Stress relieving scent has ‘enormous’ potential for fragrances and cosmetics

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

A stress busting spray based on the smell of cut grass will soon hit the market and researchers claim the potential for cosmetics and fragrances is significant.

The technology is currently incorporated into a room spray that can be used on bed linen or clothing; but according to the scientists behind Serenascent, the formulation can be added to shampoos, fragrances and soaps.

Dr Nickolas Lavidis from Queensland University, Australia, one of the researchers behind the formulation, told CosmeticsDesign that it is based on chemicals released when grasses and green leaves are cut. “It ​[Serenascent] is a mixture of hexanals, hexenols and pinenes in very specific ratios.”

The formulation can reduce the damage long term stress can have on the body, including the negative effects on long term memory, he continued.

“Specifically it greatly reduces the structural changes that occur in the hippocampus ​[a part of the brain associated with memory and spatial orientation] during prolonged stress thus maintaining normal memory function,”​ he explained.

In addition, another form of the product Praescent was shown to reduce stress that increases the heart rate and potentially blood pressure, Lavidis said.

Undetectable by the human nose

According to Lavidis, the positive effect of this combination of chemicals is not associative. In other words, it doesn’t relieve stress by reminding individuals of tranquil summer evenings, rather it works on the brain structure related to anxiety and fear, the amygdala.

Animal experiments performed by the researchers illustrated that the formulation seems to alter the response of the amygdala to stress.

Furthermore, the formulation appears to work at levels that are undetectable by the human nose, meaning that it can be incorporated into products without altering their fragrance.

“Low concentrations of the formulation activate the limbic system but much higher concentrations are required in order to identify the aroma,”​ Lavidis explained.

A company has been formed to commercialize the product and according to Lavidis the potential for use in perfumes and cosmetics is ‘enormous’.

A number of journal articles are being prepared now the appropriate patents have been put in place, he said.

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