Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Take Time to Smell the Lilacs

Nothing to me says "nostalgia" as do the lilacs when they bloom each year.  We have two huge bushes right outside the bedroom window.  Ahhhhhhhhh.....! The fragrance is everything one could wish for in a nose-gulp of air! A sweet, almost edible scent, exquisite catalyst of memories, a lingering longevity that makes me want to stay anchored beneath the bushes, until they end its glorious display.  But here's a new twist:

Did you know that if you can smell the lilac as it blooms, you're probably safe from Alzheimer's Disease?  It's true.  The lilac has been identified as a "predictor" of AD.  If you can't smell the lilac (or any one of nine other scents) you may have AD in your future--or so say scientists.  The complete article is in a slighted dated (2004) issue of Science Daily:


In a nutshell, here's what it says:  "Inability to identify 10 specific odors (derived from the broader study) proved to be the best predictors for Alzheimer's Disease: these are strawberry, smoke, soap, menthol, clove, pineapple, natural gas, lilac, lemon and leather."

You know, I always say...of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.  So it was with great relief that I passed by the lilacs this morning without even looking at them....but I knew they were there!


  1. Elora -- Scents you say. I guess I'm OK so far as I can smell them all. Maybe in general, one loses the ability to detect many scents? Interesting. -- barbara

  2. Lilacs are definitely an aroma that evokes memories. They were my mother's favorite and they bloomed around her birthday in May(in NY). My parents had a hedgerow of lilacs.

  3. Hi Elora:

    Interesting post and research. This time of year is certainly special with all the smells wafting around in the spring winds. We have several lilacs around the house as well and you can catch whiffs of them far away on breezy days. We also have a Korean Spice Viburnum that is unbelievably fragrant this time of year, one of the only reasons to plant such a gangly-looking shrub. Can't wait for the Mock Orange to start blooming. It is another old-time favorite that brings back memories. Take care.

  4. Oh, don't go there, Barbara!!! I have lost a significant part of my olfactory capabilities!! Otherwise extraordinarily healthy! I'll pretend you didn't say that, girl!! :-))

    Hey, Kat!! Welcome back! Long time no "read!!" A whole hedgerow of lilacs would be heaven this time of year! WOW!!

    Thomas! Great to have you back! Is the Korean Spice Viburum the so-named "Spicebush?" We used to have one until it got soooo gangly that I moved it and....unfortunately, also killed it! It had yellow blooms and was unbelievable fragrant. Please let me know. And...if you ever prune it, I'd like a chance to root one or two...

    Happy Easter, everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by!