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International Poster Journal of Dentistry and Oral Medicine



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Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 14 (2012), No. 1     15. Mar. 2012

Int Poster J Dent Oral Med 2012, Vol 14 No 1, Poster 579

Psycho-Aromatherapy: A Review

Language: English

Assist. Prof. Dr. Santosh Shanbhog Vrishabhendraiah, M.B.B.S., M.D.,
Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Basaveshwara Medical College, Hospital and Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India
Reader Dr. Shilpa Busnur Jayadevappa,
Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, S.J.M. Dental College and Hospital, Department of Oral medicine and Radiology, Chitradurga, Karnataka, India

16-01-2011 to 19-01-2011
63rd Annual National Conference of Indian Psychiatric Society.
The Ashok Hotel, Delhi


Aromatherapy is defined as "the art of healing of Mind, Body and Spirit" with the essential oils (EO's), the scented natural remedies found in aromatic plants. It is a form of complimentary alternative medicine that uses volatile liquid plant materials, known as EO's and other aromatic compounds of plants for the purpose of affecting a persons mood or health. AMA classifies aromatherapy as "Psycho-Somatic". Aromatherapy is currently used worldwide in the management of psychiatric disorders like chronic pain, depression, anxiety and, some cognitive disorders, bipolar disorders, stress-related disorders and sleep disorders. Aromatherapy is not a cure but it can improove mood and decrease stress.


  • It dates back thousands of years, and was initially used as a spiritual practice.
  • Ancient Chinese, Indian,Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures used aromatic scents and oils to attract gods and ward off evil spirits.
  • Valnet essential oil was used on wounds in Indo-China war.
  • Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1920 coined the term "Aromatherapy".
  • In 19th century, citrus plant oil was used for mood alteration in china.
  • In late 20th century, Basil oil was used for strghthening and supporting nervous system, Bergamot oil was used to relieve depression and for relaxation.

Material and Methods

Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that uses plant extract essential oils that are either inhaled, used as massage oil, or occasionally ingested. The concentrated oils are aromatic and volatile. They are extracted, usually by steam distillation, from flowers, leaves, roots, grasses, peel, resin or bark. There are over 400 essential oils extracted from plants all over the world. Popular oils used include chamomile, lavender, rosemary and tea tree. Aromatherapy carrier oils are used for mixing blends of essential oils in order to make bath oils or massage oils. They are mainly extracted from nuts and seeds.


The pharmacology of the essential oils and/or their single chemical constituents, therefore, remains largely undiscovered. However, accumulating evidence that inhaled or dermally applied essential oils enter the blood stream and, in relevant molecular, cellular or animal models, exert measurable psychological effects, indicates that the effects are primarily pharmacological. Two basic mechanisms explains the mechanism of action of aromatherapy:

1. Influence of aroma on brain especially the limbic system through the olfactory system (Figure 1).
2. Direct pharmocological effects of essential oils.

Fig. 1: Mechanism of action via Limbic System through Olfaction  

Popular essential oils used for Psycho-Aromatherapy were as follows:

Fig. 2: Basil Oil – It sharpens concentration, has uplifting effect in depression. It relieves headache and migraine Fig. 3: Bergamot Oil – It relieves depression and has calming properties
Fig. 4: Black Pepper – It has stimulating effect and it relieves muscular pain Fig. 5: Chamomile Oil – It relieves depression, insomnia and stress
Fig. 6: Clary Sage – It is muscle relaxer, relieves pain Fig. 7: Fennel – te relieves hicups
Fig. 8: Frankincence – Reduces anxiety and nervous tension Fig. 9: Geranium   Has cooling and calming effect for anxiety and tension
Fig. 10: Ginger – It enhances memory, cheers one up and relieves pain. Has uplifting effect in depression Fig. 11: Lavender Oil – It relieves depression, stress, headache, musucleache, musucle spasm and insomnia
Fig. 12: Lemon Oil – Relieves stress and has uplifting effect in depression Fig. 13: Marjoram – Effective for headache, musucleache, musucle spasm, sprain and strains
Fig. 14: Peppermint Oil – It relieves headache, musucle pain and migraine Fig. 15: Rosemary Oil – Reduces depresion, relieves pain, improoves memory skills and concentration
Fig. 16: Tarragon Oil – It calms nerves and relieves stress and menstrual and menopausal symptoms Fig. 17: Valerian – It is muscle relaxer, relieves sleeplessness
Fig. 18: Ylang-Ylang – It relieves depression, insomnia, tension and relaxes nervous system Fig. 19: Rose Oil, Jasmine, Sandal Wood – Reduces depression and sadness. It is aphrodisiac


Aromatherapy provides a potentially effective treatment for a range of psychiatric disorders especially pycho-somatic disorders. In today's stressfull life, people are choosing alternative and complimentary therapies like Aromatherapy to enhance their health care and well being. In addition, taking into account the available information on safety, aromatherapy appears to be without the adverse effects of many conventional psychotropic drugs. Since there is very little information about this topic in literature, contribution is needed by everyone of us to get it into day-to-day life.


  1. Kessler R C et al. The use of complimentary and alternative therapies to treat anxiety and depression in United States. Am J Psychiatry 2001; 158; 289-294.
  2. Andreescu C et al. Complimentary and alternative medicine in the treatment of bipolar disorder – A review of the evidence. Journal of Affective Disorders 2008; 110; 16-26.
  3. Wilkinson S M et al. Effectiveness of aromatherapy massage in the management of Anxiety and Depression in patients with cancer: A multicenter randomised controlled trial. J Clin Oncol 2007; 25(5); 532-539.
  4. Holmes C and Ballard C. Aromatherapy in dementia. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 2004; 10; 296-300.
  5. Perry et al. Aromatherapy in the Management of Psychiatric disorders: Clinical and Neuropharmacological perceptives. CNS Drugs.2006;20(4) ; 257 -280.
  6. Buckle, Jane RN. Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential oils in practice, 2nd edition. Churchill Livingstone, NY,2003, 59-101.
  7. Aromatherapy: web Encyclopedia.


EO's - Essential oils

This Poster was submitted by Assist. Prof. Dr. Santosh Shanbhog Vrishabhendraiah.

Correspondence address:
Dr. Santosh Shanbhog Vrishabhendraiah
Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences
Basaveshwara Medical College, Hospital and Research Center, Department of Psychiatry
National Highway - 4 Bypass