The aromas of warm cinnamon, crisp apples and comforting pine are an instant indication that the holiday season is on its way.  To most people, a smell isn’t just a fragrance – it’s a memory.  And the nostalgic ties are not just a coincidence; there is actually science behind our love of these aromas.  Our sense of smell, called olfaction, is directly linked to the emotional center of our brain.

So while our brains are enjoying these fragrances, our bodies can benefit as well.  From stress relief to headache relief, certain aromas can really make a difference.

Cinnamon:  More than just a cozy scent.  Researchers from a well-known University studied participants and found that the scent of cinnamon increased memory and attention span.

Pine:  We may think that this familiar scent makes us happy because it reminds us of the holidays, but there is more.  A Japanese study found the scent of pine actually lowers depression and stress levels.  Participants felt more relaxed after just sniffing the scent.

Peppermint:  Have you heard of teachers giving their students peppermint gum before a test?  It not only freshens your breath, but the scent of peppermint invigorates the mind as well!  Sure makes those yummy candy canes even more inviting!

Apples:  Research suggests that apples don’t only keep the doctor away; they actually ease headaches and anxiety too.   Studies have shown that the scent of apples can reduce the brain-thumping symptoms of a migraine and can shorten a migraine episode all together!

As you stroll down memory lane this holiday, know that your favorite scents are doing more for you than just bringing back memories of yesteryear.