This site is intended for health professionals only

Published on 4 September 2014

Share this story:
Twitter
LinkedIn

An aroma sprayed up the nose could help treat anorexia

Fragrances found naturally in plants are proving to be good candidates for new products to treat anorexia, according to a study presented at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Fragrances found naturally in plants are proving to be good candidates for new products to treat anorexia, according to a study presented at the World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Researchers at Kyoto University, Japan, measured food intake in mice that were fasted for a day before being subjected to different aromas and allowed to feed. They found that those subjected to the smell of benzylacetone, 1-phenyl-2-butanone or cinnamaldehyde ate significantly more than a control group (20%) as well as a group administered the hunger hormone ghrelin (7%).

Benzylacetone is found in a smoke of heated agar wood. It is a simple-structured compound reported to be one of the fragrant constituents of Nicotina plant and is sometimes used as a constituent of perfumes. It was found to stimulate the largest food intake, although it also demonstrated a sedative effect.

1-Phenyl-2-butanone is a reported constituent of the essential oil of Kleinia plant and cinnamaldehyde is a main compound of cinnamon oil.

Ghrelin and the stimulants of ghrelin receptors are being investigated in the treatment of anorexia. However, ghrelin is a kind of peptide hormone that is very, very fragile and highly susceptible to heat. Handling ghrelin products is difficult and in trials it has been given as an intravenous infusion,” said Michiho Ito, associate professor at Kyoto University’s school of pharmaceutical sciences.

Compounds isolated from essential oils, such as benzylacetone, could also be potential treatments for anorexia, the pharmaceutical scientists suggest. “These compounds are mostly mono-, sesqui- terpenoids and phenylpropanoids. Although they are known to be harmful to skin and mucous membranes when applied in a concentrated form, the concentrations shown to be effective in our study were all very low,” Professor Ito said.

These fragrant compounds could be administered in a non-invasive way and are relatively inexpensive,” she added. She suggests that it may be possible, in the future, to administer such compounds in the form of a nasal spray, although a solvent for the compounds and formulas for the spray would need further research.

The incidence of anorexia nervosa is estimated to be around eight per 100,000 persons per year. Pharmaceutical scientists are among those trying to find effective treatments.



Most read




Latest Issue

Be in the know
Subscribe to Hospital Pharmacy Europe newsletter and magazine
Share this story:
Twitter
LinkedIn