Your sense of smell is incredibly powerful. A single smell can bring back a flood of memories of your childhood, reminding you of a weekend at the cottage, or a summer vacation in Florida.
As the only one of the senses that is directly linked to the limbic system of the brain, which is known as the emotional control center, smell can impact your brain health in ways that your other senses are unable to do.
Taste, touch, hearing and sight are all routed through the thalamus before they reach the brain, meaning they are less effective in this regard, however, your sense of smell is more powerful than you have been led to believe! The limbic center of the brain is the part that controls emotional, physical and psychological responses, and is directly connected with the parts of the brain that control your heart rate, blood pressure, memory, hormone balance, stress levels and breathing. For this reason, the use of therapeutic-grade essential oils can have very powerful effects.
Vienna and Berlin Universities released a report in 1994 discussing studies that they had completed into the power of sesquiterpenes, a natural compound found in several essential oils, on the human body. They found that exposing the body to this compound could increase the levels of oxygen in the brain by up to 28%! This increase in oxygen would in turn have a significant impact on emotions, attitude, learning abilities, immune function, energy levels and hormone balance among other benefits.
Sesquiterpenes can be found in:
Essential Oils and Brain Injuries
Injuries to the human brain can fall along a wide spectrum of complexity, from mild concussions to serious head trauma. These injuries are often slow to heal, meaning that even a mild concussion can have a significant impact on your daily life.
When essential oils are used to increase the oxygen levels in the body, this in turn helps to promote a higher and more effective level of oxygen absorption. The higher oxygen absorption allows the brain to process and retain information, function optimally and heal!
While any of the essential oils containing sesquiterpenes will have a positive impact, Frankincense is especially effective due to it molecular makeup, which includes sesquiterpenes that have the ability to cross the blood/brain barrier. It possesses a number of therapeutic properties, including antiseptic, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, uterine, and vulnerary.
By providing the increased oxygen to the brain, frankincense can provide healing and balance at the cellular level, promoting faster healing times from brain injuries.
What is a Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil?
When using your essential oils for their healing benefits, it is important to ensure that you are getting the best quality available – specifically undiluted, therapeutic grade essential oils. They will contain the term ‘100% therapeutic grade essential oil’ on the label. It is important to note that 100% organic is NOT the same thing, they are not as pure as therapeutic quality products. At this level of purity, the oils are laboratory tested and certified free of impurities.
While the testing into the many uses of therapeutic essential oils are still ongoing, this information opens the door to a much more in depth focus specifically on the connection between essential oils and brain health!