Science is validating that ‘aroma’-therapy can significantly reduce cortisol levels in humans through simple inhalation of essential oils!
Cortisol Reduced by Rose Otto
Cortisol is a hormone produced by our adrenal glands when we’re under stress. It is easily measured through analysis of a saliva sample, as was done in this research, before and after inhalation of Rose essential oil.
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As noted in the study’s conclusion: “Inhalation of rose essential oil significantly inhibited…the increase in the salivary concentration of cortisol in humans.” A second marker of stress was also reduced by the inhalation of the oil.
So What About Other Essential Oils, and Application Methods?
Further, there are several studies that proclaim that simply having the oils within the bloodstream. One study had noted that Sandalwood need not be inhaled for sleep improvement – simply having the oils in the bloodstream seems to produce the result. The oil was not inhaled, but ingested in this case. (1)
A series of studies performed in Germany demonstrated that a capsule containing 2 drops of Lavender essential oil ingested daily had as significant an impact in reducing stress as benzodiazapine drugs. (2)
The ‘take home message’ is that the simple aromas of essential oils can measurable effects in stress reduction. And not just Rose Otto essential oil…Lavender, Sandalwood, Mandarin, Bergamot, and a host of other ‘relaxing’ aromatics are very likely to do the same.
Here’s the abstract of the research regarding the lowering of stress by inhalation of Rose Essential Oil:
Effect of “Rose Essential Oil” Inhalation on Stress-Induced Skin-Barrier Disruption in Rats and Humans.
From: Chem Senses. 2011 Dec 13., by Fukada M, Kano E, Miyoshi M, Komaki R, Watanabe T. Division of Integrative Physiology, Department of Functional, Morphological and Regulatory Science, Tottori University Faculty of MedicineTottori 683-8503, Japan.
In stressed animals, several brain regions exhibit neuronal activation, which increases plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and glucocorticoids. Here, we investigated whether rose essential oil inhibits the stress-induced 1) increases in PVN neuronal activity in rats and plasma glucocorticoids (corticosterone [CORT] in rats and cortisol in humans) and 2) skin-barrier disruption in rats and humans. The results showed that in rats subjected to acute restraint stress, rose essential oil inhalation significantly inhibited the increase in plasma CORT and reduced the increases in the number of c-Fos-positive cells in PVN. Inhalation of rose essential oil significantly inhibited the following effects of chronic stress: 1) the elevation of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), an index of the disruption of skin-barrier function, in both rats and humans and 2) the increase in the salivary concentration of cortisol in humans. These results suggest that in rats and humans, chronic stress-induced disruption of the skin barrier can be limited or prevented by rose essential oil inhalation, possibly through its inhibitory effect on the HPA axis.
(1) Nihon Shinkei Seishin Yakurigaku Zasshi. 2007 Aug;27(4):167-71.[Effect of santalol on the sleep-wake cycle in sleep-disturbed rats].[Article in Japanese]Ohmori A, Shinomiya K, Utsu Y, Tokunaga S, Hasegawa Y, Kamei C.
(2) Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87. Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial.Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S.