August 8, 2023
Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent type of dementia and the number of people living with it is expected to triple by 2050. The progressive memory loss and behavioral changes over years is a painful process for those with Alzheimer's disease and their families and caregivers. Aromatherapy is a complementary and alternative therapeutic method that has attracted much attention worldwide. According to recent research, aromatherapy can improve sleep, alleviate psychobehavioural symptoms and improve quality of life in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, which may be related to reducing the level of oxidative stress in patients and inhibiting inflammatory factors; it is a non-drug intervention that can be widely applied.
A randomized controlled clinical trial investigated the effects (sleep quality, neuropsychiatric behavioral disorders, quality of life, and biochemical measures) of aromatherapy for people with Alzheimer's disease. Six drops of a blend of lavender, sweet orange, and bergamot essential oils (2 drops of each) were added to 200 mL of water in a diffuser, which was operated every night at 9:00pm for 1 hour over a 12-week period. The control group inhaled from a diffuser with water only. Inhaling the essential oil blend improved sleep quality, alleviated psychobehavioral symptoms, and improved overall quality of life. Biochemical evaluation also showed a decrease in oxidative stress (by increasing superoxide dismutase levels) and inflammation (decreased TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels). The biochemical results are noteworthy because oxidative stress and inflammation are linked to further deterioration of Alzheimer's disease.