Springtime Blooms That May Boost Your Health — According to Science
Hurray! April showers did bring May flowers. Those flowers make for beautiful scenery, both outside in your garden and inside on your dining room table. But did you know that they can also benefit your health? Keep reading to see how science says surrounding yourself with pretty blossoms boosts your wellbeing, inside and out. And while you're at it — go buy yourself a fresh bouquet — it's for your health.
Try Lilacs. If a sudden uptick in fun activities or a busy weekend of spring gardening leaves you stiff and sore, it’s lilacs to the rescue. Breathing in the sweet, familiar scent of their blooms may help ease your aches and pains. According to research in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, lilac extract contains aromatic compounds that may aid in pain relief.
Or try comfrey cream. When pain flares, rub achy spots with comfrey cream, which is made from the extract of a shrub with tiny purple blooms. Doing so three times daily may cut soreness and ease pain in four days, found a study in Phytotherapy Research. Comfrey brims with healing compounds that reduce inflammation and speed healing. Keep in mind that, because its compounds are so powerful, professionals advise against using comfrey cream on broken skin, or using it for more than 10 days at a time.
Try daffodils. The days are getting sunnier, warmer, and longer. And if you’d love to feel as energetic as the busy critters in your yard, gazing at cheery daffodils (whether they’re in your garden or your favorite vase) delivers the pick-me-up you crave. A study published in SAGE notes that yellow is associated with cheerful, stimulating feelings, so taking a gander at some yellow blooms may give you a joyful boost. Bonus: A separate study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found admiring blooms in yellow hues may boost your joy significantly more than if you’d looked at plain white flowers.
Or try frankincense. If your stamina is flagging, massage frankincense oil into your neck and shoulders (simply mix two drops of the oil into a dollop of unscented lotion). Research published in Phytotherapy Research notes that, in an animal study, rats who had a topical application of frankincense experienced a boost in energy and a decrease in stress.
Eliminate pesky cravings.
Try lavender. Nothing says luxury like the scent of lavender. And if you turn to snacks when you're stressed, these pretty blooms may help you tamp down cravings. How? Strolling through the lavender in your garden when the munchies strike, which may reduce stress, and therefore, keep you from reaching for the snack drawer. Research in Perceptual Motor Skills suggests that inhaling lavender oil may decrease mental stress and help you feel more alert, simultaneously.
Or pour yourself a refreshing drink. Drinking a few ounces of grapefruit juice daily may help you lose weight, suggests a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Grapefruit’s plant acids calm hunger pangs and speed the metabolism of stored fat.
Try gerberas. Keeping your bedroom air free of indoor pollutants — which can trigger snoring and airway irritation — may cut your risk of restless sleep, says research in Environmental Pollution. And setting a pot of gerberas in your bedroom can help. Experts claim that these dainty daisies can decrease airborne pollutants and make increase oxygen quality.
Or try jasmine. Using a jasmine-scented soap at night can induce sleep by spurring the release of calming GABA, a Journal of Biological Chemistry study found.
Try sunflowers. Sunflowers are more than just pretty: Their flavorful seeds are nutrient-rich. And snacking on this tasty treat daily may curbs your risk of the blues, suggests an animal study in Frontiers in Nutrition. The seeds boast rich stores of plant fats and vitamins, which also boost immunity and energy.
Or touch a tree. Relaxing under a tree daily may cut your risk of meh moods, a theory based on a study in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine. It improves blood pressure and mood to leave you feeling better.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman's World.