Does smell affect your brain?

Does smell affect your brain?

A wildly underrated member of the five senses, your sense of smell has a powerful effect on your brain’s many functions. Any odor you breathe in affects your limbic system (which governs emotional processing, motivation, fear, and pleasure), including your hippocampus and amygdala (all three of which impact learning and memory). According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Imaging studies in humans help show the effects of smells on the limbic system and its emotional pathways.” That means they can actually see smells affecting people via brain scans.

According to PubMed, “Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical wellbeing.” It is currently being studied as a natural treatment for stress, anxiety, and even for symptom management in cancer patients.

If you’re not familiar with essential oils and aromatherapy, or you want a quick refresher, read this. It explains what essential oils are and how to determine whether the essential oil is of a high or low quality. (The better the quality, the better your results will be.) Now that you’re all caught up, let’s get to the good stuff. Read more


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