Essential oils can act directly on the nervous system and modulate brain waves in order to induce a state of calm, such as lavender essential oil, or, on the contrary, to stimulate the mind and attention, such as essential oil of rosemary. Recent scientific research has made it possible to shed light on the action of mandarin essential oil, a much loved essence with a fascinating, sweet and pleasant aroma. Well, according to the study, the concentration with which mandarin essential oil is used also determines its action on the nervous system, but let's try to understand better. The research was published in the journal Molecules by a group of Thai scientists (Chandharakool et al, Molecules, Oct 2020).
The research is very small, in fact it was carried out only on 20 volunteers, but, in any case, it is interesting as it allows us to understand how mandarin essential oil acts on brain waves, resulting in calm or greater attention. By measuring the different brain waves through the electroencephalogram and also evaluating the time taken to fall asleep, a parameter to establish the ability to calm down, the researchers studied the behavior of mandarin essential oil in three different dilutions. In particular, the action of pure and undiluted essential oil, of essential oil diluted in a ratio of 1: 800 (2 drops of essential oil in 800 ml of water) and of essential oil diluted in a ratio of 1: 1000 (2 drops of essential oil in 1000 ml of water) was analyzed. What emerged was that the undiluted essential oil acts by decreasing the alpha waves, which are typical of the moments before falling asleep, and by increasing the beta waves, which prevail during intense mental activity.
Therefore, undiluted mandarin essential oil increases attention and concentration, helps the mind to stay alert and active. Completely opposite for the dilutions. In both cases, inhaling the diluted essential oil led to a decrease in beta waves, linked to a waking state, and to an increase in theta waves, typical of the NREM and REM sleep states. Not only that, the essential oil of mandarin in the two diluted forms has also reduced the time it takes to fall asleep, thus emphasizing the calming and sedative action of the essence at concentrations lower than pure essential oil.