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The Effects of Lavender, Valerian, and Oxazepam on Anxiety Among Hospitalized Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

Background and Objectives: Patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) experience different levels of anxiety during their hospital stay. Untreated anxiety among these patients can increase the risk of further cardiac events. The current study aimed at comparing the effects of lavender, valerian, and oxazepam on anxiety among hospitalized patients with CAD.

Methods: As a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial, the current study was conducted in 2016 on 120 patients with CAD hospitalized in the cardiac care unit (CCU) of Valiasr (PBUH) Hospital, Birjand, Iran. Patients were conveniently recruited and randomly allocated to 30-patient lavender, valerian, oxazepam, and placebo groups using the permuted-block randomization method. Patients in these groups orally received 80 mg of lavender essential oil, 400 mg of valerian essential oil, a 10-mg oxazepamtablet, and 5 mL of distilled water, respectively, 1 hour before bedtime in 3 consecutive nights. Data were collected before and after the intervention via a demographic questionnaire and the Spielberger state-trait anxiety inventory. The data were analyzed with SPSS version 21.0 based on descriptive statistics measures (such as mean, standard deviation, and frequency distributions) using inferential statistics (such as the Chi-square test, the paired-samples t test, the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Tukey range test). The level of significance was set to < 0.05.

Results: There were no significant differences among the groups in terms of the pretest mean scores of total, state, and trait anxiety(P > 0.05). However, the mean score of total anxiety significantly decreased in all groups, with the greatest decrease in the lavender group, followed by the valerian, oxazepam, and placebo groups (P < 0.05). The pretest-posttest mean differences of state anxiety were significantly greater in the valerian and the lavender groups than the oxazepam and the placebo groups. Moreover, the pretest posttest mean difference of trait anxiety was significantly greater in the lavender group than the other groups. In addition, the pretest-posttest mean difference of total anxiety was significantly greater in the lavender group than the other groups and in the valerian group it was significantly greater than the oxazepam and the placebo groups (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Oral intake of lavender and valerian essential oils was as effective as oxazepam in alleviating anxiety among patients with coronary artery disease. Of course, the anxiolytic effects of lavender were stronger than those of valerian. These medicinal plants can be good substitutes for chemical anxiolytic medications. Of course, further studies are needed to produce more reliable evidence in this realm