Feeling stressed? Mow the lawn

The smell of freshly cut grass can relieve stress

Researchers have discovered that a chemical released by a mown lawn makes people feel happy and relaxed, and could prevent mental decline in old age.

Now they have developed a perfume that smells like freshly-cut grass, which they claim relieves stress and helps boost memory.

The Australian experts produced the ‘eau de mow’ after seven years of research. Dr Nick Lavidis, a neuroscientist at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, came up with the idea for the perfume, named Serenascent, after going on a forest trek in the US 20 years ago.

‘Three days in Yosemite National Park felt like a three-month holiday,’ he said. ‘I didn’t realise at the time that it was the actual combination of feel-good chemicals released by the pine trees, the lush vegetation and the cut grass that made me feel so relaxed.’

Dr Lavidis said the aroma worked directly on the brain, in particular the emotional and memory parts known as the amygdala and the hippocampus. He explained: ‘These two areas are responsible for the flight or fight response and the endocrine system, which controls the releasing of stress hormones like corticosteroids. The new spray appears to regulate these areas.’

Chronic stress has been shown to damage the hippocampus by reducing the number of connections between communicating cells, leading to memory loss. In old animals the damage is permanent.

Students working on the Australian project found that animals exposed to Serenascent – which combines three chemicals released when green leaves are cut – escaped damage to the hippocampus.

The scent will go into production next month and sell for around £4 a bottle.

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