Smells That Boost Your Health Certain scents can help memory, mood, energy, and libido
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
I received this from Prevention.com and thought I'd post it. I personally get a lift from certain aroma's and tend to spray my home to reflect my current favorite. For years I've sprayed all our beds with lavender because I'd heard it will help us to relax. This article talks about smelling green apple to reduce snack attacks - I'm going to try it!
"Did you know that the human sense of smell can identify thousands of aromas and is 10,000 times more precise than our sense of taste?
We have millions of smell receptors in our noses. When they detect a scent, they shoot the information to the olfactory bulb—a pea-size cluster in the brain, which sorts the signals and relays them to the limbic system. This primitive part of the brain governs many memories and emotions; some of our most basic behaviors—feeding, fighting, or fleeing; as well as sexual arousal, pleasure, and maybe even addiction. Because of their close proximity, the neurological controls for these behaviors often become entangled. That's why, for instance, during the early stages of attraction, dinner is often a prelude to sex.
It also explains how odor can help lower stress levels, improve mental and physical performance, ease pain, end insomnia, and even help us lose weight, research shows. Here’s how to use your sense of smell to your advantage.
To Resist a Snack Attack
Sniff: Green Apple or Another Favorite Scent
A fragrance you love can help manage cravings, according Alan Hirsch, MD, founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. In one study, Hirsch gave overweight people banana, green apple, and peppermint to sniff when they felt a craving; they lost more weight than nonsniffers.
Try this: Keep a bottle of a favorite scent handy throughout the day and try sniffing instead of snacking.
To Calm Down
Sniff: Orange or Lavender
In an Austrian study, researchers wafted the smell of oranges before some participants and lavender before others. The two groups felt less anxious, more positive, and calmer, compared with participants who were exposed to no fragrance at all.
Try this: Add a few drops of either oil to a room diffuser and use in your office on stressful days.
To Learn Something New
Next time a presentation or new software program drives you crazy, think of Shakespeare’s poor Ophelia. After Hamlet made her nuts, she toddled around the castle picking rosemary, muttering, "That's for remembrance." Researchers at the University of Northumbria in the United Kingdom found she was on to something. After exposure to rosemary oil, 48 college students outperformed a control group on memory tests and felt more alert throughout.
Try this: Buy a plant or two for your windowsill, so you can pluck a branch to smell while you're studying or memorizing something for work.
To Fight Pain
Sniff: Lavender or Peppermint
Looking for ways to use less pain medication, doctors at New York University Medical Center exposed patients undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery to lavender oil (applied to the anesthesiology face masks they wore during surgery). Those patients required substantially less morphine and needed fewer analgesics afterward. Peppermint helps too. After a review of several studies, a Wheeling Jesuit University researcher concluded that it can ease headache pain, and German headache researchers report that the brisk smell is as effective as acetaminophen.
Try this: Next time you have a headache, inhale the scent from a handkerchief sprinkled with a few drops of lavender or peppermint.
To Soothe Menstrual Cramps
Sniff: Essential Oils
A 2006 study in Korea divided women with intense menstrual cramps into three groups. One group received a daily 15-minute abdominal massage with essential oils for 1 week before their periods, another group got the same massages without fragrance, and the last group received no therapy. Those in the aromatherapy group reported that their discomfort decreased by half.
Try this: Add 2 drops of lavender oil, 1 drop of clary sage oil, and 1 drop of rose oil to an almond oil base and massage into your abdomen once a day for a week before your period.
To Rev Your Libido
Sniff: Baby Powder
This, along with cucumber and licorice, has been shown to turn women on, increasing vaginal blood flow by 13%. Pumpkin pie and lavender increase blood flow by 11%.
Try this: Soften your skin with some baby powder after showering. Or to cap a romantic dinner, serve pumpkin pie and keep a cucumber-scented sachet next to your pillow.
To Feel Younger
Sniff: Pink Grapefruit
This fresh citrus smell can influence perceptions of age. When volunteers viewed photographs of 20 models after being exposed to the smell of pink grapefruit, they perceived the models as being 3 years younger than did people who judged the photos while smelling nothing.
Try this: A grapefruity perfume like Antica Farmacista's Grapefruit ($62)
To Crank Up Your Workout
In a study at Wheeling Jesuit University, peppermint vapors gave college basketball players more motivation, energy, speed, and confidence. Some athletes use peppermint inhalers, and at one time Reebok even built a peppermint smell into some sports bras.
Try this: When you're flagging during your power walk, take an invigorating hit from the Peak Performance Sports Inhaler with peppermint vapors ($10; sportsinhaler.com.)
To Sleep More Deeply
There's a reason people have been filling pillows with lavender flowers for centuries: Earlier research demonstrated that lavender increases deep slow-wave sleep, and recent studies from England and Korea show that the flower also helps people with mild insomnia.
Try this: Spritz your bedpost with lavender essence just before bed."
I like the idea of using smells to improve things in my life. Simple, easy & enjoyable!