Melbourne, Feb 5 : The chemistry in pleasant odours - such as newly cropped grass - is so powerful, their scents can alter gene expression in the brain and reduce aggression, according to a neuroscientist.
Dr Judith Reinhard's team at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland is working to uncover the molecular mechanisms behind the phenomenon of aromatherapy, which has long been used to calm the nerves and sharpen the mind, the Telegraph reported.
The researchers have so far discovered aggression in honey bees can be reduced by exposing them to pleasant odours, such as the smell of freshly cut grass.
"Honey bees are an excellent model because just like humans, they are extremely social and prone to stress, which makes them aggressive," Dr Reinhard said.
"Bees exposed to the odour of cut grass actually have altered gene expression levels in their brains, providing new clues as to the neural basis for aggression," she added.
Dr Reinhard said that while it's too early to speculate on the potential applications for odours in treating mental illness, her researchers have found men report feeling calmer and more relaxed after mowing the lawn - and not just because they're satisfied with a job well done. (ANI)