Aromatherapy: evidence for sedative effects of the essential oil of lavender after inhalation

Z Naturforsch C J Biosci. 1991 Nov-Dec;46(11-12):1067-72. doi: 10.1515/znc-1991-11-1223.


The sedative properties of the essential oil of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Miller) and of its main constituents--linalool and linalyl acetate--were investigated in mice followed up in a series of experimental procedures. The significant decrease in the motility of female and male laboratory animals under standardized experimental conditions is found to be closely dependent on the exposure time to the drugs. Nevertheless after an injection of caffeine into mice a hyperactivity was observed which was reduced to nearly a normal motility only by inhalation of these fragrance drugs. In particular the correlation of the motility of the animals to linalool in serum is experimentally proven, thus furnishing evidence of the aromatherapeutical use of herbal pillows employed in folk medicine since ancient times in order to facilitate falling asleep or to minimize stressful situations of man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Animals
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Monoterpenes*
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Odorants*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Plant Oils / toxicity
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Reference Values
  • Smell
  • Terpenes / administration & dosage
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*
  • Terpenes / toxicity


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Caffeine
  • linalyl acetate
  • linalool