Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Patient Information [NCI] - Overview

  • Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants (flowers, herbs, or trees) as therapy to improve physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being (see Question 1).
  • Patients with cancer use aromatherapy mainly to improve their quality of life, such as reducing stress and anxiety (see Question 1).
  • Essential oils like Roman chamomile, geranium, lavender, or cedarwood are the basic materials of aromatherapy (see Question 1).
  • Interest in aromatherapy grew in the late 20th century as a form of complementary medicine (see Question 2).
  • Aromatherapy may work by sending chemical messages to the part of the brain that affects moods and emotions (see Question 3).
  • Essential oils are most often used by inhaling them or by applying them in diluted form to the skin (see Question 4).
  • Laboratory studies and animal studies have shown that certain essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, calming, or energizing effects (see Question 5).
  • Aromatherapy research with cancer patients has mainly studied its effect on other health conditions and quality-of-life issues such as cancer-related symptoms, stress, and anxiety. There are no studies discussing aromatherapy as a treatment for cancer (see Question 6).
  • Safety testing on essential oils has found very few bad side effects. Lavender and tea tree oils have been found to have some hormone -like effects (see Question 7).
  • Aromatherapy products do not need approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because no specific medical claims are made (see Question 8).

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: 8/, 015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
1
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
 
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article