There are many aspects in which the sense of smell and memorization are interconnected.
Allegations that some essential oils have the capacity to stimulate memory and concentration can be found in the 1st century AD. Among the most powerful essences in this respect are basil, mint and rosemary – essential oils with strong and penetrating odors. It’s not about recalling certain memories by association with any of these smells, but rather about improving the ability to remember. It is in direct connection with the process of learning, much of which is based on our ability to memorize facts. Concentration is also related to memory and doctrine. If you have difficulty concentrating, and your ability to learn, in the sense of memorizing, it will be greatly reduced.
Assuming that some essential oils are stimulants of the central nervous system, it would be entirely justifiable to conclude that they can increase mental concentration.
This, in turn, leads to greater storage capabilities at all. Researchers of odors at a number of world universities have come to such conclusions. Today we know that a particular section of the brain, known as the limbic system, includes the main centers of memory and smell. However, these centers are not close together but represent the same area.
Howard Earlickman of the University of New York offers a test to study the relationship between memory, emotion and smell. He had isolated a few people in an empty and almost dark room, the only object in the room was a picture attached to the wall. Then he smoked the air with some smell and invited the participants to try to describe the memories she had called them. Earlickman deliberately used both pleasant and unpleasant odors. The smell of pleasant odors remembered pleasant occasions, such as creating new friendships or excursions outside the city. Exposure to unpleasant smells has shown a tendency to recall unpleasant situations, such as periods of suffering. These are general, not specific, memories of a particular smell. The memories were not directly stimulated by certain odors, but a subconscious association between pleasant smell and pleasant memory or unpleasant smell and unpleasant memory was realized.
Specific smells are much more personal and vary according to the individual, but they are often extremely durable. It is proven that long-term olfactory memory is stronger than long-term visual memory. Perhaps there is an important reason explaining the preservation of memories associated with odors. Maybe there is some connection with self-preservation.
Unpleasant odor associations are often undesirable, but it is not easy to get rid of them.
For example, a woman who bought a new, expensive perfume from a supermarket in New York. Later that day, after she was infuriated, she was in a lift at a time when much of the city was out of power due to a power failure. After spending about twelve hours in the elevator, she never used this perfume again because it caused her to feel claustrophobic. Most of us do not perceive the smell of diesel as pleasant, but there was a woman, who always recalled memories of happy days soon after her marriage because her husband worked in the railways and when she was welcomed at home every evening, a strong smell of diesel fuel could be sensed in the air. Individual olfactory associations learn and acquire lifetime and have no particular connection with aromatherapy. Pleasant associations induced by essential oils in the treatment process only help to reinforce positive healing effects.
If essential oils are able to stimulate memory or even memories, it should be understood as the logical application of aromatherapy to all sorts of memory defects such as amnesia.
Coma is another problem that can be favorably influenced by aromatherapy. According to a message published in the French Vogue magazine in 1986, a group of doctors from the West Coast of the US used smells to treat coma patients, and the story of Jeff Miles, executive director of a perfume business, is quoted in the article. His grandfather, who was a perfumer, fell into a coma and could not recover for five weeks. Every day the sister came to bathe him, and his first reaction, after recovering his mind, was to smell jasmine soap.
In another case, leaving the coma is attributed to peppermint oil. In October 1983, a seventeen-year-old boy from Herrefordshire suffered a bicycle crash. After being in a coma for three months, she came into consciousness after smelling of peppermint oil. He still suffers from a mild brain injury but owes his father because he brought him back to consciousness thanks to the mint oil because the mint candy was his son’s favorite candy. Whether in the case of healing is due solely to the association with the memory, or the mint has also shown some stimulating effect, cannot be said for sure, but the possibilities of aromatherapy in these generally hopeless cases must be taken into account.