Orange Oil Relaxation

August 13, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Today I’d like to tell a tale of two oranges. Citrus sinensis, the more popular of the two, is known as “sweet orange”. The lesser known Citrus aurantium is referred to as bergamot or “bitter orange”. Although bitterness and sweetness are typically thought of as polar opposites, both of these citrus fruits have found common ground in the field of natural medicine. Over the past several years, C. aurantium and C. sinensis have been analyzed as potentially beneficial aromatherapeutic agents. In particular, scientists are investigating whether the inhalation of bitter and sweet orange oil aroma may curb anxious feelings.

The latest study on this subject was published in the July 2012 edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. In it, a total of 40 patients were exposed to varying concentrations of orange oil (C. Sinensis), tea tree oil or a placebo (water). All of the study participants were subjected to stressful conditions and monitored. Those who inhaled the aroma of either 2.5 or 10 drops of sweet orange oil did not exhibit “significant alterations in state-anxiety, subjective tension and tranquility levels” while undergoing a stressful situation. The authors of the study concluded that, “the present results indicate an acute anxiolytic activity of sweet orange aroma, giving some scientific support to its use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists”. Previous studies using both bitter and sweet orange oil support these current findings in circumstances ranging from anxiousness caused by dental procedures to preoperative anxiety. In all of the instances I’ve reviewed, orange oil has been found cost effective and safe.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Essential Oils and Anxiolytic Aromatherapy (link)

Study 2 – Effect of Sweet Orange Aroma on Experimental Anxiety in Humans(link)

Study 3 – Ambient Odors of Orange and Lavender Reduce Anxiety and Improve (link)

Study 4 – Ambient Odor of Orange in a Dental Office Reduces Anxiety (link)

Study 5 – Citrus Aurantium Blossom and Preoperative Anxiety(link)

Anxiety Characteristics and Prevalence Throughout Life

Source: Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2011;13:381-399. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Dental Health, Mental Health

5 Comments & Updates to “Orange Oil Relaxation”

  1. JP Says:

    Update: The latest review about the health benefits of bergamot oil …

    Front Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 2;6:36.

    Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application.

    “Conclusion: Bergamot essential oil has been traditionally used in Italian folk medicine for magisterial, handcrafted, and homemade preparations that are intended for topical use as antiseptics for the disinfection of skin and as aids for healing minor wounds. BEO is generally well tolerated, but it possesses photosensitive properties because of the presence of furocoumarins, especially 5-MOP. Therefore, in topical preparations, psoralen-free essential oil was used in recent decades. As a consequence of this and because of safety concerns related to furocoumarins, the use of high quality controlled psoralen-free BEO is recommended as a general precaution. However, although the oil has been used extensively for many years, there have only been a few reports of phototoxic reactions to bergamot aromatherapy oil.

    Several biological activities of BEO were shown, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and analgesic effects, including effects on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems. Even though these effects indicate potential clinical applications for BEO in the future, to date, only clinical studies investigating aromatherapy effects have been published. The latter were carried out primarily to investigate anxiolytic effects and the reduction of stress responses. They indicate that treatment with BEO in aromatherapy can be useful to reduce anxiety and stress effects.”

    Be well!


  2. JP Says:

    Update 04/29/15:

    J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2014 Sep;72(9):1671-6.

    Can ambient orange fragrance reduce patient anxiety during surgical removal of impacted mandibular third molars?

    PURPOSE: To investigate whether ambient orange fragrance, compared with no fragrance, can reduce patient anxiety before and during surgical removal of an impacted mandibular third molar.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: In the present randomized clinical trial, the patients who required extraction of an impacted mandibular third molar and fulfilled the predetermined criteria were included. A dental anxiety scale (DAS) questionnaire was used to determine the anxiety level of the patients before surgery. Only patients with moderate and high anxiety levels (DAS scale ≥ 9 to ≤ 14) were included. The predictor variable was fragrance exposure. The fragrance group was exposed to orange fragrance, and the control group was exposed to no fragrance. The outcome variables were physiologic measures related to anxiety, including the mean blood pressure, respiratory rate, and pulse rate. The physiologic vital changes were determined before and during the surgical procedure. The data were analyzed using the independent t test, χ(2) test, and Mann-Whitney U test (Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 16; α = 0.05).

    RESULTS: A total of 56 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria (fragrance group, 19 males and 9 females; no-fragrance group, 12 males and 16 females). Before entering the waiting room, the patients’ vital signs were recorded twice. No significant differences were found between the 2 groups. The mean blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate were significantly lower in the fragrance group during surgery (from sitting in the dental chair to the end of surgery; P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study have shown that orange fragrance is effective in reducing the anxiety related to surgical removal of an impacted mandibular third molar. Be well! JP

  3. JP Says:

    Updated 1/26/16:

    Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2015 Nov-Dec;20(6):661-4.

    The effect of aromatherapy by essential oil of orange on anxiety during labor: A randomized clinical trial.

    BACKGROUND: Labor is a stressful situation that may have an adverse impact. Aromatherapy is a method to control anxiety and stress of women. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of aromatherapy using essential oil of orange on women’s anxiety during labor.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this clinical trial study, 100 women during labor were randomly assigned to two groups: intervention group and control group. The women in the intervention group were exposed to orange essential oil, but the women in the control group were exposed to distilled water. The women’s anxiety was assessed using the Spielberger inventory. Moreover, physiological parameters such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respiration and pulse rates were assessed in all the women before and 20 min after the intervention. The data were analyzed by Chi-square, Wilcoxon, paired t-test, and Mann-Whitney U test. Data were evaluated with the SPSS 16 program. The significance level of P < 0.05 was considered. RESULTS: The level of anxiety of women in both intervention (P = 0.03) and control (P = 0.003) groups reduced after the intervention. However, the reduction was more in the intervention group (difference in anxiety scores after the intervention in comparison to before intervention = -3.08) in comparison to the control group (score = -1.14). No significant change was found in the physiological parameters of women in the intervention group after the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Aromatherapy is a noninvasive and effective method to help women overcome their anxiety during labor. Orange scent can be useful in childbirth units to help women who are experiencing stress in labor. Be well! JP

  4. JP Says:

    Updated 04/23/16:

    Biopsychosoc Med. 2016 Apr 21;10:11.

    Aromatic effects of a Japanese citrus fruit-yuzu (Citrus junos Sieb. ex Tanaka)-on psychoemotional states and autonomic nervous system activity during the menstrual cycle: a single-blind randomized controlled crossover study.

    BACKGROUND: Yuzu (Citrus junos Sieb. ex Tanaka), a yellow-golden colored citrus fruit, has traditionally been used to promote psychosomatic health in Japan. While the yuzu produces a distinctive, pleasing aroma of citrus and floral, the efficacy of its fragrance remains unknown. The present study investigated the soothing effects of the fragrance of yuzu essential oil from the perspective of autonomic nervous system activity, which plays a crucial role in the integrity of the mind-body connection.

    METHODS: Twenty one women in their 20s participated in a single-blind randomized controlled crossover study. Subjects were examined twice each in the follicular and late-luteal phases. Two kinds of aromatic stimulation (yuzu and water as a control) were used. This experiment measured heart rate variability (HRV) reflecting autonomic nervous system activity and used the Profile of Mood States (POMS) as a psychological index before and after the aromatic stimulation.

    RESULTS: Only a 10-min inhalation of the yuzu scent significantly decreased heart rate and increased high frequency power of HRV reflecting parasympathetic nervous system activity, regardless of menstrual phase. This significant physiological effect continued for at least 25 min. In addition, the POMS tests revealed that inhalation of the aromatic yuzu oil significantly decreased total mood disturbance, a global measure of affective state, together with two POMS subscales-tension-anxiety and fatigue, as long as 35 min after the aroma stimulation, both in the symptomatic late-luteal and non-symptomatic follicular phases.

    CONCLUSIONS: The present study provides the novel information that yuzu’s aromatic effects could serve to alleviate negative emotional stress, which, at least in part, would contribute to the improvement of parasympathetic nervous system activity.

    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Updated 03/26/17:

    Phytother Res. 2017 Mar 24.

    Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) Essential Oil Inhalation Improves Positive Feelings in the Waiting Room of a Mental Health Treatment Center: A Pilot Study.

    Mental health issues have been increasingly recognized as public health problems globally. Their burden is projected to increase over the next several decades. Additional therapies for mental problems are in urgent need worldwide due to the limitations and costs of existing healthcare approaches. Essential oil aromatherapy can provide a cost-effective and safe treatment for many mental problems. This pilot study observed the effects of bergamot essential oil inhalation on mental health and well-being, as measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Scale, in a mental-health treatment center located in Utah, USA. Fifty-seven eligible participants (50 women, age range: 23-70 years) were included for analysis. Fifteen minutes of bergamot essential oil exposure improved participants’ positive feelings compared with the control group (17% higher). Unexpectedly, more participants participated in experimental periods rather than control periods, suggesting even brief exposure to essential oil aroma may make people more willing to enroll in clinical trials. This study provides preliminary evidence of the efficacy and safety of bergamot essential oil inhalation on mental well-being in a mental health treatment center, suggesting that bergamot essential oil aromatherapy can be an effective adjunct treatment to improve individuals’ mental health and well-being.

    Be well!


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