Investigation of the anxiolytic effects of linalool, a lavender extract, in the male Sprague-Dawley rat

AANA J. 2008 Feb;76(1):47-52.


The purpose of our study was to investigate the anxiolytic effects of linalool and its potential interaction with the GABAA receptor in Sprague-Dawley rats. Lavender has been used traditionally as an herbal remedy in the treatment of many medical conditions, including anxiety. Linalool is a major component of the essential oil of lavender. Forty-four rats were divided into 4 groups: control, linalool, midazolam (positive control), and flumazenil and linalool. The behavioral and the neurohormonal/physiological components of anxiety were evaluated. The behavioral component was examined by using the elevated plus maze (open arm time/total time) and the neurohormonal/physiological component by measuring serum catecholamine and corticosterone levels. Data analysis was performed using a 2-tailed Multivariate Analysis of Variance and Sheffe post-hoc test. Our data suggest that linalool does not produce anxiolysis by modulation of the GABAA receptor; however, linalool may modulate motor movements and locomotion.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antidotes / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / blood
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Flumazenil / therapeutic use
  • GABA Modulators / therapeutic use
  • Lavandula*
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Midazolam / therapeutic use
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Monoterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Motor Skills / drug effects
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidotes
  • GABA Modulators
  • Monoterpenes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Flumazenil
  • linalool
  • Midazolam
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine