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Smelling the Roses Relieves Stress

A novel technique to relieve stress is an age old naturopathic remedy. New research demonstrates the scent of lemon, mango, lavender, or other fragrant plants are beneficial for stress reduction.

Scientists in Japan report the first scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances alters gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels.

Their study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

In the new study, researchers sought to determine the physiological reason for why people have inhaled the scent of certain plants since ancient times to help reduce stress, fight inflammation and depression, and induce sleep.

Aromatherapy, the use of fragrant plant oils to improve mood and health, has become a popular form of alternative medicine today. And linalool is one of the most widely used substances to soothe away emotional stress.

Until now, however, linalool’s exact effects on the body have been a deep mystery.

The scientists exposed lab rats to stressful conditions while inhaling and not inhaling linalool. Linalool returned stress-elevated levels of neutrophils and lymphocytes — key parts of the immune system — to near-normal levels.

Inhaling linalool also reduced the activity of more than 100 genes that go into overdrive in stressful situations. The findings could form the basis of new blood tests for identifying fragrances that can soothe stress, the researchers say.

Source: American Chemical Society

Smelling the Roses Relieves Stress

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Smelling the Roses Relieves Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/07/23/smelling-the-roses-relieves-stress/7293.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.