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Scent of a good book: Scent and Soul book review

Why smell is one of our underrated senses
A. rohanna
Men and women alike are fond of the aromas of baking – according to Rohanna Goodwin Smith’s definitive tome Scent and Soul. It’s therefore fitting that the Gibson author’s love affair with scents began in her dad’s bakeshop.

If you are soothed by lavender-scented bedsheets and you thrill to the aroma of cinnamon on your toast, you are not alone. The sense of smell is powerful and ancient—our ancestors used it to survive. Read all about it in Rohanna Goodwin Smith’s definitive book, Scent and Soul (Prominence Publishing).

The author, who lives in Gibsons, worked as a registered nurse, but she always had an interest in alternative therapies that could promote healing and wellness. Her love affair with scent started in her dad’s bakeshop among its delicious aromas and continued throughout her life to become her career path as she developed her knowledge of aromatherapy and perfumery.

The book is subtitled “The Extraordinary Power of the Sense of Smell” and it describes a sense that is often considered inferior to those of seeing and hearing. Not so, says the author. The sense of smell is vital. It can conjure up memories and it can heal. It can even attract mates or repel them—just read her section on odor advice for him and her! Guys should smell fresh and clean to attract a mate, and it seems that both men and women are fond of the aromas of baking: vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.

The author documents the rise of synthetic scents, many of them derived from petroleum, and makes a convincing argument as to their inferiority when compared to essential oils derived from plants.    

Some of Goodwin Smith’s favourite and most useful herbs and spices are highlighted with information as to their botanical family, how they are derived and what makes their use so valuable. Lavender is top on her list for its soothing properties while other scents such as ylang- ylang are useful for both emotional and physical healing.

Find this book at Talewind Books in Sechelt and One Flower One Leaf Gallery in Gibsons. And on your way don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.