Orange Essential Oil Studied For PTSD Symptom Relief

essential oil-HonoluluMeida-flickr.jpg

Could something as delicate and delicious smelling as orange essential oil give relief to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) sufferers? A study completed at George Washington University (GWU) suggests it could.

People with PTSD may re-experience aspects of a traumatic event through nightmares, flashbacks, constant vigilance, emotional numbness, and intense anxiety. Pharmaceuticals are a common treatment for these symptoms, but they often bring little, or only short-term relief.

The GWU researchers tested essential oil on laboratory animals using the Pavlovian fear conditioning method. This type of conditioning pairs a tone with a painful stimulus, such as a shock to the foot, provoking a fear response. After a few repetitions of the tone-shock pairing the animal demonstrates a fear response when presented only with the tone.

One group of study animals was exposed to the audio tone alone. A second group was given water, and the fear conditioning. A third group was exposed to orange essential oil, via inhalation, 40 minutes before and after receiving the fear conditioning.

The investigators found that animals exposed to orange essential oil were far less likely to demonstrate fear-based freezing behavior, and actually stopped freezing altogether, and sooner than the animals receiving other types of treatment. This group of animals also showed a substantial decrease in immune cells linked to the biochemical network associated with PTSD.

“Relative to pharmaceuticals, essential oils are much more economical and do not have adverse side effects,” says Cassandra Moshfegh, a GWU research assistant. “The orange essential plant oil showed a significant effect on the behavioral response in our study mice. This is promising because it shows that passively inhaling this essential oil could potentially assuage PTSD symptoms in humans.”

Other studies, involving human participants, have demonstrated that orange oil has anti-anxiety effects. However, people are cautioned that it’s too soon to rely on essential oils for help with PTSD. Those experiencing symptoms should seek help from a physician or mental health professional to be certain of their diagnosis, and to receive comprehensive treatment.

Source: Mercola
Photo credit: Honolulu Media

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