Background: Lavender inhalation aromatherapy is widely believed to impart a hypnotic effect, act as a mood stabilizer, and enhance the positive feelings of mothers toward their infants. However, research into these and other potential therapeutic effects of lavender tea has been limited.
Aims: This study was conducted in Taiwan to evaluate the effectiveness of lavender tea in relieving sleep quality, fatigue, and depression; and in improving maternal-infant attachment during the early postpartum period.
Methods: A total of 80 Taiwanese postnatal women with poor sleep quality (Postpartum Sleep Quality Scale; PSQS score ≥16) and with no history of allergy to herbal teas, foods, or medicines were assigned systematically to either the experimental group (n = 40) or the control group (n = 40). The participants in the experimental group were instructed to drink one cup of lavender tea after spending time to appreciate and smell the aroma each day for a period of 2 weeks, whereas their control group peers received regular postpartum care only. The PSQS, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Postpartum Fatigue Scale, and Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire were used to assess outcomes.
Results: ANCOVA analyses using education level and pretest scores as covariates showed that experimental group participants perceived less fatigue (F = 6.281, p = .014) and depression (F = 4.731, p = .033) and showed greater bonding with their infant (F = 4.022, p = .049) compared with the control group. However, the scores for all four instruments were similar for both groups at the 4-week posttest, suggesting that the positive effects of lavender tea were limited to the immediate term.
Linking evidence to action: Healthcare researchers assume accountability for integrating research results into clinical practice. The findings in this study can gain greater attention among healthcare practitioners and encourage the correct and positive use of herbal therapy in postpartum health care.
Keywords: depression; lavender tea; maternal-infant attachment; postpartum fatigue.
© 2015 Sigma Theta Tau International.