With therapeutic properties based on their chemical composition, essential oils—extracts from herbs, flowers, and other plant materials—have been used to treat symptoms and diseases for thousands of years. However, the term aromatherapy was not used until French chemist Gattefosse published a text in 1936.1 Clinical aromatherapy is defined as the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes that encompass mind, body, and spirit.2 Although aromatherapy is a newer technique in the United States, essential oils have long been part of nursing practice in countries like the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and Australia.

Essential oils are administered via inhalation (whereby oils travel directly through the olfactory bulb to the limbic system, where aromas are processed) or topically with or without massage enhancement (with rapid absorption through the skin into the bloodstream within 10–30 minutes).3,–...

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