Fragrant Differences Why Some People Hate the Scent of Lavender

Aroma Therapy means to treat with aroma through inhalation.

The smell of a good cup of coffee in the morning is a form of aromatherapy.

An aroma whether from a flower, herb plant or an essential oil will have similar actions and effects upon the human psyche. Meaning that an odor molecule whether from a food, flower, herb or essential oils will stimulate the same release of hormones to promote digestion, relaxation and stimulate the senses depending up its component properties.

A conditioned response to a particular aroma can also play a part in your response to a particular scent.

For instance having a positive association with a scent will enhance your response to the scent. Say, for instance, your grandmother wore the scent of lavender oil and you adore your grandmother the association will positively impact your response to the scent of lavender.

While, conversely, a negative association with an aroma can actually block your neuro-receptor response. Perhaps a caretaker in your early childhood wore the scent of lavender oil and was abusive in some way and you've developed a negative association with the scent of lavender. The smell of lavender in this case may trigger a feeling of aversion, or bad feelings. 

In more modern times aroma therapy has become associated primarily with essential oils and developed into a form of alternative medicine.

Read next blog in this series: Ancient Use of Aroma for Healing Disease.

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All statements on this website are intended for informational purposes only.


  • Tam

    I want to like lavender. But I find the smell of it so abrasive. It’s like a punch to the nose sharp and not relaxing at all. Kinda makes me sad it doesn’t smell good to me in any of its forms.

  • EHartsay

    Reasons for disliking a scent are as varied as reasons for liking or disliking a certain food/flavor. Tastes are not necessarily psychological in origin, although they often are.
    Something can just taste/smell good to one person and nasty to another due to physical/chemical differences in bodies and brains. In addition anything that enters the body can touch off negative physical reactions, allergic and otherwise.

    Personally, I can’t STAND lavender scented anything, not even fresh lavender flowers.

    It burns my nose and sinuses, makes my head, and my eyes water. Probably not a full on allergy, but a definite physical sensitivity of some sort.

  • Jane |OD|

    I believe that in aromatherapy, the effect of aroma is greater than the effect of chemicals. You only need to select what you like, if the fragrance does not bring pleasure, then there will be no benefit from it.
    my experience

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