Science Supports Lavender for Dementia & the Elderly

This science comes from our good friend Curtis Swift, PhD., and CEO of Mesa Lavender Farms in Colorado. Curtis has done the research that I'd love to share with you regarding the scientific support for Lavender essential oil for dementia and the elderly.

Lavender has been used for centuries to aid in alternative medicine practices, but the FDA says “…promoting a product with claims that it treats or prevents disease or otherwise affects the structure or any function of the body may cause the product to be considered a drug.”  

Curtis says:

That does not mean, however, lavender doesn’t have a place in alternative medicine, just that Lavender has not gone through the registration process to be labeled as such. 


  • Inhalation of the scent of lavender has been shown to decrease agitation in dementia patients. (1)
  • In combination with massage therapy, exposure to lavender aromatics has been shown to significantly decrease excessive motor behavior in subjects diagnosed with dementia. (2)
  • Lavender essential oil applied in skin cream supports the hypothesis that absorption of lavender essential oils through the nose and skin may assist in promoting mental health and reduce cognitive impairment of dementia patients. (3)

Elderly Patients

  • Lavender aromatherapy has been found to reduce falls in elder nursery home residents (5) and improving stability. (6)

Special thanks to this article by Curtis Swift PhD., CEO of Mesa Lavender Farms

• 1 Smallwood J, Brown R, Coulter F, Irvine E, Copeland C. 2001. Aromatherapy and behavior disturbances in dementia: a randomized controlled trial. Int. J. Geratr. Psychiatry 16:1010-1013.

• 2 Holmes C, Hopkins V, Hensford C, Maclauglin V, Wilkinson D, Rosenvinge H. 2002. Lavender oil as a treatment for agitated behaviors in severe dementia: a placebo-controlled study. Int Geriatr Psychiatry 17:305-308.

• 3 Bowles EJ, Griffiths DM, Quirk L, Brownrigg A, Croot K. 2002. Effects of essential oils and touch on resistance to nursing care procedures and other dementia-related behaviors in a residential care facility.  Inc J Aromather 12:1-8.

• 4 Sakamoto Y, Ebihara S, Ebihara T, Tomita N, Toba K, Freeman S, Arai H and Kohzuki M. 2012. Fall Prevention Using Olfactory Stimulation with Lavender Odor in Elderly Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 60: 1005–1011.

• 5 Shannon F, Satoru E, Takae E, Kaijun N, Masahiro K, Hiroyuki A, James PB. 2009. Olfactory stimuli and enhanced postural stability in older adults. 29:658–660.

1 comment

Andrea Wheeler


Love this content; im particularly passionate about eldercare advocacy as I journey through “institutional living”/deathcare with my Mother. Not to sound negative but it is really a harsh reality for me. My outlook is upbeat as I look for ways to ease her journey. Thanks for this page and your work.

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