In a study presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in 2011, researchers analysed 20 people as they slept in rooms scented with jasmine, lavender, or nothing. Participants who smelled jasmine moved the least during sleep and rated their anxiety levels lowest. They also performed better on cognitive tests. Researchers say jasmine could help students or athletes who have trouble sleeping before a big test or game.
In a Japanese study, researchers exposed 12 patients diagnosed with depression to a fragrant blend of citrus – consisting mostly of lemon oil – by circulating it in a room where they spent most of their time. The aroma regulated hormone levels, boosted immune function, and markedly lowered the dosages of anti-depressants the patients needed. For a natural pick-me-up, dab lemon balm on the inside of your wrist.
Need Help Quitting?
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, nicotine users took a whiff of either black pepper oil or angelica oil and found cravings greatly decreased. Researchers suggest sniffing a drop of either (or mixed) oil on a cotton ball when cravings hit.
In a US study, more than 3000 overweight people sniffed scents like banana and green apple when they felt hungry. On average, people with good olfactory ability lost weight over the six-month study without actively dieting. Certain odours trigger the release of hormones that give the perception of feeling full.
In a German study, women who slept in a rose-scented room reported pleasant dreams, while those exposed to a rotten-egg smell were more likely to have negative ones. Experts say smell can affect our emotional responses, since pleasant smells like roses are often linked to happy memories.