Randomized controlled trial for Salvia sclarea or Lavandula angustifolia: differential effects on blood pressure in female patients with urinary incontinence undergoing urodynamic examination

J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Jul;19(7):664-70. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0148. Epub 2013 Jan 29.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of inhalation of Salvia sclarea (clary sage; clary) or Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil vapors on autonomic nervous system activity in female patients with urinary incontinence undergoing urodynamic assessment. STUDY DESIGN, LOCATION, AND SUBJECTS: This study was a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial carried out in 34 female patients with urinary incontinence.

Outcome measure: The subjects were randomized to inhale lavender, clary, or almond (control) oil at concentrations of 5% (vol/vol) each. Systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and salivary cortisol were measured before and after inhalation of these odors for 60 minutes.

Results: The clary oil group experienced a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure compared with the control (p=0.048) and lavender oil (p=0.026) groups, a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure compared with the lavender oil group (p=0.034) and a significant decrease in respiratory rate compared with the control group (p<0.001). In contrast, the lavender oil group tended to increase systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared with the control group. Compared with the control group, inhalation of lavender oil (p=0.045) and clary oil (p<0.001) resulted in statistically significant reductions in respiratory rate.

Conclusions: These results suggest that lavender oil inhalation may be inappropriate in lowering stress during urodynamic examinations, despite its antistress effects, while clary oil inhalation may be useful in inducing relaxation in female urinary incontinence patients undergoing urodynamic assessments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aromatherapy*
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Camphanes
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lavandula*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oils, Volatile*
  • Panax notoginseng
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Respiratory Rate / physiology
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology*
  • Urodynamics / physiology*


  • Camphanes
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Oils, Volatile
  • danshen dripping pill