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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 [...]

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. mtanida@sk.ritsumei.ac.jp

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.

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