Essential Oil Vapors Studied for Sedative Effects

It appears that mice get the same sort of jitters from caffeine that humans do. And they respond in a statistically significant manner to the sedative effects of essential oil vapors (as produced by aromatherapy diffusers). Here are a few studies of the effects ~ note that the effects of Lavender are confirmed, along with […]

It appears that mice get the same sort of jitters from caffeine that humans do. And they respond in a statistically significant manner to the sedative effects of essential oil vapors (as produced by aromatherapy diffusers). Here are a few studies of the effects ~ note that the effects of Lavender are confirmed, along with Spikenard.

Study: Sedative effects of vapor inhalation of agarwood oil and spikenard extract and identification of their active components.

Takemoto H, Ito M, Shiraki T, Yagura T, Honda G. Department of Pharmacognosy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, Kyoto University, 46-29 Yoshida-Shimoadachi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8501, Japan.

Agarwood oil and spikenard extract were examined for their sedative activity using a spontaneous vapor administration system. It was shown that inhalation of agarwood oil vapor sedated mice. The main volatile constituents of the oil were found to be benzylacetone [agarwood oil from a Hong Kong market (1)], or alpha-gurjunene and (+)-calarene [agarwood oil made in Vietnam (2)]. A hexane extract of spikenard contained a lot of calarene, and its vapor inhalation had a sedative effect on mice. Individual principles benzylacetone, calarene, and alpha-gurjunene were administered to mice, which reproduced the result of the corresponding oil or extract. However, the most effective dose of the compounds was lower than their original content in the oil and extract (benzylacetone 0.1%, calarene 0.17%, alpha-gurjunene 1.5%).

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), cypress oil (p<0.01) 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.

Study: Fragrance compounds and essential oils with sedative effects upon inhalation.

Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, Jäger W, Plank C, Dietrich H. Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Vienna, Austria.

Fragrance compounds and essential oils with sedative effects influence the motility of mice in inhalation studies under standardized conditions. A significant drop in the motility of mice was registered following exposure to these fragrances. The same results were achieved when the mice were artificially induced into overagitation by intraperitoneal application of caffeine and subsequently subjected to inhalation of fragrance compounds and essential oils. These results proved the sedative effects of these fragrants via inhalative exposure in low concentrations. Blood samples were taken from the mice after a 1-h inhalation period. Chromatographic and spectroscopic methods were used to detect and characterize the actual effective compounds after solid-phase extraction. Serum concentrations of 42 different substances, including fragrance compounds, were found in low ranges (ng/mL serum). The results contribute to the correct interpretation of the term aromatherapy (i.e., a stimulating or sedative effect on the behaviour of individuals only upon inhalation of fragrance compounds).

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