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Botanica2020 News: Physiological & Psychological Benefits from Inhalation of Orange Essential Oils

Although I'm still working through all the amazing lectures and workshops from Botanica 2020 Celebration of Herbs and Clinical Aromatherapy, I wanted to share some of the exciting highlights with you.

One of the first talks looked at the physiological and psychological benefits of both Citrus sinensis (orange) peel and Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) essential oils

The study: Researcher Dr. Adriana Nunes Wolffenbüttel of Brazil exposed volunteers to either a blend of orange and bitter orange essential oil, a synthetic orange fragrance, or water vapor one hour per week for six months. Prior to the start of the study, Dr. Wolffenbüttel took saliva samples from the volunteers and administered a psychological test. After six months of exposure to one of the three conditions, she again took saliva samples and administered the psychological test.

The results: Although the sample size was small (189 total) Dr. Wolffenbüttel found some promising results. In the essential oil exposed group pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-2, IL-6, and TNF-alpha were decreased, anti-inflammatory cytokin IL-10 increased. Dopamine, a chemical marker of well being increased, as did leptin, a protein marker of satiety. Levels of cortisol were decreased in the essential oil group, and the psychological tests of the essential oil group reported lessened anxiety and depression and increased feelings of well being. These results were NOT seen in the control or synthetic fragrance group.

These results are exciting as they help us to better understand how orange essential oil and bitter orange essential oil which are rich in limonene, linalool, and linalyl acetate are working on a physiological level to uplift, support mood, and support the immune system.

I was not able to find a link to Dr. Wolffenbüttel's paper but you can learn more about her here and more about her other research here, and her book here.

In my practice I use orange essential oil for in diffuser blends, aroma inhalers, hand rubs, soaps, and natural cleaning products for its immune supportive, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and hepatoprotective (liver) supporting properties among other things. It's one of my go to oils along with peppermint and ginger essential oil to ease digestive upsets as well.

Bitter orange leaf or petitgrain is rich in linalyl acetate, linalool, and limonene. The both linalool and linalyl acetate are known for their calming and relaxing properties. Linalool offers analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and immunostimulant properties among others. Linalyl acetate offers similar benefits.

If you've ever inhaled orange or petitgrain you'd probably agree that you can feel the amazing uplifting and relaxing benefits quickly (although emotional associations with aroma come to play as well but that a subject for another blog post).

It's exciting to see that research continues to confirm and quantify the benefits of essential aromatherapists has long seen in their practices.

I look forward to continuing to share some of what I learned at Botanica 2020 with you in blog posts to come.

Aromatic blessings my friends,



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