Smells are important, they help us process memories, warn us of danger, and most importantly affect our emotions, among many other things. You know how certain smells make you feel all warm & fuzzy inside? Like fresh baked sweets, or a familiar scent from grandmas house! Yes! I’m talking about those smells that bring you somewhat of an automatic comfortable and happy feeling. Or how about when you take a whiff of an alcoholic drink that gave you the worst hangover of your life? Those smells that give you instant regrets and make you gag. Giving you a flashback of the not so favorable times in life, lol. I think that the sense of smell and its ability to connect us to things/situation is really interesting so on top of hours of research I’ve also done my own experiment and found out how out incredibly beneficial aromatherapy can be. Aromatherapy is a holistic practice that uses natural plant extracts (flowers, fruit, herbs, tree bark, etc), and other aroma compounds (essential oils), to promote both psychological and physical well-being. Essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, lemongrass, sweet orange, etc. are in essence stimulants, and when “inhaled” they activate various nerves and bodily functions. The olfactory nerve, which gives us the sense of smell sends signals to our limbic system and amygdala, which controls our memory, emotions/mood and our nervous system. When smells enter your body they either alert the amygdala which is the reason we have fear, our autonomic nervous system, which triggers our fight-or-flight response, quickens our breath, and raises heart rate and blood pressure or by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, which soothes and relaxes us!
Sage, clears sinuses and relieves headaches. Lavender, calm and soothes you, also known as an anti-depressant. Lemon, boosts immune system and increases focus/concentration. Chamomile, reduces anxiety and insomnia. Eucalyptus, eases joint and muscle pain and clears respiratory passages. Cinnamon, improves blood circulation. Ginger, helps with digestive issues. Basil, increases energy levels. Sweet orange, helps to increase mood and memorization.
Through my own experience I’ve used sweet orange oil (a refreshing, somewhat of a powerful, unforgettable scent) to help me remember phrases of a language I was practicing. I created a mixture of sweet oil, honey, and water and poured it into a small 2oz spray bottle so that I could easily carry it around with me. I tested this theory by spraying the mixture into a napkin and taking a small whiff of it before meeting up with some bilingual associates. And low and behold, I was able to remember everything I’d practice the day before. But to make sure that it wasn’t just a coincidence I tried the method a few other times in different situations and got the same results. I saw an automatic improvement in my memorization skills, something that I’ve never experienced before. I am a believer of aromatherapy and I believe that everyone can benefit from it. Look up your symptoms or issues, look for an essential oil to help and test out the method for yourself!