Eucalyptol is one of the most popular volatile components. It is used in many essential oils for relieving sinus and lung congestion caused by a variety of conditions. This pilot study sought to analyze clinical evidence for the effect of the scent of eucalyptol on the cognitive function of elderly people. Seventy nursing-home residents with cognitive impairment were recruited. Three one-week experiments were performed: eucalyptol scent was diffused in bedrooms with a diffuser only at wake-up time in the first experiment, and at wake-up time and bedtime in the second and third experiments. Results showed that although an improvement was not seen when using Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Cohen-Mansfild Agitation Inventory (CMAI) measures, Dementia Behavior Disturbance Scale (DBD) scores improved significantly, even though no subject reported perceiving the scent. The significant improvements of the behaviour were found not only among the subjects whose room had a diffuser but also among the subjects who were exposed to an unperceivable level of eucalyptol drifted in the living room.
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