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Neurosci Lett. 2005 Jul 22-29;383(1-2):188-93.

Olfactory stimulation with scent of lavender oil affects autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats.

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Division of Protein Metabolism, Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University, Japan.


In a previous study, we presented evidence that scent of grapefruit oil excites sympathetic nerves innervating white and brown adipose tissues and the adrenal gland, inhibits the vagal nerve innervating the stomach, increases lipolysis and heat production (energy consumption), and reduces appetite and body weight. Here, we examined the effects of olfactory stimulation with scent of lavender oil (SLVO) in rats and observed that in contrast to grapefruit oil, it inhibits the sympathetic nerves innervating the white and brown adipose tissues and adrenal gland and excites the parasympathetic gastric nerve. Local anesthesia of the nasal mucosa with xylocaine or anosmic treatment using ZnSO(4) eliminated the autonomic changes caused by SLVO. Moreover, stimulation with SLVO lowered the plasma glycerol level, and treatment with either ZnSO(4) or an intracranial injection of thioperamide, a histamine H3 receptor-antagonist, abolished SLVO-mediated glycerol decline. Furthermore, a 15-min daily exposure to SLVO increased food intake and body weight. Finally, linalool, a component of lavender oil, induced responses similar to those caused by SLVO, and the glycerol response to linalool was eliminated by thioperamide. Thus, scent of lavender oil and its active component, linalool, affect autonomic nerves, suppress lipolysis through a histaminergic response, and enhance appetite and body weight.

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