For more than 2,000 years the lavender plant has enjoyed a historical and varied use by:
• The Egyptians to perfume the skin
• The Romans to treat sickness
• Western Europeans to protect against the plague
• Queen Victoria to wash floors and furniture of castles
• World War I nurses as a dressing for injured soldiers
And while the plant continues to be used today for medicinal purposes, perfumes and even cooking, the scent of the lavender plant is scientifically proven to improve cognitive function, reduce anxiety, decrease stress, combat viruses and bacteria and even recall comforting memories.
In fact, the lavender scent is just one of thousands of scents used today to produce targeted results in senior care facilities and memory care centers, dental offices, businesses and retail shops.
The Science of Scent
The science behind scent is simple: the sense of smell is directly connected to the memory center of the brain (the limbic system), which can recognize thousands of scents, recalling both good and bad memories associated with them.
These memories are tied to emotions, which help influence stress, anxiety and energy levels as well as cognitive processes and much more
More and more healthcare providers, businesses and retail shops are discovering the benefits of scent for business, in which cold diffusion aroma machines disperse fragrances to achieve desired effects like those mentioned above.
Here are seven ways that lavender scent is today.
#1: Improves cognitive function
A study by Japan’s Tottori University examined the curative effects of aromatherapy for dementia in 28 seniors, 17 of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. All patients showed “significant improvement in personal orientation related to cognitive function” on two of the evaluation tools. In particular, patients with Alzheimer’s disease showed significant improvement in total scores on one of these tools. The combined scent of orange and lavender were used as part of the study.
#2: Reduces clerical errors
Another Japanese study found that scent can help reduce the number of errors made by clerical staff. In two different trials, this study tested the effect that lemon scent and lavender scent had on clerical staff. The scent of lemon helped reduce keyboard errors by more than half to 54% while the sent of lavender reduced errors by 80%.
#3: Improves mental alertness
A 2012 study performed at the J. Medical Association in Thailand found that lavender not only relaxed subjects but also improved their mental alertness. Subjects also reported decreased anxiety and higher levels of euphoria.
#4: Reduces anxiety
Twenty percent of the U.S. population suffers from dental phobia so profoundly that they only make a dental appointment when necessary. A study performed at the University Clinic of Neurology in the Medical University of Vienna, Austria tested the effects of inhaling essential oils while waiting for a dental procedure. Results revealed that the combined scent of orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental procedures.
#5: Decreases stress
A number of studies have documented the effect that scent has on stress levels.
One such study found that lavender scent has been shown to soothe the stressed-out staff at a chaotic call center.
#6: Combats viruses and bacteria and infections
The scent of lavender has also been shown to combat everything from viruses and bacteria to fungal infections.
#7: Recalls comforting memories
Senior care facilities and memory care centers are using the combined scents of lavender and vanilla to help keep agitated patients calm and even assist them in recalling comforting memories.