The Benefits of Using Aromatics in Space

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35th International Conference on Environmental Systems and 8th European Symposium on Space Environment Control Systems, July 11-14, 2005, Rome, Italy. Conference presented by SAE Aerospace, sponsored by Hamilton Sundstrand.


On earth, although we no longer depend on our senses of smell for survival, the "flavour" of our food and drink comes primarily from our sense of smell. In Space, astronauts report a significant degradation of sense of smell and taste in long term flight. Clinical research on aromatherapy measures physiological and behavioural responses including EEG alpha wave band fluctuation patterns and cardiac response patterns. Studies show an anatomical link between the nose and brain as one of the most direct compared to other senses. We perceive, we feel, and subconsciously we define our optimum comfort zone. Aromatic scents, ointments and solutions impact memory, emotion, and attention.

The author reviews the action mechanisms of aromatics on human physiology to recognize neurophysiological and psychophysiological benefits as well as limit of use. Several applications using aromatic plants modalities are suggested to further develop the design of Space Horticulture units and devices.

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