Spring and our senses are awakened! Our sense of smell warms up our appetites in anticipation of a delicious meal and at other times works as a warning signal for toxins and smoke.  The olfactory cells are very specialized nerves that are found deep in the nose and transmit signals directly to the brain when stimulated by good and bad scents. We have a gigantic encyclopedia of smells that are tagged and quickly identify each whiff and odour. Ancient stories and modern research tell us that aromatherapy, spices, fresh air and fragrances have healing powers. Loss of our sense of smell can also be an early sign of illness that may be able to be counterbalanced with essential oils and incense. The key is balance, too much can do harm and too little may be a missed opportunity.

Healing Scents

  • Mint – spearmint and peppermint have been associated with stress relief as long as your exposure is at least 15 minutes but not longer than an hour. Mint tea, mint garden, mint jelly.
  • Orange- good strong citrus smells can reduce stress hormones and perk up our mood. Studies found this to be true when given to students before a stressful test.
  • Cinnamon – great mind stimulus that improved focus and memory. Drivers with cinnamon-oil scented fresheners were more alert and less flustered in traffic.
  • Tea Tree- studies have shown this oil to be effective again bacteria and viruses and is often added to body care products. It is often referred to a a first aid kit in a bottle.
  • Lavender – a calming, soothing fragrance that can lower blood pressure and ease muscle tension.  Helpful for headaches when massaged on the temples.
Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

Enhancing your Sense of Smell

  1. Supercharge your sensors by taking a single scent and really smelling it while thinking about the scent and describing how you feel. This engages your smell and brain activity together. Morning coffee might just do it.
  2. What’s that smell ? Game. Great for kids and adults alike. Put some strong smells into small containers, cover your eyes and try and identify the smell. Pass it around and have someone write the answers. Pepper, Sage, Cinnamon, Jasmine and Rosemary to start.
  3. Exercise your nose. This is a combination of deep breathing and aromatherapy. Very intentional and done for 2-3 minutes .
  4. Engage all your Senses. Look, listen, smell, touch and taste. Try it with a lemon, you will never forget it.
Photo by Charity Beth Long on Unsplash

Warning Signs

Smell and taste often go together and when illness or injury affects our senses, we may experience lost or reduced ability to smell or taste. These changes can be the results of sinus infections and seasonal allergies, but also hormone changes, side effects from medication, head injuries or damage to our nose sensory cells from smoking, polyps or damage.

If you think your sense of smell has changed, doctor will often do a “scratch and sniff” with various strengths of chemicals to measure the potential loss. Treatment can include changing medications, identifying medical disorders, quitting smoking or having and Ear, Nose and Throat specialist examine you.

Newsflash

There have been reports that some Covid19 patients noticed their earliest symptoms as loss of smell and/or taste often before fever or cough symptoms. Upper respiratory infections have been known to cause loss of smell in some patients so this may be true also for Covid19. It is currently a trend we are watching but loss of smell can be related to other causes, so don’t jump to conclusion but do monitor you symptoms.

Mac Davis sings Stop and Smell the Roses
The lyrics are good advice for our Times

Resources

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/scents-power-heal/story?id=24109788

6 scents that have the power to Heal

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/smell-and-taste-disorders

John Hopkins University article on medical reason for changes in our sense of smell.

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