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Aromatherapy Research News

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Studies Show Lavender and Grapefruit Aromas Have Opposite Effects

Let me first say that The Ananda Apothecary is completely opposed to animal testing (unless of course your cat really happens to enjoy essential oils...ours loves Rose). Since this data is being released to the public, however, and we think it's possible it may be of some use, we would like to keep you updated on research being presented in the field of Aromatherapy.

Here are studies by researchers at Osaka University in Japan, comparing and contrasting the effects of Lavender and Grapefruit essential oils. Lavender is always considered relaxing or sedating, and Grapefruit is always considered a stimulant. These studies confirm these categories of these oils, noting changes in metabolism solely through inhalation of the aromas. Lavender decreased metabolism, while Grapefruit increased it. Grapefruit is used for cellulite reduction, and here the researchers show that the metabolism of brown adipose tissue is actually increased by Grapefruit oil. Grapefruit aroma also decreased appetite. At the same time, Lavender lowered body temperature, blood pressure and metabolism, confirming this oil's use for support of sleep.

Study: Day-night difference in thermoregulatory responses to olfactory stimulation.

Tanida M, Shen J, Nakamura T, Niijima A, Nagai K. Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.

Previously, we observed that olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil (SGFO) or scent of lavender oil (SLVO) affected, elevated or lowered brown adipose tissue temperature (BAT-T) in conscious mice, respectively. In the present study, to test the day-night difference in the actions of olfactory stimulations, we examined the responses of BAT-T and body temperature (BT) measured as the abdominal temperature to SGFO or SLVO during day-time at 14:00 and night-time at 2:00 in conscious rats. In the light period, BAT-T and BT were suppressed after SLVO and elevated after SGFO whereas in the dark period, these parameters remained unchanged with olfactory stimulations. Bilateral lesions of the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) eliminated the effects of olfactory stimulations with SGFO and SVLO on BAT-T and BT. Moreover, sympathetic nerve activity innervating brown adipose tissue (BAT-SNA) changes after SGFO or SLVO were abolished in SCN-lesioned rats. Thus, we concluded that there is day-night difference in the effects of SGFO or SLVO on BAT-T and BT, and that the SCN might be involved in these effects.

Study: Olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats.

Shen J, Niijima A, Tanida M, Horii Y, Maeda K, Nagai K. Division of Protein Metabolism, Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University, 3-2 Yamada-Oka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.

In a previous study, we found that olfactory stimulation with scent of grapefruit oil (SGFO) excites the sympathetic nerve innervating the white adipose tissue in rats. Here we further examined the effects of SGFO in rats and observed that olfactory stimulation with SGFO excited the sympathetic nerves innervating the brown adipose tissue and adrenal gland and inhibited the parasympathetic gastric nerve. Local anesthesia of the nasal mucosa with xylocaine or anosmic treatment using ZnSO4 eliminated the autonomic changes caused by SGFO. Moreover, stimulation with SGFO elevated the plasma glycerol level, and treatment with either ZnSO4 or an intraperitoneal injection of diphenhydramine, a histamine H1 receptor-antagonist, abolished the glycerol elevation by SGFO. Furthermore, a 15-min exposure to SGFO three times a week reduced food intake and body weight. Finally, limonene, a component of grapefruit oil, induced responses similar to those caused by SGFO, and diphenhydramine eliminated the glycerol response to limonene. Thus, the scent of grapefruit oil, and particularly its primary component limonene, affects autonomic nerves, enhances lipolysis through a histaminergic response, and reduces appetite and body weight.

*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.

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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