Do Natural Scents Make You Happy?

Seventh Generation, the green cleaning products company, has used natural plant oils to create three new scented dishwashing liquids: lavender and mint, lemongrass and clementine zest, and fresh citrus and ginger (they still offer their "free and clear" option). In honor of their new products, they asked me to think about favorite scents that bring back fond memories.

For me, those scents – and the memories associated with them – are seasonal. Walk into my house right now and here's what you'll smell: cinnamon sticks and orange rind simmering in a small pot of fresh apple cider. Take a whiff. Mmm… I don't know about you, but one whiff of that for me and … I relax. I kick off my shoes, snuggle up on the couch with my cat, and enjoy the autumn.

At Christmas time, it's fresh boughs of pine and fir, which I stick liberally into holiday baskets or strew on the red and green table runner I put out the beginning of December and leave until New Year's Day.

In February, my amaryllis and narcissus bulbs start blooming, their scent so sweet they can infuse an entire room.  In Easter, the lillies do the same. My  spring and summer tulips and daffodils DON'T smell, but plenty of other flowers, bushes and herbs do. In fact, I always have pots of rosemary growing on my back porch just so I can roll a few sprigs between my fingers whenever I want to breathe in that wonderful, ennervating smell.

Then there's lavender. When I was writing the Big Green Purse book, I holed up in a writer's colony at Point Reyes Station, California to complete the bulk of the research. Only one thing made the daily grind tolerable: the smell of lavender that wafted through my open windows. As luck would have it, my small writer's cabin was surrounded by fields of this beautiful flower, and they were all abloom. I started and ended every day breathing in that scent as deeply as I could. Maybe it's why I was able to finish the book under an impossibly tight deadline.

If you've never had the pleasure of wandering through such fields, your luck could change. Seventh Generation is offering sweepstakes trips for two to Italy, France, and Vermont to give people like you a chance to see where the company gets its plant-based essential oils. As they would say, they come from "fields, not factories." Do me a favor, will you? If you win, take a big deep breath…and think of me!


Do you have a favorite smell? Does a particular fragrance trigger a memory – happy or sad – that stops you in your tracks? If you could bottle the oil from one plant, what would it be?


 I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Seventh Generation blogging program, for a gift card worth $50. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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2 Responses to Do Natural Scents Make You Happy?

  1. Jen November 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    My 2 favourite smells are fresh cut lawn and the smell right before it rains.

  2. Rachel November 28, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    I keep telling everyone that a ‘clean’ house doesn’t have any smell! At least, none of those poisoning chemicals companies put in bottles and containers to make consumers believe they will clean out their house…
    My personal favorites have to be lavender and orange: what better smell than something natural?

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