A study by Jade Shutes & The School For Aromatic Studies
The sense of smell is truly a wondrous sense, a sense which is often underutilized within our modern culture however the growing popularity of aromatherapy is perhaps bringing with it the awareness of this incredible sense. According to the Sense of Smell Institute, as we enter the 21st century fragrance (aromas) will be more than a glamorous fashion accessory or statement of personal style, it will be routinely used to: promote relaxation and reduce stress, improve work performance, elevate mood and reduce depression, modify sleep and dreams, enhance self image, retrieve memories, enhance sexuality, and improve social relationships.
One study showed that the inhalation of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is capable of reducing sympathetic nervous activity and decrease blood pressure while the inhalation of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is capable of increasing sympathetic nervous activity and provides mental/psychological refreshment. According to Haze et al., it has been reported that human endocrine and immune systems are affected by fragrance. Haze et al. were able to show that the inhalation of black pepper (Piper nigrum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) stimulated sympathetic activity while rose (Rosa damascena) and patchouli (Pogostemum patchouli) decreased sympathetic activity. Black pepper actually increased adrenaline concentration while rose essential oil decreased adrenaline levels. Their results suggest that fragrance inhalation affects the adrenal system via the sympathetic nervous system.