The scent of lavender has long been thought to have calming, antianxiety effects, but the biological mechanism behind this phenomenon has been something of a mystery — until now.
Researchers in Japan found that the vaporized lavender compound linalool triggers a relaxing effect by directly stimulating olfactory sensory neurons.
For linalool to be used clinically in humans, the mechanism of linalool’s anxiolytic effects need to be established. Findings from a new study provide a “foundation towards clinical application of linalool odor for anxiety disorders,” the investigators write.
The study was published online October 23 in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.