Have you ever noticed your bouquet of Oriental 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, lift a lethargic mood, or help us tackle a stressful task. So what is it about certain smells that have that effect?
A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry in 2009 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 hundreds of genes which go into action during stressful situations.
Back to lilies....a different study completed by the American Society for Horticultural Science showed that linalool is one of the major scent components of Oriental Lilies (as well as their hybrid counterparts, i.e. OT Hybrids). This isn't so odd, considering that researchers claim our ancestors have used the practice of inhaling floral and herbal aromas to lower stress, fight depression, and induce sleep for centuries. It seems people have been using flowers to feel better for quite a long time.
Aroma and Appearance
In addition, not only do lilies aromatically mollify stressful feelings, they also come with the added benefit of being visually gratifying. Another study (this time conducted by Harvard Medical School) has shown that the presence of flowers adds has an overall positive effect on our well-being. The study found that just the presence of flowers in one's home could have a positive effect on a wide variety of feelings such as less anxiety and depression and enhanced relaxation, energy, and compassion.
Oriental lilies have always been prized for their beauty and aroma, and now, we have the science to know why. Yet another great reason to give yourself or others flowers--what a beautiful way to calm down and feel better! Next time you (or a friend) are going through a stressful time, find yourself big, fragrant bouquet of Oriental Lilies, and reap the mental and emotional benefits of Lily Aromatherapy.