Effects of Lavender Oil on Predator Odor-Induced Anxiety in Rats

Issue: 
2021
Institution: 
Whitworth University, Spokane, WA 99251

The purpose of the present study was to explore the effects of a potential treatment for anxiety due to the need for easily obtainable and inexpensive options. The study tested the anxiolytic effects of lavender oil on rats experiencing severe anxiety induced by predator odor in 12 female rats. Prior to being tested, six control rats were exposed to diffused water, while six experimental rats were exposed to diffused lavender. Anxiety was induced in the same rats using bobcat urine and was observed in the open-field and elevated plus-maze tests using behavioral measures of anxiety. The anxiety responses in the open-field test were measured as rearing, defecating, climbing walls, freezing, grooming, and spending time near walls. The elevated plus-maze measured rearing, grooming, number of closed arm entries, and time spent in the open and closed arms. Administering lavender oil did not significantly reduce anxiety-like behavior in the openfield test, but in the elevated plus-maze, experimental rats spent significantly less time in the closed arms than did the control group. Further research should explore this potential for using essential oils as treatments.

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