Preclinical studies have recently highlighted that bergamot essential oil (BEO) is endowed with remarkable neurobiolological effects. BEO can affect synaptic transmission, modulate electroencephalographic activity and it showed neuroprotective and analgesic properties. The phytocomplex, along with other essential oils, is also widely used in aromatherapy to minimize symptoms of stress-induced anxiety and mild mood disorders. However, only limited preclinical evidences are actually available. This study examined the anxiolytic/sedative-like effects of BEO using an open field task (OFT), an elevated plus-maze task (EPM), and a forced swimming task (FST) in rats. This study further compared behavioural effects of BEO to those of the benzodiazepine diazepam. Analysis of data suggests that BEO induces anxiolytic-like/relaxant effects in animal behavioural tasks not superimposable to those of the DZP. The present observations provide further insight to the pharmacological profile of BEO and support its rational use in aromatherapy.
Keywords: behavioural tests; bergamot essential oil; diazepam; rat.