When we breathe, the molecules which carry scents activate the receptors in the nose cavity. These receptors transmit impulses that quickly reach the olfactory bulbs located in the brain and are connected to the limbic system, which is the center for memory, emotions, mood, and sexual excitement. The presence of vast connections between the olfactory system and the limbic system can explain why scents have the remarkable ability to arouse old memories. Sometimes, just smelling a particular aroma or scent associated to a past experience will recall the memory of an entire world.
How does the human sense of smell work?
The human sense of smell can currently recognize more than a trillion aromas—though this is far fewer than what our ancestors were able to detect. In ancient times, this sense was much more efficient because it was of vital importance particularly for hunting, or detecting danger.
Ancient times also provide the first evidence of how aromas were used in the most diverse situations: religious rites, ceremonies, dinner parties, and even for therapeutic purposes.
Can perfumes really cure us?
Not all scientists agree on this matter; however, according to the most respected aromatherapists, some substances could potentially cure common physical and emotional disorders. For example, to soothe a headache or calm irritability, it can be useful to inhale mint essential oil; to fight a cold, or to inspire tranquility, the Swiss stone pine essential oil can be very beneficial. In any case, we recommend to try the efficacy and power of your sense of smell on yourself.