The other day I was researching into aromatherapy (as you do) and came across an article about how scents can improve our health. I’ve always had an interest in alternative medicines and how a plants aroma can somehow change our mood.
The aromas work by stimulating the part of the brain connected to smell – the olfactory system. From there, a signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain that controls emotions and retrieves learned memories. This causes chemicals to be released which make the person feel relaxed, calm, or even stimulated.
Here’s 11 scents that can do wonders for your well-being.
Lavender can help you sleep.
A most well-known scent is lavender for its ability to calm the mind and body almost instantly. However, it can be used to treat insomnia and its relaxation properties prove effective for people who have trouble falling asleep.
Cinnamon can sharpen your mind.
As well as being one of my favourite autumnal scents, this spice also has the ability to boost brain power. A research has shown a whiff of cinnamon improved in cognitive functions like visual-motor response, working memory and attention span.
Pine can alleviate stress.
Pine trees naturally bring us cheer around the holidays, but a pine scent could also be decreasing our anxiety. A Japanese study showed participants who walked through pine forests reported significantly lower depression & stress levels. The participants also discovered that anxious subjects had a greater feeling of relaxation after indulging in the scent. Maybe this will finally convince my family to invest in a real Christmas tree this year…
Fresh-cut grass can make you more joyful.
Scent researchers found that a chemical released by a newly-mowed lawn can make people feel joyful and relaxed. The aroma may also prevent mental decline as you grow older.
Citrus can help you feel more energized.
Scents like lemon and orange are not only well-known for their Vitamin C properties, but simply sniffing the fruit can help boost energy and alertness.
Vanilla can elevate your mood.
In a study, researchers found that taking a whiff of vanilla bean elevated participants’ feelings of joy and relaxation. The results were measured through mood mapping, which included emotions ranging from happiness and stimulation to apathy and irritation. I can testify for this one. I always feel a little more at ease every time I light up a vanilla candle. Double points for vanilla and coconut.
Pumpkin can serve as an aphrodisiac.
Who knew pumpkin could possibly be an alluring scent for men? In this study, researchers discovered that 40 percent of the male test subjects responded positively to a pumpkin scent when combined with lavender.
Peppermint may boost concentration.
Smelling peppermint could be linked to greater cognitive stamina, motivation and overall performance. Known for invigorating the mind, it’s even been used as an aid for students when taking tests. There is also a small bit of research to suggest that the menthol scent in peppermint even tricks the brain into thinking that it alleviates stuffy nasal passages.
Jasmine may ease depression.
This floral scent has serious mood perks. A 2010 study found that not only does the smell of jasmine create a sense of alertness, it can also serve as a way to help with depressive thoughts. Researchers found that the stimulating effect of jasmine oil can aid in
the relief of depression and can lead to an uplifted mood. How cool.
Apples may mitigate a migraine.
Research has suggested that the smell of the crisp fruit may actually help reduce a headache and ease a migraine. Previous studies on a green apple’s odor have also found the scent may help control feelings of anxiety during stressful moments.
Olive oil can satisfy your appetite.
The New York Times reported that just imparting the scent of olive oil to food – by adding an aromatic extract – reduced the amount of calories people in the study consumed and improved their blood sugar response.