Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oil (ROEO) has been identified as a potential alternative treatment for stress. A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked into ROEO's potential as a treatment for mood disorders resulting from chronic stress.
The researchers had six-week-old ICR mice inhale ROEO and subjected them to tail suspension test (TST).
They also examined ROEO-treated PC12 cells to determine the neuronal differentiation effect of ROEO in vitro.
The authors measured intracellular acetylcholine, choline, and Gap43 gene expression levels.
They noted a decrease in the mice's immobility time during the TST, accompanied by an increase in dopamine levels in the animals' brain.
The researchers found that the modulation of intracellular acetylcholine, choline, and Gap43 gene expression levels resulted in a PC12 differentiation-induction effect.
They believed ROEO activated the stress response system and caused the production of dopamine.
The effect was attributed to ?-pinene, an anxiolytic compound found in rosemary.
The researchers concluded that their findings were sufficient proof of ROEO's anti-stress properties, making it potentially effective against mood disorders. They added that a clinical trial would be needed to determine ROEO's effect on clinical depression.
Villareal MO, Ikeya A, Sasaki K, Arfa AB, Neffati M, Isoda H. ANTI-STRESS AND NEURONAL CELL DIFFERENTIATION INDUCTION EFFECTS OF ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS L. ESSENTIAL OIL. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 11 September 2017;17(1). (549). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-2060-1