The effect of aromatherapy with lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) on serum melatonin levels

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102208. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102208. Epub 2019 Oct 5.


Objective: Physiologically, blood melatonin levels decrease as a person ages and the older adult commonly presents with insomnia and other types of sleep disorders. Alternative therapies can be used to attenuate sleep disturbances. The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of aromatherapy with lavender on serum melatonin levels in the noninstitutionalized older adult (OA).

Design and setting: A pre-experimental, quantitative study with a pre-test - post-test design was conducted on 67 OAs that included both sexes.

Main outcome measures: Serum melatonin levels were measured before and after eight sessions of aromatherapy with lavender that lasted 4 weeks. The results were expressed as mean ± standard deviation of melatonin levels (pg/ml). The differences were compared using the Student's t-test and statistical significance was set at a p ≤ 0.05.

Results: Blood melatonin levels significantly increased in the total population after the intervention with aromatherapy (pg/ml): 102.3 ± 33.4 VS 132.5 ± 42.3, p = 0.000004. There were significant differences in the pre-test and post-test phases in the women and men measured as separate groups (p = 0.00005 and p = 0.026), respectively. However, those differences were not observed when the measurements were compared between the two sexes, before (p = 0.64) or after (p = 0.31) the intervention.

Conclusion: Aromatherapy with lavender essential oil similarly favors an increase in blood melatonin levels in both older adult men and women.

Keywords: Aromatherapy; Melatonin; Older adult; Sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aromatherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lavandula*
  • Male
  • Melatonin / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Melatonin
  • lavender oil