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The science behind Anima Vinci's Feel Good perfume potions

As humans, smell is a means by which we experience much joy and anticipation. 

The gentle aroma of the ocean or the intoxication of an exotic bouquet,
it impacts our state of mind.
 Scents have a profound history of impacting our moods - in fact for thousands of years fragrance has been used for its influence on both body and mind, starting with ancient civilizations, such as the ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians.

A lot has changed since then, but the alluring and impactful nature of exotic or exciting fragrance has not - modern humans still stand to benefit by exploring the power of inventive and emotive aromas. Even modern technology available to medicine, biology, and chemistry have begun to appreciate the phenomena of the human’s sense of smell - Neuroscience has just recently begun to really look into and confirm the effects of scents as a means to influence our mood, activity level and performance.

The more you read, the more you realise scent is a powerful sense - one which may play a role in helping you achieve your goals! With a little knowledge, you can start using fragrance to improve your life as well as your relationship with yourself.

Effects on Mood

The limbic system is the primary part of the brain that determines our mood, emotions, memory, and even our behaviour. And the sense most closely linked to this system is our sense of smell! In fact, the sense of smell is so intimately linked with memory and emotion that particular smells often transform our mental and emotional state.  
Although the power of scent is closely related to an individual’s memory, there are also scents which have a nearly ubiquitous effect on people. In a 2008 study (Olfactory Influences on Mood and Autonomic, Endocrine, and Immune Function), several different scents were tested on 56 healthy men and women to determine their general effect. They looked into the effects of lavender, lemon, and rosemary oil, as well as pure water (to act as the control).  
Lavender oil was shown to produce a response consistent with drowsiness and complimentary to the state of relaxation and eventual sleep. Many scents share the unique molecular features and effects of lavender oil and have been harnessed by Anima Vinci to produce relaxing and balancing fragrances.  

In contrast, a scent which has been shown to improve alertness and mental task performance was rosemary oil. In the same study, rosemary oil showed results consistent with heightened alertness and task-competence.  
Another example of an uplifting scent is lemon oil, which was shown to have a response that was activating, immunomodulatory, and mood-enhancing. Lemon oil has been used as a cure for respiratory tract issues and was shown to increase physical and mental task performance. All citrus contains limonene (aka lemon oil). And at Amina Vinci, we’ve made full use of these fantastic scents designed to uplift and refresh you, just as in our Lime Spirit and Tudo Azul potions.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Science is still catching up with the thousands of years of knowledge perfumery and fragrance experts have accumulated over the long history of using aromas to enhance our lives!

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The Sense of Smell  

The olfactory system, or the sense of smell, is present in nearly all mammals. In this system, sensory stimulus, or scents, are transformed into electrical signals within the brain.  
Fragrance molecules are captured by mucus in our nostrils or throat and are then bound to our olfactory receptors. (Nerd fact: There are approximately 1,000 genes that encode for olfactory receptors, making olfactory receptor genes the largest gene family.)  
When the olfactory receptors are stimulated, an electrical signal in the brain results. These electrical signals carry information from neuron to neuron, effectively moving the information into the brain.  

How Scents Affect The Brain  

The electrical signal related to a scent first moves through a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb before reaching its destination in the hippocampus and amygdala. And this destination is significant. You see, the hippocampus and amygdala are important regions in the brain - they are vital for our mood, emotions, and even our memory.  

The hippocampus is where we create memories and transfer short-term memory into long-term memory. This area of the brain is vital for the formation of memories, as well as their recall.  
The amygdala, on the other hand, is related to emotional learning and experience. It gives feeling to our memories. So, you know when you remember something embarrassing, and you feel embarrassed all over again? That’s your amygdala kicking in! And guess what? The sensory system most directly connected to this controller of emotions is the sense of smell.  

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Effects on Memory  

Our sense of smell is related to the regions of the brain that forms and retrieves memories. They are also strongly connected to the regions which give emotional context, or the feelings, to those memories. Due to these strong relationships, the sense of smell has a unique ability to inspire emotional recall.  
Based on the relationship of a scent to an individual’s memory, that scent will have an impact on mood. Smells which elicit the emotional memory of joy, contentment or satisfaction are most likely to improve mood, while scents related to more stressful experiences are likely to increase the individual’s anxiety.  

The stronger the smell, the stronger the response. The stronger the emotional element of a related memory, the stronger the effect. Memories may be fully recalled or they may not be. Often fragrance will only stimulate the emergence of an emotional state related to the memory, however, sometimes an entire memory is recalled through inspiration from a scent.  

Yet another type of scent and its relationship with mood  

Yes, there is even a further means by which scents may impact mood - and, believe it or not, it is the most complicated of them all.  
Certain molecules, known as pheromones, are chemical signalling molecules similar to hormones which modify the behaviour of an organism sensing them. Pheromones are released externally, which, unlike hormones, impacts other living things. Many people that are familiar with pheromones may falsely believe that they are exclusively linked with romantic feelings, but, in fact, pheromones are far more complicated than that.  

Science is just beginning to explore the unique impact of these molecules and their related scents, which have immensely complex relationships with behaviours in high-complexity organisms, for example, humans.  

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