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Monday, October 06, 2008

Aromatherapy Oil Components Studied for Natural Sedation Effects

Of all the naturally occurring compounds in essential oils, Linalool, a monoterpene alchohol, has been the most studied for it's relaxation effects. Linalool is found in high concentrations in oils that are often used for their calming effects, such as Lavender (particularly High Elevation varieties) and Ylang Ylang. These studies represent a sampling of the many investigations, and are easily reproduced by inhaling some essential oil yourself. Linalool appears to act as a natural sedative without harmful side effects, and may even reduce glutamate-induced toxicity due to over-stimulation. Here are the studies:

Study: Inhaled linalool-induced sedation in mice.


Linck VD, da Silva AL, Figueiró M, Luis Piato A, Paula Herrmann A, Dupont Birck F, Bastos Caramão E, Sávio Nunes D, Moreno PR, Elisabetsky E. Laboratório de Etnofarmacologia, Brazil; PPG Ciências Biológicas-Bioquímica, Brazil.

Linalool is a monoterpene often found as a major component of essential oils obtained from aromatic plant species (ed. note: particularly in French Lavender essential oils grown at higher elevations), many of which are used in traditional medical systems as hypno-sedatives. Psychopharmacological evaluations of linalool (i.p. and i.c.v.) revealed marked sedative and anticonvulsant central effects in various mouse models. Considering this profile and alleged effects of inhaled lavender essential oil, the purpose of this study was to examine the sedative effects of inhaled linalool in mice. Mice were placed in an inhalation chamber during 60min, in an atmosphere saturated with 1% or 3% linalool. Immediately after inhalation, animals were evaluated regarding locomotion, barbiturate-induced sleeping time, body temperature and motor coordination (rota-rod test). The 1% and 3% linalool increased (p<0.01) pentobarbital sleeping time and reduced (p<0.01) body temperature. The 3% linalool decreased (p<0.01) locomotion. Motor coordination was not affected. Hence, linalool inhaled for 1h seems to induce sedation without significant impairment in motor abilities, a side effect shared by most psycholeptic drugs.

Study: Effects of Linalool on glutamatergic system in the rat cerebral cortex.

Elisabetsky E, Marschner J, Souza DO. Depto de Farmacologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Linalool is a monoterpene compound reported to be a major component of essential oils in various aromatic species. Several Linalool-producing species are used in traditional medical systems, including Aeolanthus suaveolens G. Dom (Labiatae) used as anticonvulsant in the Brazilian Amazon. Psychopharmacological in vivo evaluation of Linalool showed that this compound have dose-dependent marked sedative effects at the Central Nervous System, including hypnotic, anticonvulsant and hypothermic properties. The present study reports an inhibitory effect of Linalool on Glutamate binding in rat cortex. It is suggested that this neurochemical effect might be underlining Linalool psychopharmacological effects. These findings provide a rational basis for many of the traditional medical use of Linalool producing plant species.

Study: Stimulative and sedative effects of essential oils upon inhalation in mice.

Lim WC, Seo JM, Lee CI, Pyo HB, Lee BC. R&D Center, Hanbul Cosmetics Co. Ltd., 72-7 Yongsung-ri, Samsung-Myun, Chungbuk 369-830, Korea.

This study investigated the stimulative or sedative effects of inhaling fragrant essential oils (EOs) by using a forced swimming test (FST) with mice. This behavioral test is commonly used to measure the effects of antidepressant drugs. The inhalation by mice of EOs, such as ginger oil (p<0.05), thyme oil (p<0.05), peppermint oil (p<0.05), and cypress oil (p<0.01) resulted in 5% to 22% reduction of immobility. The same results were achieved when over-agitation was artificially induced in the mice by an intraperitoneal injection of caffeine (a psycho-stimulant). In contrast, inhalation of some EOs by the mice resulted in increased immobility. To evaluate more correctly the sedative effects of EOs, the immobility of over-agitated mice induced with caffeine was ascertained after the inhalation of various EOs. Inhalation of lavender oil (p<0.01) and hyssop oil (p<0.01) increased the immobile state in mice that were treated with caffeine. The results of this study indicate that the inhalation of essential oils may induce stimulative or sedative effects in mice.








*The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.


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