Flowers' smell really can soothe stress

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Washington, July 23 (ANI): Wondering how to de-stress yourself? Well, then try savour the smell of flowers, lemon or mango, for a new study has revealed that inhaling certain fragrances alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels.

According to lead researcher Akio Nakamura, 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.

During the study, the scientists exposed lab rats to stressful conditions while inhaling and not inhaling linalool.

The findings showed that 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 researchers hope that the findings could form the basis of new blood tests for identifying fragrances that can soothe stress.

The study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. (ANI)

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