A Stressful Time of Year? Science Confirms ‘Anxiolytic’ Effects of Orange and Bergamot Essential Oils

Bergamot Fruit

Bergamot fruit, from which the stress-reducing essential oil is pressed.

When it’s getting a little stressful around the home or office, one of our absolute favorite single essential oils for diffusing is our tart organic Italian Bergamot…for those who enjoy a little sweeter scent, our classic Sweet Orange is fresh and wonderful too…

And Western science has confirmed the stress-reducing, or ‘anxiolytic’ actions of inhalation of the aromas of each oil. Really, virtually every aromatherapy guidebook will tell you the same: ALL the oils of the citrus family, including Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime and Mandarin offer similar ‘relief’.

Orange Essential Oil

'Sweet' oranges, source of the wonderful - sweeter - orange essential oil.

These two studies conclude the inhalation of diffused Sweet Orange and Bergamot essential oils have significant anti-stress effect. The first study confirmed the effect of Sweet Orange by noting the same anti-stress (termed ‘anxiolytic’) effect did not occur when Tea Tree was inhaled.

 

The second study was performed using Bergamot essential oil, and one of the most highly regarded anti-stress, anti-depressant essential oils. The study revealed an anti-stress result from adolescents wearing an aromatherapy necklace, spiked with Bergamot.

Study 1: “Anxiolytic-like effect of sweet orange aroma in Wistar rats.”

From the Journal of Progressive Neuropsychopharmacology, Biology and Psychiatry: Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils as an alternative treatment for medical purposes. Despite the lack of sufficient scientific proof, it is considered a holistic complementary therapy employed to enhance comfort and decrease distress. Citrus fragrances have been particularly used by aromatherapists for the treatment of anxiety symptoms. Based on this claim, the present study investigated the effects of Citrus sinensis (sweet orange) essential oil on Wistar, male rats evaluated in the elevated plus-maze followed by the light/dark paradigm. The animals were exposed to the orange aroma (100, 200 or 400mul) for 5min while in a Plexiglas chamber and were then immediately submitted to the behavioural tests.

At all doses, Camilia sinensis essential oil demonstrated anxiolytic activity in at least one of the tests and, at the highest dose, it presented significant effects in both animal models. In order to discard the possibility that this outcome was due to non-specific effects of any odor exposure, the behavioral response to Melaleuca alternifoliae (Tea Tree) essential oil was also evaluated, using the same animal models, but no anxiolytic effects were observed.

Study 2: The effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents

From the Journal of Korean Academic Nursing: This study was done to examine the effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents. METHODS: A two-group cross-over design was used for this study. The experimental treatment was aroma essential oil (using Bergamot essential oil) inhalation and the placebo treatment was carrier oil inhalation using a necklace. The sample included 36 female high school students. Fisher’s exact test, t-test, and paired t-test using SPSS/WIN program were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: Stress levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment compared to when they received the placebo treatment. The stress responses except salivary IgA levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment.

CONCLUSION: Aroma inhalation could be a very effective stress management method for high school students. Therefore, it is recommended that this program be used in clinical practice as an effective nursing intervention for high school students.

The easiest way to use these oils yourself is to use an essential oil diffuser, such as one of our ‘cold-air professional nebulizing diffusers‘. These produce a fine mist of ONLY the essential oil(s) (not diluted in water) which evaporate completely in the surrounding air. They’re VERY efficient – producing lots of aroma with just a little oil, and are very well-liked by our customers!

 

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