An initial contraction is sometimes observed with lavender essential oil before the spasmolytic action occurs (Lis-Balchin et al., 1996a) and this is probably due to the presence of 1,8-cineole and a- and jS-pinene, which have been shown to contract guinea-pig ileum (Lis-Balchin and Hart, 1997). Preliminary results indicate that a-pinene is not acting via muscarinic cholinocep-tors or histamine receptors and that the two enantiomers of a-pinene do not have identical pharmacological activity (Lis-Balchin et al., 1999). On the duodenum of the rat, Gamez et al. (1990), on the other hand, found 1,8-cineole to have spasmolytic activity. Recent experiments using methanolic and water-soluble extracts of L. angustifolia dried flowers, L. angustifolia fresh flowers and fresh leaves, assessed separately, L. stoechas leaves and L. viridis leaves have indicated that the water-soluble tea extract of L. angustifolia dried flowers and the leaves of L. angustifolia have some spasmogenic action, while all their essential oils have only a spasmolytic action.
0.1 ml x100 dilution
Figure 13.5 The effect of lavender oil on the spontaneously contracting uterus of the rat in vitro, showing the inhibition of contractions, which at higher lavender oil concentrations actually cease altogether.
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You have probably heard the term Aromatherapy and wondered what exactly that funny word, „aromatherapy‟ actually means. It is the use of plant oils in there most essential form to promote both mental and physical well being. The use of the word aroma implies the process of inhaling the scents from these oils into your lungs for therapeutic benefit.