Monday, April 29, 2013

The Power of Scent

Lately there has been a lot of research into how smell affects our cognitive (thinking) abilities. Rather than spend an entire post on each article, I will give brief summaries here. 

First up is the scent of rosemary. Researchers have shown that inhaling rosemary (the essential oil that comes from the common cooking herb) improves your ability to give correct answers on mathematical tests involving subtraction. This is an enormous simplification of this research, but does show that what you smell can affect the speed and accuracy with which you think. This particular article goes on to talk about the possible role rosemary might play in eventually being used as a diagnostic tool for having suffered a concussion, and, how it might help diagnose the early stages of Alzheimer's. If interested, you can read the entire article here:

The May 2013 issue of Chatelaine magazine had a small sidebar article detailing that the smell of peppermint helps athletes achieve a "burst of energy" and second wind when engaged in on-going strenuous exercise (like long distance running.)

Topical application of peppermint alleviates tension headaches. Menthol, the primary ingredient of peppermint, is, in fact, the active ingredient in eScential Wellness' Headache Help. You can read the synopsis of the study, published on PubMed, here:

Smelling peppermint or cinnamon can increase alertness, reduce fatigue, enhance performance and increase alertness. What a great, easy cure for those long distance drives!! Every car should have a car diffuser. Read the full article here:

There's plenty of scientific studies to support the ability of citrus oils (lemon, orange, grapefruit) to uplift your mood.

Evidence is just growing that the sense of smell is underestimated in its usefulness for helping us to cope with external challenges!

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