Lost Your Sense of Smell? Retrain your Senses with Essential Oils!

Uncategorized Feb 05, 2021

Have You Experienced Loss of Smell Due to COVID-19?
You Are Not Alone! 

Loss of smell and taste is currently affecting around 50% of COVID-19 patients.  For some people, this is the first symptom they notice before they get sick. Smell recovery typically occurs within a month or two, but for others it can take much longer for the olfactory system to recover normal smell and taste. Read on to find out how essential oils can retrain your senses and help you smell and taste again.

How Does COVID-19 Impact The Way We Smell?

It starts with our olfactory system. For more details about the olfactory system,
read my blog, "How Do You Smell"!

COVID-19 can affect our olfactory system, creating two side effects:

  • Anosmia - This the medical term for loss of smell and is most commonly associated with traumatic brain injuries, aging, chronic upper respiratory infections.
  • Parosmia - Another olfactory condition affecting COVID 19 patients, where the sense of smell becomes highly distorted.

Those suffering from parosmia report that food has become horrible smelling, often using descriptors like rancid, burnt, has a chemical smell, or putrid.  Parosmia can present early in the progression and recovery of the virus, or for some, it occurs months later, even after they have recovered their sense of smell and taste.  The duration of parosmia can be weeks to months and is believed to be part of the process of the olfactory sensory nerves regenerating after this illness.

Parosmia makes exposure to everyday cooking smells or being in any type of “scented” environment very difficult and frustrating. Along with any exposure to any smells of cooking, or being in “scented” environments, having to prepare meals or share meals with others becomes a source of anxiety and frustration. This detrimentally affects their quality of life and mental health.

Retraining the Olfactory System is Possible

There is no single medication or medical intervention to regain your sense of smell or to help with either condition, but there is scientific research proving that smelling a series of 4 essential oils, for 3-6 months, along with a nasal steroid irrigation/sprays is helpful for 30-44% of people using this protocol.

I’ve seen this in action and the results are promising. In April 2020, I began working with an ear, nose & throat (ENT) surgeon affiliated with one of the major health systems in Minneapolis. This health system already established a clinical aromatherapy program using my aromatherapy patches with great success, so using aromatherapy to help address anosmia was an exciting endeavor.  This ENT surgeon wanted to provide “olfactory retraining” essential oil kits for his patients who have lost their sense of smell or parosmia, most of them due to COVID-19.

How it Works

The olfactory retraining protocol is quite simple. It consists of using 4 essential oils of different odor families, along with steroid nasal irrigation prescribed by a physician. This protocol showed a 44% improvement in patients’ sense of smell!

Olfactory Training Technique Consists of:

  • Smell each of the 4 oils used in the study, twice a day, every day for 3-6 months, or until smell recovers.
  • The oils used are Lemon, Eucalyptus, Clove and Rose. View our Smell-Loss Retraining Kit here!
  • Inhale each oil slowly & deeply, thru each nostril, while trying to remember what the oil smells like, for about 30 seconds. This helps re-establish the smell receptors.
  • Pause for 10-15 seconds, and then repeat the process for the other 3 oils.

 

Studies suggest switching to a new set of 4 oils, after 3 months. For some, the first 4 oils were helpful by themselves. 

The ENT Physician I am speaking with strongly recommends working with your physician to rule out other nasal conditions and reminds us that the protocols best results were when the oils were used in combination with a prescribed Steroid Nasal spray.

 

Resources

For more information about olfactory retraining, anosmia, parosmia, I highly recommend you visit Absent.Org a site rich with information for the public.  You can also search for support groups on Facebook where Covid-19 sufferers are sharing their experience with smell loss and recovery and find community support.

Resources

“The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society” August of 2019 there is an article called  “Effectiveness of Olfactory Training on Different Severities of Posttraumatic Loss of Smell” which outlines and presents this research, its findings, and is quite informative

Effectiveness of Olfactory Training on Different Severities of Post traumatic Loss of Smell.  Robert Pellegrino, MS;  Pengfei Han, PhD; Nicole Reither, MD; Thomas Hummer, MD August 2019
Source – The Laryngoscope Copyright 2019 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc

The evidence for olfactory training in treating patients with olfactory loss.
Zara M. Patel. Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Irrigation with olfactory training improves outcomes – International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, Vol 8, No 9, September 2018  American Rhinologic Society (ARS)

AbsScent.org - Information for the general public based in the UK.

 

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