The Benefits of Using Aromatics in Space

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July, 2005 - The Benefits of Using Aromatics in Space (in submission to the International conference on Environmental Systems, 2005, Rome, Italy)


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 neurophysiologican and psychophysiological benefits as well as limit of use. Several application modalities suggest further development of Space Horticulture using aromatic plants.

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