The fragrances of life
Fragrances influence us more strongly than any other sensation. They can quickly change our mood, awaken long-forgotten memories, or let us make certain associations. It’s no wonder: the sense of smell is the oldest of all of our senses and is active immediately after birth. Aromas have a lifelong, subtle influence on body, mind and spirit.
Everyone is familiar with it: the association with certain fragrances that reach us within milliseconds. Freshly baked bread and freshly brewed coffee in the morning make us hungry for breakfast; the scent of sunscreen makes us immediately think of vacation; and the aroma of cinnamon, apples, and pine trees reminds us of Christmas. This list could continue endlessly; more general or more specific. The combination of scent and experience is stored as a type of "scent memory" in our limbic system, a part of the brain that is responsible for processing emotions, for example. We cannot withdraw from it even if we want to.
Fragrances can do quite a bit when used selectively. Aroma therapy, which was commonly used in medieval times to heal specific illnesses, has been using this principle for a long time. This age-old knowledge was then forgotten but slowly rediscovered in the middle of the 20th century. Science can now verify things that used to be passed on by tradition and utilizes this knowledge in order to bring body, mind and spirit back into balance.
Heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing are closely connected to fragrances. We can feel this effect particularly well when we have time and are at leisure. Jasmine and lavender, for example, have calming and mood-improving effects, they reduce stress and relieve cramps. Lavender provides balance, strengthens the nerves, and grants recuperative sleep. Jasmine, the queen of the night as it is called in India, envelopes you in a romantic atmosphere, brings on optimism, trust, and euphoria.
Vanilla on the other hand, enlivens, warms, and increases physical and mental activity. Vanilla reduces nervousness in children, calms, and quickly brings on a good mood. The magnolia flower stands for the soft fragrance of spring; it is said to have an especially calming and balancing effect that reduces anger and worry, relaxes, and triggers creativity. The sensual effect of this comfortable aroma dissolves deadlocked feelings and opens the heart.
The French essayist Joseph Joubert wrote the most poetic words for the positive effect of aromas, when he penned his thoughts in a letter in the mid 19th century: “Fragrances are like the soul of flowers. One can feel them, even in the kingdom of shadows."