It’s as plain as the nose on your face. The sense of smell is a very powerful emotional trigger.
Scientific studies have long shown smell, one of our oldest senses, has the uncanny power to stir up memories and transport us to another place. It can help relax us after a stressful day, reduce pain, or make us feel queasy.
There’s even a good chance your nose can get you to spend more money or arouse you to select a life partner.
The late Thalassa Cruso, the "Julia Child of horticulture", perhaps said it best. “The sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative; bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind.”
It's all in a day's work for the unassuming nose.
Take aromatherapy, the use of essential oils to alter mood or improve health. The practice gained new popularity about a decade ago.
It's considered by many to be a safe and natural way to help people cope with stress, chronic pain, nausea, and depression, and to produce a feeling of well-being.
In fact, breathing in aromatic oil scents such as Roman chamomile, geranium, lavender or cedarwood is recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapy for patients with cancer.
Aromatic oil scents are primarily used as supportive care, to help ease the side effects of traditional therapies.
Proponents claim aromatherapy can also help relieve bacterial infections, stimulate the immune system, and fight colds, flu, and sore throats. They believe that aromatherapy can improve urine production and increase circulation.
Some maintain that it can cure cystitis, herpes simplex, acne, headaches, indigestion, premenstrual syndrome, muscle tension and even cancer.
Available scientific evidence doesn’t support claims that aromatherapy cures or prevents any disease. However, according to the American Cancer Society there are studies which do show that breathing the vapors of peppermint, ginger, and cardamom oil seems to relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation. It also seems to help prevent illness-related depression.