Essential Oils Study For Mental Exhaustion And Moderate Burnout

Essential oil research to alleviate mental exhaustionThe objective of this pilot study was to determine the effectiveness of a mixture of essential oils on mental exhaustion, or moderate burnout (ME/MB) using a personal inhaler. The essential oils used in the study were; peppermint (Mentha piperita), basil (Ocimum basilicum), and helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum).


This was a randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study. Data were collected 3 times a day for 3 weeks (Monday–Friday). The first week was baseline for both groups, the second week was intervention (aromatherapy or placebo), and the third week was washout.


Participants used a personal inhaler at home or at work.


The subjects comprised a convenience sample of 13 women and 1 man who each had self-assessed ME/MB.


Participants were randomized to receive a personal inhaler containing either a mixture of essential oils or rose water (as used in Indian cooking).

Outcome measures

The outcome measures were a 0–10 scale with 10=worst feeling of burnout, 0=no feeling of burnout. There was a qualitative questionnaire rating aroma and a questionnaire listing perceived stressors.


While both groups had a reduction in perception of ME/MB, the aromatherapy group had a much greater reduction.


The results suggest that inhaling essential oils may reduce the perceived level of mental fatigue/burnout. Further research is warranted.

Copyright © Elizabeth Varney and Jane Buckle 2013. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. January 2013, 19(1): 69-71. doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0089.

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