Fragrance & Health Print
Fragrances have been used for thousands of years to soothe and heal. Upon inhalation, odour molecules travel up the nose, where olfactory membrane traps them. The molecules stimulate the lining of nerve cells, thus triggering electric impulses to various parts of the brain which affect taste, emotional memories, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, stress, memory etc.

Of the five senses, only smell is linked directly to the other limbic lobe of the brain, the emotion control centre. Fear, joy, anger etc emanate from that part of the brain. A particular fragrance can evoke memories and emotions before one is even consciously aware of them.

Brain oxygen

Researchers at the Universities of Vienna and Berlin found that substances in essential oils of sandalwood and frankincense can increase oxygen in the brain by 28%. This improves brain activity, affecting emotion, learning and attitude.

Weight loss

Essential oils can stimulate sections of the brain that regulate the feeling of fullness after a meal. An experiment using peppermint fragrance to reduce appetite resulted in average weight loss of 2.3 kg per month.


Essential oils are amongst the oldest medicines humans use. However, not everything sold as “essential” oils are pure therapeutic grade products. Most distillation procedures are designed for maximum profit and may use solvents, high temperatures, high pressure, or reactive metal equipment. The main constituents of some oils are synthetic. The International Standards Organisation has adopted the standards of AFNOR – Association French Normalisation Organisation Regulation.


Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Three things should not be refused – a pillow, fragrance and milk.” [ash-Shamaail lit-Tirmizi]

There are many other Ahadith which emphasise the importance of fragrances and pleasant smells in the lives of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and his Companions. Our true motivation would be bringing the Sunnah in our lives and not mere scientific research.

sk/2009-06-06 10:52:43

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