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

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

Diagnosis

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 

lavender

Lavender
Lavender

Week one

Diary

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

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. 

IF YOUR SENSE OF SMELL DISAPPEARS OR REDUCES SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE ASAP. 

UPDATE AFTER 9 days

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

update

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. 

12 week date

Conclusion

What criteria do I use to judge if this has been a successful project?

When I started the project I chose 12 weeks to see if this made a difference to my husband's loss of the sense of smell because of Parkinson's disease. He could not smell burning or would not know if there was a gas leak in the house. My husband had been diagnosed 8 years already and his sense of smell had gone before this. 

So, December 2019 I started to try essential oils and aromatherapy to help regain the sense of smell. 

After nearly 3 weeks, at Christmas, my husband smelt a burning match after I had lit the Christmas Eve candle. He also smelt his Christmas dinner and pudding.  Therefore, it is likely that he would smell a fire as he can smell burning matches. 

Some scents took a lot longer to notice- citrus, sage and cinnamon. Last night he noticed these scents.

I have persevered with the aromatherapy introducing several new scents so now he has 16. I use room sprays and pillow sprays. 

His sense of smell is partially restored, I do not now for how long or if it is permanent. 

Therefore I consider the project to be a partial success, and ….. I am going to continue it to see if he can regain even more of it. 

Thanks to you all out on there on Wizzley. You are a HUGE support to me and I appreciate you all. 

Updated: 03/05/2020, Veronica
 
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Veronica on 03/05/2020

The 12 week project to regain my husband's sense of smell has reached its end period. See my conclusions in the article above and what will my next step be ?

Veronica on 03/05/2020

The 12 week project to regain my husband's sense of smell has reached its end period. See my conclusions in the article above and what will my next step be ?

Veronica on 02/23/2020

Tolovaj,
Thank you for the support. It means a lot to me.
Exactly, I quite expected his sense of taste to be totally diminished but it hasn't been.
I am weighing up the outcomes of my aromatherapy project as 4th March 2020 will be 12 weeks, which was what I had planned originally.

Initial results suggest that …. :-
- his sense of smell is only partially restored.
- Citrus smells were totally gone for weeks but his citrus smells are restored, every time.
- cinnamon smell isn't restored
- lavender isn't restored fully, He can smell my lavender pillow spray but not lavender oil .

But here I am focussing on negatives when I should be focussing on positives.

I will only know if I stop the project and try again in 2 or 3 weeks after stopping. Have I got the confidence to stop it now? I doubt it.

It is very important to know though that sense of smell can disappear at least 10 years before the onset of Parkinson's. Be aware and get medical advice if your sense of smell disappears.

Tolovaj on 02/23/2020

It's interesting to know the sense of smell and sense of taste are not so closely related as i would expected. Evolutionary these senses were definitely developed together. I wish you (and your husband) all the best with aromatherapy.

Veronica on 02/05/2020

Indeed, Catholicism is a kind religion .

frankbeswick on 02/05/2020

Veronica, for sick people lenten fasting is not recommended or required. He should exempt himself from fasting. Being ill is hard enough.

Veronica on 02/05/2020

Thank you dearest BSG. Your kindly support always keeps me going.

My husband is doing very well . We now have 16 scents daily plus lavender pillow spray and room scents. The only scents he can't get are cinnamon and sage still . Interesting as these are beneficial for Parkinson's patients. He now smells scents in various places. He had no sense of smell before. At first though he couldn't scent anything citrus. That has come back now and he can smell citrus.

I am partly anxious about stopping the project as he may "go backwards."
He loves the cinnamon bread and is getting through one loaf a week. Of course Lent is coming !! But he won't be giving his cinnamon loaf up. :)

blackspanielgallery on 01/28/2020

Success can be slow, but always persevere. The result will be worth the effort.

Veronica on 01/27/2020

UPDATE
7 weeks into the project now, more than half way.
On Saturday evening, my husband smelt bread baking in another room. This is a huge step forward.
I have found that cinnamon and sage are helpful for Parkinson's patients. He cannot smell either of these so I have made him a cinnamon loaf in the hope that this might help.

Veronica on 01/08/2020

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 .


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