Effectiveness of Indonesian Essential Oil Mixture of Lemongrass, Cananga, and Patchouli in Relaxation through Inhalation: A Clinical Test on Healthy Woman with High Potential for Stress
Relaxation is one of many mechanisms for coping with stress. One of the most widely used methods for relaxation is aromatherapy with the application of essential oils. Known for their therapeutic benefits, essential oils can be extracted from various Indonesian native herbs such as lemongrass (sereh wangi or Cymbopogon winterianus), cananga or ylang-ylang (kenanga or Canarium odoratum), and patchouli (nilam or Pogostemon cabin). This study aims to examine the effectiveness of a mixture of Indonesian essential oil made of lemongrass, cananga, and patchouli extracts. Experiment was conducted by asking a number of subjects to inhale the oil mixture and assessing its effectiveness in terms of psychological relaxation by using Visual Analog Scale or VAS) and of physical relaxation by examining the subjects’ blood pressure (MAP), pulse frequency, and breathing frequency. The result was then compared with that of lavender oil and with the control group. The study was conducted on 60 healthy women through single-blind clinical trials (before and after) using the “intent to treat” approach, followed by a startle test. Participants were divided into three groups: (1) 20 participants who were treated with Indonesian essential oil mixture, (2) 20 participants who were treated with lavender oil, and (3) 20 participants who served as the control group. Psychological relaxation measurement showed that Indonesian essential oil mixture produced the same degree of effectiveness as lavender oil and the control groups did, although both treatments tended to produce better results than the control group did. However, physical relaxation measurement showed that Indonesian essential oil mixture produced a higher degree of effectiveness than lavender oil and tended to produce a better result than the control group did, especially in terms of blood pressure based on MAP scores.