Monday, December 17, 2012

The healing power of real Christmas trees?

There is one good aspect a real tree has, that an artificial tree doesn't have. It deals with smell. Pine trees have compounds that can have positive effects on the human body.

"Particularly, the leaves," Lucia Vazquez, a biology professor at UIS, said. "They produce a variety of compounds, that when mixed together, emit a scent that we like."

So how can those compounds found in pine trees, like your real Christmas tree, impact you?

"The way scent is processed in our brains, it overlaps the area in the brain with emotions," Vazquez said. "That is why smelling something makes us feel good. You will also have associations with smells and memories."

It's a sign of the season. It's a sign of cheer. The choice of real versus artificial, we'll leave up to you. But if you have real, enjoy the scent, and take in the good vibes.

"It can make you feel good," Vazquez said. "Absolutely. It can have a positive effect on your emotions."

Vazquez was featured by WICS-TV on December 14, 2012.

Watch the story online