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“Your olfactory nerve, the nerve involved in your sense of smell, has fibers in your brain and nose that contribute to your ability to smell and, in turn, taste,” Karan Rajan said.
Smell training is a therapy that has been used by experts in smell disorders (olfactologists) for some time. It has the benefit of having no harmful effects on those who use it. It is also something that doesn’t need a prescription, is cheap and can easily be done at home.
The traditional format for smell training has been to use the four smells of clove, rose, lemon and eucalyptus. However, there are different items from the home that provide a range of smells – so people can select smells that they have a connection with or find to be pleasant.
Lemon and orange rind, nutmeg, clove, mint, eucalyptus, ground coffee, coconut and vanilla are all common items that can be used.
I don’t care if someone wants to burn an orange and then peel it and mix it up, fine with me
But, Rajan said, smell training won’t work for everyone.
“Nothing in medicine is ever one size fits all. We all have remarkably different internal physiology.”
Dr. James Palmer is a professor and director of the Rhinology Department of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a bit skeptical of the home remedy because there is little hard data on the subject of smell training. As well, people traditionally need to smell different scents, not just one, when it comes to smell training.
Still, there’s no harm in trying the burnt orange recipe.
“I don’t care if someone wants to burn an orange and then peel it and mix it up, fine with me,” Palmer said.
He would try smell training himself if he contracted COVID-19. “It’s going to cost me nothing. I’ll set up some home stuff and I’ll just go ahead and do it. … And if I get my sense of smell back, I’ll be really happy.”
With files from The Conversation