Researchers at Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle General Hospital in the U.K. conducted a placebo-controlled trial to determine the value of aromatherapy with essential oil of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) for agitation in people with severe dementia. Seventy-two people residing in National Health Service (U.K.) care facilities who had clinically significant agitation associated with severe dementia were randomly assigned to aromatherapy with Melissa essential oil (N = 36) or placebo (sunflower oil) (N = 36).

The active treatment or placebo oil was combined with a base lotion and applied to patients'' faces and arms twice a day by caregiving staff. Changes in clinically significant agitation (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory [CMAI]) and quality of life indices (percentage of time spent socially withdrawn and percentage of time engaged in constructive activities, measured with Dementia Care Mapping) were compared between the 2 groups over a 4-week period of treatment.

Read more »