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The anxiolytic and analgesic effects of Rosa damascena essential oil


In this study, Iranian researchers assessed the effects of aromatherapy with Rosa damascena (Damask rose) on the pain and anxiety felt by nulliparous women in the first stage of labor. Their findings were published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine.

  • One of the most important goals of maternity care is to reduce labor pain and anxiety in soon-to-be mothers.
  • To determine if aromatherapy could help with this, the researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial involving 110 nulliparous women.
  • They randomly assigned the participants to either the control group or the aromatherapy group.
  • The aromatherapy group received 0.08 mL of R. damascena essence every 30 minutes, while the control group received 0.08 mL of normal saline.
  • The researchers measured pain three times, once each at three stages of cervical dilation (i.e., 4 to 5 cm, 6 to 7 cm and 8 to 10 cm).
  • They also measured anxiety twice, once each at two stages of cervical dilation (i.e., 4 to 7 cm and 8 to 10 cm).
  • The researchers used the Spielberger anxiety questionnaire, numerical pain rating scale, demographic and obstetric questionnaire and an observational checklist for data collection.
  • Data analyses included the t-test, Mann–Whitney U test and Chi-square test.
  • The severity of labor pain and anxiety served as the primary outcome measures, while labor and delivery characteristics (e.g., number of contractions, duration of contractions in second stage, Bishop score, augmentation by oxytocin, Apgar score and mode of delivery), demographic characteristics and fertility information served as the secondary outcome measures.
  • The researchers found that pain severity was significantly lower in the aromatherapy group than in the control group after treatment and at each pain assessment.
  • Anxiety levels were also significantly lower in the aromatherapy group than in the control group.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that aromatherapy with R. damascena is a convenient and effective method for reducing pain and anxiety during the first stage of labor.

Journal Reference:

Hamdamian S, Nazarpour S, Simbar M, Hajian S, Mojab F, Talebi A. EFFECTS OF AROMATHERAPY WITH ROSA DAMASCENA ON NULLIPAROUS WOMEN’S PAIN AND ANXIETY OF LABOR DURING FIRST STAGE OF LABOR. Journal of Integrative Medicine. March 2018;16(2):120–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.joim.2018.02.005

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