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Drs. Roizen and Oz: Aroma therapy reduces stress

Take two dozen roses. Inhale, and call us in the morning. It might take your stress level from "on the brink of losing it" to "cooler than the ice hotel."

Turns out that roses - as well as lavender, basil, orange, grape, mango and lemon - all contain a special compound called linalool. Its smell helps induce calm. In animal studies, blood cells called neutrophils and lymphocytes, which change in response to stress, were brought into equilibrium by this aroma.

In fact, the scent of linalool even appeared to favorably affect the way your body is programmed to handle stress on a genetic level. (It turned on genes that cause antistress effects.) And flowers are cheaper than tranquilizers and look far better on the kitchen table.

A perpetual flower garden can be a beautiful thing, but we recommend lowering stress levels (and florist bills) by figuring out what's stressing you so much and tackling that. No surprise that jobs and money are two of the most common sources of stress in North America.

So develop a backup de-stress strategy - deep breathing and listening to music are good ones - when calming scents just aren't around or aren't enough. And leave the cookie jar for collecting quarters.

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