If you are feeling stressed, you might want to take a whiff of lavender, lemon, mango, basil and other fragrant plants that contain linalool. Japanese researchers recently discovered that when animals under stress were exposed to linalool, levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood were reduced, compared to another group that did not smell linalool. Smelling linalool also reduced the activity of more than 100 genes activated during times of high stress.
What is Linalool? It is a colorless, unsaturated terpene liquid alcohol obtained from essential oils and used in perfumery. Linalool (a.k.a. linalol) is recognized by smell as the ‘sweetness’ of many oils; almost any essential oil that has a sweet aspect to its aroma, or is commonly used as an anti-stress agent, will contain linalool. Lavender is perhaps the most popular linalool-containing essential oil, although it is also found in bergamot, rosewood, ylang ylang, geranium, neroli, melissa, lime, litsea cubeba, and coriander, just to name a few.
Numerous studies have investigated linalool’s anxiolytic (anti-stress) effects. According to these studies, inhalation of linalool (from natural essential oils), leads to decreased aggressive behavior, lessens stress response, and improves sleep.
Most lavender species produce an essential oil that contains between 30 and 40% linalool, therefore 25 drops of Lavender essential oil delivers somewhere around .3 grams of linalool.
Essential oils containing linalool can be found in the following Hothouse Botanicals aromatherapy products:
- Powers, Kate. “When Life Gives You Lemons.” Prevention Dec. 2009.
- American Psychological Association’s Stress in America Survey
- “Linalool, A Common Essential Oil Constituent, Shown to Have Anti-Cancer Effects.” 2009. The Ananda Apothecary Weblog. http://www.anandaapothecary.com