Did you know that everything we smell is registered in the limbic area of the brain (aka the 'old' brain)? This part of the brain has expanded its functions to include emotion, sexual behavior, artistic abilities, cognitive thought, memory, hunger, etc.
When we smell certain things, these scents trigger one of the above mentioned functions, invoking a memory, an idea, an emotion, a physical desire or hunger. Our sense of smell is so important and powerful that we can actually improve our health and emotional wellbeing through scent by, for example, surrounding ourselves with scents that trigger positive thought, and happy memories. Isn't that amazing? However, there is a catch. Not every pleasant smell is safe; through smell, we ingest chemicals, which--when hazardous-- can poison our lungs and blood.
The respiratory tract is the most common route of entry for gases, vapors, particles, and aerosols (smoke, mists and and fumes). These materials may be transported into the lungs and exert localized effects, or be absorbed into the bloodstream. Factors that influence the absorption of these materials may include the vapor pressure of the material, solubility, particle size, its concentration in the inhaled air, and the chemical properties of the material (Princeton University's Lab Safety Manual).
It's very important that the ingredients we use to arouse positive emotions and well being, are also safe to inhale! So when burning candles this holiday season to recreate a memory or invoke sensuality, or when purifying our homes with pleasantly scented cleaning detergents, make sure to use non-toxic ingredients! This is especially important in the winter when people tend to keep windows shut all day! Here is an article on the dangerous effects of air fresheners, for example.
DIY Natural Winter Home Freshener (adapted from make+haus)
2 1/2 cups of water
2 5-inch sprigs of Douglas or balsam fir
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
5ml jojoba oil (necessary to "carry" the essential oils secreted by the spices and fir)
Place all ingredient in a pot and bring to a vigorous boil for a good 10 minutes during which you will be enjoying a very pleasant winter-by-the-cozy-fire scent permeating throughout the house. Lower heat so that the water doesn't evaporate and burn the other ingredients. If you are using a larger quantity of water you can let everything boil for longer. The vigorous boil helps the scent permeate better.
Here are other ways you can clean and refreshen your home naturally:
How to Scent Your Home Naturally
Naturally Effective Cleaning Products
Eco-Friendly an dSafe Substitutes for Green Cleaning The Bathroom
Do you have any homemade tips and tricks to cleansing and refreshing your home naturally? If so, I would love to hear about them:).
Thank you for visiting our website and blog. Through this medium, I hope to teach, enlighten, and inspire you about Mother Nature's wonders so that you can discover the true value healthy living. I want to foster a love for Nature so that we, as a collective, can take a stance to protecting our Earth as we indulge in the beautifying remedies Nature has in store for us!