Effects of inhaled rosemary oil on subjective feelings and activities of the nervous system.

Sci Pharm. 2013 Apr-Jun;81(2):531-42. doi: 10.3797/scipharm.1209-05. Epub 2012 Dec 23.

Author Information: Sayorwan W1, Ruangrungsi N, Piriyapunyporn T, Hongratanaworakit T, Kotchabhakdi N, Siripornpanich V. 1 College of Public Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.

Rosemary oil is one of the more famous essential oils widely used in aroma-therapy. However, the effects of rosemary oil on the human body, in particular the nervous system, have not been sufficiently studied. This study investigates the effects of the inhalation of rosemary oil on test subjects' feelings, as well as its effects on various physiological parameters of the nervous system. Twenty healthy volunteers participated in the experiment. All subjects underwent autonomic nervous system (ANS) recording. This consisted of measurements of skin temperature; heart rate; respiratory rate; blood pressure; evaluations of the subjects' mood states; and electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in the pre-, during treatment, and post-rosemary inhalation periods as compared with control conditions. Our results showed significant increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate after rosemary oil inhalation. After the inhalation treatments, subjects were found to have become more active and stated that they felt "fresher". The analysis of EEGs showed a reduction in the power of alpha1 (8-10.99 Hz) and alpha2 (11-12.99 Hz) waves. Moreover, an increment in the beta wave (13-30 Hz) power was observed in the anterior region of the brain. 

These results confirm the stimulatory effects of rosemary oil and provide supporting evidence that brain wave activity, autonomic nervous system activity, as well as mood states are all affected by the inhalation of the rosemary oil.

PMID: 23833718 PMCID: PMC3700080 DOI: 10.3797/scipharm.1209-05