Anosmia - Can it be reversed ?

by Veronica

Anosmia- loss of the sense of smell is one of the first signs of Parkinson's Disease. Recently I have undertaken a little project to reverse my husband's Anosmia. Can it be done?

What is Anosmia?

Anosmia is the loss of the sense of smell. Losing this sense can be very dangerous. Can you imagine if you can't smell a gas leak or smoke if your house is on fire? A person with anosmia would not be able to smell if their food was going bad.

It can have many causes. A severe cold, a viral infection, nose polyps but importantly for me, it can be one of the first signs of Parkinson's Disease. 96% Parkinson's patients have Anosmia.

Recently, I read that using aromatherapy oils can restore the sense of smell in people who have Anosmia because of a virus. It set me wondering .... would it restore the sense of smell to a Parkinson's patient?

I have set myself a 12-week challenge and we are only on day 3. We are going to do smelling activities using essential oils.

What is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder which happens when the brain stops producing the chemical dopamine which helps brain function. It affects the motor system in the body.

Clove , Bergamot

clove and bergamot
clove and bergamot


Anosmia is not to be confused with Aguesia which is loss of taste. My husband has not lost his sense of taste.


Diagnosis is easy. A person can no longer smell any odours. A doctor can do tests to see if there any polyps or Parkinson's symptoms. Anosmia is considered to be permanent. 

Rosemary leaves

Rosemary leaves
Rosemary leaves

Essential Oils

I store the essential oils in a dark place, under the stairs. They are best stored in the dark as this prevents deterioration of the therapeutic qualities of the oils. I use a little cloth container to stand them in. 

My pot of oils

Keep in a dark place
Keep in a dark place

My project

I am aiming at doing this for 12 weeks.

I take 4 cotton wool pads.

I put 4 different oils on them and my husband smells each one in turn and repeats the procedure several times. The oils are specially chosen...- a floral, a citrus, a spicy and a resinous. 

To start with, I have chosen; -

Floral, - Lavender oil 

Citrus - Bergamot oil

Spicy - Clove oil 

Resinous - Eucalyptus Oil 



Week one


Day 1

We tried the oils as described above, in the above order. My husband smelt nothing, but it is only day one. We did this 4 times. 

Day 2

We did the oils and he smelt nothing. Later in the day, I took a bottle of Peppermint Oil and he sniffed it and said,

" Don't give me this one again! " 

"Why? " 

" It's really horrible …. " 

I cheered …. "so, you have just smelt it?! " . He could not smell the other 4 oils. 

Day 3 

I am going to start each session with something pungent. 

This morning, he smelt the Peppermint Oil immediately as a starter oil. He then felt that he could get a slight odour from the eucalyptus. He could smell nothing of the other 3 oils.

The response to Peppermint Oil may suggest that the "irritant nerve " isn't affected . 



oils ; lavender and peppermint
oils ; lavender and peppermint

My investigation

I will fill you in with what's happening and then conclude if this project has been useful and worth doing. 



Although on the first day there was no sense of smell at all, it has gradually been improving all except for Citrus.  WHY Citrus has been the only one I have no idea. However yesterday I tried a potent lemon oil .AND after 8 days using between 4 and 6 sniffs of essential oils , my husband got his first scent of citrus. 

Today I introduced  scented candle burners and my husband who 10 days ago had no sense of smell at all asked me if I had burnt something as he could smell a burnt match. 

Small progress. 


Dec 20th 2019

UPDATE after 2 weeks

Not working …….

The incense sticks aren't strong enough and even I can't smell them very well. I shall continue until I use them up but I shan't buy any more. 


My husband now smells all scents which are close to his nose. After only two weeks. 

I now need to increase the distance between nose and scent.  

Day 18


18 days into the project, I have changed the FOUR oils and also I now hold them about an inch away from the nostrils for 10 seconds. 


Today I bought and have started using 2 Citrus oils to boost his citrus receptors and 2 different oils .

Tangerine oil 

Citronella oil 

Ginger Oil 

Star Anise 

I used Star Anise oil first as a trigger/ irritant,  strong smell to the nose.  He smelt them all except Citronella. 

This will be a 12 week project and it is going well so far. 

Updated: 12/28/2019, Veronica
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Veronica 12 days ago

Thank you BSG and Happy new year .

Yesterday my husband smelt the dishwashing liquid when he was sorting the dishes.! It is taking time but there has been an improvement .

blackspanielgallery 23 days ago

Glad it is showing results.

Veronica 23 days ago

Day 18, I have changed the plan to 4 different oils, as above. I shall use these for 3 weeks and then mix and match.

Veronica 28 days ago

Day 14 update is above.

frankbeswick on 12/20/2019

You don't need to be scientifically perfect, but to be wholly scientific you need to simply form hypotheses based on evidence and test them. You seem to me to be doing a good job.But you will need to see how long the process takes. You cannot know in advance. For example,my own recovery from orthopaedic problems is taking a length of time that is unpredictable.

Veronica on 12/20/2019

BSG Ty for doing some reading on this.

Yes I , too, reckon I am retraining smell receptors. I do know he has had no sense of smell what so ever and is now getting scents after 9 days.

What I don't know is how long maybe for ever we need to do this.

blackspanielgallery on 12/20/2019

My guess is you are retraining smell receptors. Something must still be sending signals to the brain. I read a bit on this and what is there suggests Parkinson's reduces the sense of smell, so perhaps it was there but unrecognized. Total elimination is not mentioned in what I looked at. They use as the name, which may distinguish from total to partial. Or it could be a U, S, English version of the language. A comment from a linguist could clarify.

Veronica on 12/20/2019

Anosmia update has been posted above.
Small progress but progress all the same .

Thanks to all for your support.

Veronica on 12/17/2019

Thank you. He never liked minty things.
At the moment here on day 6, my first task is to try to regain some smelling sensation as this was until last week entirely gone . This is part of Parkinson's disease and is the first sign that something is wrong for many people.

Once his smell sensation has recovered … if :( ….. I will start to see if it is altered .

I of course am a historian. I have only taught science to children aged 6 to 11 years so I am sure my methods aren't wholly scientific .

Up until to last night end of day 5, the only sensation he isn't getting is CITRUS …. every time ..CITRUS …. day 1 he smelt 0/4 scents ..Last night he smelt vague scents in 5/6. I am wracking my brain to try and think of ideas of what citrus scents I can use. I have used lemon and bergamot so far but have ordered Orange incense sticks . I also gave him freshly squeezed lemon juice in hot water to try to give a massive stimulation to his taste buds on tongue in order to boost his Citrus smell receptors but no joy so far. However 5 out of 6 scents in only a week is progress.

BSG, my dear kindly man. Thank you for your support and good wishes as ever. You are a good friend to Frank and to me.

blackspanielgallery on 12/17/2019

Was peppermint repulsive before he lost his sense of smell? I ask this because smelling is not the entire test you should preform. The other part is does his sense of smell for whatever he can smell appear to be altered. In other words, will a smell be the same as before his sense of smell was lost. or will it differ?
Hope you are successful.

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