Fragrances and their effects Aromacology
Fragrances and their effects Aromacology

Fragrances and their effect

There's a hint of cinnamon in the air - and your thoughts promptly travel back in time to your mother's kitchen table? The smell of cinnamon stars immediately puts you in a nostalgic mood?

How well can people smell?
While humans have about 5 million olfactory cells, cats have about 65 million of them. Dogs even perceive scents with around 200 million olfactory cells.

Fragrances are something great: they remind us of past loves, unforgotten holidays and days long gone. They have a very special effect - and often even without us noticing.

For example, smells influence who we like and who we don't like. A fine nose protects us from danger, for example from spoiled food or escaping gas. Scents counteract stress, help to relax or stimulate and release new energy. Imagine a world without scents: It would probably be quite dreary and not very joyful to live in. Reason enough to learn more about the little wonders.

Kneipp Lavender Provence
The scent of lavender and the thought of Provence are close.

Aromatherapy and aromacology

Fragrances are used specifically in aromacology and classic aromatherapy: a few drops of an essential oil are added to water and warmed over a tea light. The aromas released in the process create a pleasant room scent and influence our mood. This is an effect that people have been using for centuries.

In contrast to the skin-caring effect of the so-called fatty oils of a plant, essential oils work through their scent. Natural essential oils are mainly extracted from the leaves, flowers and peels of plants. Among the best known are those oils that rub relaxing scents under our noses: Lavender and patchouli, for example.

Fragrances awaken emotions

"I can smell him!" You've probably heard that saying before. And this linking of emotions and smells has its justification.

Scents work via the oldest part of the human brain, the limbic system. This is where emotions are processed and controlled. Because scents, unlike optical or acoustic sensory impressions, are not pre-processed and filtered via the thalamus, they can trigger emotions in us quite unconsciously. For example, the smell of freshly baked cake awakens a feeling of security in many people, without them always being able to clearly assign this effect.

So much for the theory. But is it possible to prove the effect of scents on our emotions and mood?

But can the effect of scents on our emotions and mood also be proven?

Can emotions be measured?

The scent effect plays a major role in the development of our products. The experts in our research and development have been intensively studying the effect of natural aromas on the human psyche for years.

Among other things, Kneipp regularly conducts scientific studies on the aromacological effect of cosmetic products together with the Wuppertal research institute Psyrecon, an independent institute for applied psychophysiology.

These psychophysiological studies record physical reactions that occur in the context of emotional processes. Sensors measure the body signals of voluntary test subjects - the smallest activities of the facial muscles, brain waves and, to record the strength of the emotion, also the heart rate and sweat gland activity.

The measurement takes place as a reference before, during and immediately after product application, comparing different test products, formulations and Kneipp products and testing them against a control group with placebo products. The result: Kneipp works.

Kneipp works - demonstrably mood-lifting or deeply relaxing.

Kneipp has already evaluated many products with the measuring method described; for example our bestseller, the aroma care shower joie de vivre. The result of the aromacological study is clear: Kneipp Vitality Shower has a measurably positive effect on mood due to its fresh, sunny scent of Litsea Cubeba and Lemon essential oils.

Experts in aromatherapy and aromacology have long appreciated the citrus oil of Litsea Cubeba for its refreshing and stimulating properties. These make it the perfect ingredient for an energy boost in the morning or when you're feeling sluggish in between. In addition to our joie de vivre shower, there is therefore an entire product series: the right product with the scent of joie de vivre for every situation.

About the development and effect of fragrances: An interview with a fragrance expert

The legendary master perfumer Edmond Roudnitska (1905-1996) was supposedly able to distinguish between more than 3,000 different smells. We average people usually manage about 500, which is quite an achievement - and an indication of how important the sense of smell is for our lives.

Erich Schmidt knows his way around the world of scents. Before his retirement, the perfumer and fragrance expert worked for many years with our development department on the use of essential oils and fragrances. He acquired his fine sense of smell as a buyer for natural fragrances. At that time, he had hardly any technical aids at his disposal to assess their quality - except for his nose.

Mr. Schmidt, when do we humans start smelling in the first place?

The sense of smell is already present in the womb. Preferences for later nutrition are already established there. We absorb aromas from the amniotic fluid via the olfactory receptors. With birth and the intake of breast milk, further knowledge is added and the first environmental scents are perceived and learned. Around the 18th to 24th month, children experience a phase of neophobia, the fear of new smells and tastes - a protection against harmful foods. It is not until the age of three that we make full use of our olfactory cells.

So where do you start when creating a fragrance? How, for example, does joie de vivre smell?

The professional perfumer must by no means start from himself. In any case, he will never fulfill the preferences of the majority of mankind with a fragrance. We can only go by what is currently in fashion and is perceived positively by the majority. Thus it is the fresh, fruity, light and green notes that have a stimulating and invigorating effect on us humans. A sensation that can be associated with joie de vivre.

Every day without an olfactory experience is a day wasted.

Erich Schmidt Perfumer and fragrance expert

And what do we perceive as calming, relaxing scents?

Floral, soft and subtly woody notes are harmonizing, while tart, herbaceous to strong woody notes are calming. But due to external influences, mental stress or health limitations, the scent that calmed me only yesterday can make me aggressive today.

How does this effect come about? What happens in our body?

Fragrances are absorbed by the olfactory epithelium via the nasal mucosa and passed on to the limbic system via the olfactory nerves and the bulbi olfactorii. This is responsible for feelings, affects and also lower drives. This is where scents can have a subconscious effect on people. That is why hotel lobbies are scented to make the guest feel comfortable; clothing stores try to prolong the time spent in the store with fragrances. However, there is one basic condition: The scent must be subliminal. As soon as you consciously smell it, hedonics kicks in: Like it or don't like it.