COVID-19: How to Train Your Brain to Smell Again

Posted by Jules Annen on

As a foodie and Apothecary owner, you can imagine the complete panic I felt when I recently lost my sense of smell and taste.

It happened at breakfast. I ate a forkful of French toast and strawberries; what should have been a taste explosion ended up being a mouthful of nothingness.


I immediately started Googling “COVID-19 loss of taste and smell” and came upon several articles suggesting an at-home solution called Smell Training.

Smell Training involves actively sniffing the same four aromas every day, spending around 20 seconds on each scent, and recalling what it should smell like.

This daily practice stimulates and amplifies the nerves in our noses responsible for smellIt’s safe, recommended by doctors, and relatively inexpensive.

What you need:
1. Four different aromas from four categories: Flowery, fruity, aromatic, and camphoraceous/resinous.
2. An open-mind and blind (or not so blind) faith.

The specific aromas I used were rose (flowery), lemon (fruity), cinnamon (spicy), and eucalyptus (camphoraceous/resinous).

There are no hard and fast rules for what aromas you need to smell train with; those just are the oils recommended by Thomas Hummel, the pioneer of Smell Training. Need more evidence? Check out his published studies demonstrating how the method can work.

Other aromas you can use:
Flowery- Jasmine, Lavender
Fruity- Grapefruit, Orange
Spicy - Basil, Clove
Camphoraceous/Resinous - Tea Tree, Frankincense

How to do it:
1. Start with one oil – it doesn’t matter which – and pass it under your nose.

2. Inhale naturally and gently through your nose. Think about what you think you should be smelling.

3. Pass the aroma under your nose and inhale again. Do this several times with the same oil.

4. Pause for a minute. Repeat the process with the next aroma.

When to do it:
1. Practice this ritual twice a day for eight weeks. 
2. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to sniff.

Don’t fret if you can’t smell anything at first. Research suggests that it may take a week before you get a hint of any aroma. It took three days before it started working for me.

Where to purchase your Smell Training aromas:
Your local co-op should have most of these essential oils. 

If you prefer to shop online, click here, and choose discounted oils from the following natural and non-toxic brands: (or search for the specific oil in the search bar)

Apivita was founded in 1972 by Nikos and Niki Koutsiana, two young pharmacists inspired by the unique biodiversity of Greek nature and Hippocrates. Together they created natural products, using beekeeping products and herb extracts.

Aveda was born in 1978 by founder Horst Rechelbacher, with the vision to bring beauty professionals botanical products that would be good (and safe) for them, their guests, and the Earth and its communities.

Jurlique was created in the 1980s by founders Ulrike Klein, a horticulturist and botanist, and Jurgen Klein, a biochemist, and naturopath. Jurlique is committed to creating natural and safe products.

Aromatherapy Associates of London (AAOL)
AAOL was established in 1985 by Geraldine Howard and Sue Beechey. AAOL are considered world leaders in aromatherapy, addressing specific concerns and issues using therapeutic-grade products and treatments.

If you have more questions about Smell Training or need help ordering aromas, feel free to reach out! 

Your beauty and health advocate,



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