It's called a linalool, and it's known to be a ticket to your own personal relaxation station.
The funny-sounding compound might not seem familiar to you, but odds are it has worked its calming magic on you when you've sniffed a sprig of lavender and its fragrant purple flowers, which are touted for such restorative effects.
"In folk medicine, it has long been believed that odorous compounds derived from plant extracts can relieve anxiety," says Dr. Hideki Kashiwadani of Kagoshima University in Japan.
Kashiwadani is co-author of new research published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience confirming how the vaporized lavender compound linalool casts its mellow spell.
The researchers found the compound must actually be smelt, rather than simply absorbed in the lungs, to deliver a dose of relaxation.
The team tested the effect of linalool on mice and found it did not have the same effect on mice that did not have the ability to smell.
"Our study also opens the possibility that relaxation seen in mice fed or injected with linalool could in fact be due to the smell of the compound emitted in their exhaled breath."
So I suppose that means even second-hand lavender can be relaxing.
The researchers hope their work could lead to the development of linalool-based therapies for the treatment of anxiety.
Meanwhile, it might not hurt to put a bit of the pretty purple plant near your workstation for when things get a little crazy.