Research: ANDERSON and GROSS,

Listed in Issue 106


ANDERSON and GROSS, Department of Perioperative Nursing, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, 06030-2015, USA,, have found that aromatherapy with peppermint is equally effective in relieving postoperative nausea as a placebo.


The aim of the study was to compare peppermint oil, isoproply alcohol, and a placebo for their capacity to relieve postoperative nausea.


33 day surgery patients who complained of nausea were included in this randomized controlled trial. After indicating the severity of their nausea on a VAS, patients received aromatherapy with isopropyl alcohol, oil of peppermint, of saline at random. The vapours were inhaled deeply through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. 2 and 5 minutes later, patients rated their nausea again.


Overall nausea scores decreased from 60.6 mm to 43.1 mm after 2 minutes and to 28.0 mm after 5 minutes (p < 0.0001). Nausea scores did not differ between the treatments at any time. Only 52% of patients required conventional intravenous antiemetic drugs. Overall satisfaction with postoperative nausea management was 86.9 independently of the treatment.


Aromatherapy effectively relieved postoperative nausea, and so did inhalation of alcohol or saline. This suggests that the effect may be more to do with the deep and controlled breathing than with the aroma inhaled.


Anderson LA, Gross JB. Aromatherapy with peppermint, isopropyl alcohol, or placebo is equally effective in relieving postoperative nausea. Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing 19 (1): 29-35, Feb 2004.

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