What Causes Loss of Smell and Taste?
It is possible for one to lose their sense of taste and sense of smell. This could happen during a season of cough and cold when the sense of taste or smell is dulled. While the loss of both senses is usually a symptom of illnesses, some people experience this as they grow older. Some others experience it during recovery from cancer or any other chronic illness.
Smell and Taste: How Do these Senses Work?
Your sense of smell and sense of taste are connected. Here’s one fascinating fact, there is actually a tube that links your ear with your throat. There is a chemosensory system in your body which your senses of smell and taste are part of. There is a group of special sensor cells housed in the olfactory bulb of your nose; these cells are responsible for detecting different types of smell. They are also known as olfactory neurons. While your olfactory neurons are receptors of smell, your taste buds are receptors of taste.
Causes and Diagnosis of Loss of Smell and Taste
There are a couple of factors that could lead to your loss of smell and taste. The causes of the loss of smell and taste are usually identical since they are related. The loss of taste may also result in the loss of a sense of smell. Illness, health conditions, medication, and age are some of the well-known causes.
People who are affected by a gradual or sudden loss of their sense of smell and taste need to undergo a quick diagnosis. They need to see an otolaryngologist or Ear-Nose-Throat specialist who is trained to study conditions affecting the nose and mouth. The specialist may need to do some examinations of the patient’s nose, throat, and mouth. Some of the tests include a sip, spit, and rinse test. Your doctor will try to determine the quantities of taste and smell that you might be able to perceive before finalizing the diagnosis and prescribing the best treatment options.
Treatment Options for Loss of Smell and Taste
Your age, severity of the loss of smell or taste, and your general health status are the major determinants of the treatment type that suits you. Common treats include:
- Zinc or zinc supplements to help stimulate your hypothalamus to improve your sense of taste. Zinc deficiency causes you to have a less effective sense of smell and taste.
- Discontinued use of any medication interfering with your sense of smell and taste.
- Using natural remedies and medication to counter illnesses causing loss of smell and taste such as cold or flu.
- Abstinence from smoking; smoking sometimes makes your sense of smell and taste less effective.
13 Home Remedies for Loss of Smell and Taste
The eucalyptus oil has a mucolytic and an anti-inflammatory agent known as eucalyptol, it is an effective relief provider for the upper respiratory problems that cause loss of taste and smell too.
Mix a drop of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water, bend your head over the bowl and cover it with a towel as you inhale the eucalyptus water steam for 10 minutes. You may repeat this once a day. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or weak after inhaling the eucalyptus steam, you should reduce the amount of oil used or use a different treatment option.
The first thing that comes to mind when you see peppermint is that sharp minty flavor. That mint is the product of menthol which makes up most of the peppermint leaves. This menthol has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties which give relief to your cold and flu; this clears up your air pathways and enhances your senses of smell and taste.
Boil about 15 leaves of peppermint in a cup of water, and strain it after boiling. Allow it to cool before adding some honey to the tea and drinking it. Drink this peppermint beverage twice every day until you are relieved of the symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar
The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of apple cider vinegar make it a top treatment option for loss of smell and taste because it easily clears up nasal infections and congestions leading to such complications.
Make a mixture of a cup of warm water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, add some honey and drink a glass daily. You should be careful with your consumption of ACB and make sure it is properly diluted in the warm water and honey to prevent cases of tooth enamel damage, increased potassium levels, and digestive disorders.
Castor oil contains anti-inflammatory ricinoleic acid. This oil can treat inflammation, irritation, and swelling within your nostrils to reduce the effects of such conditions on your senses of smell and taste.
You only need to warm some cold-pressed castor oil and apply a drop each into your nostrils. You can choose to do this in the morning and at night.
The capsaicin in cayenne pepper will help clear up your nostrils and restore your sense of smell.
Pour a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of honey into a glass of warm water. Mix the water properly before drinking it daily. You may avoid this treatment option if you are an ulcer patient or if you are on medication for high blood pressure.
The acidic nature, antimicrobial properties, and vitamin C content in lemon make it an ideal remedy for nose congestions and nasal infections. The odor and chemical composition of lemons will free you from runny nose and allow free passageway through your nostrils, restoring your senses of smell and taste. Squeeze the juice out of half of a lemon into a glass of water and mix some honey with it. Drink this lemon juice twice daily.
This can restore the activity of your taste buds and manage throat infection. Swish about a tablespoon of sesame oil or coconut oil inside your mouth within 15 minutes before brushing every morning. Doing this every morning will raise the fog over your senses of smell and taste.
Ginger has some warming properties which oppose cold or flu infections. You can easily stimulate your sense of smell and taste with the strong flavor of ginger. Try chewing tiny pieces of ginger or drink ginger tea occasionally. Make sure you chew the ginger in measured bits in order not to consume too much which could lead to heartburn.
Carom seeds possess anti-inflammatory properties that will manage and gradually get rid of nasal congestion. This will, in turn, improve your reception of smell and taste by your sensory cells.
Keep a tablespoon of carom seeds inside a piece of muslin cloth, tie it up, and use it as an inhaler. Do this as frequently as possible.
Cinnamon contains some agents with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Make a paste out of a teaspoon of honey and half of a teaspoon of cinnamon, rub this paste on your tongue and leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off. This paste will help you counter infections causing nasal congestion and improve your senses of smell and taste. Do this no more than twice a day, as excess consumption of cinnamon causes mouth sores.
The anti-inflammatory abilities of curry leaves mitigate the inflammation of your nostrils which brings cold and flu, freeing up your nasal airways. Soak about 15 curry leaves in a glass of water for half an hour before drinking. You may drink this mixture twice daily.
Your loss of smell and taste could be linked to a deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamins play a vital role in the chemosensory function of your body. So you can take vitamin supplements or eat vitamin-packed foods like milk, shellfish, milk, and veggies.
Now that you Know…
Losing your sense of smell and taste will come and go under certain circumstances. If you have a reason to worry, apply one of these remedies and eat right. An ENT specialist will be super helpful in diagnosing and giving more appropriate medical advice if you have any worries.