Have you ever noticed your bouquet of Starfighters or White Cup Lilies smelling more sweetly in the evening as you relax? That's because of a fragrant compound called linalool--most lilies emit it, and often more intensely in the evening. This little fragrant compound is extra-special because it boasts aromatherapeutic benefits. The fragrance of flowers, specifically Oriental Lilies, is one big way we can decrease stress and increase feel-good feelings.
Our sense of smell has the ability to trigger neurological and chemical responses in the body, and a single scent can calm our minds, energize a sluggish day, or help us tackle a stressful task. So what is it about certain smells that have that effect?
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 go into action during stressful situations.
Now, what contains linalool? A study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science showed that lilies, especially the aromatic Oriental and Starfighter Lilies 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 floral fragrances 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.
Fragrance and Form
In addition, not only do lilies aromatically soothe; they also come with the added benefit of being visually enjoyable. 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, "Spending a few days with flowers in the home can affect a wide variety of feelings."
I've always loved the look and fragrance of Oriental lilies, and even more so now that I've learned about their mental and emotional benefits. Yet another great reason to buy myself and others flowers--what a beautiful way to calm down and feel better! Next time you (or a friend) are going through a stressful time, send yourself big, fragrant bouquet of Oriental Lilies… or better yet, indulge yourself with a Stargazer Red or Stargazer White Collection which include lilies, wine, and chocolate. Now there’s a trifecta of tension relief!