Effects of Herbal Essential Oil Inhalations on Memory and Emotion in Students

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Dutsadee Srithat
Thanyalak Uthathong
Pongsathorn Thongkasee
Namphon Pipatpaiboon

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the effects of herb essential oil inhalations, or aroma therapy, on memory and emotion in the students of Rajamangala University of Technology Isan Sakonnakhon Campus, using a quasi-experimental research model. Sixty participants were purposively selected and then randomly assigned to four groups: Group 1, receiving rice paddy herb (phak khayaeng) oil; Group 2, receiving Indian borage (hu suea) oil; Group 3, receiving sweet basil oil; and Group 4 (control), receiving white or paraffin oil. All participants inhaled the essential oils for 3 minutes. Data were collected before and after inhalations from the memory test and the emotional assessment using the Bond-Ladder questionnaire; and descriptive data analysis was undertaken for inter-group comparisons, using chi-square and paired sample t-test. The results showed that: (1) the memory test scores before and after inhalation in the rice paddy herb oil inhalation group were different, while those in the other three groups using Indian borage, basil, and white oils did not show any differences (P<0.05); (2) concerning emotional assessments before and after inhalations, the rice paddy herb oil group had higher alertness; the Indian borage oil group had higher relaxation; the basil oil group had better feelings of relaxation, attentiveness, interest, capability, happiness, friendliness, surrounding awareness, and socialization; while the white oil group did not show any emotional differences (P<0.05); In conclusion, inhaling certain kinds of essential oils could stimulate a person's senses of arousal, relaxation, interest in what they were doing, efficiency, happiness, friendliness, interest in surroundings and socialization. Thus, further studies should be conducted to support the use of local herbs in health care.

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