The traditional use of essential oils in aromatherapy has offered numerous health benefits. However, few scientific studies have been conducted with these oils to confirm their therapeutic efficacy. (+)-Limonene is a chemical constituent of various bioactive essential oils. The present study reports on the anxiolytic-like effects of (+)-limonene in an elevated maze model of anxiety in mice. At concentrations of 0.5% and 1.0%, (+)-limonene, administered to mice by inhalation, significantly modified all the parameters evaluated in the elevated plus maze test. The pharmacological effect of inhaled (+)-limonene (1%) was not blocked by flumazenil. Analysis of (+)-limonene using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) showed its volatility to be high. These data suggest possible connections between the volatility of (+)-limonene and its anxiolytic-like effect on the parameters evaluated in the elevated plus maze test. The data indicate that (+)-limonene could be used in aromatherapy as an antianxiety agent.
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