/ Modified jun 28, 2022 1:32 p.m.

Arizonans benefit from the special scent of the monsoon

Scientists find evidence of health benefits in the desert rain.

Rain Smell Researchers say the smell of the monsoon is good for your health.
Mitchell Riley, AZPM

The smell of a monsoon rain is more than just refreshing. Scientists say it's good for your health, too.

University of Arizona social scientist Gary Nabhan explains desert plants secrete protective oils that turn into a unique fragrance when it rains.

"There are clinical studies that show that these 15 major volatile oils really have physiological effects on us," he said. "They are in our bloodstream within two minutes after inhaling these fragrances."

Researchers found that the substances that are released into the air during rainfall can help you sleep better, lower your blood pressure and decrease anxiety attacks.

"There's a number of different physical effects that give us this burst of fragrance with every thunderstorm and we can smell them from a mile away, they're so potent," said Nabhan.

Scientists note the plants secrete the oils during most of the year to protect themselves from heat waves and predatory animals, then lose them during the monsoon before starting the cycle again in the fall.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona