Effects of Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) Essential Oil Inhalation on Cognitive Performance and Mood in Healthy Women


  • Napatr Sriraksa
  • Maroot Kaewwongse
  • Wathita Phachonpai
  • Thaneeya Hawiset


Objective: To evaluate the effects of inhalation of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) essential oil on the cognitive function and mood in healthy female volunteers. Methods: All 30 participants of each group were required to inhale either lemongrass essential oil or a placebo (inactive control oil) for five minutes. Before and after the 5-minuite inhalation period, their cognitive function was assessed with a computerized battery of tests and the mood with a self-rated visual analogue; the blood pressure and heart rate were also measured. Differences in the cognitive function, mood, blood pressure and heart rate between the two groups were analyzed and tested using an independent t-test. Results: After the inhalation, the lemongrass essential oil enhanced their cognitive performance for the domains of the continuity of attention and the quality of memory (P-value = 0.013 and 0.026, respectively), whereas the mood in terms of alertness and calmness was also increased (P-value = 0.001 and 0.035, respectively). However, no significant change in the blood pressure and heart rate was observed. Conclusion: The lemongrass essential oil inhalation could improve the cognitive function and modulate mood of healthy women with no effect on the physiological status. However, the underlying mechanisms of these positive effects still require further studies. Keywords: Cymbopogon citratus, lemongrass, essential oil, cognitive performance, mood


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