Jasmine can ease anxiety and is as good as valium says German researchers

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Aromatherapy is generally considered to be beneficial for relaxing, easing stress and anxiety and helping to alleviate depression; however, there hasn’t been much in the way of scientific evidence to really back these claims up.

Now Professor Hanns Hatt from Ruhr University in Bochum Germany and colleagues, says that results of recent laboratory tests could “be seen as evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy” reports the Daily Telegraph.

In lab tests mice whose cages were filled with the aroma of Jasmine and its chemical substitute, quickly calmed down and sat quietly in the corner. The molecules of the scent were breathed into the lungs where they entered the bloodstream and were then transmitted to the brain to produce the effects.

Subsequent brain scans showed that this had an effect on a chemical called GABA, known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, which helps to lower anxiety. Drugs used to increase levels of GABA in the brain have an anti-anxiety effect.

“Vertacetal-coeur (VC) and the chemical variation (PI24513) have the same molecular mechanism of action and are as strong as the commonly prescribed barbiturates or propofol” said the researchers.

Drugs currently used to ease anxiety can also carry unwelcome side effects but if Jasmine has the same effect on humans, then using the scent of Jasmine would carry no side effects.

Apparently after testing hundreds of different fragrances the researchers found that Jasmine increased the effect of GABA by more than five times and acted as strongly as sedatives, sleeping pills and relaxants.

“We have discovered a new class of GABA receptor modulator which can be administered parentally and through the respiratory air” said the researchers.

“Applications in sedation, anxiety, excitement and aggression relieving treatment and sleep induction therapy are all imaginable.”

The German researchers are hoping that if they change the chemical structure of the molecules they may even be able to increase the effects of the scent. The study has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

However, before rushing out to smell the Gardenias, it’s important to note that the results of this study were based on mice and frogs and as such, it’s a bit premature to presume the same effect will be replicated in humans.

Still, the results are promising and future research will no doubt shed more light on the benefits of Jasmine and aromatherapy for anxiety and indeed other conditions.

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