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Sedative effects of vapor inhalation of agarwood oil and spikenard extract and identification of their active components


Agarwood oil and spikenard extract were examined for their sedative activity using a spontaneous vapor administration system. It was shown that inhalation of agarwood oil vapor sedated mice. The main volatile constituents of the oil were found to be benzylacetone [agarwood oil from a Hong Kong market (1)], or α-gurjunene and (+)-calarene [agarwood oil made in Vietnam (2)]. A hexane extract of spikenard contained a lot of calarene, and its vapor inhalation had a sedative effect on mice. Individual principles benzylacetone, calarene, and α-gurjunene were administered to mice, which reproduced the result of the corresponding oil or extract. However, the most effective dose of the compounds was lower than their original content in the oil and extract (benzylacetone 0.1%, calarene 0.17%, α-gurjunene 1.5%).

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This work was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 17406003 for M. Ito) provided by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences. This work was also partly supported by the 21st Century COE program “Knowledge Information Infrastructure for Genome Science.”

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Correspondence to Gisho Honda.

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Takemoto, H., Ito, M., Shiraki, T. et al. Sedative effects of vapor inhalation of agarwood oil and spikenard extract and identification of their active components. J Nat Med 62, 41–46 (2008).

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  • Agarwood oil
  • Nardostachys chinensis
  • Spikenard
  • Sedative effect
  • Inhalation
  • Spontaneous motor activity