Have you ever noticed your bouquet of Stargazers or White Casablanca lilies smelling more sweetly in the evening as you relax? That's because of a fragrant compound called linalool
--most lilies emit linalool, and often more intensely in the evening. This little fragrant compound is extra-special because it is one big way we can decrease stress and increase feel-good feelings.
Our sense of smell can trigger neurological and chemical responses in the body; a single scent can make us feel calm, help us tackle a stressful task, or energize a lethargic day. And this kind of aromatherapy isn't just a placebo effect--there is scientific evidence to back it up and show how the fragrance of flowers can have a positive effect on moods.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
shows that the floral-scented compound, linalool
, has a positive effect on stress-related changes in the body. In the study, the inhalation of linalool not only reduced chemical changes to stressed-out immune cells in the bloodstream, it also calmed more than 100 genes which tend to go into action during stressful situations
Now, let's talk flowers. Another study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science
showed that lilies, especially
the aromatic Oriental Lilies
and OT Hybrids
, emit large amounts of linalool. In fact, linalool is one of the lily's major scent components. This isn't so odd, considering that researchers say the inhalation of fragrance from certain flowers is a practice that has been used to reduce stress, fight depression, and induce sleep for centuries. Apparently people have been using flowers to feel better for a long, long time.
It gets better...not only do lilies aromatically soothe, they also come added benefit of being visually pleasing. And, according to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, this adds to their overall positive effect on our well-being. The study found that the simple presence of flowers in the home could affect a wide variety of emotions such as less anxiety and depression, enhanced relaxation and energy, and compassion at work. Lead psychologist Dr. Nancy Etcoff states, "We didn’t know that spending a few days with flowers in the home can affect a wide variety of feelings."
I've always loved the look and smell of Oriental lilies, and even more so now that I've learned about their aromatherapeutic benefits. Yet another great reason to buy myself flowers--what a beautiful way to calm down and feel better! Next time you or a friend is feeling stressed out, try a big bouquet of Oriental Lilies--sit down, relax, and smell the flowers.