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Sniff Your Way to Health & Happiness

3 min read

By Emily Lockhart

Smell that? It’s funny how certain smells can evoke all sorts of feelings and memories. However, it turns out that certain smells can also improve your health and enhance your happiness. Studies show that getting a whiff of the following eight scents will instantly benefit your wellbeing.

So take a deep breath…

1. Jasmine

Brew yourself a cup of jasmine tea before bedtime and most slumber like babies. This is because the scent of jasmine has long been used to induce more peaceful shut eye. Research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, noted that when jasmine essence was released into the air, study participants slept more soundly with fewer sleep disturbances (i.e., waking up, tossing and turning, and trouble falling asleep) and claimed that had more energy the following day.

2. Rose

Need a pick-me-up, ladies? A research study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines points to the use of rose essence to treat depression—particularly menopausal-related depression. The study emitted rose essential oil vapors to female rats and found the animals brains created a barrier that protected them from depression-associated oxidative stress.

3. Cinnamon

I love the comforting scent of cinnamon in the morning so much that I’ve gotten into the habit of putting it into everything—from oatmeal to coffee. However, research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease linked certain compounds of the spice (namely cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin) to improved protein growth in the brain, which is important in preventing Alzheimer’ s and other degenerative memory conditions.

4. Lemon

Scientists from the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic, attest to the aromatic benefits of lemon. A quick sniff of the fresh fruit smell can calm stress and anxiety mentally and aid digestion and nausea physically.

5. Lavender

Lavender has long been incorporated into candles, teas, essential oils, and diffusers for its calming properties.  Research from Wesleyan University backs up this claim—findings showed that those who smelled lavender before bedtime, in a facial or burning candle, enjoyed better quality and longer sleep duration.

6. Peppermint

Peppermint is refreshing—and for good reason. Those who love it can attest the cool, addictive taste. However, research conducted on groups by the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that whiffs or tastes of peppermint actually went as far to improve brain strength. Participants were given infused with mint, which resulted in better memory, and faster visual and motor response times.

7. Orange

In addition to the fresh scent of lemon, other citrus smells, such as orange, have long been administered to soothe stress and anxiety. Recent research from Brazil tested out the effects of various essential oils on study groups (i.e., a series of Brazilian sweet orange, tea tree oil, and plain water placebo). Participants were asked to sniff the scents for 5-minutes each before a stress test. Findings revealed that found that those who inhaled the sweet smells of orange experienced reduced anxiety and even reported lingering effects after the study ended.

8. Rosemary

Do you remember your favorite recipe off by heart? Perhaps you should add some fresh rosemary. Not only does this subtle aromatic herb taste great in sauces and meat marinades—a 2013 study from Northumbria University credits the herb with enhancing memory quality.


Emily Lockhart


Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

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