The Effects of Oral Lavender Therapy on Wounding in Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Publication Type:
Electronic Article
Year of Publication:
Elizabeth R. Magden, Sarah Neal Webb, Susan P. Lambeth, Stephanie J. Buchl, Steven J. Schapiro
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Lavender administration in humans has been shown to promote calmness without the side effects often observed with benzodiazepines. Studies in both humans and rodents have found that ingestion of oral lavender capsules resulted in significantly decreased anxiety. Additionally, mice developed an anti-conflict effect and humans increased socially inclusive behaviors. Given the safety of oral lavender oil and the observed benefits, we administered daily lavender capsules to six chimpanzees who exhibited conflict-instigating behaviors in an effort to further decrease our already low levels of wounding. We compared the total number of wounds in 25 chimpanzees housed with the six lavender-treated chimpanzees in five different social groups (1) prior to administration of daily oral lavender capsules to (2) total wounds during daily oral lavender capsule treatment. We hypothesized that lavender therapy treatment would reduce overall wounding in the social groups. Surprisingly, overall wounding was higher during the lavender treatment period (p = 0.01), yet the percentage of wounds requiring treatment significantly decreased during the lavender therapy period (36% vs. 21%, p = 0.02).


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