In this study, researchers from The Federal University of Sergipe in Brazil evaluated the potential anxiolytic effect of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) aroma in healthy volunteers subjected to an anxiety-inducing situation. The results of their study were published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
The researchers recruited 40 male volunteers for their study and divided them into four groups. They asked the first group to inhale lemongrass essential oil (test aroma: three to six drops), the second group to inhale tea tree essential oil (control aroma: three drops), the third group to inhale distilled water (non-aromatic control: three drops), and the fourth group to nothing (control).
Immediately after inhalation, they subjected each volunteer to an experimental model of anxiety -- a video-monitored version of the Stroop Color-Word Test (SCWT).
The researchers evaluated psychologic parameters (state anxiety, subjective tension, tranquilization, and sedation) and psychologic parameters (heart rate and gastrocnemius electromyogram activity) before inhalation and before, during, and after SCWT.
The researchers reported that, unlike the control groups, the test aroma group exhibited a reduction in state anxiety and subjective tension immediately after inhalation.
Although the test aroma group showed an anxious response during the SCWT, they fully recovered from it in 5 minutes, unlike the control groups.
On the other hand, physiologic alterations during the test were not prevented by inhalation of either of the essential oils. The same results were obtained in previous study involving the drug diazepam.
Goes TC, Ursulino FRC, Almeida-Souza TH, Alves PB, Teixeira-Silva F. EFFECT OF LEMONGRASS AROMA ON EXPERIMENTAL ANXIETY IN HUMANS. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 01 December 2015;21(12):766–773. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0099