Jasmine 'as good as valium' claim

"The sweet smell of jasmine is as good as valium at calming the nerves, with none of its side-effects," reported The Daily Telegraph. It said that the fragrance and its chemical substitute caused lab mice to stop all activity and lie quietly in a corner.

The research paper showed that certain scented chemicals, including one from the Gardenia plant family, could enhance the activity of GABA (a chemical that helps to regulate over-excitement in the brain) in frog and rodent cells in the laboratory. No mention is made of behavioural experiments in humans and mice, and this aspect of the news report is likely to have originated from a press release from the researchers’ university and so cannot be verified here.

Although some anti-anxiety medications are also known to interact with GABA receptors, it is far too soon to suggest that the effects of jasmine are similar to a recognised treatment for anxiety such as valium. People taking prescribed medication for anxiety should not change their treatment based on this study.

Source - Scotsman