Anosmia – loss of smell does not need to be final

When people lose their capacity of smelling it is often experienced as something really dramatic. Of course, any loss of one of our senses is strangely handicapping and can make us feel to be another person, to have lost part of our being human. In the case of losing our olfactive capacity, we are deprived of that one sense which is the oldest in our history of evolution. Smelling is beyond time, and often also beyond space: certain animals, especially certain fish, can smell things from miles away. Smelling for us humans is pleasure, a guiding agency so to say to help us decide what is good or not good for us, also particularly: what to approach or not approach, what to eat or not to eat of course, because taste and smell are intimately linked. Not to forget: Most of our taste-pleasure comes from smell-pleasure…

Age is part of the olfactive loss

When we age it is often “part of the deal” that our sense organs slowly, sometimes also suddenly, deteriorate. It is as if the mind-body programming of the life of a person is set in a way that a withdrawal of the sense capacities has to happen in order to signal to us that we have to focus more on our inner worlds instead of getting lost in the attractions of the outer “illusions” (Maya) as the ancient seers of the wisdom of humanity would say. There is definitely something true in this, but anosmia or total loss of smell is something else. And a certain pre-ordained loss of sensory sharpness as it is normal with age (and not always – and not with all senses at once) has nothing to do with anosmia. But… it is also interesting to know that the sense of smell is particularly delicate in terms of its “interior functioning” inside our system. I have asked myself why, and why with age so many elderly people are affected. Research shows it:

“Age-related alterations in the ability to smell are well documented. For example, more than three-fourths of individuals over the age of 80 have major difficulty detecting and identifying odours.”

(Olfactory capacities in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Psychophysical and anatomic considerations. RL Doty – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1991 –

On the other side, if age is often linked to the loss of smell, isn’t it interesting to see that the beginning of life – at least for us humans – is linked to the sense of smell too? The female ovum before fertilization emits the odour of the beautiful flower of “Lily of the valley” in order to attract the male sperms, as research scientist Prof. Hanns Hatt from Bochum University/Germany has proven. One should see these “guys” in a fiction video how they speed up on their track in order to get to their fragrant goal! :):) So then, life starts with smell, and it ends with the loss of smell? Can we say that…? Well, I do not think so, because the astral world which receives us when we leave the body is full of sense, impressions as confirmed by those who had “life after death” experiences.

Another aspect – seen from the point of view of Ayurveda – is that the sense of smell is linked to the Earth element. Ayurveda teaches us that each of our five senses is connected to one of the five elements in Nature. That means:

  • smell is linked to Earth
  • taste is linked to Water
  • sight is linked to Fire
  • touch is linked to Air
  • hearing is linked to Space (Ether)

So losing our sense of smell – even gradually – while we are still “embodied” means we are giving up our connection with the densest element, which is Earth. We are starting to lose our gravitational basis, our sitting, our groundedness – which means also to some degree: our habitual way to feel safe. This has also to do with getting more and more dominated by what Ayurveda calls the “Vata dosha”, which is linked to air and space. This is totally normal with age. But if Vata is in too strong domination it makes us easily too airy, too spacy, prone to nervousness, restlessness, anxiousness.

But… thinking that being grounded in our body is the only way may also be an illusion. Of course, we cannot in reality forever be grounded in our body and its gravitational heaviness. The famous French underwater explorer and scientist Jacques Cousteau once called gravity the “biggest sin of humanity”… Well, it was our choice to incarnate on Planet Earth, right? We could have chosen a smaller planet as a dwelling place – with less heaviness for our body, no…? :):)

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free. Buoyed by water, he can fly in any direction – up, down, sideways – by merely flipping his hand. Under water, man becomes an archangel.”

(Text by Webmaster with quote from ‘Poet of the Depths’, Time (28 Mar 1960)

Well, to remain in our body :):) and remain “on earth” we can say: we need our earthbound nose, and why not become an “archangel” and smell all around us at the same time the heavenly perfumes of essential oils and all the flowers and mysteries which the Earth graciously gives us? And “sink beneath the surface” as Cousteau describes it here in order to lose gravity is quickly achieved by closing the eyes and smelling… a Rose oil, a Jasmine oil for example… or meditating! And then “surface back” and feel much better – also IN the body!

Loss of smell also a warning signal

Back to the connection of smell and age. If we lose our olfactive capacity too early, we should cater for getting it back as soon as possible. It means that we have to take care of our health, our lifestyle, our social environment, our diet, our thoughts and emotions, our Spirit –everything in fact.

“Elderly people with a poor sense of smell have a higher likelihood of dying in the 10 years after testing than those whose sniffers stay sharp. In a new study, elderly people with a poor sense of smell had a 46% higher risk of death 10 years after olfactory abilities were tested, compared to those who passed the smell test.”

(Olfactory capacities in aging and Alzheimer disease. Psychophysical and anatomic considerations. RL Doty – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1991 –

But what is also clear in the meantime is the fact that Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other degenerative diseases are all signaled by the loss of smell. Even our new “plague”, the Covid pandemic, has a very specific marker: the loss of olfactive capacity.

“Indeed, the olfactory pathways of patients with Alzheimer’s disease evidence disproportionate numbers of neurotic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles relative to other sensory pathways, suggesting that the olfactory system may be the site of first involvement of the Alzheimer disease process.

(Olfactory capacities in aging and Alzheimer disease. Psychophysical and anatomic considerations. RL Doty – Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1991 –

But it can also be that certain genetic predispositions inhibit olfactive performance. Also possible inhibitors of smell perception can be traumatic experiences and even, as we know, catching cold, sinus infections etc. The worst of all this lack of smell perception is that people tend to lose their joy of life. Anosmia patients show tendencies of depression, loss of inner drive, of connectedness with the world and the social environment. Is that surprising?

“Generally speaking, beyond the immediate recognition that not smelling makes it really tough to enjoy (and therefore seek out) a good meal, the researchers noted increased depression, increased feelings of vulnerability, and increased difficulty coping with stressful situations and environmental change, they also noticed a substantially reduced sex drive.”

(Guido Masé, The Wild Medicine Solution)

Does this maybe also mean that there is a subconscious signalling behind all this? To have enough of the “game of the world”, to get out of the “gravitational shell” of the body? A kind of sensory “leave-the-body” programming…?

Herbs can help – oils can heal

Ok then, why not try and boost the lost sense of smell with those agents on Planet Earth which are the age-old cosmic light perfumers, the natural bliss givers par excellence? Why not shower the nose with the joy of natural fragrances, through deep olfactive breathing for example, with a powerful “sniff-in therapy” via the help of certain plants or essential oils which have a strong penetration factor and which the brain cannot refuse? Not even a brain in a “give-up” mood? Or even inhale through the lungs alternating with the nose and see what happens? Why not get away for a moment from the stress pollution circus of our modern societies and practice. “Shinrin Yoku” for example, the Japanese “Forest bathing” where patients are led for days into the fresh conifer forests as an olfactive allround breathing therapy helpful for so many ailments?

Guido Masé says it beautifully here:

“In lieu of Forest Bathing, we have freeway breathing. In lieu of basil, oregano, garlic, and olives, we have something in a spray, can that – I can’t quite pronounce – let alone spell from memory (and it smells kind of weird, too). If withdrawing the sense of smell leads to depression, fear, and apathy, then perhaps the gradual withdrawal of plant-based aromatics from our culture is also contributing to a general malaise, poor attention span, and dark moods. Perhaps aromatics spark the spirit, and a soul bathed in scent can actually become “immortal,” fly free, and be at peace.”

(Guido Masé, The Wild Medicine Solution)

Yes, we can! Experiences with essential oils prove that we are able to overcome a period of anosmia by just finding the right oil in the right moment. Our dear friend Eva Bouzas in Spain sent me this testimonial not long ago:

“I wanted to tell you my experiences with loss of smell cases. It has been incredible. We have a pharmaceutical company nearby who created a kind of Anosmia kit with Rose (synthetic one of course), Clove, Lemon and Eucalyptus (very good idea by the way). I don’t know if it is working or not but in our case (Oshadhi case), our clients are getting completely recovered from total or acute anosmia (or hyposmia) after Covid in one or one and half months. Probably you had those experiences too. We just told them to inhale “Vital Boost” synergies, the new ones. I have to study more and more and I will write an article about this, it is a subject that I am passionate about. Anyway, we are thinking about offering customers a kind of anosmia real aromatic kit with Lemon essential oil, and your synergies „Pure Bliss“ and „Vital Boost“ for olfactory treatment to smell during the day. There is one side effect: they can no longer smell synthetic fragrances, so funny, that’s something really amazing, the purest aromatherapy increases their inner intelligent and alertness (jajaja)!!

(Eva Bouzas, Zaragoza, March 22nd, 2021)

Or this here:

“I used the Eucalyptus Oil for my allergies by inhaling for only three days. The results were remarkable. Not only did it stop my allergy problem, my sense of smell has returned after 32 years. I can walk in the yard now and actually smell the different flowers and plants. I can smell the different crops and pesticides. It is amazing.”

And here from an OSHADHI customer who wrote this to a dear friend in UK:

“Hi Jonathan, Just thought I would share this story with you as it just happened during one of my massages last Monday. I sent this to my Aromatherapy Clients. The blend I use contains (Wintergreen) leaf oil, (Peppermint) oil, Oregano leaf oil, Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, Elemi, Vetiver root oil, (Lemongrass) oil, and Thyme in almond base. All of which have strong aroma intensity… I wanted to share this story with all of you as I had a “Miracle” happen in my Massage practice. Last Saturday I had a “long Hauler” a woman who suffered from Covid back in January but was still having pain and inflammation in her joints. After the massage I passed her in the lounge and she yelled out to me “I CAN SMELL”. I thought she was saying she could smell me because of the oils and she again said “ No, I CAN SMELL. I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO SMELL FOR 6 MONTHS. YOUR MASSAGE WAS A MIRACLE”. After her roommate came out the shower she could smell her coconut bath soap. She had no sense of smell for 6 months since having Covid… The scent of the oils go directly to the limbic region of the brain and I believe it triggered her smell sensory area to function again. Overwhelmed with joy that my work helped someone is such a profound way.”

(May 17, 2021)

And last not least Eliane Zimmermann with this recommendation here for our Covid anosmia crisis:

“If you suffer from anosmia (loss of the sense of smell) because of an unknown cause, or if COVID-19 is the culprit, the scent of roses, lemon scent, eucalyptus scent and clove scent can be used for daily scent training. Intense smelling things from everyday life such as vinegar, a formerly familiar perfume, turpentine etc. can also be used for practice. A strong feeling of cooling can be triggered with menthol or peppermint oil. Every COVID-19 patient with odour and taste disorders should train in this way, especially if the complaints persist over a more extended period of time.”

(Eliane Zimmermann, Aromatika magazine 2020. 7.4.1)

And she continues pointing out here:

“Professor Hummel explains how to do it: The patients are to smell four different scents for 30 seconds each morning and evening. They should carry out this training consistently over at least four months, but in some cases also up to nine months. The smells can be chosen individually. It is only important that the smells are strong and that one of the four scents still triggers a feeling like a tingling, stinging or cooling sensation”… Terrific aroma sticks for self-filling are available in many places nowadays, made of plastic and very chic in glass and metal in many colours. They can help with recovering your sense of smell.

Affected late-damage patients, who had COVID-19, can design their own olfactory training with natural organic scents. I recommend the following essential oils:

  • Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) or Clove (Syzygium aromaticum),

  • Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) or Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata/ globulus),

  • Lemon (Citrus limon) or Bergamot (Citrus x bergamia),

  • Rose geranium (Pelargonium x graveolens) or Rose (Rosa damascena),

  • Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia).”

(Eliane Zimmermann, Aromatika magazine 2020. 7.4.1)

To conclude

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived.“ said Helen Keller once, a famous deaf-blind American writer and political activist. And she must have literally “dwelled” in the sense of smell with all her enormous sensory handicaps…

So then, what is this secret link of our life, of our memory, of our emotions, of our brain… with smelling, with olfactive “performance” or – negative – with diseases like Alzheimer or Parkinson’s?”… all the years we have lived”, says Helen Keller here above referring precisely to the “memory side” of our sense of smell.

The secret link of olfaction is definitely on the level of the soul or Atma where the real sensory impressions are processed anyway – and also memory. Definitely, this is not on a mere biochemical level as such. If elderly people tend to lose their sense of smell and certain diseases like Alzheimer, Parkinson’s, Covid-19, etc. trigger this loss, again we have to go deeper into our understanding and try to find out what can assist us best in regaining our ground in the midst of this “unearthing” of our sense of smell through anosmia.

Aromas are the “Perfumes of the Soul”, says famous French Aromatherapist medical doctor Jean-Pierre Willem in his book “Alzheimer – la maladie décryptée – Le Parfum de l’âme”. (Alzheimer – the disease unraveled – the Perfume of the Soul) And he describes the nose as a “therapist of memory”. This is an amazing statement. Alzheimer’s disease is not only connected to a loss of smell, but also to loss of memory. And smelling essential oils and natural aromas triggers certain aspects in our brain, especially in the limbic system, and especially here in the Amygdala, our “anxiety switch” which is also our memory and trauma center. The limbic system is definitely involved in all our psycho-emotional problems. And the Amygdala is particularly linked to the sense of smell as research a few decades ago has shown!

„Our sense of smell is located in the catacombs of the most primitive area of the brain and is extremely powerful. Smell can produce all sorts of physical reactions ranging from nausea to napping. The Amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, is located in the limbic system and is directly connected to the olfactory bulb. Rage and fear are processed in the Amygdala and both contribute to heart disease. Our studies at Columbia have found that diluted essential oils rubbed on the feet affected some volunteer’s autonomic nervous system within minutes.”

(Foreword to Jane Buckle‘s „Clinical Aromatherapy“ by Mehmet Oz, MD, cardiac surgeon, and director of the Cardiovascular Institute. Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York)

Applying certain frequencies which are soul-connected like essential oils we can access information deeply engraved in our subconscious “memory bank”, release blocked emotions, and even – as we have seen – influence our smell perception, through which we can light up the “inner bulb” again.

So the aromas and the beautiful fragrances are Nature’s seducers, one cannot withstand their magnetism, their power, their subconscious “tricks”. And that is how the messages of Nature for healing sneak in… 🙂 You just want to smell something, maybe nice, maybe interesting – and wuff – a whiff of something else shows up to you… Like to this man on one of our presentations in South India during an Ayurveda retreat not long ago. I passed a small bottle of Agarwood (Oud) around – and what happened? Within a few seconds – with the little bottle under his nose – he burst into tears and could not stop. After a while, he explained that the oil had triggered a very special memory deep in his consciousness.

“I remember…”, says Arjuna to the God Krishna who is guiding him to enlightenment on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the end of the famous “Bhagavad gita”. Is not one of the best Alzheimer’s therapies based on memory training? So then, let us learn to remember, and particularly remember the essence of our existence! And through the divine gift of the Plant Kingdom experience the blessings of the aromatic plants and their essential oils which have the power to reach deep into our soul level where all memories between Heaven and Earth are available.

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