Your nose is not just that pretty thing in the middle of your face. It works for you in many ways. It is a major component of your overall respiratory system. It filters trash to keep it out of your lungs; it warms outside air before it entered the lungs to prevent the pain of a cold day; and it, along with the adjoining sinuses, humidifies incoming air to prevent the entire system from drying out.
Here are a few interesting facts about the nose’s filtration importance: city dwellers may inhale 20 billion particles of foreign matter every day; while you are in heavy traffic, you may breathe as many airborne free radicals as a pack-a-day smoker; even if you are a nonsmoker, if you are in close association with smokers you raise your risk of lung cancer by 30%.
Your nose is a leading component in the distinction of smells.
~ This can be emotional. Think about the smells of your mother’s kitchen, or your favorite restaurant. The loss of your sense of smell can, therefore, take much of the joy out of eating.
~ This can be activating. Think about what the smell of a gym does to your energy level. Or think about your response to the smell of your favorite partner’s cologne or perfume.
~ This can be comforting. Think about the smell of your favorite room at home, your family’s favorite activities, or even your own motor vehicle.
~ This can be lifesaving. Your sense of smell may alert you to the presence of toxins, poisons, or other dangers.
The loss of the sense of smell is called anosmia. And this sense seems to deteriorate in most people shortly after the age of 60. Many people lose it completely. It is a chemical sensing system and requires the release of molecules to send signals to specific parts of the brain. The nerve bundle that does this is in the top part of the nose and is connected directly to the brain.
I read one article on the internet that listed over a dozen reasons why a person may lose their sense of smell. Some were unavoidable, such as injuries and birth abnormalities. Some were developmental, like developing polyps or problems with the central nervous system, or simply aging. Some came as a side effect of normal living, like cold, allergies, and chronic sinus conditions. But many were preventable, like inhaling toxic chemicals, tobacco smoke, illegal drugs.
Complete loss of the sense of smell is difficult (some say impossible) to treat. But I found a number of alternative remedies on the internet which have helped many to regain the sense of smell. Here is a “short list”:
~ Warm castor oil drops in the nose can alleviate swelling and inflammation.
~ Warm garlic tea can relieve cold and flu symptoms to help you breathe easier.
~ Chew small pieces of ginger to unblock a stuffy nose.
~ Make a tea from honey and cayenne pepper. Its capsaicin can clear congestion.
~ Warm honey-lemon tea stimulates the olfactory nerves
~ Continued, long term bentonite clay baths may detox your body so as to restore your sense of smell.
~ Drink warm apple cider vinegar with a bit of honey to thin nasal mucus and enhance smell.
~ Ask a practitioner about “oil pulling” using sesame or coconut oil as it helps oral health!
There are also several minerals that have been associated with the loss of smell. Consider:
~ B-12 is necessary for all nerve tissue health.
~ A vitamin E deficiency may lead to nerve damage which might diminish your sense of smell.
~ Zinc is also necessary for many sensory benefits.
Since smell is directly associated with your sense of taste, a loss of the smell sense can cause eating disorders as well and if you don’t eat, you don’t get nutrients for other body systems either.
For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.