Browsing my Facebook wall this morning I found this link. Apparently scientists have now demonstrated why certain aromas are “psychoactive” and have found what they think is the part of the brain that is triggered by these aromas.
” An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses.”
Aromatherapists have known for a long time and healers and spiritual seekers for even longer that this is the case and not just for frankincense but also other resins and essential oils. We can probably all identify aromas that help lift our spirits. Sweet Orange and Cloves and Cinnamon at Christmas time, freshly brewed coffee, freshly baked bread are quite common ones. Research has been done on the citrus oils in particular and Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) has been recognised as beneficial in some mental health diagnoses. Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) may be helpful in managing Seasonal Affective Disorder along with light boxes and an understanding of how we are programmed living in a seasonal environment which can come from working with the wheel of the year.
Other uplifting aromas can include some of the florals notably Jasmine and Neroli, some of the woods such as Sandalwood, but we all respond differently. This is not just about our memory, personal or communal, but also about the interaction of our energies with the oils we choose to work with.
So while neuroscientists may have isolated a specific compound and demonstrated its effect on a specific brain pathway, the actual process and individual specifics may be even more complex and not something our current level of scientific understanding is able to “prove”
Love, light and blessings