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Can You Smell That? How Scents Effect You

Updated on September 21, 2008

From Ancient Times to Modern Day

Scent has been well documented as having a significant effect on emotion, memory and task performance. Aromatherapy is rooted in ancient Egypt, India, Greece and Rome. Modern aromatherapy was developed in the 1920s by the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who did many experiments in aromatherapy on soldiers during WWI.

A study by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago showed aromas to have a measurable impact on erotic response. Certain scents increased arousal levels in men. Mostly, a mixed lavender and pumpkin pie smell, which proved more stimulation than traditionally sensuous scents such as musk or oriental spice. These findings could possibly lead to impotence treatments.

I found this study extremely interesting since I have always heard the old cliché, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach". This makes me wonder if there may have been more truth to this statement than anyone ever realized at the time.

How Scents Effect Us

Below is a very small list of some scents that have effects and how they affect us.

  • Chamomile: Calming and soothing. Eases anger and anxiety.
  • Clary Sage: Relaxing, euphoric. Eases anxiety, tension and stress.
  • Eucalyptus: Fresh, cooling and invigorating. Promotes alertness.
  • Jasmine: Alleviates anxiety and depression.
  • Lavender: Calming. Helps relieve some forms of pain.
  • Lemon: Refreshing and energizing. Eases tension. Heightens mental clarity.
  • Madarin: Relaxing and calming. Relieves insomnia.
  • Neroli/Orange Blossom: Relieves stress, anxiety and insomnia.
  • Peppermint: Refreshing and stimulating. Increases alertness, relieves pain, indigestion, nausea and headaches.
  • Rosemary: A stimulant that promotes mental clarity and alertness.
  • Sandalwood: Warm, sensual aroma. Euphoric and seductive.
  • Ylang-yland: Alleviates anger, anxiety and stress.

Make sure you aren't breathing soot with your scent
Make sure you aren't breathing soot with your scent

Personal Experiences With Scents

 

As many of you may know, I deal first hand with these scents as I am a distributor of an alternative vegetable blend of gourmet candle. From the list above, I have used all the scents except for the Ylang-ylang. We have yet to produce this one so I am emailing corporate today with this suggestion!

I have found these effects to be very true when using these scents. When our company created our scent Peppermint Truffle, I was suffering from severe sinus problems where I would lose sleep at night because my head was so stuffy I couldn't breathe. When I received my order, I took a couple of the votives and grated them and put them in the potpourri pot beside my bed that night. My head stayed clear and I slept sound all night.

My husband loves the scent of Black Cherry while relaxing after a long route in the truck. It helps ease the tension and helps him relax and sleep better. I have also found that a mixture of coconut and mango scent seems to turn a normal evening of wtching t.v. into a sensual evening as well. I believe through personal use that this is due to the tropical scent mixture, giving the sense of lying on a beach with the smell of suntan oil in the air. Who couldn't go for that?

I believe the effects of scent are similar to the effects of music on the human mind and body. A good scent in the air is as comforting to the nose as the good sound of music is to the ear. At this point , I can not imagine my life without either. Just give me a clean burning candle (or melt), a hot tub of water and some Kenny G and I am in fantasy land! I would suggest, however that you beware of harmful chemicals produced by some candles. Just compare and choose the healthiest for you. This comparison picture, while not meant to be an advertisement is a comparison to a name brand gourmet candle on the right to one of ours, on the left, after burning. Just make sure that you find a healthy alternative when shopping.

© 2008 Bonnie N. Ramsey

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    • profile image

      wisdom 

      5 years ago

      it is most disgraceful when you have a bad odor and that is why it is very necessary to keep to personal hygiene.

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Hehe! I got him covered on that! Gonna fill the house with his favorite Black Cherry in every room! LOL. Should make a nice celebration for both of us, huh?

      Bonnie

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Bonnie,It sounds like yur mom is in your kind clever hands!:)

      what does your hubby do for Birthday candles!:D

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      No problem, Decrescendo! Thanks for stopping by and posting!

      Bonnie

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks, Compu-Smart!

      I think many people who enjoy these scents but may have allergies just assume that it is the scent, itself, that sets off their allergies when, in fact, it could very well be the toxic chemicals in the wax. The reason I discovered this is the fact that my Mom has COPD, which is a lung disease and had so many problems with the scents of things that she had to start using unscented soaps, hair spray and anything else she had. This totally omitted any type of aroma in her house so eventually it began to smell stale, even when it was clean. She has discovered that she can burn these candles because it seemed that much of her reaction was from the petroleum fumes and chemicals, rather than the scent itself. In many cases, people with allergies are discovering the same thing as far as burning a candle in their home. I don't think most realize how many fumes are in the soot that is produced by most candles so they just give up. Fortunatley there are alternatives for many who have began using alternative vegetable wax to avoid the toxins. I can't burn ordinary candles anymore because it not only bothers me but hubby has a fit! LOL

      Bonnie

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Thanks Bonnie for that additional info.

      marinade in their colognes!!! lmao, i know a lot of those people!! I never wear aftershave for many reasons including not wanting to smell like everyone else!!

      Many people including the medical world are still ignorant to the fact of how important scent is and your hub i am sure and hope will raise awareness to what i believe to be alternative therapies!

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Well I know for sure that many perfumes cause breathing problems for those who have lung disease. As for scents triggering bad memories, there is a flip side to that as well. We have had many successful fundraisers at nursing homes by using scents that trigger memory senses such as victorian rose, cotton candy, apple pie, maple syrup, etc. There are good and bad reactions to pretty much everything. And I know that a lot of people just marinade in their colognes which makes it hard on people with lung disease. If they want to start banning scents in public places, I would think that they need to start with the hospitals. My Dad had to ban his own respiratory therapist that brought him his breathing treatments because he was so covered in it that he suffocated when the man came in. You would think people in the medical field would understand this, wouldn't you?

      I am sure that if enough statistics were gathered on this, since over 90% of homes burn scented candles, you would find that the majority of society has a positive reaction. Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments! You are always welcome!

      Bonnie

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      great hub!!

      i heard there was a resturant that banned it's staff from wearing perfumes and scented toiletries because the smells would-could remind customers of past bad memmorys from scents which i thought was a very good idea!

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Chantal,

      Thanks for reading and posting! I was sort of appalled when I noticed all the soot that I had been pumping into my house over the years once I did a comparison. I guess it is all the awareness out there today over toxic fumes and such because who would have thought to look at the jar after they burned one? LOL.

      Bonnie

    • Bonnie Ramsey profile imageAUTHOR

      Bonnie Ramsey 

      10 years ago from United States

      Glassvisage,

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I have used scented candles forever and never really paid attention to the effects until I was made aware. I guess it is one of those subtle things that go unnoticed!

      Bonnie

    • chantelg4 profile image

      chantelg4 

      10 years ago from Northern Ontario

      Good hub, love the info. I will think of this next time I buy a candle.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 

      10 years ago from Northern California

      I like this hub! I never really thought about how different scents could affect us differently :)

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