A systematic review of the use of aromatherapy in treatment of behavioral problems in dementia

Jo Kamen KM Fung, Wing Hong Hector Tsang, Raymond C.K. Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to fill the literature gap by identifying the clinical benefits of aromatherapy in older adults with dementia, and its efficacy in reducing behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) based on available randomized controlled trials (RCT). A systematic review of 11 clinical trials shortlisted from electronic databases from 1995 to 2011 was carried out. The RCT showed that aromatherapy had positive effects on reduction of BPSD, improvement in cognitive functions, increasing quality of life, enhancing independence of activities of daily living and so on. However, adverse effects were noted in some studies. Limitations on methodology are discussed and suggestions on directions of further studies are made. It is recommended that aromatherapy shows the potential to be applied as a therapeutic and safe complementary and alternative therapy for the management of BPSD on more evidence collected from better designed RCT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012


  • Agitation
  • Aromatherapy
  • Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia
  • Dementia
  • Essential oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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