Have you noticed a difference in your sense of taste and smell lately?
Roughly 80% of what we smell we taste. Medical conditions like upper respiratory infections and serious illnesses, as well as head injuries, hormonal issues, aging, certain medications and smoking can lead to the loss of smell (Anosmia) and taste blindness (Ageusia) or the reduced ability to smell and detect odors (Hyposmia) or inability to distinguish between tasting sweet, sour, bitter or salty things (Hypogeusia) leading to undue stress and anxiety.
My continued study of anatomy and physiology, and the effects of essential oils on the body, indicates that depending on the severity of these conditions, in some cases, we can train our olfactory system to once again restore these senses.
Let your memory of what you are eating or drinking guide you and try these 5 simple steps a few times a day:
When you eat or drink something close your eyes
Smell what you’re eating by taking in a few deep breaths
Savor it for five seconds in your mouth
Name what you’re tasting
Reference the 7 senses of taste: sweet, bitter, sour, salty, meaty (umami), cool and hot
Research studies have also found that inhaling volatile chemical constituents in essential oils through the olfactory bulb in our nose — which has a direct connection to the limbic system in our brain, governing emotion, behavior and memory — is helpful.
Inhaling essential oils either by diffusing them or directly inhaling them through a personal inhaler, also called olfactory aromatherapy, can not only assist in retraining the sense of smell, but possibly help in regaining it. This practice can also ease mild upper respiratory symptoms due to allergies, the common cold or the flu, as well as uplift mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and act as a non-addictive sleep aid.
The predominant chemical constituents in essential oils — for example, 1,8 cineole (a monoterpene ether) in Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) essential oil — help support the respiratory system. D-limonene (a monoterpene) — found in citrus essential oils such as Sweet Orange (Citrus x sinensis) — can soothe the nervous system in addition to enticing the sense of smell and the memories these scents may invoke, helping us further train our sense of taste and smell.
Olfactory aromatherapy is intended as a complement to medical treatments, not as a replacement, and can support your mind, body and spirit in times of stress and tension. I'll be sharing more on this topic in my next post.
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