Aromatherapy may give you high spirits, but not good health

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Washington, Mar 5 (UNI) Using aromatherapy for health benefits? Don't waste your money as research shows that aromatherapy may enhance your mood but it does not improve your health.

The study on two of the most popular scents tied to aromatherapy, lemon and lavender failed to show any improvement in either immune status, wound healing or pain control.

While one of the two popular aromas often-touted by alternative medicine practitioners, lemon did appear to enhance moods positively among study subjects, the other lavender had no effect on reported mood, based on three psychological tests, said the researchers.

The study, published online in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, said that neither lemon nor lavender showed any enhancement of the subjects' immune status, nor did the compounds mitigate either pain or stress, based on a host of biochemical markers. In some cases, even distilled water showed a more positive effect than lavender, it added.

''We all know that the placebo effect can have a very strong impact on a person's health but beyond that, we wanted to see if these aromatic essential oils actually improved human health in some measurable way,'' explained Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.

''This is probably the most comprehensive study ever done in this area, but the human body is infinitely complex,'' explained William Malarkey, professor of internal medicine and co-author of the study.

''The wound healing experiments measured how fast the skin could repair itself,'' said Ronald Glaser, professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and fellow researcher.

''Keep in mind that a lot of things have to take place for that healing process to succeed. We measured a lot of complex physiological interactions instead of just a single marker, and still we saw no positive effect,'' Sciencedaily quoted him as saying.

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