September 4


Thanks for the Smemory

By Sue Ingebretson

September 4, 2012

aromatherapy, candles, cologne, essential oils, fragrances, herbs, memory, perfume, scent, smell, spices


(This is NOT my nose, by the way…)

Wanna give your memory a kick in the pants? Here are a few clues for you to sniff out!

Do you remember your first day of elementary school? Close your eyes and imagine the smells – a brand new box of crayons, smell the wax? How about that new paint set? Can you smell the box as it opens? And, of course, who can’t remember the indelible scent of Play-Doh! They even make car fresheners these days with toxic chemicalized versions of that scent (how ghastly!).

Many of us can walk through a crowd, catch a whiff of a familiar fragrance, perfume, or cologne, and visualize the person we associate it with even before our mind catches up to say, “Hey, who does that smell remind me of?”

I remember standing in a crowded tourist gift shop in San Diego and the face of a teacher I hadn’t thought of in more than 30 years popped into my head. It wasn’t until I stood in line at the cash register (behind someone with a distinct scent) that I realized my teacher had worn that perfume, too.

The sense of memory is funny like that. (And, powerful like that!)

Because our sense of smell is one of our strongest links to memory, why not use the two in cahoots?

Want to enhance your meditation experience? Add aroma therapy options readily available in health food stores or online.

Want to enhance your dining experience? Add aromatic spices and herbs — think cinnamon, ginger turmeric, fresh basil, fresh cilantro, etc.

Want to enhance your sense of alertness or awareness? Sniff fresh peppermint, citrus, or jasmine.

Fresh Mint

Now, I can hear some of you groaning and shaking your heads from here. Many of you are particularly sensitive to fragrances and they can induce everything from minor nausea to full blown migraines. What I’m talking about, rather, are natural scents, and in small doses. Far fewer fibro (and autoimmune) people are AS sensitive to scents derived from nature than from the chemical-based varieties in our everyday perfumes, candles, laundry supplies, air fresheners, etc. Avoid those like the plague.

What I’m referring to are scents and smells that can be found in nature and from natural sources. Getting a whiff of lemons, limes, oranges, or tangerines can be amazingly invigorating and lift the mood. The next best thing would be quality essential oils. Look for ones with natural ingredients and seek out a source that you trust.

Who knows? This might be uncharted territory for you! See how sniffing out solutions to your own memory puzzles can provide you with a new experience.

Got smemories of your own? Share them with me here! And, of course, let me know where your fragrant journey takes you!

Juicy, eh?
  1. Lucky me. I have a keen sense of smell. And many of the natural scents you mentioned there are pure delight. But going back to that first day of school…how could you not mention the smell of the ink on ditto’d pages?

    1. Oh my, Gerry! I remember the “stink” of what we called mimeo pages! All of our math worksheets and quizzes were on them. And the sheet music we sang from. Thanks for the reminder!

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