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The Science Behind What Your Nose Knows

The Science Behind What Your Nose Knows

What is it about a fragrant bouquet of flowers that causes you to let out an audible “ahhhh,” or the scent of freshly baked cookies that makes your mouth water? Believe it or not, certain smells trigger a reaction in your brain, causing an emotional, or physical response.

In fact, there is an entire body system dedicated to processing the sense of smell. It’s called the olfactory system. Every day, scientists learn more about how this system affects your brain, and in turn, the rest of your body.

Most likely, you link the importance of smell to taste, or, maybe you feel it’s simply another way to experience the world around you. The truth is, smell has the capacity to unlock memory and emotion and can be a powerful tool to elicit specific and desired bodily responses.

For centuries, people have used smell as a tool for personal or commercial purposes. Real estate agents have been known to bake bread in the oven before an open house to cast feelings of warmth andnostalgia on potential buyers; additionally, candle and fragrance companies rely on the power of smell to drive sales.

When you smell, certain substances bind to receptors inside of the nasal cavity. These receptors send signals to the olfactory bulb, where they mingle with other parts of the brain and prompt a reaction, such as salivation or stimulation of your pleasure center. According to studies, morning coffee drinkers only need to sniff coffee grounds to experience the “wake-up” sensation associated with caffeine.1,2 The same is true for essential oils, which can instigate powerful biological reactions.

Essential oils are the quintessence, or center, of the natural compounds they’re derived from, and act as both a defense and attractant. These compounds, which include plants, seeds, herbs, resins, and flowers, stimulate your senses and cause your body to respond accordingly. For example, chamomile and lavender are known to induce a calming response, while peppermint has a more stimulating affect. As our knowledge of plants and plant uses grows, so do the benefits of essential oils in enhancing our quality of life.

To learn more about the science of smell and 4Life Essential Oils, take the 4Life University course!