Jul 12, 2023
Dr. Roizen: Aromatherapy can boost your memory
Researchers say there are around 400 types of smell (AKA olfactory) receptors in your nose and it’s their job to detect an enormous array of scents — from stinky to soothing. You know that wonderful
Researchers say there are around 400 types of smell (AKA olfactory) receptors in your nose and it’s their job to detect an enormous array of scents — from stinky to soothing. You know that wonderful aroma of fresh-brewed coffee that greets you every morning? Well, it’s the result of 800 distinct types of molecules that travel from your cup to your smell receptors.
With such complex activity going on in your olfactory nerves, it’s no wonder research shows that loss of smell is associated with declining cognition and Alzheimer’s.
But new research by University of California, Irvine neuroscientists found that wafting essential oils (using a diffuser) into the bedroom of folks ages 65+ for two hours a night for six months boosted their cognition by 226%. The study used seven different oils, one each night over the course of a week.
So what is aromatherapy? It’s the use of essential oils, such as lavender, Ylang Ylang, jasmine, lemongrass, and patchouli, to waft a scent throughout a room. As the molecules of aroma reach your brain, they affect what is called the limbic system, which impacts memory, blood pressure, breathing and emotions.
The aromas’ potent benefits do come with potential risks for some folks, including people with allergies, asthma and those who are pregnant or have high blood pressure. And no one should ever use them full strength on skin or orally. So, ask your doctor about giving this memory-booster a try using a diffuser, and check out “11 Essential Oils: Their Benefits and How to Use Them,” at My.ClevelandClinic.org.
Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at [email protected].