The scent of nature

Before hearing, feeling and seeing reach our emotional center, they take a detour via the cerebral cortex. Fragrances, on the other hand, go directly to the limbic system, the seat of our emotions, without a stopover - which gives this sense a certain scope.


Freshly mown grass, the surf, spicy forest and the first snow may immediately spring to mind when it comes to the scent of nature. What these smells demonstrably do to us can actually be measured in scientific parameters.

A team of researchers led by Gregory Bratman from the University of Washington has now taken up the subject because, in their opinion, far too little attention is paid to the olfactory influence on the psyche, especially as a scent can immediately put us in a certain mood or take us to certain places.


Nature is good for us - but why?

Nature has a positive effect on the human organism. Stress is reduced and health is promoted. Many factors play a role in this, including visual effects and sounds - the scent could play a greater role than previously assumed.

In the current overview, the research team draws attention to natural odors and brings together everything that still needs to be researched.


And if nature becomes impoverished?

Air pollution, deforestation, urbanization, warming and much more contribute to a change, overlapping or even impoverishment of the olfactory spectrum.

This could have health consequences for us.

The researchers therefore call for more appreciation and more research on the subject.

Better knowledge of the effects triggered by odors could change landscape management and the design of cities and parks accordingly. A form of "odor protection" for certain odorous landscapes could be a goal.

In rural France, country sounds and smells are already considered "sensory heritage".