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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 726341, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/726341
Review Article

Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art

1Medical Technology Laboratory, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy
2Prometeo Laboratory, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy

Received 28 November 2013; Accepted 17 January 2014; Published 24 February 2014

Academic Editor: Luigi Gori

Copyright © 2014 Susanna Stea et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aromatherapy is the controlled use of plant essences for therapeutic purposes. Its applications are numerous (i.e., wellbeing, labour, infections, dementia, and anxiety treatment) but often they have not been scientifically validated. The aim of the present study is to review the available literature to determine if there is evidence for effectiveness of aromatherapy in surgical patients to treat anxiety and insomnia, to control pain and nausea, and to dress wound. Efficacy studies of lavender or orange and peppermint essential oils, to treat anxiety and nausea, respectively, have shown positive results. For other aspects, such as pain control, essential oils therapy has shown uncertain results. Finally, there are encouraging data for the treatment of infections, especially for tea tree oil, although current results are still inconclusive. It should also be considered that although they are, allergic reactions and toxicity can occur after oral ingestion. Therefore, while rigorous studies are being carried out, it is important that the therapeutic use of essential oils be performed in compliance with clinical safety standards.