The Science Behind The Nue Co.’s Stress-Relieving Fragrances
Among the many olfactory ways to de-stress—sniffing a bundle of lavender, lighting a scented candle, taking a breath of fresh air—perfume isn’t usually what we turn to. But perhaps it should be. The Nue Co., a line of wellness products informed by science and Ayurvedic medicine, suggests as much, offering fragrances that are clinically proven to induce relaxation. Jules Miller, the brand’s founder and CEO, says the scents came about by default. “When developing an anti-stress supplement, we wanted to deliver it in a medium that had an instant effect, so that quickly ruled out capsules, tinctures, or powders,” she says. “We came to the idea of a sensory supplement, since the olfactory system is essentially the highway to our brains.” Using findings from a 2015 study conducted by the Swiss fragrance and flavor brand Firmenich and the University of Geneva’s Brain and Behavior Laboratory that mapped people’s neurological reactions to specific scent groups, Miller’s team devised its aptly named Functional Fragrance with notes that soothe the mind, such as green cardamom, cilantro, and violet. Ninety-six percent of users the company surveyed reported feeling instantly calmer.
The Nue Co.’s latest scent, Forest Lungs, takes a similarly research-based approach. It draws on the popular Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), a term coined by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries that indicates spending time in the woods as a mindfulness activity. The primary cause of that practice’s stress-reducing effect are phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants emit to protect themselves from rot, and that seem to benefit humans when inhaled. Studies have shown they promote lower concentrations of cortisol, pulse rate, blood pressure, and sympathetic nerve activity. The molecular compounds of phytoncides are replicated in the perfume, and blended with ingredients including vetiver, pine, bergamot, and cedarwood.
To incorporate either unisex fragrance into a daily routine, The Nue Co. suggests a simple breathing exercise: Spray onto your wrists and neck, inhale for eight seconds, hold for four, slowly exhale, and wait for tranquility to set in.