Latest research validates Bergamot's anti-stress effects and also suggest the same of Sweet Orange essential oil, giving some scientific support to its use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists.

Scientists in Italy have elucidated the way Bergamot oil lowers stress-induced anxiety and affects mild depression. They go on to note that there is firing of brain cells in such a way that the essential oil "is able to interfere with normal synaptic plasticity".

This is a very interesting study validating aromatherapy's aroma-therapeutic action. It’s in the brain that a response occurs from smelling a scent. Our smell sense is the only one with the direct connection to the brain, while all the others have their signal travel through something to get there. And the smell sense is wired right to our most primitive centres, the ones that control emotions such as anxiety, distress and fear, among other things. The olfactory sense is the one most closely connected to the brain. In fact, some scientists consider the smell sensors are actually brain cells that extend into the sinus cavity, with their other end directly wired to our emotional, motivational, and memory centres.

The first exposure to this stress may not have been so bad, but after repeated exposure one really doesn’t want to deal with the event again. This research indicates the essential oil short circuits the process of subconsciously remembering the stress as more stressful than it was the first time.

Scientists in Italy have elucidated the way bergamot oil lowers stress-induced anxiety and affects mild depression. They go on to note that there is firing of brain cells in such a way that the essential oil "is able to interfere with normal synaptic plasticity". This process occurs in the area of long-term memory formation. That means that it interferes with the process of making a neural connection stronger when repeatedly exposed to stress.

For example, think about feeling a familiar stress over and over. It doesn't get easier to take, in-fact that stress becomes unbearable (this is different than a good stress, like exercise). That's because the neural-pathway has been made stronger and stronger, so the same stress seems more intense. Bergamot essential oil makes it so that strengthening of the pathway doesn't occur, or is lessened anyway.

Bergamot essential oil is used for its anti-stress effects, as well as its ability to lessen the perceived intensity of pain. And the researchers note that because the mechanism is understood, bergamot should be used in complementary medicine, alongside conventional medical techniques. Anytime one is using an oil’s aroma for a desired emotional or psychological response it is probably eliciting some change in the neurochemistry. Results also suggest an acute anxiolytic activity of sweet orange essence, giving some scientific support to its use as a tranquilizer by aromatherapists.