Dr. Hideki Kashiwadani, a physiologist and neuroscientist at Kagoshima University in Japan and one of the study authors, told The New York Times that he suspects the observed effects of linalool may be applicable to humans and other mammals, though this is yet to be tested.
Leon Neal/Getty Images News/Getty ImagesThe linalool didn’t work when the mice’s ability to smell was blocked, implying that the effects were, in fact, triggered by scent, and that in order to work, linalool triggered odor-sensitive neurons in the nose that send signals to certain areas of the brain.
In a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, researchers discovered that for mice, taking a whiff of linalool, an alcohol component in lavender extract, was akin to "popping a Valium,” as The New York Times put it.
Notably, this wasn’t the researchers’ first look into lavender — in a previous study, they identified that out of the six various odourant molecules they examined, linalool significantly increased the pain threshold in mice.
Essentially, sniffing a key element of lavender’s unmistakable scent had an anxiety-reducing effect in mice — an effect that wasn’t observed in mice with no ability to smell.