Scientifically proven benefits of fresh flowers

Fresh flowers, Eight baby pink roses and two buds, one slightly open, the other closed, on a wooden bench tied with grey lace fabric

The 21st century has seen a dramatic increase in stress levels in the lives of people around the globe. Simply because we have a lot to accomplish in a little amount of time. We hardly take time to appreciate the beautiful components of our environment which, by all means, can help make our days better. Loved by some and neglected by others, fresh flowers have proved to be more than just decorative items.

Flowers and their importance in our lives

Ever since history has been traced, flowers have been found to play an important role in communication. They are used to convey emotions, in religious ceremonies, to treat diseases, as food, for commercial purposes, to help maintain biodiversity, for personal adornment and decoration. In fact, flowers were seen by our ancestors as a sign of prosperity. Migrating groups settled their camps in places where there were visible flowering plants. Intelligent as they were, they knew that flowers would eventually bear fruits and so they would have food in those particular places.

Why are we so impacted by fresh flowers unlike artificial flowers?

Humans have evolved in the natural environment. Going by the principle that humans descend from apes which themselves are animals that inhabit jungles, we can make the link. Our system has evolved in a natural surrounding which calls to us and impacts us. The sight, smell and touch of fresh flowers go directly to our senses and touch us. In contrast, artificial flowers merely have aesthetic value or are used to fill empty spaces in some places.

Proven Benefits of fresh flowers

1.      Lower stress levels

A study by Ikei et al. has shown that smelling fresh flowers decreases tension in our bodies by causing the brain to go into a relaxed mode [1]. The same applies to people who view flower pots inside or outside their office windows. This is of profound importance when we realize that today it is our jobs that are causing the most negative impacts on our lives. A bunch of roses on the office table can help to alleviate some of the concerns!

2.      Decrease recovery times in hospitals

It is quite common to see people take flowers to loved ones in hospitals just as a gift. But this simple gift has far more effect on the person’s recovery time compared to someone else who doesn’t receive flowers. The sight of flowers decreases anxiety levels and puts the receiver in a happier state which then shortens his/her in bed stay time [2].

3.      Ameliorate moods

Have you ever given someone a flower and saw that beautiful smile? Or have you ever received a flower from someone and instantly felt happy? Believe it or not, studies have shown that giving flowers to someone can greatly impact that person’s mood, sometimes even for days. The sight or the smell or both causes the brain to release chemicals that put the person in a good mood [3].

4.      Boost memory in elders

Generally speaking, elders in retirement homes or away from communities usually feel sad and lonely. This state of mind has an effect on their memory capacities and overall social behavior. It has been found that on presenting flowers to this category of people, the memory is boosted and social ties are reinforced [3].

How about sleeping with plants in the same room?

We have all heard that it is not recommended to keep fresh flowers or potted plants in the bedroom. Because we have been taught that plants suck up all the oxygen in the room and can leave us suffocated. Ironically, an average human normally uses about 71 liters of oxygen in an hour while 450 g of flowers use 0.1 liter in 1 hr, that is, 0.15%. In other words, the amount of oxygen that is used up by the plants, as well as the amount of carbon dioxide released, is quite negligible. In short, you will not die by having a bouquet in your room.

Red roses in vase next to blurred laptop with words 'scientifically proven benefits of fresh flowers', written
Benefits of fresh flowers

References:

  1. Ikei, H., Komatsu, M., Song, C. and Himoro, E. (2014). The physiological and psychological relaxing effects of viewing rose flowers in office workers. Journal of Physiological Anthropology. Vol 33 (2):6
  2. Ulrich, R.S. et al. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science 224, 420
  3. Haviland-Jones, J., Rosario, H.H., Wilson, P. and McGuire T.R. (2005). An environmental approach to positive emotions: Flowers. Evolutionary Psychology 3:1

2 Comments on “Scientifically proven benefits of fresh flowers

  1. Pingback: 10 common medicinal plants in Mauritius - Yo Nature

  2. I didn’t know that our brains go into a relaxed mode when they smell fresh flowers. My wife is constantly stressed with her job and being a mom. I think I’ll buy her flower bouquets more often to help her relax when at home and work. Plus, she would find it romantic and love them.

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