Aromas, scents and fragrances, good and bad smells, are all odors or odorants. An odor is a chemical dissolved in air, generally at a very low concentration, which we perceive by the sense of smell or olfaction. Odors are also called “smells,” which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors. In contrast, “stench” and “stink” are used specifically to describe an unpleasant odor. The terms “fragrance”, “scent,” or “aroma” are used primarily by the air treatment companies like Prolitec as well as food and cosmetic companies to describe a pleasant odor. The term “perfume” is used to refer to fine fragrances or wearable scents.
Humans are able to distinguish over 10,000 different odor molecules. When inhaled, these odor molecules travel into the nose and interact with odor receptors. The odor receptors then transmit the information to the olfactory bulb, which is located in the brain’s limbic system. The limbic system also controls memory and emotions, and is connected to the pituitary gland and hypothalamus area that controls the release of hormones that affect our appetite, nervous system, body temperature, stress levels, and concentration.