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Aromatherapy for ALZHEIMER DISEASE

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils (either extracts or essences) from flowers, herbs, and trees to treat mental and physical disorders.

Aromatherapy can ease the sleeplessness and agitation common among patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to British researchers. In a four-week study of how aromatherapy can affect elderly dementia patients, roughly one-third suffered fewer bouts of agitation when they were rubbed with a lemon balm compared to one in 10 who showed improvement when rubbed with an odorless sunflower oil.

“Patients exposed to lemon balm also showed significant improvements in the quality of life, including a decrease in social withdrawal and an increase in constructive activities,” study leader Clive Ballard of the University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne told the conference.

Similarly, Studies with brain wave frequency has shown that smelling lavender increases alpha waves in the back of the head, which are associated with relaxation. Fragrance of Jasmine increases beta waves in the front of the head, which are associated with a more alert state.

How does it work

Each essential oil contains as much as 100 chemical components, which together exert a strong effect on the whole person. Depending on which component is predominating in an oil, the oils act differently. For example, some oils are relaxing, some soothes you down, some relieves your pain, etc. Then there are oils such as lemon and lavender, which adapt to what your body needs, and adapt to that situation. (These are called "adaptogenic"). The mechanism in which these essential oils act on us is not very well understood. What is understood is that they affect our mind and emotions. They leave no harmful residues. They enter into the body either by absorption or inhalation.

Essential oils stimulates the powerful sense of smell. It is known that odors we smell have a significant impact on how we feel. In dealing with patients who have lost the sense of smell, doctors have found that a life without fragrance can lead to high incidence of psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression.

It is believed that smells enter through cilia (the fine hairs lining the nose) to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls our moods, emotions, memory and learning.

Essential Oils and their use

Name of the chemical component

Properties of the chemical component

Essential oils that contain the chemical


anti-inflammatory, calming, sedative and anti-viral.

Characteristic lemon-like smell, such as lemon grass, lemon balm, citronella, eucalyptus


bactericidal (kills bacteria), stimulant, energizing, vitalizing, antiviral, diuretic. Our pancreas produce 32 kinds of alcohol for use in human metabolism.

Rose, petitgrain, rosewood, peppermint, myrtle, tea tree, sandalwood, patchouli, and ginger


strongly bactericidal, tonic, stimulates immune system, invigorating, warming. Can produce slight liver toxicity if taken high doses for extended periods of time. Used in lip balms and cough drops.

Clove, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, savory, cumin.

Cetone (Ketones)

wound healing, mucolytic (eases the secretion of mucous), stimulates new cell growth. used as a nail polish.

Camphor, rosemary, sage, eucalyptus globulus and hyssop


Very stimulating, potential skin irritants, anti-viral properties.

Lemon, orange, bergamot, black pepper, pine oils, nut meg and angelica.


anti-phlogistic (moves fluids), anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic, bacteriostatic and immune stimulant

Blue chamomiles, immortelle, tansy, yarrow and tagetes.


anti-fungal, sedative, calming, spasmolytic, fungicidal, anti-inflammatory.

Roman chamomile, lavender, clary sage, petitgrain, bergamot.

Lactones (part of ester group)

anti-inflammatory, mucolitic

arnica, elecampane


harmonizing to the nervous system. antiseptic, stimulant, expectorant (increases secretions), spasmolytic, and diuretic.

Cinnamon, clove, anise, basil, tarragon, parsley, and sassafras.

Aromatherapy Tips

  1. If you don't want to buy individual essential oils buy them ready-blended, or treat yourself to bath and body products that contain them.

  2. Some oils are thought to carry some risk during pregnancy. For this reason, consult a qualified aromatherapist for advice if you are expecting a child and want to use essential oils.

  3. Don't try to treat medical conditions with them-always consult your GP.

  4. Essential oils can be expensive, but remember that a little goes a long way.

  5. Don't apply essential oil to the skin undiluted as they are far too concentrated in this form, and can result in inflammation. The only exception is lavender, which can be used directly on the skin for insect bites and stings. Otherwise essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil.

  6. Don't take essential oils internally. Essential oil are approximately 50 to 100 times more powerful then the plant they were extracted from.

  7. Don't apply oils to areas of broken, inflamed or recently scarred skin.

  8. Whichever method of aromatherapy you use, shut the door to the room to prevent the aroma from escaping!

  9. For immediate result from aromatherapy, try inhaling the steam. Add about 4 drops of your chosen oil to a bowl of hot water, lean over it and cover your head with a towel. inhale deeply for about 5 minutes.

  10. Place a few drop of your favourite oil on a tissue, so you can inhale it whenever you like. Eucalyptus is great if your, sinuses are blocked and you have a cold. Alternatively, sprinkle a few drops of chamomile or lavender on your pillow to help you sleep.

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