Lavender Aromatherapy for Menopausal Flushing
Tori Hudson, ND
Author: Kazemzadeh R, Nikjou R, Rostamnegad M, Norouzi
Reference: Effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause hot flushing: A crossover randomized clinical trial. J Chinese Medical Association 2016: 489-492.
Design: This crossover double-blind clinical trial was conducted in women in Iran. Women were assigned randomly to either the lavender (n=50) group or the placebo (n=50). Women were administered lavender or placebo aromatherapy for 20 minutes twice a day for a 12 week period. Participants recorded their flushing numbers daily for 1 week. After a 4 week washout period, the groups were switched with the same aromatherapy administration schedule and flushing sheets were done again for the same amount of time.
Participants: The target group was women ages 45-55 who met the inclusion criteria of no menses for 12 months, normal blood pressure, not on any estrogen or progestogen formulas for the previous 6 months, lack of asthma and other allergies, married and literate. The mean age was 51.5 – 52 years. There was no significant difference between the two groups before intervention with the majority of the women having low literacy levels and were housewives.
Primary outcome: The primary purpose of this study was to determine the effect of lavender aromatherapy on menopause flushing.
Key findings: While details were not forthcoming, the lavender treatment significantly reduced hot flash frequency compared to placebo (P < 0.001).
Practice Implications: The study only reported on reducing hot flash frequency, but not severity or duration. Other aromatherapy studies have been done on vasomotor symptoms. One previous study demonstrated that aromatherapy massage with lavender, rose geranium, rose and jasmine in almond and primrose oils, once weekly for 8 weeks, was effective in alleviating hot flushes. In another aromatherapy massage study, lavender, geranium, rose and rosemary, twice a week for 4 weeks affected the psychological symptoms of menopause. Stress is known to be an aggravating factor for the vasomotor symptoms of menopause. Vasomotor flushing is the main symptom and most common problem of menopause… and can last an average of 7 years. While this aromatherapy study is intriguing, I’m not sure how many patients I can inspire to incorporate a therapy that takes 20 minutes twice per day. Frankly, I’d rather have them use the time for exercise, and then find one of the many other nutrient/botanical options for vasomotor symptoms.
 Hur M, Yang Y, Lee M. Aromatherapy massage affects menopausal symptoms in Korean climacteric women: a pilot-controlled clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2008;5:325-328.
 Taavoni S, Darsareh F, Joolaee S, Haghani H. The effect of aromatherapy massage on the psychological symptoms of postmenopausal Iranian women. Menopause 2006;13:631-642.