The Alchemy of Scent & the Brain

Lakenda Wallace

Have you ever walked into a kitchen where cookies are baking? As you wade into the sweet aroma of sugar, flour, and vanilla you are transported for a second to your childhood. Sweet memories surface and you feel more "at home." 

Your sense of smell is directly linked to the memory center in your brain. This is why realtors bake cookies just before an Open House. They want you to associate the at-home-happy memories with the house they are trying to sell. Aromatherapy and natural perfumes work on the brain in the same ways.

"The reason aroma has such a direct action on the brain is that aroma molecules connect with the receptors in the cilia extending from two olfactory bulbs, which are themselves extensions of, and part of, the brain.”         —'The Fragrant Mind", Valerie Wormwood

Your sense of smell interacts with the amygdala through its direct link with the limbic system. This is evolutionarily the oldest part of the brain. The Olfactory cortex is part of the limbic system, which is part of the brain that processes emotions, survival instinct (fight/flight), and memory. 

Essentially, this means we can intentionally use smell to trigger happy thoughts, empowering memories, and balanced emotions. You don't have to wait to stumble across a kitchen of baking cookies to trigger happy thoughts. You can create happy memories, while purposefully associating them with a smell, so each time you encounter that smell it is a callback to that feeling.

Furthermore, aromatherapy and natural perfume contain essential oils and other plant extracts that can chemically trigger emotional reactions. According to Dr. Alan Hirsch and his research team who have conducted over forty-six studies involving over 12,000 people natural scents when aromatized into a room can affect the room’s inhabitants.They discovered products were viewed better when encountered in a pleasant smelling shop. In another trial a mix of florals helped calculus students increase their rate of retention by 230%. His Las Vegas study involving aromatized gambling machines increased player spending by 45%. 

Modern Peasant invites you to use these same fragrant alchemical processes to increase confidence, decrease stress and anxiety, and more. Aromatherapy and natural perfumes can be blended for delicious intoxicating aromas, as well as their alchemical psychological effects. In short aromatherapy and natural perfume can positively affect mood.

A mix of lavender, clary sage, and chamomile (Calming Room Spray) decreases adrenaline and stimulates the parasympathetic nerve to restore a sense of calm. Beyond that, once experienced, the smell will enhance this feeling of calm every time you smell it. Why? Because now the chemical associations of the natural perfume formula and memory are working together, bringing reminders of the sense of calm experienced again and again. The magic of scent and memory, coupled with the science of aromatherapy molecules and their effects on the brain create an alchemical tool box for mood enhancement.

Imagine the power of a scented meditation where you smell a natural perfume designed to encourage optimism (Light Bringer). Throughout the meditation, you focus on engendering feelings of hope, self-reliance, and being supported by the Universe. Perhaps you attach a mantra, “My luck is changing for the better. I am positively expanding my world every day.” That deep sense of accepting the truth behind these words, discovered in the meditation, becomes part of your stored memory--connecting the beautifully effective molecules of jasmine (uplifting) and honeysuckle (joyous, decreases anxiety & stress). Everytime you wear the scent. You have immediate access to that optimistic state of being. 

Your sense of smell can save you by alerting you that something is past its expiration date. Your sense of smell can transport a full grown adult to their childhood kitchen. Your sense of smell can support you on your journey to peace. Your sense of smell coupled with the power of aromatherapy blended into beautiful natural perfumes can offer you a road of olfactory bliss that leads to a more positive mindset.

The alchemy of scent awaits you. What will you smell today?