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The effects of lavender oil on the visual processing abilities of college-aged adults versus elementary-aged children. (Medicine 09:00 AM, Saturday, April 5, 2003 Brewer/Frost Science 141 Dr. Nancy J. Swails-Presiding).


English lavender, Lavendula angustifolia is one of the most widely used aroma-therapeutic agents and has been claimed to have a variety of effects including relaxation and stress relief. Some evidence indicates relaxing effects on the autonomic nervous system can, in turn, enhance certain cognitive functions. Two groups of subjects were recruited for this study. An adult group (n=13) was comprised of 6 males and 7 females aged 19 to 22; and the child's group (n=15) was comprised of 4 males and 11 females aged 6 to 10. The effects of lavender oil administered under three conditions on the visual processing abilities of adult subjects as compared to children subjects were tested. The conditions consisted of no aroma (control condition), low exposure to lavender oil (essential oil diffuser that diffused the lavender oil throughout the room), and high exposure to lavender oil (pinning a lavender soaked cotton ball to the subjects' shoulder). Subjects were given two simple visual processing tests per trial: a twenty-four-piece puzzle, and a simple word search to perform in the presence and absence of lavender oil. Tests differed only in content under each of the three testing conditions and each subject served as his/her own control. Time to completion was measured in seconds to determine if lavender could increase performance time without sacrificing accuracy, as compared to the control condition. The results indicated no significant change in subjects' performance times ([alpha]=0.05) under any condition in either age group. In conclusion, under these testing conditions lavender oil did not appear to affect cognitive function.

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Article Details
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Author:Maund, Julie A.
Publication:The Ohio Journal of Science
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:1U3OH
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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