Table 2: Characteristics of the participants included in the selected studies.

Ref. Type of studySubjects
Total number of subjectsMean subject age (range)Gender ()Type of subjectDiagnostic systems/inclusion criteriaBaseline score for depressive symptoms

Inhalation aromatherapy

[18]Placebo-controlled randomized double blind RCT31365 (33–90)Female (150)
Male (163)
Individuals with cancer receiving radiotherapy treatmentPatients prescribed with 8 or more fractions of radiotherapyBaseline depression status: odds ratio of 29 using HADS.

[19]Randomized observational pilot study with repeated measures2832 (25–43)Female (28)Postpartum women0–18-month postpartum women with scores of 10 or higher on either the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale or the Generalized Anxiety Disorder ScaleThe baseline score using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for the control group was 15.9 and 16.1 for the intervention group.

[20]Prospective RCT1327.3 for the control group (NA)
29.3 for the treatment group (NA)
Female (13)Pregnant women28-week-pregnant women, singleton pregnancyDepression-dejection scale baseline score using POMS was 2.7 in the control group and 1.6 in the treatment group.

[21]Randomized controlled crossover study2020.5Female (20)College studentsHealthy volunteersThe depression-dejection scale baseline score using POMS was not provided, but the change difference between pre- and posttreatment was reported. The change in depression-dejection score was lower than −1 in the treatment group and statistically significant when compared to the change in the control group.

[22]Controlled double-blinded RCT32020–30, average age NAFemale (320)Pregnant womenWomen between 18–35 years, with a pregnancy age between 38 and 42 weeks, a score of 12 or less in the Edinburgh testDepression grade baseline in the Edinburgh test was 6.3 in the control group and 6.1 in the intervention group.

Aromatherapy massage

[23]RCT3232.9 (23–53) in the treatment groupFemale (10 in the treatment group)
Male (4 in the treatment group)
No information provided on the number of female and male subjects in the control group
Patients with depression and/or anxietyPatients scoring more than 7 in the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and/or the Tyrer Brief Anxiety ScaleThe baseline using the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale was 19.8 in the control group and 30 in the treatment group. The baseline using the HADS was 14.6 and 15.3 in the control and treatment group, respectively.

[24]Double blind RCT4273, (44–85)Female (32), male (10)Individuals with cancerIndividuals with cancer with a wide variety of levels of physical and psychological symptomsBaseline score using HADS was not stated. Only the median change in HADS was provided being 0 for the aromatherapy group, −1.5 for the massage group, −0.5 for the aromatherapy massage group, and 0.5 for the control.

[25]RCT28852.1; 52.8 for the usual care group; and 51.5 for the usual care plus aromatherapy groupFemale (250), male (38)Individuals with cancerPatients diagnosed with cancer, a prognosis of more than 3 months, with clinical anxiety or depressionThe baseline score using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale was 26.1 for the aromatherapy group and 26 for the group receiving usual care (control).

[26]Nonblinded randomized crossover trial1646.1 (37.9–54.3)Female (15),
male (1)
Patients diagnosed with idiopathic environmental intoleranceClinical examination by a physician and scoring above 26 for men and 30 for women in the Chemical Odor Sensitivity ScaleDepression subscale baseline score using POMS was around 2.8 in the control period.

[19]Randomized observational pilot study with repeated measures28NAFemale (28)Postpartum women0–18-month postpartum women with scores of 10 or higher on either the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale or the Generalized Anxiety Disorder ScaleThe baseline score using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale for the control group was 15.9 and 16.1 for the intervention group.

[27]Single blind RCT3952.5; 51.1 for the aromatherapy group; and 54 for the cognitive behavior therapy groupFemale (31), male (8)Individuals with cancerPatients diagnosed for at least one month, who also had at least a predicted survival of 6 months and score 11 or more in the HADS for anxiety or depressionThe baseline score in the depression-dejection subscale of POMS was 11.2 for the aromatherapy massage group and 13.4 for the control group.

[28]RCT9053.70 for the control group (49.42–57.98), 52 (47.12–56.88) for the massage therapy group, and 53.35 (49.01–57.69)Female (90)Women who entered their menopausal period naturallyWoman, age between 45 and 60 years, with amenorrhea for at least 1 yearAt baseline, according to the Menopause Rating Scale, the frequency of the severity of the depressive mood was reported as mild (14.9%), moderate (36.8%), severe (20.7%), and very severe (2.3%). No difference was found among the groups at baseline.

[29]RCT2534–48, average age NAFemale (25)Women with childrenWomen whose children were diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorderBaseline using the Beck Depression Inventory was 8.6 in the control group and 10.8 in the treatment group.

In this study, both aromatherapy modalities were tested, inhalation aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage. Therefore, the study was included in both categories in the table. NA, not available; HADS, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; POMS, Profile of Mood States.