Linalool is an alcohol found in bay, bergamot, coriander, ho wood, basil*, thyme*, lavender, clary sage, sage, cinnamon, petitgrain, rose, niaouli*, sage, neroli, geranium, marjoram, palmarosa, jasmine, ylang, ylang, and rosewood. Ho wood (Cinnamomun camphora) can be over 98% linalool and the sweet type of basil (Ocimum basilicum) can have over 90% linalool.
Alcohols are the most therapeutically beneficial type of component in an essential oil, and have a low toxicity for safer use with fragile populations (like the elderly). Alcohols can be sensitizing when oxidized, so proper storage is important.
*Basil, thyme, and niaouli have multiple chemotypes. Certain chemotypes are high in linalool.
Links to Plants Containing Linalool
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
- A review of the therapeutic actions of linalool is provided. Sedative, anxiolytic, analgesic, anticonvulsant, and anti‐inflammatory, activities have been demonstrated in scientific studies. From: Aprotosoaie, A. C., Hăncianu, M., Costache, I. I., & Miron, A. (2014). Linalool: a review on a key odorant molecule with valuable biological properties. Flavour and fragrance journal, 29(4), 193-219.
- Linalool is found in the essential oils of rosewood, petitgrain, jasmine, rose, coriander, lavender, and bergamot. It has shown in scientific studies to have neutraceutical anti-cancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and hypocholesterol actions. From: Mughal, M. H. (2019). Linalool: A mechanistic treatise. Journal of Nutrition, Food Research and Technology, 2(1), 1-5.
INSECTICIDAL / PESTICIDAL
- Eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, and mint showed varying degrees of repellency against the bloodsucking bug Rhodnius prolixus Stahl. The knockdown time of nymphs in minutes by constituents was 117.2 (eucalyptol), 408.7 (linalool), 474.0 (menthone), and 484.2 (limonene). While the repellent effect was quite lesser than that of deet, eucalyptol was 3.5 times less toxic. From: Sfara, V., Zerba, E. N., & Alzogaray, R. A. (2009). Fumigant insecticidal activity and repellent effect of five essential oils and seven monoterpenes on first-instar nymphs of Rhodnius prolixus. Journal of medical entomology, 46(3), 511-515.
- Various geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) extractions and their key constituents of linalool and citronellol demonstrated repellent activity against beetles that are food storage pests. From: Abouelatta, A. M., Keratum, A. Y., Ahmed, S. I., & El-Zun, H. M. (2020). Repellent, contact and fumigant activities of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens L.’Hér) essential oils against Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) and Rhyzopertha dominica (F.). International Journal of Tropical Insect Science, 40(4), 1021-1030.
- Certain monoterpenoids from O. majorana essential oil, including linalool, terpinen-4-ol and α-terpineol may be effective in a treatment for head lice. From: Yang, Y. C., Lee, S. H., Clark, J. M., & Ahn, Y. J. (2009). Ovicidal and adulticidal activities of Origanum majorana essential oil constituents against insecticide-susceptible and pyrethroid/malathion-resistant Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 57(6), 2282-2287.
- Essential oils of Eucalyptus globulus, Lavender officinalis, Rosemarinus officinalis, and Thymus vulgaris showed repellent activities against the mosquito: Culex pipiens pallens. Thyme was the strongest and constituents that were effective included alpha-terpinene, thymol, p-cymene, carvacrol, and linalool. From: Choi, W. S., Park, B. S., Ku, S. K., & Lee, S. E. (2002). Repellent activities of essential oils and monoterpenes against Culex pipiens pallens. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, 18(4), 348-351.
- Constituents of geranium oil demonstrated safe repelling action against the mosquito associated with the West Nile virus. From: Tabari, M. A., Youssefi, M. R., Esfandiari, A., & Benelli, G. (2017). Toxicity of β-citronellol, geraniol and linalool from Pelargonium roseum essential oil against the West Nile and filariasis vector Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae). Research in veterinary science, 114, 36-40.
ANTIMICROBIAL / ANTIFUNGAL / ANTIBACTERIAL
- O. basilicum oil and its major constituents including geraniol and linalool, provide a potential source as a natural antifungal agent. From: Cardoso, N. N., Alviano, C. S., Blank, A. F., Romanos, M. T. V., Fonseca, B. B., Rozental, S., … & Alviano, D. S. (2016). Synergism Effect of the Essential Oil from Ocimum basilicum var. Maria Bonita and Its Major Components with Fluconazole and Its Influence on Ergosterol Biosynthesis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016.
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) essential oil showed activity against eight important postharvest deteriorating fungi with the following constituents being significant: 1,8-cineole, linalool, camphor, α-terpineol, methyl chavicol, and eugenol. From: Barcelos, R. C., Jham, G. N., Dhingra, O. D., Mendonca, F. A., & Valente, V. M. (2013). Identification and Quantification of the Major Fungitoxic Components of the Brazilian Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) Essential Oil. Journal of Food Research, 2(5), 124.
- Bergamot and its linalool constituent were most effective against bacteria that can cause food poisoning. From: Fisher, K., & Phillips, C. A. (2006). The effect of lemon, orange and bergamot essential oils and their components on the survival of Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and in food systems. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 101(6), 1232-1240.
- Evaluation of antimicrobial activity of basil essential oil and the linalool constituent were measured against bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Pasteurella multocida and pathogenic fungi Aspergillus niger, Mucor mucedo, Fusarium solani, Botryodiplodia theobromae, Rhizopus solani, and all the tested microorganisms were affected. Both antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of O. basilicum varied significantly with seasonal changes. From: Hussain, A. I., Anwar, F., Sherazi, S. T. H., & Przybylski, R. (2008). Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of basil (Ocimum basilicum) essential oils depends on seasonal variations. Food Chemistry, 108(3), 986-995.
- Citrus aurantium (bergamot), C. limon (lemon), Lavandula angustifolia (lavender), Matricaria chamomilla (chamomile), Mentha piperita (peppermint), M. spicata (spearmint), Ocimum basilicum (basil), Origanum vulgare(oregano), Thymus vulgaris (thyme), and Salvia officinalis (sage) along with their constituents were tested against human pathogenic bacteria. The highest and broadest activity was shown by O. vulgare oil and carvacrol had the highest antibacterial activity among the tested constituents. Other significant constituents included: camphor, 1,8-cineole, linalool, linalyl acetate, limonene, menthol, a-pinene, b-pinene, and thymol. From: Soković, M., Glamočlija, J., Marin, P. D., Brkić, D., & van Griensven, L. J. (2010). Antibacterial effects of the essential oils of commonly consumed medicinal herbs using an in vitro model. Molecules, 15(11), 7532-7546.
- Citronellal and linalool found in citronella completely inhibited the growth of all tested fungal strains. From: Nakahara, K., Alzoreky, N. S., Yoshihashi, T., Nguyen, H. T., & Trakoontivakorn, G. (2013). Chemical composition and antifungal activity of essential oil from Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass). Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly: JARQ, 37(4), 249-252.
- Linalyl acetate and linalool of Salvia sclarea was antifungal in vitro against three soil-borne pathogens. From: Pitarokili, D., Couladis, M., Petsikos-Panayotarou, N., & Tzakou, O. (2002). Composition and antifungal activity on soil-borne pathogens of the essential oil of Salvia sclarea from Greece. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 50(23), 6688-6691.
- The monoterpene alcohols in Douglas fir inhibited sheep and deer rumen microbial activity and included: α-terpineol, terpinen-4-ol, linalool, citronellol, and fenchyl alcohol. From: Oh, H. K., Sakai, T., Jones, M. B., & Longhurst, W. M. (1967). Effect of various essential oils isolated from Douglas fir needles upon sheep and deer rumen microbial activity. Applied microbiology, 15(4), 777-784.
- The following essential oils and their constituents in order of effectiveness were active against pathogens in apple juice: against E. coli: carvacrol, oregano oil, geraniol, eugenol, cinnamon leaf oil, citral, clove bud oil, lemongrass oil, cinnamon bark oil, and lemon oil, and against S. enterica: melissa oil, carvacrol, oregano oil, terpeineol, geraniol, lemon oil, citral, lemongrass oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and linalool. From: Friedman, M., Henika, P. R., Levin, C. E., & Mandrell, R. E. (2004). Antibacterial activities of plant essential oils and their components against Escherichia coli O157: H7 and Salmonella enterica in apple juice. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 52(19), 6042-6048
- Cineole, citral, geraniol, linalool and menthol were tested against a variety of bacteria and fungi, showing a range of antimicrobial activity. From: Pattnaik, S., Subramanyam, V. R., Bapaji, M., & Kole, C. R. (1996). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of aromatic constituents of essential oils. Microbios, 89(358), 39-46.
- Cajeput oil and its isolated constituents of linalool, terpinen-4-ol, α-terpineol, and 1,8-cineole demonstrated antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from patients’ clinical material. From: Cuong, N. D., Xuyen, T. T., Motl, O., Stránský, K., Presslova, J., Jedlickova, Z., & Serý, V. (1994). Antibacterial properties of Vietnamese cajuput oil. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 6(1), 63-67.
- The linalool type Litsea cubeba leaf essential oil was more antibacterial agaisnt the tested pathogens then the 1,8-cineole type. From: Nguyen, H. V., Meile, J. C., Lebrun, M., Caruso, D., Chu‐Ky, S., & Sarter, S. (2018). Litsea cubeba leaf essential oil from Vietnam: chemical diversity and its impacts on antibacterial activity. Letters in applied microbiology, 66(3), 207-214.
- Oxidative DNA damage could be lessoned with basil derivatives such as linalool, related to their antioxidative properties. From: Berić, T., Nikolić, B., Stanojević, J., Vuković-Gačić, B., & Knežević-Vukčević, J. (2008). Protective effect of basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) against oxidative DNA damage and mutagenesis. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46(2), 724-732.
ANXIOLITIC / SEDATIVE / ANTI-DEPRESSIVE
- Can neroli help reduce anxiety naturally? Read more about neroli and its key constituent, linalool at this blog: uh-Roh-Muh
- In a small study with 13 pregnant women in their 28th week of pregnancy, anxiety and anger were reduced, and parasympathetic measurements increased after 5 minutes of aromatherapy inhalation (compared to the control group). Participants chose from three essential oils high in linalool and linalyl acetate: lavender, petitgrain, or bergamot. From: Igarashi, T. (2013). Physical and psychologic effects of aromatherapy inhalation on pregnant women: a randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(10), 805-810.
- Inhaling linalool rich essential oils can improve relaxation and reduce anxiety. From: Linck, V. M., Da Silva, A. L., Figueiró, M., Caramão, E. B., Moreno, P. R. H., & Elisabetsky, E. (2010). Effects of inhaled Linalool in anxiety, social interaction and aggressive behavior in mice. Phytomedicine, 17(8), 679-683.
- Litsea glaucescens showed antidepressant activity, and β-pinene and linalool were its active constituents. From: Guzmán-Gutiérrez, S. L., Gómez-Cansino, R., García-Zebadúa, J. C., Jiménez-Pérez, N. C., & Reyes-Chilpa, R. (2012). Antidepressant activity of Litsea glaucescens essential oil: identification of β-pinene and linalool as active principles. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 143(2), 673-679.
- With 24 volunteers, jasmine tea had a sedative effect on both autonomic nerve activity and mood states, perhaps related to the linalool constituent. From: Kuroda, K., Inoue, N., Ito, Y., Kubota, K., Sugimoto, A., Kakuda, T., & Fushiki, T. (2005). Sedative effects of the jasmine tea odor and (R)-(−)-linalool, one of its major odor components, on autonomic nerve activity and mood states. European journal of applied physiology, 95(2-3), 107-114.
- Piper guineense essential oil and the linalool constituent showed significant sedative activity in mice. From: Tankam, J. M., & Ito, M. (2013). Inhalation of the essential oil of Piper guineense from Cameroon shows sedative and anxiolytic-like effects in mice. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 36(10), 1608-1614. L
- Linalool possess anxiolytic properties in mice. From: Cheng, B. H., Sheen, L. Y., & Chang, S. T. (2015). Evaluation of anxiolytic potency of essential oil and S-(+)-linalool from Cinnamomum osmophloeum ct. linalool leaves in mice. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 5(1), 27-34.
- Linalool is the major constituent involved in the anti-anxiety effect of lavender oil. From: Umezu, T., Nagano, K., Ito, H., Kosakai, K., Sakaniwa, M., & Morita, M. (2006). Anti-conflict effects of lavender oil and identification of its active constituents. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 85(4), 713-721.
- Linalyl acetate works synergistically with linalool as an inhaled anti-anxiety treatment. From: Takahashi, M., Satou, T., Ohashi, M., Hayashi, S., Sadamoto, K., & Koike, K. (2011). Interspecies comparison of chemical composition and anxiolytic-like effects of lavender oils upon inhalation. Natural product communications, 6(11), 1769-1774.
- Linalool and the anxiolytic effect on rats was assessed. From: McCall, S. (2008). Investigation of the anxiolytic effects of linalool, a lavender extract, in the male Sprague-Dawley rat. AANA journal, 76(1), 1.
- Linalool applied to the skin with a mask covering the nose to prevent smelling had a sedative effect in humans. From: Heuberger, E., Redhammer, S., & Buchbauer, G. (2004). Transdermal Absorption of ()-Linalool Induces Autonomic Deactivation but has No Impact on Ratings of Well-Being in Humans. Neuropsychopharmacology, 29(10).
- There was a sedative effect in mice from lavender and linalool. From: Buchbauer, G., Jirovetz, L., & Jäger, W. (1991). Aromatherapy: evidence for sedative effects of the essential oil of lavender after inhalation. Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C, 46(11-12), 1067-1072
- Linalool has a sedative effects on the Central Nervous System, including hypnotic, anticonvulsant and hypothermic properties, due to an inhibitory effect on glutamate binding in the (rat) cortex. From: Elisabetsky, E., Marschner, J., & Souza, D. O. (1995). Effects of linalool on glutamatergic system in the rat cerebral cortex. Neurochemical research, 20(4), 461-465.
- Inhalation of linalool oxide was anxiolytic in animal studies. From: Souto-Maior, F. N., de Carvalho, F. L., de Morais, L. C. S. L., Netto, S. M., de Sousa, D. P., & de Almeida, R. N. (2011). Anxiolytic-like effects of inhaled linalool oxide in experimental mouse anxiety models. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 100(2), 259-263.
- Lavender’s linalool constituent reduced social anxiety in mice. From: Caputo, L., Reguilon, M., Mińarro, J., De Feo, V., & Rodriguez-Arias, M. (2018). Lavandula angustifolia Essential Oil and Linalool Counteract Social Aversion Induced by Social Defeat. Molecules, 23(10), 2694.
PAIN REDUCTION / ANTINOCICEPTIVE / ANALGESIC
- Essential oil of bergamot has anti-nociceptive and anti-allodynic effects that could be used to treat chronic pain. Linalool and linalyl acetate are key constituents. From: Rombolà, L., Amantea, D., Russo, R., Adornetto, A., Berliocchi, L., Tridico, L., … & Morrone, L. A. (2016). Rational Basis for the Use of Bergamot Essential Oil in Complementary Medicine to Treat Chronic Pain. Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry, 16(9), 721-728.
- Essential oil of L. angustifolia, linalyl acetate and linalol had a local anaesthetic effect in rats. From: Ghelardini, C., Galeotti, N., Salvatore, G., & Mazzanti, G. (1999). Local anaesthetic activity of the essential oil of Lavandula angustifolia. Planta medica, 65(08), 700-703.
- Plantar subcutaneous injection of bergamot or linalool into a mouse paw reduced both the first and late phases of the formalin induced licking and biting responses. From: Katsuyama, S., Otowa, A., KAmio, S., Sato, K., Yagi, T., Kishikawa, Y., … & Nakamura, H. (2015). Effect of plantar subcutaneous administration of bergamot essential oil and linalool on formalin-induced nociceptive behavior in mice. Biomedical Research, 36(1), 47-54. Link: http://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.36.47
- Neuropathic pain was reduced by linalool and bergamot in mice. From: Kuwahata, H., Komatsu, T., Katsuyama, S., Corasaniti, M. T., Bagetta, G., Sakurada, S., … & Takahama, K. (2013). Peripherally injected linalool and bergamot essential oil attenuate mechanical allodynia via inhibiting spinal ERK phosphorylation. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 103(4), 735-741.
- Combined administration of bergamot or linalool locally, and morphine may be effective to treat of clinical pain. From: Sakurada, T., Mizoguchi, H., Kuwahata, H., Katsuyama, S., Komatsu, T., Morrone, L. A., … & Sakurada, S. (2011). Intraplantar injection of bergamot essential oil induces peripheral anti-nociception mediated by opioid mechanism. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 97(3), 436-443.
- Batista et al discussed linalool and the glutamatergic system involved in antinociception in mice. From: Batista, P. A., de Paula Werner, M. F., Oliveira, E. C., Burgos, L., Pereira, P., da Silva Brum, L. F., & dos Santos, A. R. S. (2008). Evidence for the involvement of ionotropic glutamatergic receptors on the antinociceptive effect of (−)-linalool in mice. Neuroscience letters, 440(3), 299-303.
- Terpene alcohols demonstrate local anaesthetic activity including linalool, terpinen-4-ol, menthol, and geraniol. From: Ghelardini, C., Galeotti, N., & Mazzanti, G. (2001). Local anaesthetic activity of monoterpenes and phenylpropanes of essential oils. Planta medica, 67(06), 564-566.
- Essential oil constituents with an analgesic activity are reviewed. Included are p-cymene, carvacrol, linalool, eugenol, menthol, alpha-bisabolol, cinnamaldehyde, citronellal, citronellol, citronellyl acetate, alpha-phelandrene, alpha-terpeneol, vanillin, borneol, myrtenol, pulegone, citral, thymol, limonene, nerol, anethole, nerolidol, carvone, farnesol, and beta-caryphyllene. From: Lima, T., da Nóbrega, F., de Brito, A., & de Sousa, D. (2017). Analgesic-like activity of essential oil constituents: an update. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(12), 2392.
- Linalool and linalyl acetate were anti-inflammatory in rats. From: Peana, A. T., D’Aquila, P. S., Panin, F., Serra, G., Pippia, P., & Moretti, M. D. L. (2002). Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. Phytomedicine, 9(8), 721-726.
- Hyssop and its linalool constituent showed spasmolytic action on guinea pig ileum. From: Mazzanti, G., Lu, M., & Salvatore, G. (1998). Spasmolytic action of the essential oil from Hyssopus officinalis L. var. decumbens and its major components. Phytotherapy research, 12(S1).
- Linalool may be effective in reducing seizures in mice. From: Silva Brum, L. F., Elisabetsky, E., & Souza, D. (2001). Effects of linalool on [3H] MK801 and [3H] muscimol binding in mouse cortical membranes. Phytotherapy Research, 15(5), 422-425.
- Essential oils of cilantro, coriander, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, sage, clove, thyme, lemongrass, turmeric, mint, basil, and constituents of linalool, cinnamaldehyde, carvacrol, thymol, terpinene, cymene, alpha/beta pinene, bornyl acetate, camphor, 1,8-cineole, alpha terpeneol, geraniol, perrilaldehyde, and eugenol have demonstrated food preserving potential. From: Burt, S. (2004). Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods—a review. International journal of food microbiology, 94(3), 223-253.
- Platycladus orientalis, Prangos asperula and Cupressus sempervirens ssp. pyramidalis essential oils were studied and β-caryophyllene and linalool exhibited comparable anti-cancer values to the commercial drug vinblastine. From: Loizzo, M. R., Tundis, R., Menichini, F., Saab, A. M., & Statti, G. A. (2008). Antiproliferative effects of essential oils and their major constituents in human renal adenocarcinoma and amelanotic melanoma cells. Cell Proliferation, 41(6), 1002-1012.
Compiled by: Kathy Sadowski