The sense of smell is considered the oldest of all the five senses that helped humans and other creatures through evolution. It helped them in finding potential mating partners and food, and even detecting danger. In short, it is vital for the survival of humankind.
Most living creatures rely on their sense of smell to interact with their environment. Despite this, the olfactory sense seems to be the most overlooked, and considered the least important one.
But this is something that Harvard Medical School deemed a mistake. After all, your sense of smell helps:
- Stimulate your appetite
- Enhance your sense of taste
- Alert you of dangers (i.e., rotting food, smoke from a fire)
Besides survival, scents also play critical roles in various aspects of people’s lives. By the end of this article, you will learn about the different fragrances best suited for different purposes, such as cleaning, healing, productivity, and even beauty.
The Clean Fragrance
Many people associate the idea of “clean” with the smell of chlorine bleach. Some also think it is the smell you get outdoors following a thunderstorm. The clean fragrance could also be the sweet smell of cedar or pine, or the fresh scent of flowers used in Hawaiian garlands.
Whatever the case, certain fragrances help cleaning brands make a mark. Cleaning agent ingredients include scents not only because of the latter’s appeal to modern consumers, but also because they evoke specific emotions associated with a particular scent.
A good example of this is citrus. Often referred to as “liquid sunshine,” citrus oils are often used to ease stress, alleviate depression, and uplift one’s spirits. When used in a cleaning product, this specific scent also helps boost the spirits of those working within an area.
Even a whiff of citrus-scented cleaner affects people’s virtuosity. This was discovered by researchers from the Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and revealed in their study “The Smell Of Virtue” published in the Psychological Science journal.
Healing through the Nose
Aromatherapy is one of the popular alternative methods of ensuring one’s well-being. As the name suggests, it entails the use of specific scents (or aromas) to trigger certain feelings and alleviate symptoms of specific conditions.
Below are some scents that can help foster healing through the nose:
Pine trees are popular because of their significance during the holidays, but did you know that the scent the trees give off also helps with your overall wellness?
According to a Japanese study, the pine scent helps alleviate people’s anxiety. In the research, participants who were asked to walk through a pine forest reported reduced stress levels and significantly lower depression rates. Those who were anxious prior to the stroll also felt more relaxed after breathing in the pine scent.
Vanilla is known as a common ingredient in pastries and perfumes, but it also has the power to boost people’s happiness levels.
According to the study, a whiff of the vanilla bean scent can trigger a significant increase in feelings of relaxation and bliss. This was measured using mood mapping, which provided a scale for researchers to determine the participants’ emotions. The range was set from apathy and irritation to happiness and stimulation.
Moreover, vanilla was also found to have sedative effects that work well in reducing restlessness and hyperactivity.
Drinking chamomile tea is known as an excellent relaxation practice, but did you know that it’s the smell that helps put you at ease? Based on research, patients with a generalized anxiety disorder reported improved symptoms and overall mood when exposed to chamomile’s fragrance.
If relaxation and calm are what you seek, then lavender is what you need.
The scent of this flowering plant is known to calm the nerves and aid in controlling emotional stress. It also has a soothing effect and is effective in relieving tension and depression. It can be used to ease migraines and headaches as well.
Scents for Mood and Productivity Boosts
All work and no play can leave people feeling dull and unmotivated. Some scents can help make your employees (or yourself) become more productive and ready to take on new challenges ahead.
Examples of these are:
Like lavender, jasmine is another popular flower with a scent that can calm the nerves. As an essential oil, jasmine is also effective as an antidepressant due to its uplifting smell that can help people feel more confident, optimistic, and revitalized.
Lemons are great for more than just refreshments – their scent also helps promote calm and concentration. Add that to its properties that help angry, anxious, or burnt-out people get a clearer head, and you have an ultimate productivity booster fragrance.
Cinnamon is another scent you’ll want in your office because it sharpens the mind. Considered as one of the coziest scents, this sweet-smelling spice also helps enhance brain power.
Based on a study conducted by researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University, a single whiff of cinnamon effectively improves cognitive functions, such as attention span, working memory, and visual-motor response.
Did you know that some wonderful-smelling ingredients also have a beautifying effect? Besides making you smell great, some natural fragrances also have healing properties. Many cosmetic fragrance suppliers are working on perfecting their craft with the help of such beautifying scents.
Here are some examples:
Taken from a flowering plant native to countries around the Indian Ocean, this sweet and spicy scent is believed to aid in relaxation and boosts self-esteem. It also helps repel insects and eradicate bug larvae.
The best part is that it has plenty of beauty benefits, including better hair growth and stimulation of oil production in the skin and scalp. It also helps treat combination skin, which explains why many cosmetic products include it as a primary ingredient.
Roses are popular for their beautiful flowers, but did you know that this lovely token of love has a scent that helps reduce anxiety as well?
Aside from that, rose oil contains antioxidants known to aid in acne treatment and improve complexion for a more youthful look. It also protects against fungi and harmful bacteria and promotes skin hydration.
Scent-sational and Multifunctional
Many scents offer more than one benefit and can be used for different purposes. Make the most out of the fragrances you have access to by learning their characteristics as mentioned in this complete guide.
Lamia Rochdi is the Marketing Manager at Bell Flavors & Fragrances EMEA. A successful family-owned business, Bell’s core competencies include customized solutions for the food and beverages industry, the household and personal care sector, and the perfume industry.