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Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®)

Changes to This Summary (12/30/2014)

The PDQ cancer information summaries are reviewed regularly and updated as new information becomes available. This section describes the latest changes made to this summary as of the date above.


Revised text to state that aromatherapy is used with other complementary treatments as well as with standard treatments for symptom management.

General Information

Added text to state that synthetic fragrances frequently contain irritants, such as solvents and propellants, that can trigger sensitivities in some people (cited Silva-Néto et al. as reference 2, Vethanayagam et al. as reference 3, and Celeiro et al. as reference 4).

Human/Clinical Studies

Revised text to state that mixtures, such as those containing the volatile oils of lemongrass, eucalyptus, melaleuca, clove, thyme with butylated hydroxytoluene, triclosan, and undenatured ethanol, are being investigated against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in vitro.

This summary is written and maintained by the PDQ Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Editorial Board, which is editorially independent of NCI. The summary reflects an independent review of the literature and does not represent a policy statement of NCI or NIH. More information about summary policies and the role of the PDQ Editorial Boards in maintaining the PDQ summaries can be found on the About This PDQ Summary and PDQ NCI's Comprehensive Cancer Database pages.

  • Updated: December 30, 2014