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Smell Matters

Updated on June 27, 2009
My Fave Perfume
My Fave Perfume
Ripe mangoes
Ripe mangoes

I have said before, that pleasure is obtained from each of the five senses; our visual sense, our sense of touch, our sense of hearing, our sense of taste and now this thread got me thinking about how important smell is to me as well.

Why smell matters to me:

I have realised, over the years, that I buy my shampoo, body lotions and other cosmetics not based on how good they are for my skin and hair, but based on how good they smell. My sense of smell can instantly transport me back to an exact time and place and occurrence, it can uplift and thrill me. Smell is something that is very, very evocative; a particular aftershave still takes me back to when I was eight years old and had my first crush.

How smell helps:

Smell is a large part of our sense of taste. Notice how food looses much of its allure when we have a cold? Well it does for me.

Our sense of smell can equally as well enhance our mood and be used as therapy to cure ailments. In fact aromatherapy has long been viewed as a very effective treatment for not only physical but also emotional and mental problems such as stress etc.

Our faculty of smell and the use of essential oils can help us overcome insomnia, insect bites, indigestion, anxiety, acne or aches. As for the aiding and abetting us in the bedroom, the sense of smell is very effective since smell can expand your consciousness or arouse erotic sensuality.


The history of aromatherapy dates back thousands of years before Christ, when the Egyptians burnt incense in the hope that the smoke would carry their wishes and prayers heavenward. The Kama sutra also talks about the importance of perfume in personal grooming and deodorizing, for instance incense smoke was used to make hair fragrant. Ancient Indians used incense and other perfumes for ritual prayer and making an offering to the Gods.

Aromatherapy is the precise art of using Essential Oils. Flowers, leaves, grass, roots, bark, seeds and fruit rind are used to extract and distill these essential oils, which are very concentrated and powerful. So it is generally advised not to use them undiluted or directly onto the skin. The process of extraction is itself very painstaking and costly. For instance thirty roses yield only a single drop of rose oil.

When aromatherapy is used as massage oil, or added to bathwater, Inhaled molecules of these extracts stimulate the olfactory nerve, sending messages to the brain's limbic system (the seat of memory, learning, and emotion) that are said to trigger physiological responses (e.g., eucalyptus relieves congestion, lavender promotes relaxation). Aromatherapy is also sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medicine such as when blends of essentials are used in hospitals for sedative purposes. Aromatherapy has been touted as the alternative therapy of the 21st century.

My favourites:

If I had to pick two of my favourite smells they would have to be wet earth and ripe mangoes. Oh and for smells I like to wear on my skin, its sandalwood and lavender. And I absolutely LOVE Cool Water from Davidoff that my husband gave me. Any smelly thoughts?


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    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 9 years ago from INDIA

      Ditto Laughing Mom!

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 9 years ago

      I totally agree with you here, Reena. Smell is a powerful thing. The two things that can transport me back into an exact moment in the past are a specific smell or a song.

      I buy my hair products for the smell, too! i go for the tropical stuff-cocount and lime. The cocoa butter smell of suntan lotion is my favorite.

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 9 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks James, I think that makes it two things: music and smells that we are in complete agreement on :)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 9 years ago from Chicago

      I loved this Hub.  And I love the sense of smell.  I buy imported french milled soap for men and sandalwood is one of my favorites.  Of course, who could not love the smell of lavender?  I think your nose has good taste!

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 9 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks countrywomen. We have always grown jasmine; it is a heavenly smell, which somehow traslates badly to perfume.

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 9 years ago from Washington, USA

      Even I love lavender. Besides my favorite is roses (PS: I was in charge of two rose flower pots while we were in Bombay). I also like sandalwood and jasmine perfumes. I have always liked natural scents more compared to synthetic.  Thumbs up for a great hub.

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 9 years ago from INDIA

      O the smell of the ripe Alfonso mango is the smell of long lazy summer afternoons when the grandparents sleep and the grandchildren get up to all kinds of mischeif (my memories of childhood)

    • open-minded profile image

      open-minded 9 years ago

      nice hub, I think you just inspired me to smell a mango next time I'm at the grocery store. Ironic, since the only thing I'm allergic to is mango, so I realized that I can't remember that smell :)


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