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book.  Aromatherapy

book. Aromatherapy

In his article “Smell,” neuroscientist Herak Jorden explores the mechanisms of smell with true folk talent.

This article is taken from the monthly magazine Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche No. 928, published in June 2024.

“Smell is life.” These are the chemical reactions of metabolism that generate our body odors, whether pleasant or not. There is no metabolism and no odor. In the absence of smell, we quickly feel disconnected from the world, losing touch with life itself and with all the memories that perfumes have embedded in us: this explains the suffering experienced by people with anosmia, deprived of this vital sensory ability.

Smell ID cards

Director of Neuroscience Research at the National Center for Scientific Research, Hirak Jorden, reveals in this article titled “Feel”A true talent for generalization combined with the art of storytelling. Coffee aromas are composed of thousands of odor molecules, which our olfactory perception synthesizes through a three-stage action: detection, encoding and solicitation to areas of the brain involved in memory (including the hippocampus) or emotions. It is our olfactory bulb, equipped with millions of neurons, that sort and organize this information into reality “The identity cards of smells stored in our memory,” The author explains.

If perfumes provide pleasure, they will also heal

It also highlights important stages in the history of aromatherapy, which were initially characterized by associations with pharmacy and medicine. Because if perfumes provide pleasure, they will heal at the same time. Bonaparte loved eau de cologne, and he drank it to calm his stomach! A link found in Aromatherapy Gardens, created to enhance sensory stimulation for Alzheimer's patients. However, this work is sufficient to rehabilitate the meaning that Freud denigrated as… too animalistic in his view.

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Credit: Les Aren

Feel. How smells affect our brain“, Herac Jourdain, Les Arènes, 252 pages, 21 euros

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