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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Latest Research Validates Bergamot's Anti-Stress Effects

Bergamot Fruit
This is a very interesting study validating aromatherapy's aroma-therapeutic action, looking at changes in the brain as a result from inhaling bergamot essential oil. Our smell sense is the only one with the direct connection to the brain, while all the others have their signal travel through something to get there. And the smell sense is wired right to our most primitive centers, the ones that control emotions, among other things.

Scientists in Italy have elucidated the way bergamot oil lowers stress-induced anxiety and affects mild depression. They go on to note that there is firing of brain cells in such a way that the essential oil "is able to interfere with normal synaptic plasticity". This process occurs in the area of long-term memory formation. That means that it interferes with the process of making a neural connection stronger when repeatedly expose to stress.

For example, think about feeling a familiar stress over and over. It doesn't get easier to take, in-fact that stress becomes unbearable (this is different than a good stress, like exercise). That's because the neural-pathway has been made stronger and stronger, so the same stress seems more intense. Bergamot essential oil makes it so that strengthening of the pathway doesn't occur, or is lessened anyway.

Bergamot essential oil is used for it's anti-stress effects, as well as it's ability to lessen the perceived intensity of pain. And the researchers note that because the mechanism is understood, bergamot it should be used in complementary medicine, alongside conventional medical techniques. Making the statement about complementary medicine gets one thinking about the rest of aromatherapy. Anytime on is using an oil's aroma for a desired emotional or psychological response is probably eliciting some change in the neurochemistry.


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