Lavender oil and its use in aromatherapy 183 Scientific verification for EO therapeutic effects

It remains to be seen whether aromatherapy has any actual medicinal benefits (Vickers, 1996; Nelson, 1997) other than stress-alleviating, through massage, and whether these are attributable only to massage with the true EOs, especially as there is a wide difference in the actual percentage chemical composition of EOs obtained from different geographical sources and also different samples from plants grown in various countries where differences in hybridization has occurred and even the same plants grown under different climatic conditions show differences (Lis-Balchin, 1997). The commercial EOs are also often admixed, adulterated with other EOs from different plants and mixed with synthetics, which all add to differences in bioactivity (Lis-Balchin et al, 1998).

Of the known effects of EOs, there are few examples of direct 'aromatherapy', that is, true effects due to 'aroma' rather than due to the chemical nature of the EO. Most of the work on true 'aromatherapy' has been undertaken by perfumery companies, who used fragrances rather than pure EOs.

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