Happy Solistice! Here in the northern hemisphere, we are celebrating the Spring Equinox, the first day of Spring that signifies a return of flowers, plants, trees and generally our natural world. Woohoo! Happy Spring!
In honor of this magical day I am writing about the enhancing qualities of fresh flowers. The potential benefits of fresh flowers on human health and well-being have been the subject of ongoing research in recent years. While this topic is not new, recent studies have focused on the physiological response of the human body to fresh flowers, revealing some fascinating insights into the relationship between humans and nature.
One of the most interesting things about fresh flowers is their ability to improve memory. A study published in Evolutionary Psychology found that exposure to fresh flowers can enhance episodic memory and improved mood in a study group aged 55+. It also showed an increased mood in women given fresh flowers for three days after receiving them. The authors of this study suggest that flowers can have both short-term and long-term impacts on stress reduction, increased mood, social interactions, and even memory in both men and women. That's right - the presence of fresh flowers can help improve our mental clarity and make us feel happier.
Now let’s talk about a flower’s scent. Can we benefit from the fragrance that a flower gives? It turns out we can! A study published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2021 found notable differences between the fragrant and non-fragrant flowering plants that were placed approximately one foot in front of the test subjects. The participants’ blood pressure and heart rate decreased when looking at both fragrant and non-fragrant flowers. However, relaxation was significantly higher when being in the presence of the fragrant flower than the non-fragrant one. Another very interesting study found that in a flowery fragrant work environment, subjects elicited more self-assurance and work efficiency. Which flowers evoked the highest concentration levels from their test subjects? Stocks and carnations. Who knew? So, if you're looking to boost your productivity and reduce your stress, consider adding some fresh flowers to your workspace.
But it's not just the scent of fresh flowers that can be beneficial- our mental health can too. As we summarize in our article Healthy Dwelling arranging fresh flower bouquets can reduce depressive symptoms, and bonus - pain, in fibromyalgia patients! I think that is astounding. But, also, a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that exposure to red roses increased relaxation and mood. So, the next time you're feeling stressed, or want to manage pain or depressive symptoms consider taking a few minutes to enjoy the beauty and scent of some fresh flowers.
So why do fresh flowers have such a positive impact on our health and well-being? One theory is that they provide a connection to nature, which has been shown to have numerous health benefits through studies involving biophilic design.
Overall, these studies suggest that exposure to fresh flowers can have a range of potential benefits for human health and well-being. The calming effect of fresh flowers on the human body may be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from stress and anxiety, while the positive impact on mood and productivity may be especially relevant in work environments. Additionally, the fragrance of fresh flowers may have a positive impact on the autonomous nervous system, further contributing to the potential benefits of these beautiful natural elements.
These studies highlight the potential of fresh flowers to improve human health and well-being, and suggest that incorporating these natural elements into our environments may have numerous benefits
for our physical and mental health. Whether it's a bouquet on your desk or a vase of fresh flowers in your home, the addition of these natural elements may be a simple and effective way to promote health and happiness in your daily life.
Haviland-Jones, J., Rosario, H. H., et al. (2005). An Environmental Approach to Positive Emotion: Flowers. Evolutionary Psychology, 3 (1)
Jiang S, Deng L, et al, (2021) Effect of Fragrant Primula Flowers on Physiology and Psychology in Female College Students: An Empirical Study, Frontiers in Psychology, 12: 607876
Wu Y-T, Lee A-Y, Choi N-Y, Park S-A. (2022) Psychophysiological Responses of Cut Flower Fragrances as an Olfactory Stimulation by Measurement of Electroencephalogram in Adults. Int J Environ Res Publ Health . 19(18): 11639
C. Song, M. Igarashi, et al, (2017) Physiological effects of viewing fresh red roses Complementary Therapies in Medicine Vol. 35: 78-84