Researchers from Tel Aviv University recently discovered a link between depression and the olfactory glands. "Our scientific findings suggest that women who are depressed are also losing their sense of smell, and may overcompensate by using more perfume," explains Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld. The good news? "People who are depressed seem to respond well to aromatherapy. Certain smells seem to help them overcome the effects of the biological factors, suggesting that depression may have a biological cause." Dr. Shoenfeld suggests that a standardized "smell test" cold be developed so that doctors could diagnose depression and other autoimmune diseases. Haven't you always suspected the aroma of fresh-baked brownies was a miracle cure?
Dr. Shoenfeld has studied lupus, arthritis and rheumatism, and found that depression accompanying lupus is not just an emotional reaction to being sick — it appears to have a biological cause. The fact that sense of smell and depression can be linked, however, should come as no surprise to anyone who's ever been depressed. Not only do you cease to feel, taste or smell, you might even stop seeing colors. Some of us know, because, once we were treated for depression, we were absolutely astonished at how the world was suddenly quite pretty and brightly-hued. What is surprising? That there might be a low-tech, ancient way to treat mood disorders. "I think that science is able to show that aromatherapy might not be just for quacks," Dr. Shoenfeld says. "After all, some of these remedies have been used since the time of the Egyptians to treat organic diseases." Bring on the grapefruit-scented candles!
Wearing Too Much Perfume May Indicate Depression [Science Daily]
Why Some Depressed Girls Can't Smell The Roses [EurekAlert]