When do we use our brain to smell?

The part of the brain that analyzes messages coming from the receiver cells in the nose is closely connected with the limbic system, that part of the brain that deals with emotions, moods and memory. It is called the primitive brain, sometimes even the ‘smelling brain’. The connection explains why smells are richly supplied with emotional significance. The smell of fresh-baked bread may bring on instant pangs of hunger, while the scent of perfume may remind you of a loved one. On the other hand, unpleasant smells such as rotten eggs, produce revulsion and sometimes even nausea.

Certain smells will bring memories of long forgotten special occasions flooding back. This is because the areas of the brain which process memories are also closely linked to the limbic system, which in turn is linked to the areas in the brain that control the sense of smell.

Fact File:

Aromatherapy is the art of using the perfumed essential oils of plants to treat the body and mind. The perfume passes over the nerve cells in the nasal passage and a message is sent to the brain.


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