Volume 19 (2003) Issue 1 Pages 139-146
The effects on humans inhaling the fragrance of essential oils were examined in terms of a sensory test, a multi-channel skin thermometer study and a portable forehead surface electroencephalographic (IBVA-EEG) measurement. The essential oils examined in this study were those of basil and peppermint, because our previous sensory test had indicated an opposite effect of these essential oils when mental work was undertaken; the inhalation of basil produced a more favorable impression after work than before work, whereas peppermint produced an unfavorable impression under these circumstances. For subjects administered basil or peppermint before and after mental work using an inhalator, a series of multi-channel skin thermometer studies and IBVA-EEG measurements were conducted. Using such paired odorants, our results showed that when compared between before and after mental work assigned to subjects: (1) the inhalation of basil, in which a favorable impression was predominant on the whole in terms of the sensory evaluation spectrum, was shown to be associated upward tendency in finger-tip skin temperature; (2) whereas these situations were opposite in the case of peppermint, in which the reversed (unfavorable) feature in sensory profiling was accompanied by a decrease in the magnitude of beta waves and a decrease in the finger-tip skin temperature both based on Welch’s method, even at p < 0.01, implying a decreasing propensity of the aroused state and of the arousal response. The elucidation of such sensory and physiological endpoints of paired odorants would be of primary importance for human chemoreception science, because these are only rarely recorded during the same experiments, and this paradigm is highly informative about non-verbal responses to odorants.