Molecular medical research on aromatherapy has been steadily increasing for use as an adjuvant therapy in managing psychiatric conditions and to examine its therapeutic mechanisms. Most studies, as well as clinically applied experience, have indicated that various essential oils, from the mint, floral, conifers and citrus families such as peppermint/lavender, pine/cedarwood and lemon/bergamot can help to improve negative feelings and emotions caused by numerous stressors which provoke feelings of anxiousness, sadness, grief and many negative moods and conditions. Most notably, inhalation of essential oils can communicate signals to the olfactory system and stimulate the specific brain nuclei. Chemical constituients of palnt essentia oils initiate the increased synthesis along certain neurotransmitters pathways yielding enhanced serotonin and dopamine production, influencing mood and emotions positively. Some human research has been done on the molecular mechanisms underlying these effects, thus their multiple mechanisms and actions and positive impact continues to be understood and increasingly utilized by lay persons and practitioners alike. Several hypotheses have been proposed regarding the therapeutic mechanism of improving sad moods. These have mainly centered on possible deficiencies in monoamines, neurotrophins, the neuroendocrine system, c-AMP, cation channels as well as neuroimmune interactions and epigenetics. The precise mechanism or mechanisms related to the fluxuations of mood states is deserving of more in depth research. In the current study, the effectiveness of aromatherapy for alleviating mental conditions was examined using data collected from previously published studies and our unpublished data. A possible signaling pathway from olfactory system to the central nerve system and the associated key molecular elements of aromatherapy are also proposed.
These two links to this clinical publication of ginger and anethesia explains some concepts of aromatic science.