Lifestyle & Nutrition
|The Pleasure of Aromas
Marijke Vogel, MCIA, MIFA, MGNI, MIAIM
|We take the sense of smell mostly for granted. Just like we do our other 4 senses.
Our sense of smell is very important. The smell of a beautiful flower instantly transports us to a place maybe from our childhood or a holiday in the country and gives us a feeling of well-being.
When we are near a stable we smell the aroma of the animals, pleasant or not so pleasant depends on how you look at that and what feelings you have for animals. When I was a small girl growing up in Holland, as soon as I finished school I would take my fishing net to the meadows and walk and play among the grazing cows. I would sit at the side of small streams and fish for tadpoles and small frogs, the smell of cow dung reminds me of that time and brings back memories that are very pleasant. Of course then the cows were only eating grass and the smell was quite earthy. I don't know what the smell is like now as farming methods are so intensified and the cows don't have the same ability to graze freely.
When we smell fumes and gases it is very unpleasant and this is the subject mostly talked about as it directly and adversely affects our health in a negative way.
We do not like to think of ourselves as having a smell, but we do.
As naturopaths we observe everything, from the colouring in the face, the shape, the lines, as well as posture, tone of voice and of course the smell.
All the above, as well as our individually specialised skills, help us to make our diagnosis, and tells us how to best help this person.
Babies and toddlers have a lovely and sweet smell. They have not had time to build up toxins, which can create a bad smell. Lactation brings a special sweet aroma recognised by baby and newborn animals.
The smell of a human can be pleasant or not so pleasant, this very much depends ones diet, habits and also the toxic level of the person. When my children were young, I had help from a succession of Au-pair girls, these girls came over from abroad to learn English and in exchange would help with the washing up and look after the children for a few hours. Always when I had the help of girls of a certain nationality they would arrive with the most awful Body Odour.
It was sometimes so unpleasant that I had to place a deodorant in their room.
Always after 3 or 4 days when their diet adjusted to a more healthy vegetables and grain based diet their Body Odour would naturally disappear and so would their spots.
Older people sometimes have a mouldy smell. It is not that they don't wash, but it is years of clogged pores and due to a holding on of toxins, which have not been able to be released through the skin. Followers of naturopathic principals will know that this could be alleviated by skin brushing as well as Epsom Salt baths.
Some animals can smell emotions such as fear which makes the person who is already frightened of, say dogs, even more frightened as the animal will start growling. Then there are certain animals that can create such an awful smell they can drive their enemy away.
Our olfactory system is 10.000 times more sensitive then our sense of taste.
We have 10 million receptor cells in our noses. These cells are able to specify the scent molecules in the atmosphere, which we inhale and then interpret. Each activated scent receptor allows an electric impulse to travels to a part of the brain via the cilia, (over 50.000 000 nerve endings found within the nasal cavity) called the bulbous olfactorius, which is found at the lower part of the frontal lobe of the brain.
We have 2 of these olfactory bulbs in both our nasal passages. They collect all the scent signals from the cilia and send these impulses via the path of olfaction (nervus olfactorius) to centres deep within the cerebrum. This part of the brain deals not only with our sense of smell but also with our sense of taste and our moods.
Pheromones is a Greek word and covers a array of chemical substances that are produced by an animal or human which can evoke changes in social or sexual behaviour. The scent producing hormones are picked up by the scent receptors of another of similar species. This is particularly evident in the animal kingdom. Insects are very good at using their pheromones to attract members of the opposite sex, as well as putting it to good use when it comes to protecting their territory.
Humans are also able to use our pheromones in this same way.
Our queen bees excrete a pheromone that inhibits the growth of other female bees, and it also attracts plenty of males. Nature is an incredible thing.
The Romans did not bathe much and it is because of that that they used aromas to cover up their unpleasant smells. They saturated themselves with fine oils and perfume.
Even though most people in the western world have access to bathing, there is something ingrained mainly in the older generation that bathing too often is bad for the skin, instead of seeing it as a relaxing and pleasant ritual they see it as a chore and some only have a bath once a week.
The ancient Egyptians loved aromas. They would place waxed cones on the heads of the
King's dancers, which were impregnated with the sweet essences of Jasmine and Neroli blossoms, when they danced the wax would heat up and the pleasant aromas were released. They used their essences for many rituals including in the preparations of their mummies.
The queen of essential oil is Rose and governed by Venus. The king is Jasmine. Both oils are extremely beneficial to use during birth and post natal. They have the ability to transfer the user to another plane. Thereby forgetting the pain of birth and the feeling of let down due to the hormone changes directly after the birth, it also makes you smell very nice.
Both oils are aphrodisiac, antidepressant and sedative and used in many famous perfumes, both are very expensive as is to be expected when one realise how many petals are needed to make 1ml. That is why they are known as queen and king.
Spices are used for many conditions. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, cloves, they spice up a meal, help digestion and also can expel worms.
Can lull you to sweet dreams and restful sleep. Chamomile, Marjoram, Lavender, Myrtle.
Basil, Bergamot, Neroli, can improve your mood and increase confidence.
Ylang Ylang, Clary sage, Jasmine, Coriander all can create the mood when you want.
The world of smell is there to be explored now with the increasing popularity of aromatherapy so much can be done to create better atmospheres, release stress, and improve clarity of mind we are in an era where we have access to so much.
20 years ago aromatherapy was hardly known here, now we can obtain a vast variety of oils and there are so many books on the subject it is a nice thing to learn about and use in your home and office.
It is up to us how we want to live, and what and how we want to smell.
© Copyright Wholistic Research Company 2001
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