neoplasma. 2007;54(6):478–483. [PubMed]
42. [March 22nd 2011].
46. Imanishi J, Kuriyama H, Shigemori I, Watanabe S, Aihara Y, Kita M, Sawai K, Nakajima H, Yoshida N, Kunisawa M, Kawase M, Fukui K. Anxiolytic effect of aromatherapy massage in patients with breast cancer. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine: eCAM Mar. 2009;6(1):123–128. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
47. Jansson T, Loden M. Strategy to decrease the risk of adverse effects of fragrance ingredients in cosmetic products. American Journal of Contact Dermatitis. 2001;12(3):166–169. [PubMed]
48. Johannessen H, von Bornemann HJ, Pasquarelli E, Fiorentini G, Di CF, Miccinesi G. Prevalence in the use of complementary medicine among cancer patients in Tuscany, Italy. Tumori. 2008;94(3):406–410. [PubMed]
49. Kirshbaum M. Using massage in the relief of lymphoedema. Prof Nurse. 1996;11(4):230–232. [PubMed]
50. Kite SM, Maher EJ, Anderson K, Young T, Young J, Wood J, Howells N, Bradburn J. Development of an aromatherapy service at a Cancer Centre. Palliat Med. 1998;12(3):171–180. [PubMed]
51. Komori T, Fujiwara R, Tanida M, Nomura J, Yokoyama MM. Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states. Neuroimmunomodulation. 1995;2:174–180. [PubMed]
52. Lawsin C, DuHamel K, Itzkowitz SH, Brown K, Lim H, Thelemaque L, Jandorf L. Demographic, medical, and psychosocial correlates to CAM use among survivors of colorectal cancer. Support Care Cancer. 2007;15(5):557–564. [PubMed]
53. Legault J, Pichette A, Legault J, Pichette A. Potentiating effect of beta-caryophyllene on anticancer activity of alpha-humulene, isocaryophyllene and paclitaxel. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmacology. 2007;59(12):1643–1647. [PubMed]
54. Lewith GT, Broomfield J, Prescott P. Complementary cancer care in Southampton: a survey of staff and patients. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2002;10(2):100–106. [PubMed]
55. Li Y, Li MY, Wang L, Jiang ZH, Li WY, Li H. [Induction of apoptosis of cultured hepatocarcinoma cell by essential oil of Artemisia Annul L.] Sichuan da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban/Journal of Sichuan University Medical Science Edition. 2004;35(3):337–339. [PubMed]
56. Lis-Balchin M, Hart SL, Deans SG. Pharmacological and antimicrobial studies on different tea-tree oils (Melaleuca alternifolia, Leptospermum scoparium or Manuka and Kunzea ericoides or Kanuka), originating in Australia and New Zealand. Phytother Res. 2000;14(8):623–629. [PubMed]
57. Louis M, Kowalski SD. Use of aromatherapy with hospice patients to decrease pain, anxiety, and depression and to promote an increased sense of well-being. Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2002;19(6):381–386. [PubMed]
58. Maddocks-Jennings W, Wilkinson JM, Cavanagh HM, Shillington D, Maddocks-Jennings W, Wilkinson JM, Cavanagh HM, Shillington D. Evaluating the effects of the essential oils Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) and Kunzea ericoides (kanuka) on radiotherapy induced mucositis: a randomized, placebo controlled feasibility study. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2009;13(2):87–93. [PubMed]
59. Maher EJ, Young T, Feigel I. Complementary therapies used by patients with cancer. BMJ. 1994;309(6955):671–672. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
60. McKay DJ, Bentley JR, Grimshaw RN. Complementary and alternative medicine in gynaecologic oncology. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2005;27(6):562–568. [PubMed]
61. Morimoto Y, Shibata Y. Effects of various fragrant ingredients on desmopressin-induced fluid retention in mice. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2010;130(7):983–987. [PubMed]
62. Paik SY, Koh KH, Beak SM, Paek SH, Kim JA, Paik S-Y. The essential oils from Zanthoxylum schinifolium pericarp induce apoptosis of HepG2 human hepatoma cells through increased production of reactive oxygen species. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 2005;28(5):802–807. [PubMed]
63. Perry N, Perry E. Aromatherapy in the management of psychiatric disorders: clinical and neuropharmacological perspectives. CNS Drugs. 2006;20(4):257–280. [PubMed]
64. Rees RW, Feigel I, Vickers A, Zollman C, McGurk R, Smith C. Prevalence of complementary therapy use by women with breast cancer. A population-based survey. Eur J Cancer. 2000;36(11):1359–1364. [PubMed]
65. Salminen E, Bishop M, Poussa T, Drummond R, Salminen S. Dietary attitudes and changes as well as use of supplements and complementary therapies by Australian and Finnish women following the diagnosis of breast cancer. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004;58(1):137–144. [PubMed]
66. Schnaubelt K. Medical Aromatherapy: Healing With Essential Oils. Berkeley, CA: Frog Ltd; 1999.
67. Scott JA, Kearney N, Hummerston S, Molassiotis A. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in patients with cancer: a UK survey. Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2005;9(2):131–137. [PubMed]
68. Shakeel M, Newton JR, Bruce J, Ah-See KW. Use of complementary and alternative medicine by patients attending a head and neck oncology clinic. J Laryngol Otol. 2008;122(12):1360–1364. [PubMed]
69. Shiina Y, Funabashi N, Lee K, Toyoda T, Sekine T, Honjo S, Hasegawa R, Kawata T, Wakatsuki Y, Hayashi S, Murakami S, Koike K, Daimon M, Komuro I. Relaxation effects of lavender aromatherapy improve coronary flow velocity reserve in healthy men evaluated by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography. Int J Cardiol. 2008;129(2):193–197. Epub 2007 Aug 8. [PubMed]
70. Smith A. The Olfactory Process and its Effect on Human Behavior. Biology 202 Second Web Reports On Serendip. 1999
71. Soden K, Vincent K, Craske S, Lucas C, Ashley S. A randomized controlled trial of aromatherapy massage in a hospice setting. Palliat Med. 2004;18(2):87–92. [PubMed]
72. Stringer J, Swindell R, Dennis M, Stringer J, Swindell R, Dennis M. Massage in patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy reduces serum cortisol and prolactin. Psycho-Oncology. 2008;17(10):1024–1031. [PubMed]
73. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential oil safety. London: Churchill Livingstone; 1995.
74. Tisserand R. Essential oils as psychotherapeutic agents. In: Van Toller S, Dodd GH, editors. Perfumery: The Psychology and Biology of Fragrance. New York, NY: Chapman and Hall; 1988. pp. 167–180.
75. Tough SC, Johnston DW, Verhoef MJ, Arthur K, Bryant H. Complementary and alternative medicine use among colorectal cancer patients in Alberta, Canada. Altern Ther Health Med. 2002;8(2):54–62. [PubMed]
76. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, author. Official Code of Federal Regulations. 21 C.F.R. Section 582.20.
77. Watt M. Essential oils. Their lack of skin absorption but effectiveness via inhalation. Aromatic Thymes. 1995;3(2):11–13.
78. Wilcock A, Manderson C, Weller R, Walker G, Carr D, Carey AM, Broadhurst D, Mew J, Ernst E. Does aromatherapy massage benefit patients with cancer attending a specialist palliative care day centre? Palliat Med. 2004;18(4):287–290. [PubMed]
79. Wilkinson S, Aldridge J, Salmon I, Cain E, Wilson B. An evaluation of aromatherapy massage in palliative care. Palliat Med. 1999;13(5):409–417. [PubMed]
80. Wilkinson SM, Love SB, Westcombe AM, Gambles MA, Burgess CC, Cargill A, Young T, Maher EJ, Ramirez AJ. Effectiveness of aromatherapy massage in the management of anxiety and depression in patients with cancer: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2007;25(5):532–539. [PubMed]
81. Xiao Y, Yang FQ, Li SP, Hu G, Lee SM, Wang YT. Essential oil of Curcuma wenyujin induces apoptosis in human hepatoma cells. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2008;14(27):4309–4318. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
82. Yamada K, Mimaki Y, Sashida Y. Anticonvulsive effects of inhaling lavender oil vapour. Biol Pharm Bull. 1994;17(2):359–360. [PubMed]
83. Yim VW, Ng AK, Tsang HW, Leung AY. A review on the effects of aromatherapy for patients with depressive symptoms. J Altern Complement Med. 2009;15(2):187–195. [PubMed]

Articles from African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines are provided here courtesy of African Traditional Herbal Medicine Supporters Initiative