I have often wondered why it is I lose my ability to taste when I come down with a cold or the flu. It is actually very
interesting how our senses can be affected by our environment. Acute anosmia is what it is called when
we lose our sense of smell during a viral illness. We lose the ability to taste most things but some obvious things
we will still be able to taste and smell.
Gustation and olfaction are chemical senses, they use chemoreceptors that detect molecules in food. This
complex process is referred to as transduction. Taste is actually 80% smell so when we are sick our nasal passages
are inflamed or filled with mucus and this affects our ability to taste. The volatile odors are unable to reach
alofactory receptor cells. Not only do viral infections make us feel terrible but they often times have a negative
effect on life’s pleasures, tasting and smelling. Prevention is the best practice when it comes to viral illnesses.
A healthy diet, supplementation of vitamin c and zinc, and plenty of vitamin d from the sun can go a long way in
minimizing the symptoms of a viral illness. In the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics they
found in a study that “Vitamin C in megadoses administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu
symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group”
(Gorton H., Jarvis K., 1999). This sounds very promising in preventing symptoms, even a symptom like acute
Petersen D., BA,nDip.NT, Dip.Acu, RH, (2016). NAT 211. Module 1: The Senses.. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Gorton H., Jarvis K., (1999). The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutic: Pubmed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10543583
Safety is a very important aspect of aromatherapy. Not only is it necessary to keep clients safe but also oneself,
with proper education and care. When administering a skin patch test its important to remember to never use
more than the recommended amount of essential oil. Essential oils that have a low therapeutic margin should be
used with extra care. Eyes and mucous membranes are areas that should always be avoided. Skin patch testing
should only be done on pregnant women or infants with essential oils that are proven to be safe. One that comes
to mind and is one of my favorites is neroli essential oil.
Skin patch testing is used to determine if a specific oil is an irritant or a sensitizer to an individual. It is a very
important primary step when using essential oils therapeutically or at all. Many issues can be avoided by first
conducting a skin patch test. Always use the correct concentration of essential oil. Use unscented soap on the
forearm before administering the skin patch test. An essential oil blend diluted with a base oil, such as almond oil
should be tested on the clean forearm. Use just enough essential oil blend to moisten the skin, not saturate it.
Cover the moistened area with sterile gauze and leave there for up to 24 hours. If any itching or burning occurs
remove gauze and wash area. If burning or itching does occur this essential oil should not be used on that
Testing undiluted essential oils is done very similar to diluted essential oil blends. Wash the crook of the arm
thoroughly and then apply one single drop of the oil. Bend the arm until it is closed for 5 minutes. Open and close
the arm again. If any burning or stinging occurs wash the arm thoroughly and do not use that specific oil on the
It is very important to administer skin patch testing before use, whether you are doing it on yourself or a client.
Safety should always be the first step when using aromatherapy.
Petersen D., (1986-2016). AROMA 203. Module 3: Safety. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Photo retrieved from http://namasteclinic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/floral_aromatherapy.jpg
A Nutritional and Environmental Approach to Children with Behavioral Disorders