Aromatherapy uses essential oils (EOs) for several medical purposes, including relaxation. The association between the use of aromas and a decrease in anxiety could be a valuable instrument in managing anxiety in an ever increasing anxiogenic daily life style. Linalool is a monoterpene commonly found as the major volatile component of EOs in several aromatic plant species. Adding to previously reported sedative effects of inhaled linalool, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of inhaled linalool on anxiety, aggressiveness and social interaction in mice. Additionally, we investigated the effects of inhaled linalool on the acquisition phase of a step-down memory task in mice. Inhaled linalool showed anxiolytic properties in the light/dark test, increased social interaction and decreased aggressive behavior; impaired memory was only seen the higher dose of linalool. These results strengthen the suggestion that inhaling linalool rich essential oils can be useful as a mean to attain relaxation and counteract anxiety.
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