Citrus fruits aren’t just delicious and nutritious. These lemons, oranges, and grapefruits also put forth distinct scents into the world that are energizing, invigorating, and scientifically proven to boost your mood. In other words, this family of fragrances is like nature’s medicine, and all you have to do is take a whiff. In a nutshell, the smell of citrus can boost serotonin production in your body (the brain’s happy helper). It can also reduce stress hormone levels and even increase mental stimulation. Don’t just take my word for it, though. The scientific studies below show that the sharp, refreshing scent of citrus can be extremely beneficial for the mind and body.
A Scientifically Superior Scent
A Japanese study from 2014 found a link between the scent of citrus fruit and work efficiency. Basically, smelling citrus (specifically, a fruit called yuzu) for 10 minutes boosted the moods of participants for up to 30 minutes. Researchers tested participants’ saliva before and after smelling yuzu oil, to record their stress levels, and found that mood disturbance, as well as anger-hostility, depression-dejection, tension-anxiety, and confusion were all decreased for as long as 30 minutes after inhaling the fragrance.
Meanwhile, this Brazilian Study found citrus oil to lower the stress levels of participants in a 2012 experiment. Researchers asked participants to spend five minutes inhaling one of three different smells—sweet orange oil, tea tree oil, or water. During a test that followed, those who smelled the orange reported lower stress levels.
Another study from back in 2008 found that lemon oil “enhanced positive moods compared to water and lavender, regardless of expectancies or previous use of aromatherapy.”
So next time you need a pick-me-up, to cheer yourself up, or a productivity boost, simply smelling citrus aroma could be all you need. Think of it as a life hack, a quick fix, or whatever you wish to call it, but embracing the power of scent can really help to brighten your dull days. Give your nose something to smile about with a slice of citrus.