New Research: Bitter orange oil for withdrawal anxiety


Bitter orange oil alleviates anxiety of drug users in withdrawal!

A new controlled, randomized clinical trial investigated the potential of Bitter orange oil (Citrus aurantium L.) to reduce anxiety in patients going through crack cocaine withdrawal. The abstinence period is of course a difficult time for crack addicts, as they have to fight intense cravings for the drug.

Gabriel Chaves Neto and his Brazilian colleagues recruited 51 male volunteers, who were divided into three groups: a non-drug user control group, a non-drug user aromatherapy group and a drug-user aromatherapy group. The last group consisted of 17 patients admitted to hospital for chemical dependence on crack cocaine, and undergoing withdrawal.

Each group went through a Simulated Public Speaking (SPS) exercise to induce anxiety, and psychological as well as physiological indicators of anxiety were measured at four different stages of the exercise. The two essential oil groups inhaled nebulized Bitter orange oil before the SPS exercise, the control group inhaled vaporized water.

The two essential oil groups demonstrated lower levels of anxiety than the control group. Although the crack user group was more likely to react anxiously to a situation identified as threatening, anxiety did not increase significantly at the time of the SPS intervention.

This study demonstrates the effectiveness of vaporized Bitter orange oil as a complementary treatment to reduce anxiety in patients going through withdrawal from crack cocaine, and potentially other addictive substances.

This effect may be partly due to the pleasant nature of the odor, and partly due to the interaction of Bitter orange oil with serotonin receptors:


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