Scents & Sensibility
Producers great attempt to improve upon Nature’s perfection, only costs consumers more in the end.
By Alison M Young
Aromas are very important to our mood, welfare and over all state of mind at times. A warm apple pie can trigger memories of meals past with family at the holidays. The smell of a rose is healing to the heart and spirit. And, the smell of burgers cooking on the grill can trigger one’s appetite. Our sense of smell can inform us something exists long before we ever see it is there.
Today many brands and food producers recognize our sensory is initially sparked by the aroma and our thought of what the aroma is. This initial introduction to the product via our sense of smell, hooks us and is what can send the message to the brain to proceed. It is no wonder producers have recognized the importance of our sense of smell. The unfortunate part of this is that many producers can’t afford to mass produce the natural fragrances produced from plants and home cooked meals. You see, .5 ounces of the essential oil of Rose can sell for $100.00 or more.
A quarter pound burger, containing real, quality meat, costs $3.00 for just the meat, to produce. It is no surprise that in order to save on the cost of producing food, companies have resorted to synthetic bi products. And, it may not be a surprise that foods containing synthetic or chemically altered materials are harmful to our health. However, just as foods that are made from synthetics are harmful to our health, aromas that are chemically altered can be damaging as well. Fragrance Pollution, an article written by Elizabeth Yarnell ND, MLS, CLT, CNC, CNHP, August 31,2012, talks about chemically created scents and their effects on the body. She writes, “The familiar scents in today’s consumer society are added to products using modified, or “designer,” molecules constructed by one of six massive chemical fragrance companies around the world.
These six companies supply the scents for everything from Pine-Sol to Clorox, Herbal Essences shampoo, Tide laundry detergent, Bounce dryer sheets, Glade air freshener, and even Opium perfume. If something says “fragrance,” “natural fragrances,” “aroma,” or “perfume/parfum,” you can be assured that the smell came from a chemist’s lab at one of these companies. The only safe, natural aromas in products are labeled “essential oils”. Breathing in chemically-altered molecules can contribute to your body’s overall toxic load, and in today’s America we are exposed to more chemically created fragrances than ever before. They are everywhere you turn. Cross your personal toxic threshold and your body will make you pay in miserable ways.
For me, three years of daily hives was one of my wake-up calls.” Allergies, headaches, and every day irritations are the result of the chemicals that have been added to products to make them smell better, feel softer or taste better. Since we can’t see these irritants, and they do seem to add an initial benefit to our lives, it is hard to figure out that these chemically altered smells or products are the cause of our maladies. In Eric Schlosser’s, Fast Food Nation, he explains how certain fast food chains pump aromas into the air to entice the passersby inside for a quick bite to eat. Many people are surprised to find out that aroma they smell before they walk in or drive up to get their super-sized synthetic meal has nothing to do with their food but has everything to do with chemicals. The same can be said of cheap after shave, or body lotion from a big box stores that toot the word ‘Aromatherapy,’ on certain product lines, and as Elizabeth Yarnell explains, chemically formulated scents are big business for some major companies. These companies’ goal is to fool as many people by scents that are replicated on the “cheap,” to sell en masse for one reason, and one reason only… big profits! But the profits don’t just fall into the hands of those who produce synthetic goods. Years of ingesting or using less than natural products in our bodies and on our skin wreaks havoc on our health. Then we need a quick fix, so we head to our doctors and healthcare providers who pump us full of pharmaceuticals to unclog our arteries, help us lose weight, focus our attention, clear up our acne or relieve allergies. How many people actually stop to heed the warnings regarding the side effects caused the medications they are being prescribed to heal their ailments, let alone try to understand what is really causing their state of disease?
According to an article in the PBS News Hour, February 7, 2014, titled, why do Americans Spend so much on Pharmaceuticals, the answer in this country is very few. “Overall, Americans use more medicines than people in other developed countries. They rank first for their use of antipsychotics as well as drugs for dementia, respiratory problems and rheumatoid arthritis. This is partly explained by medical needs: The burden of disease in the U.S. — as measured in “years of life lost” — is higher than in many OECD countries for the most common forms of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
Several factors may explain this, including high levels of obesity and high rates of diagnosis.” As we can see from the article’s statement, obesity and high rates of diagnosis contribute to the high amount of money we spend on pharmaceuticals. However, would we have the amount of obesity and these high diagnosis rates if we ate real food, smelled real aromas and avoided all of the synthetic chemicals that are added to our foods, detergents, lotions and such in the first place? The United States ranks 40% higher in in their purchasing of pharmaceuticals than the next highest spender, Canada. In fact, the United States is ranked number 17 on the list of healthiest countries in the world according to life expectancy ratings. Two of the healthiest countries, Spain and Japan, both boast their longevity is due to healthy lifestyles, eating diets high in fish and unprocessed food, walking, and spending time in nature. Research has also proven the benefits of real odors, such as those produced by pure essential oils.
Valerie Ann Wormwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy writes, “Essential Oils are one of the great untapped resources of the world. Here we have a system of natural help that is far more than a system of medicine that can prevent illness and alleviate symptoms. These extremely complex precious liquids are extracted from very specific species of plant life and are in harmony with people and planet alike. By taking essential oils into our lives we find a way to provide our family and home with protection and pleasure they need without polluting ourselves or our environment with chemicals. These days the medicines and household goods we use are mostly chemical based, and the food we eat and the air we breathe contain more chemicals than we would like. The cumulative effect of these, and the unknown effects as they react together with in us, cannot be good for us, any more than the chemical overload is good for the planet. Sooner or later we are going to have to find some alternative and, for some of our problems, the alternative is literally right under our noses, drawing us to them, with their sweet-smelling aroma – precious miracles and delights of creation, nature’s essential oils.” The benefits of real essential oils are healing to the body, mind and spirit. Their powers come from the natural essence of the unaltered plant. They may be more expensive than their chemically altered knock offs, but essential oils and products made from these oils have benefits to the body as nature intended. In the end synthetically produced food, cosmetics, perfumes and medications cost us a lot more than choosing their natural alternatives. Synthetics and chemically alter goods cost many of us our health and lives.
Want to become an Herbalist or Aromatherapist? Visit www.heartofherbs.com
Articles written by students are the opinions, research and voice of the student and not Heart of Herbs Herbal School. We encourage our students to explore and grow in their profession.
Disclaimer: For educational use only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Students articles reflect the views of the student and not necessarily Heart of Herbs Herbal School. Educational programs are available at www.heartofherbs.com and you can find all of Demetria Clark’s books at Amazon.
Information offered on Heart of Herb Herbal School websites, articles and blogs is for educational purposes only. Heart of Herb Herbal School makes neither medical claim, psychological claim or intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Heart of Herbs Herbal School neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content, we are currently not part of any affiliate programs. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements, this is your responsibility as consumer.