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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2021, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (4): 333-339.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.01.006

• Original Chinical Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of lavender and Citrus aurantium on pain of conscious intensive care unit patients: A parallel randomized placebo-controlled trial

Zahra Karimzadeha, Mansooreh Azizzadeh Forouzib, Haleh Tajadinib,c, Mehdi Ahmadinejadd, Callista Roye, Mahlagha Dehghanf   

  1. a Department of Critical Care Nursing, Razi Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman 7616913555, Iran
    b Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman 7616913555, Iran 
    c Department of Traditional Medicine, Faculty of Traditional Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman 7616913555, Iran 
    d Department of Critical Care Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman 7616913555, Iran
    e Department of Nursing, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, CA 90049, United States 
    f Nursing Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman 7616913555, Iran 
  • Received:2020-09-09 Accepted:2020-12-29 Online:2021-08-15 Published:2021-04-20
  • Contact: Mahlagha Dehghan,


Conscious patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) suffer from pain for various reasons, which can affect their recovery process. 


The present study compared the effects of aromatherapy with Citrus aurantium and lavender essential oils against placebo for reducing pain in conscious intensive care patients.

Design, setting, participants and interventions

This study was a parallel randomized placebo-controlled trial. The ICUs of two educational hospitals in Kerman in Southeastern Iran were the study setting. One hundred and fifty conscious intensive care patients were randomly divided into three groups using a stratified block randomization method. Two groups received aromatherapy with essential oils: one with lavender and the other with C. aurantium; these patients received a 30-minute therapy session using their assigned essential oil on the second day of their intensive care stay. The placebo group used 5 drops of normal saline instead of essential oil during their session. 

Main outcome measures

Patient’s pain was assessed using a visual analog scale before the aromatherapy intervention, as well as immediately after and one and three hours after intervention. 


The mean pain score of the lavender group was 40.01 before the aromatherapy intervention and fell to 39.40, 30.60 and 23.68 immediately after the intervention, and at hour one and three post-intervention, respectively. The mean pain score of the C. aurantium group was 45.48 before the intervention and was reduced to 32.34 at three hours after the intervention. The mean pain of the placebo group decreased from 42.80 before the intervention to 35.20 at three hours after the intervention. Pain scores of all groups decreased during the study (P < 0.001). The mean pain of the lavender group was significantly lower than that of the placebo group at three hours after the intervention. 


The results of this study showed that aromatherapy with lavender essential oil reduced pain in conscious ICU patients. Our data could not justify the use of C. aurantium for reducing pain in this population.

Trial registration

No. IRCT20170116031972N9 (

Key words: Pain, Lavender, Citrus aurantium, Intensive care, Aromatherapy

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