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The effects of Roman chamomile, spike lavender, petitgrain, and rosemary essential oils on psychological, physiological, and psychophysiological processes


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Montgomery, Kate 2004 , 'The effects of Roman chamomile, spike lavender, petitgrain, and rosemary essential oils on psychological, physiological, and psychophysiological processes', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The overriding aim of this series of studies was to investigate the psychological,
physiological, and psychophysiological effects of exposure to odours of purportedly
sedative (petitgrain and Roman chamomile) and stimulant (rosemary and spike
lavender) essential oils. More specifically, the purpose of these studies was to
determine whether inhalation of essential oils produces reliable changes in mood,
behavioural responding, physiological functioning, psychological functioning, and
cognitive processing, as well as whether these changes are consistent with the
supposed therapeutic effects of these oils as cited in aromatherapy literature.
Furthermore, these studies aimed to extend the current knowledge regarding the
mechanisms via which the inhalation of essential oils may produce changes in human
functioning. In particular, the aim of the studies was to investigate the direct versus
indirect action of essential oils on nervous system functioning by removing,
controlling, or specifically assessing the effects of variables that are hypothesised to
mediate an individual's response to an odour. These mediating variables include
hedonic ratings of odour pleasantness, expectations regarding the purported
therapeutic effects of the odours, and semantic associations arising from previous
experiences with the odours. Consequently, all participants (n=17, females) were
screened for knowledge of the experimental odours and were required to rate each
odour according to its pleasantness and to identify whether exposure to each odour
elicited particular memories. Study One measured changes in self-report ratings of 10
mood dimensions following odour exposure. Study Two assessed the effects of
exposure to the odours of the experimental oils on accuracy and reaction time on a
visual three-stimulus odd-ball task. In Study Three, changes in physiological parameters
such as heart rate, respiration rate and respiratory sinus arrhythmia were
assessed in response to odour exposure. Study Four investigated the effects of odour
exposure on electroencephalographic responses in the alpha, beta, and theta
frequencies. Finally, Study Five assessed the effects of exposure to the experimental
odours on the Ni, N2, P2, P3a and P3b components of event-related potentials. In
each of these studies, the overall effects of odour exposure on each of the
experimental parameters was assessed, as well as the contributing effects of ratings of
odour pleasantness and the presence or absence of semantic associations. Overall, the
results revealed that there is a complex relationship between experimental parameters,
odour type, hedonic ratings, and semantic associations. There are inconsistent results
across studies for each of the experimental odours, and the effects of ratings of odour
pleasantness or the existence of semantic associations on each experimental parameter
varied between essential oil odour types. The fact that the variability in the results was
not fully accounted for by the effects of the hedonic and semantic variables alone
suggests that there may be other factors that contribute to the action of essential oils
on humans.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Montgomery, Kate
Keywords: Essences and essential oils, Roman chamomile, Lavender oil, Petitgrain oil, Rosemary, Essences and essential oils
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2004 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

For consultation only. No loan or photocopying permitted until August 2007. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2005. Includes bibliographical references

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