Anxiolytic-like effect of inhalation of essential oil from Lavandula officinalis: investigation of changes in 5-HT turnover and involvement of olfactory stimulation

Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Jul;9(7):1023-6.


Essential oil extracted from Lavandula officinalis (LvEO) has a long history of usage in anxiety alleviation with good evidence to support its use. However, findings and information regarding the exact pathway involved and mechanism of action remain inconclusive. Therefore, we aimed to (1) reveal the influence of olfactory stimulation, and (2) determine whether the serotonergic system is involved in the anxiolytic effect of LvEO when it is inhaled. To this end, we first compared the anxiety-related behaviors of normosmic and anosmic mice. LvEO inhalation caused notable elevation in anxiety-related parameters with or without olfactory perception, indicating that olfactory stimulation is not necessarily required for LvEO to be effective. Neurochemical analysis of the serotonin (5-HT) turnover rate, accompanied by EPM testing, was then performed. LvEO significantly increased the striatal and hippocampal levels of 5-HT and decreased turnover rates in accordance with the anxiolytic behavioral changes. These results, together with previous findings, support the hypothesis that serotonergic neurotransmission plays a certain role in the anxiolytic properties of LvEO.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Lavandula / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Olfaction Disorders / chemically induced
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Zinc Sulfate / toxicity


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Serotonin
  • Zinc Sulfate