Aromatherapy – Makes Scents to Me
The smell of a thing is rarely forgotten. The aroma of cinnamon and molasses may transport you to your grandmother’s kitchen (for me it’s Parmesan cheese and parsley); the cedar chest where she kept her linens; the sandalwood incense she burned in the Buddha dish; sitting in her lap, and breathing her sweet smell…
The inspirational speaker and writer Helen Keller, robbed of vision and hearing as a child, became so aroma-sensitive that she could guess the occupation of passers-by. Olfactory experiences may be fleeting and mystical like a daydream, but their effect is sustained and unforgettable. Some researchers believe this phenomenon is caused by odor “imprinting” – wherein certain aromas remind us of people, places or things, each person being born with their own personal “smell-print”, and odors seem to effect our memory and perhaps even our learning processes. The sense of smell is of such evolutionary significance that the cerebral hemispheres of the brain were once mere buds on the olfactory stalks.
I find our sense of smell to be the most intriguing because it is so connected to our emotions and primal instincts, and it’s not always very obvious. The connection of memory to individual “smell-prints” is the subject for a whole other story, as in ghost story … but before I digress any further, I urge you to explore your own sense of smell and how it guides you day to day.
This post is the first of a six-part series adapted from my book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary.