The first whiff of the morning summer river breeze, the smell of ferns, moth balls. All of these scents bring a flood of memories back to me. Of all the senses, smell is the one most strongly connected to memory. 👃
My grandmother suffered from dementia and the three most powerful things that seemed to bring her back to a state of awareness were old photos, music 🎶 and scents she was familiar with. When we went to visit her in the nursing home, my mother and I would bring her flowers. She loved to smell them and she knew what kind of flowers they were. My mother would also take all of my grandmother’s clothing home to wash with her own detergent so that she recognized the smell of her own clothes.
As I become more and more familiar with the many benefits of essential oils I have started thinking about the powerful sense of smell. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia, however there is some research to suggest that the use of essential oils through aromatherapy may help ease the symptoms. My grandfather-in-law is starting to show signs of dementia and it is so difficult to see the effects that this disease has on him and the members of his family. I created an essential oil blend that I’m hoping will help him. Lavender and ylang ylang are two essential oils that have been shown to be effective in treating and controlling symptoms of dementia. I have included both of these oils as well as sweet orange, lemon and rosemary which are also believed to be capable of aiding in the loss of memory.
The idea behind this blend is that by applying it to yourself and/or your loved one who is suffering from dementia, each time you are together the keen sense of smell will trigger memories and feelings of comfort and love hopefully prolonging the alertness of the person suffering from dementia. They may not be completely aware of the exact time and be slightly confused, but a subtle reminder such as a familiar scent may be all it takes to bring them the awareness and comfort that they so desperately need. Look at old familiar photos, listen to music from a happy time and freshen the air with a familiar scent that will linger in the mind even if it is no longer detectable by the nose.
Another use for this memory blend is to use it in the weeks leading up to a big exam or presentation. Apply it while you are studying 📚 or preparing and then wear it on the big day and the scent will hopefully “jog your memory” and help you remember all the important details.
The Complete Book of Essentials Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood