Effect of lavender inhalation on the symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea and the amount of menstrual bleeding: A randomized clinical trial

Complement Ther Med. 2014 Apr;22(2):212-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.011. Epub 2014 Jan 6.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) inhalation on the symptoms of dysmenorrhea and the amount of menstrual bleeding in female students with primary dysmenorrhea.

Design: This study is an experimental clinical trial. The subjects were 96 female students residing in dormitory at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2011 and suffering from level two or three dysmenorrhea according to the verbal multi-dimensional scoring system. The inclusion criteria were as: being single, suffering from primary dysmenorrhea, having no genital organs disorder, having no systemic disease, having regular menstrual cycles, using no contraceptives, etc. The follow-up time was 4 menstrual cycles.

Interventions: The subjects were randomized into two groups: experimental (n=48) who inhaled lavender based on sesame oil, and placebo (n=48) who inhaled sesame oil only.

Main outcome measures: The severity of dysmenorrhea symptoms was measured through a questionnaire, and the amount of menstrual bleeding was measured by sanitary towel usage.

Methods: Ordinal logistic regression and generalized estimating equation (GEE) were used to analyze the data.

Results: The symptoms of dysmenorrhea were significantly lowered in the lavender group compared to the placebo group (p<0.001). The amount of menstrual bleeding in the lavender group was reduced in comparison to the placebo group but the difference was not statistically significant (p=0.25). No significant difference was observed for blood clot among the students (p=0.666).

Conclusions: This study showed that lavender inhalation was effective in alleviating dysmenorrhea symptoms, suggesting that it could be applied by midwives in a safe manner because of no side effects, simplicity and cost-effectiveness for all patients.

Keywords: Dysmenorrhea; Generalized estimating equation (GEE); Inhalation; Lavandula angustifolia (lavender); Logistic regression; Menstrual bleeding.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aromatherapy / methods*
  • Dysmenorrhea / epidemiology
  • Dysmenorrhea / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Lavandula*
  • Logistic Models
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • lavender oil