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What Is It About Cinnamon?

Coming up the escalator to the main floor of Union Station (DC's main train station, which I cross through every day to get to my office), I was mugged by the delicious, warm smell of cinnamon. It was probably coming from the Corner Bakery, which was right there. But it gave me the same intense rush of pleasure that I get from the first sight of a lovely sunset, or the first notes of a favorite song.

So why is that? Is it just that I associate it with tasty treats? Or is there something deeper and more basic going on?

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
smillaraaq
Oct. 3rd, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Well, according to the first random aromatherapy site I Googled up...

The essential oil of cinnamon is a physical and emotional stimulant. It also affects the libido and is known as an aphrodisiac, as well as an anti-depressant. Researchers found that just having the aroma in the room reduces drowsiness, irritability, and the pain and frequency of headaches. In one study, it helped the participants concentrate and perform better on mental work.

...although I think the simple emotional association with tasty treats and/or warm childhood comfort foods can't be ignored, either! :)
chomiji
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)

Well, I can easily go with the "association with tasty treats" theory. But it was such a visceral, instant reaction that it felt like more than that. It was like the instant danger/adrenaline rush from the smell of smoke, only it was happy.

avierra
Oct. 3rd, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, cinnamon is a comfort thing (at least to me)... cookies, oatmeal, delicious baked goods. Reminds me of home and safety, and being warm. I have read studies that smells more than any other sense can evoke memories, so that make sense too. It takes you back to memories and thoughts of happy times.
chomiji
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:17 pm (UTC)

Ahh, de gustibus non disputandum est .... . My daughter claims that the smell of oatmeal cooking makes her feel ill! (That doesn't stop my husband from occasionally making big pots of it on cold days.)

Yes, smell is very basic. But I usually get a sense of place from it rather than an emotional charge, as this was. The brain is a strange and wonderful place ... .

smillaraaq
Oct. 3rd, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, well, you know I often have strong emotional as well as place/memory associations with scents, so that doesn't seem that strange to me! And I definitely see a lot of perfume bloggers who seem to have similar wiring...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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