Simple Aroma Therapy May Reduce Drug Need for Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the aromatherapy treatment effects on PONV patients using ginger, lavender and rose oils and a placebo.

DESIGN: A randomized 4-armed placebo controlled study.

SETTING: Gaziosmanpasa University, School of Medicine, Health Research and Application Center.

INTERVENTION: The total of 184 patients were randomized into 4 groups: Aromatherapy with lavender essential oil (Lavender group), with rose essential oil (Rose group), with ginger essential oil (Ginger group) or with pure water (Placebo group).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Postoperative nausea (0-3 Likert type; 0=no nausea, 1=some, 2=a lot, 3=severe) and vomiting scores (0-3 Likert type; 0=no vomiting, 1 = 1 time, 2 = 2 or 3 time, 3 = 4 times and up) and antiemetic medication requirement.

RESULTS: The nausea scores at 15 min were statistically significantly different between the groups (p = 0.00). The postoperative nausea scores improved in 20 (43.5%) subjects in the placebo group, 38 (82.6%) subjects in the lavender group, 22 (47.8%) subjects in the rose group and 30 (65.2%) subjects in the ginger group (p = 0.00). There were statistically significant differences between the groups with regard to the vomiting and antiemetic drug requirements (p = 0.00).

CONCLUSION: The aromatherapy can be used as an alternative or complementary method for managing PONV. Specifically, the ginger and lavender essential oils were superior to the rose oil and pure water for the aromatherapy treatments. However, further studies with larger sample sizes are necessary to confirm these results.

Karaman S, et al. A randomized placebo-controlled study of aromatherapy for the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:417-421. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.12.019. Epub 2018 Dec 28.