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Green also cures stress

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Green also cures stress

Nothing more relaxing than a nice walk in the middle of nature. Everyone knows it but few have wondered why green cures stress. According to research by the Cnr Institute for Bioeconomy and the Italian Alpine Club, published in International Research and Public Health, some essential oils emitted by plants and abundant in the woods reduce the symptoms of anxiety. They are the mono-terpenes, a class of molecules with a complex structure, containing atoms such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and phosphorus, responsible for those scents and flavors that are familiar to us in herbs, spices, flowers and fruits. For example, menthol, which gives a mint smell, camphor, produced by the Cinnamomum camphor tree, eucalyptol, which has an antiseptic and expectorant action, thymol, contained in the leaves and flowers of thyme and having a bactericidal action, are monoterpenes. .

Apart from these examples, in reality, the study by Italian researchers focused in particular on pinene, contained in the resin of various conifers and also used for the production of balsamic candies. The objective of the study was to find a correlation between a marked reduction in anxiety symptoms and the amount of inhaled monoterpenes.

The experimental phase was conducted in 39 places in our country, including mountainous and hilly areas, but also urban parks. What emerged was that as soon as a certain threshold of concentration of total mono-terpenes was exceeded, the symptoms of anxiety decreased and this beyond any other environmental and individual parameter. To be exact, inhaling these natural compounds for three hours in the open air improved anxiety and contributed to the feeling of well-being.

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As you can imagine, the research was based on complex observation of hundreds of participants in standardized therapy sessions and an advanced statistical method standard in clinical research. The objectivity of the research is based precisely on the use of this method, which also has interesting aspects with regard to cardiovascular risk, the latter being connected to states of anxiety.

As the researchers explain in their research article, based on the evidence that mono-terpenes have anxiolytic effects, it can be argued that a cure for anxiety could involve regular visits to sites where the air is rich in pinene. Precisely for this reason it is necessary to identify and map these sites by measuring the volatile organic compounds or, at least, it is necessary to identify the areas where there are plant species that release large quantities of these substances into the atmosphere.

It should not be excluded that there are other factors capable of increasing the state of well-being and which were outside the objectives of the study. Aesthetic pleasure, absence of noise, predominance of green coloring, healthy air and more would contribute to the sense of well-being in addition to mono-terpenes. This means that it is important to pursue the promotion of citizens’ health by focusing on the environment.

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