When it comes to our homes, people disagree about a lot of things. Some like neutrals; some like bright colors. Some like maximalism; some like minimalism. But whatever else is going on in a home, I think we can all agree that a healthy space absolutely cannot smell like feet, spoiled milk, or wet dog. Generating a good smell or covering up a bad one is why most of us bring a fragrance into the house. But can it do more? Yes! This would have been a ridiculous post if the answer had been no, right? But research from places like the Smell & Taste Research Foundation in Chicago has been showing that different scents can have all kinds of unexpected bonus effects. Did you know the scent of grapefruit can shave years off your apparent age? Science is awesome.
Read on for some of the things a fragrance can do for you.
• Lemon is in practically every cleaning solution you can buy these days, and there's no doubt it can make things smell fresh and clean. And research in Japan has even shown that it has a mood-lifting, antidepressant-like effect on mice, so you might want to switch your cleaner from "cool breeze" to "lemon fresh" if you have a case of sad mice.
• Rosemary has actually been shown to make people do better at math. Test subjects did not demonstrate improved concentration or alertness, which are apparently common aromatherapy claims for rosemary, but they did better at basic math problems.
• Grapefruit makes you smell younger. Really! Researchers at the Smell and Taste Foundation in Chicago found that the scent of grapefruit made test subjects underestimate the ages of the women they were looking at by six to 10 years.
• Floral and spice scents combined together made test subjects perceive a model as being four to 12 pounds lighter than test subjects sniffing citrus, sweet pea, and odorless compounds.
• Pumpkin can be ... er ... exciting in a grown-up way, according to an article in the New York Times, and I for one will no longer be able to keep a straight face during Thanksgiving dinner.
• Jasmine improves reaction time, and may be useful in enhancing athletic performance, according to a study of professional baseball players in batting cages.
• Green apple scents seem to to help reduce headache pains in a test of people suffering from migraines.
• Coffee gives you super-speed. Test subjects were asked to signal when 60 seconds had passed. When smelling coffee, they signaled after just 51.2 seconds.
• Baby powder has the opposite effect. In the same test, subjects smelling baby powder signaled that they thought 60 seconds had passed after more like 94.3 seconds had gone by.
What is your favorite fragrance to have around the house? Let us know in the comments.