This systematic review assesses the efficacy of aromatherapy for reducing the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. The authors looked originally at all trials using fragrance from plants defined as aromatherapy as an intervention with people with dementia, and took into account all relevant outcomes (such as agitation, behavioural symptoms, activities of daily living and quality of life). Seven studies with 428 participants are of sufficient quality to be included in this review.
The benefits of aromatherapy for people with dementia are unclear and inconclusive based on these seven trials. Different aromatherapy interventions may not be comparable, and it seems likely that outcomes may vary between different types of dementia. Better-designed, large-scale randomised controlled trials are needed.
Forrester, LT. Maayan, N. Orrell, M. [et al] (2014). Aromatherapy for dementia. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. February 25th 2014; Issue 2: No. CD003150. . (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).