Research: HONGRATANAWORAKIT,

Listed in Issue 195

Abstract

HONGRATANAWORAKIT,  Institution Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Srinakharinwirot University, Rangsit-Ongkharak Road, Nakhonnayok 26120, Thailand. tapanee@swu.ac.th investigated the effects of  blended essential oils on autonomic parameters and on emotional responses in humans following transdermal absorption.

Background

Although blended essential oils are increasingly being used for the improvement of the quality of life and for the relief of various symptoms in patients, the scientific evaluation of the aroma-therapeutic effects of blended essential oils in humans is rather scarce.

Methodology

In this study, the authors hypothesized that applying blended essential oil would provide a synergistic effect that would have a chance for success in treating depression or anxiety. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of the blended essential oil on autonomic parameters and on emotional responses in humans following transdermal absorption. The blended essential oil consisted of lavender and bergamot oils. Human autonomic parameters, i.e. blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate, and skin temperature, were recorded as indicators of the arousal level of the autonomic nervous system. In addition, subjects had to rate their emotional condition in terms of relaxation, vigour, calmness, attentiveness, mood, and alertness in order to assess subjective behavioral arousal. Forty healthy volunteers participated in the experiments. Blended essential oil was applied topically to the skin of the abdomen of each subject.

Results

Compared with placebo, blended essential oil caused significant decreases of pulse rate, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which indicated a decrease of autonomic arousal. At the emotional level, subjects in the blended essential oil group rated themselves as 'more calm' and 'more relaxed' than subjects in the control group. This finding suggests a decrease of subjective behavioral arousal.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this investigation demonstrated the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils. This synergistic blend provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans.

References

Hongratanaworakit T. Aroma-therapeutic effects of massage blended essential oils on humans.  Natural Product Communications. 6(8):1199-204. Aug. 2011.

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