Stress has been aptly called "the silent killer" and has been identified as the number one cause of death. Creating a relaxing and rewarding home environment can make a big difference in beating stress as well as enjoying life more fully.
A good place to start would be houseplants and garden plants. Working with plants and working with our hands in the soil is a very rewarding and calming natural endeavor that mankind has been doing for thousands of years. Plus, fragrant plants and scents have actually been proven to reduce stress. Plants with bright colors can help brighten your day and time spent tending to plants is very relaxing and emotionally rewarding. Plants and fragrant scents have recently been proven to reduce stress, thus tending to validate aromatherapy, which has often been regarded with skepticism.
Scientists in Japan have reported the first scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances does indeed alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels.
The study, which appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, exposed lab rats to stressful conditions while inhaling and not inhaling linalool, which is a fragrance found naturally in lavender, mint, coriander, bergamot, lemon, mango and many other fragrant plants. After inhaling linalool, the rats which were exposed to stressful conditions had stress-elevated levels of neutrophils and lymphocytes return to near normal levels (both neutrophils and lymphcytes are key parts of the immune system).
In all, linalool is found in over 200 species of plants, mainly from mints, scented herbs, laurels such as cinnamon and rosewood, and citrus fruits. It is also found in some birch trees and other plants and has even been found in some fungi. The majority of the fragrant plants that contain linalool are noted for having a floral scent with a touch of spiciness.
The scientists also found that inhaling linalool reduced the activity of more than 100 genes that are normally significantly elevated in stressful situations.
Make use of plenty of houseplants. Not have houseplants been proven to have a soothing effect, they provide oxygen and cleanse the air of common household pollutants which can cause stress and anxiety, including Trichloroethylene (TCE), Benzene and Formaldehyde.
The best plants are:
* Heartleaf Philodendron
* Philodendron scandens `oxycardium`
* Elephant Ear Philodendron – Philodendron domesticum
* Cornstalk Dracaena – Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana`
* English Ivy – Hedera helix
* Spider Plant – Chlorophytum comosum
* Janet Craig Dracaena – Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig`
* Warneck Dracaena – Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii`
* Weeping Fig – Ficus Benjamina
* Golden Pothos – Epipiremnum aureum
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