The average human is able to smell and identify thousands of aromas using smell receptors. The sense of smell is so powerful that it is ten-thousand times more precise than the sense of taste.
When the nose detects a smell, the information is sent to the olfactory bulb, a pea-size cluster in the brain, for processing of signals which is then sent to the limbic system. The limbic system is largely responsible for memory retention and the manifestation of emotions. Some of the most basic human behaviors such as feeding, fighting, arousal and pleasure are also governed by the limbic system.
Listed are a few examples of scents that may help to lower stress levels, improve mental and physical health, fight insomnia, and even assist in losing weight:
Fruits: curb cravings
Certain fragrances can manage and eliminate cravings for unhealthy foods. Keep a bowl of your favorite fruits, consisting of bananas, green apples, or oranges nearby. The scents of such fruits help to avoid snacking on junk foods and sweets.
Orange or lavender: calm down
In an Austrian study, researchers wafted the smell of oranges before a group of participants and the smell of lavender before a second group. Both groups found a change in mood and state of mind, reporting that they felt less anxious, calmer, and more positive than their initial state before the study was conducted.
Researchers at the University of Northumbria, in the United Kingdom, found that after exposing 48 college students to rosemary oil, the controlled group of students outperformed their peers in memory tests and in alertness. Keep a plant or two by your desk, and pluck a branch to smell during a study session or when memorizing something new.
Wheeling Jesuit University conducted a study with collegiate basketball players using peppermint vapors. After inhaling the vapors, all reported that they felt more motivated, energized, and confident. Peppermint inhalers are also popular among professional athletes. Some find the scent to be so athletically effective that Reebok even instilled a peppermint smell into some of their sports bras in the past. To revitalize energy levels, inhale peppermint vapors before or during a workout.
Have you ever entered a hotel room and noticed lavender flowers placed on the pillow? For centuries, people have been using lavender to increase deep slow-wave sleep. Studies from England and Korea have also found that this flower helps rid of mild insomnia.