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Rose geranium in sesame oil nasal spray: a treatment for nasal vestibulitis?
  1. Elizabeth J Cathcart-Rake1,
  2. Deanne Smith1,
  3. David Zahrieh2 and
  4. Charles L Loprinzi1
  1. 1 Department of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Department of Health Sciences Research, Cancer Statistics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth J Cathcart-Rake, Department of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA; cathcart-rake.elizabeth{at}


Objectives As a rose geranium in sesame oil spray product has been anecdotally noted to improve nasal vestibulitis symptoms, this study was designed to assess whether patients with nasal vestibulitis associated with cancer-directed therapy experienced symptomatic improvements from it.

Methods Patients with breast cancer, prescribed rose geranium nasal spray, were identified by looking at pharmacy records and patient diagnosis at Mayo Clinic Rochester. Patient medical information, as well as documentation of symptoms, were gleaned from medical charts. Questionnaires were sent to patients regarding their experiences.

Results Of the 40 patients with breast cancer who were prescribed rose geranium nasal spray, 100% were receiving cancer-directed therapy: 58 % were receiving taxane chemotherapy; others received a variety of cytotoxic and targeted therapy treatments. Twenty patients who had used the spray product returned surveys. Patient-reported nasal symptoms included bleeding (90%), dryness (86%), pain (81%), scabbing (67%) and sores (52%); patients consistently reported symptoms at a higher proportion than did healthcare providers. All patients who used the rose geranium nasal spray reported symptomatic benefit; one reported a little benefit, 11 (55%) reported moderate benefit and eight (40%) reported dramatic or complete resolution of symptoms. The therapy was well tolerated in most patients.

Conclusions Rose geranium in sesame oil nasal spray appears to improve patient-reported nasal symptoms associated with cancer-directed therapy.

  • nasal spray
  • nasal vestibulitis
  • toxicity of chemotherapy
  • toxicity of targeted therapy

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  • Contributors Conception and design of the work: EC-R, CLL, DS. Data collection: CLL. Data analysis and interpretation: EC-R, DZ. Drafting the article: EC-R, CLL, DZ. Critical revision of the article: EC-R, CLL, DZ, DS. Final approval of the version to be published: EC-R, CLL, DZ, DS.

  • Funding The research for this manuscript was financially supported by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

  • Competing interests EC-R, DZ and DS have nothing to disclose. CLL discloses the following: Pfizer, Theravance, Competitive Technologies, GOMC Co Ltd, Acetylon and Janssen have all, in the past, provided funds and/or materials to Mayo for research work that he has done, not directly related to the present publication. He has also consulted for the following companies: PledPharma, Lpath, Mundipharma and Insys for consultations not directly related to the present publication.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Author note Legal and ethical requirements have been met with regards to the welfare of participants in this study.