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Natural Cures for Loss of Smell

Last Modified on Nov 04, 2015

Earth Clinic readers have told us about many safe, natural cures for their loss of smell, including castor oil and garlic. The popular contributor from Bangkok, Ted, has also submitted a comprehensive explanation and treatment regimen. Nose-blindness, or anosmia, can affect someone profoundly in ways that most of us don’t really appreciate. Yet for animals, smell is the most important of the five senses (sight, taste, smell, touch and sound). Imagine not being able to smell freshly baked bread, roses or your child, fresh from the bath. Food is tasteless for those without a sense of smell. Anosmia is dangerous when someone cannot smell smoke, a gas leak or spoiled food.

Loss of the sense of smell can happen at any age and affects as many as 5 million Americans. Sufferers of ‘nose-blindness’ may be told that nothing can be done, just learn to live with it. Loss of smell can be temporary, permanent or come and go. Some of our readers have reported a number of home cures that have helped them. Most of those who have lost their sense of smell would consider any remedy worthwhile, even if the sense of smell is only partially restored.

Can I Reverse “Nose-Blindness”?

Natural treatments can be effective for reducing nose-blindness. While some conditions causing nose-blindness cannot be reversed, for others these treatments are helpful as they help stimulate the development and function of the olfactory nerves. Three of the most effective treatment options are garlic, castor oil, and Ted’s remedies.

Earth Clinic’s Best Home Remedies for Loss of Smell

Below you will find the most popular home remedies for anosmia that have been submitted by Earth Clinic readers as well as a summary of Ted of Bangkok’s treatment for loss of smell. We welcome you to try these effective home cures for yourself. Please let us know how they work for you.

The #1 Cure – Castor Oil

Castor oil has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments. It has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties and will decongest the nasal passages and reduce inflammation. Castor oil has been successfully used to treat sinus polyps and prevent polyp growth, making castor oil a useful treatment if polyps have caused the loss of smell. Some people have reported that their sense of smell began to return soon after beginning to use castor oil.

How to Use Castor Oil for Loss of Smell

  1. One drop of warm (not hot) castor oil in each nostril;
  2. Do this in the morning and again at night.

#2.  Garlic

Congested nasal airways are normally associated with loss of smell. The natural antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic help to relieve the congestion and restore the sense of smell.

How to Use Garlic for Loss of Smell

  1. Chop 3 cloves of garlic.
  2. Add to 1 cup of water and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Cool and drink while still warm.
  4. Can be taken 2 or more times a day.

#3. Ted’s Remedies for Loss of Smell

In addition to the remedies listed below, Ted from Bangkok, Earth Clinic’s long-time Contributing Editor, also recommends avoiding aspartame, sugar, paint and paint thinner and mold. If heavy metals are causing the anosmia, replacing old water faucets, pipe fittings and water filters can be very helpful. Read Ted’s entire post here.

Ted’s Remedies

  1. 500 mg. of L-Carnosine 2-3 times a day.
  2. 1-3 tablespoons of cilantro or coriander once every 2 days.
  3. Vitamin B50 once every 2 days.
  4. 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda in ½ glass of water 2 times a day.

For zinc deficiency:

  1. Zinc acetate (without the calcium carbonate and tricalcium phosphate fillers), vitamin b6 and magnesium.

For nerve damage from aspartame, sugar and diet products:

  1. Omega3 fish oil once a day.

For excess heavy metals:

  1. 1 tablespoon of granulated lecithin, once a day on an empty stomach.
  2. 500 mg. of L-glutathione 2-3 times a day, for 5 days of the week.

For excess fluoride:

  1. 1/8 teaspoon of borax dissolved in 1 liter of drinking water, every 2-3 days.

What is Anosmia?

Anosmia or “nose-blindness” is the inability to smell even very strong smells and usually affects the ability to taste as well. The ability to smell is controlled by special nerve cells or olfactory cells situated high in the nose. As the nerves detect aromatic information, the cells send information to the brain, which helps the identification of specific smells. When this process is disrupted, you are unable to determine specific smells and even tastes.

What Causes the Loss of Smell?

The great difficulty in curing anosmia is directly related to the fact that there are so many possible causes.  Sinus infection and/or congestion are often the problem. A person can be born with anosmia, it can be age-related or linked to a serious disease such as Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia or early Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Some other possible causes are exposure to toxic chemicals, a vitamin B12 deficiency, certain medications and normal aging. Head trauma can injure the olfactory nerve, leading to anosmia. Anosmia can be permanent, temporary or intermittent. Getting the proper diagnosis is important.

This explains why a remedy that works well for one person may not work at all for someone else. For example, zinc can be either the cause or the cure of loss of smell. Cold preparations containing intranasal zinc gluconate gel have been known to cause anosmia, as detailed in this NIH study. However, a severe zinc deficiency can cause anosmia. Before taking zinc supplements, it is important to know if one has a zinc deficiency.

Safety Precautions For Those With No Sense of Smell

  1. Have extra smoke detectors in the home, especially near a fireplace or in the kitchen.
  2. Keep fire extinguishers handy.
  3. Use an electric stove instead of a gas stove.
  4. Read warning labels carefully on cleaning products, insecticides, etc.  Prominently mark products that must only be used in a well-ventilated area.
  5. Reduce the risk of eating spoiled food by labeling leftovers with a throwaway date.
  6. Install a carbon monoxide detector.

The permanent loss of smell is no joking matter. Try one of our suggested treatment options or keep reading below to browse our list of reader-contributed treatment suggestions. If you've discovered a natural cure for anosmia, please let us know!

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Most Popular Smell Loss Remedies:

Castor Oil5

User Reviews

  User Ratings

Posted by Alinthing (Exeter, NH USA) on 01/28/2013

My granddaughter was born with a part of her corpus collosum missing. she is now 25 years old and has never bee able to smell. her condition is acc (agenesis of the corpus collosum) Anyone out there familiar with this condition?

Replied by Connie
Slc, Utah, USA

Hi Alinthing; I've read that in infants born with B12 deficiency, some of the neuroradiological findings are; cortical atrophy, slowed myelination, and thinning of the corpus callosum.

With B12 deficiency, there can be disturbances of all of the senses, including smell.

Even though neuro-damage may be permanent, there's still a chance for improvement.

Replied by Juanita
Goldsboro, North Carolina

I had surgery in 2008 after surgery I lost my smell and some of my taste. Just would like to know if there is any hope to getting back my smell?
Replied by Joy
Battleground, Wash

So you still have your sense of taste? Most people I read about have the loss of both at the same time. A zinc imbalance can cause a loss of them. Usually a zinc imbalance shows up as white spots on the fingernails. I just looked and doc oz commented on this and said try zinc 30 ? I forgot.... Whoops , ... My bad

I use a full spectrum mineral and it is solving some problems I've had for a while. You didn't mention if this was sinus surgery or how it would impact your smeller.

Replied by Travis

I also had surgery on my nose. I had my sinuses removed as well as plastic surgery on the nose in order to repair a badly broken nose. I can taste a little bit, but can't smell a thing. Can I expect it to come back? It has been 5 weeks now and I am beginning to worry.
Replied by Timh Donate


T: This is likely a Zinc deficiency (which is very common). Optimal zinc levels (25-50mg daily away from fiber foods) usually recovers taste & smell to all-time high levels as well as encouraging healing of tissues that otherwise struggle to do so. EFA's like Fish, Krill, and Flax Oil is also important in recovery & healing in the entire body.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
  User Ratings

Posted by Tina (Australian Capital Territory) on 06/08/2015

[YEA]  I lost my sense of smell 6 years ago due to a Brain Hemorrhage. I was told that it was unlikely to ever return. After nearly giving up on the idea to ever smell or taste again I decided to look on the net. I found one person in a blog that was talking about Alpha Lipoic Acid and that they had results. So I thought well I have nothing to loose. After the first two weeks of taking two tablets a day I was walking through the shopping center and could smell cookies baking. I literally stopped and closed my eyes I must of looked crazy. This was 3 years after my accident. It was like smelling for the first time. So I continued these tablets and honestly I cannot believe the results. Though my brain has had its moments sometimes I had delayed responses. Sometimes I would be near something in the morning and later that day I would get the smell only to have it last in my nose all day. This drove me to insanity and to tears. Every thing I ate also tasted like this smell. This is a slight negative but I tell you I now 6 years later have 90% of my smell back. I have to share this as this honestly was the most remarkable thing.

Replied by Marquita
Tulsa Ok

Hello. I'm curious about the lipoic acid. I need to know is there an recommendation for dosage amount. How many milligrams should I take. I have no sense of smell due to sinus issues and polyps.. Please help!!
Replied by Knlviolin
Santa Fe, Nm

Hi! I lost my sense of smell and taste after using Nasocort nasal spray for 3 days. It has been over 6 months now, and for a brief time I had some improvements, now the senses are gone again. My Dr. believes I have nerve damage, which is one of the very rare side effects. I'm wanting to try Alpha Lipoic Acid because of your post. Dosage you tried? Thanks!

  User Ratings

Posted by Acorus (Boulder, Colorado) on 08/31/2014

[YEA]  20 mule team borax has had a profound effect, ie. restoring my olfactory senses back to almost 100% efficiency, both taste and smell, which I had lost almost completely for almost 6 years, beginning two weeks after my first (and last! ) root canal. I have suffered with chronic sinusitis/rhinitis symptoms ever since the root canal was performed. I am a senior chinese medical practitioner, and have been using acupuncture and herbs to very good effect, but still could not smell or taste much of anything. Tipped of by the mayo clinic website... that fully 80% of chronic sinus issues were demonstrated (by biopsy) to be fungus-related, I began reviewing natural anti-fungals, and since fungus lodged in the sinus cavity has no vascularity, and thus is immune from anything taken orally which makes it's way into the bloodstream, is why the heinous pharmaceutical anti-fungals such as dieflukan, etc are not effective. Hence, a topical approach makes much more sense. Borax is a quintessential anti-fungal par excellence!

This should come as no surprise, yet nobody I am aware of has simply put borax in their neti pot. I'm filling the neti pot with water, 1 full teaspoon borax + 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and using it in each nostril, twice daily, to very very good effect. Borax is so cheap and so effective....the best single cure for sinus issues I am aware of, and can be done everyday!

Replied by Suzy
Fort Wayne, IN

Acorus, please let me know how the borax in the netti pot works. It makes sense to me. I'm just wondering about the amount, if it is too much? I'd really like to know how it is working for you. Thanks.
Replied by Mhikl
Alberta, CA

Acorus & Suzy, I have been using Xylitol in both my neti bottle and my spray bottle in all head orifices for five years. It has cleared itch from my eyebrows (one application seemed to do that), and continuously in my ears, eyes and nose. Itch is gone, sinuses relieved (though not extinguished without out use) and I have not had a cold or flue since beginning the practice.

About six months ago I began also spraying with a borax solution. I tried mixing it with my Xylitol & sodium buffer but the taste turned to sour and did not seem to work at all. Then I tried doing each job separately; first the Xylitol spray until my nostrils opened and all passages where cleared of phlegm and particles. Then I 'snort' water to further clear out the sinus cavities. Lastly I spray with my borax solution three or so times. My theory is that it may help with eventually extinguishing my sinus infection.

To make my borax solution I simmer a litre of water with about 2-3 Tbsp borax. When it seems dissolved (no particles evident) I let it cool and then save in a glass jar. When it cools over night there are clear crystals of borax at the bottom of the jar. I then pour the clear liquid into my dollar store 250 ml spray bottle and that becomes my borax spray. When the glass bottle is nearly empty, with new distilled water I wash the clear crystals into a pan and re-simmer, cool and return the liquid to the glass container. And the process begins again.

Here is the naughty. I recently had begun to smoke cigarettes again after about five years using electric cigarettes. The Xylitol was then not having the effect it did before and my nose stayed stuffed up which led me to experiment with the borax (I use borax in everything and every way I can possibly think up). That did the trick. (I am returning to electric nicotine as it does seem to have health benefits for me whist the 'smoke' variety does not.)

One possible warning with the salt in your nose. Use as little as possible. I have read that a strong solution can actually harm the lining of the nasal cavities. The little packets that come with neti pots and bottles is about the right amount to use as a buffer.

I also use borax and powdered Himalayan salt as my toothpaste and body soap. I leave the solution on my skin for about four minutes whilst I gently brush my teeth. This I have read, does rejuvenates the skin and cleans it without stripping the oils.

Note also that Dr Mercola says that vitamin D from noon time sun (10am~2pm) is in the oil on your skin and that it takes 48 hours to be absorbed. The borax/sodium soak on the skin (no cloth used) does not seem to strip the oils from my skin. I only pour it on the skin and gently smooth it around.

Namaste and care,


Replied by Andrew

Hi Acorus,

Thank you for your posting!! Is a little amount of Borax safe enough if it flows into the stomach when using a neti pot? Blessings! Summer

Replied by Joyce
Lansdowne, Pa

I have lost my sense of smell since March 2013 but I am going to try the borax.
Replied by Sc
Las Vegas, Nevada

I wondering if I can put a little bit of Borax in my nasal saline bottle? I don't understand the netti pot and I really don't want to use that. Seems to me I can get the same effect using my remeasured saline solution with added Borax?? Please advise. Thank you.
Replied by Amber
Lawrenceville, Il

Is Borax safe and are there any side effects? How soon was your sense of smell restored and was it sudden?
Replied by Mark T.
Fulton, Ny

Yes, I have been without smell and taste for 8 months. Mine as well happened after a root canal. How long did it take for you to be able to smell and taste again? Thank you. I was thinking of having that tooth pulled.
Replied by Timh Donate


Looks like chronic infections are responsible for loss of smell most likely through Zinc deficiency (as zinc is depleted by infections). Any number of natural antibiotic remedies plus Zinc/Vit-A supplementation would be advised.
Replied by Sonya
Chicago, Illinois

Thanks for the info! I had surgery in December to remove numerous nasal polyps, and now I can't smell or taste anything anymore. I'm definitely trying the borax and the neti pot!!!

Castor Oil
  User Ratings

Posted by Antonio (Greece) on 08/03/2014

Is castor oil safe to put in nostrils? Because of ricin (very strong poison)

Replied by Mama To Many Donate


Dear Antonio,

Castor oil has been considered safe for oral consumption for a long time. Many also use it topically. I use it topically a lot. I have never used it in the nose, but never thought to. I am not a doctor or chemist, but personally, I would not have a problem with using it my nose if I felt that was needed.

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Susanne (Illinois) on 07/09/2014

[YEA]  I lost my sense of taste and smell after taking about 6 zinc lozenges over a 2 day period - only noticed it after the cold ended and I still had no taste or smell. I regained it by using castor oil one drop in each nostril morning and evening in addition to smelling raw garlic and onion several times per day. Most importantly though I prayed that God would restore me back to normal and after reading in my daily devotional "taste and see that the Lord is good" I knew that He would and He did!! Didn't prevent me to completely freak out while it was happening though...:-)

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

Susanne, what kind of Castor Oil did you use?
Replied by Susanne
Streamwood, US

I got castor oil from Walmart - think I paid around $2.50, nothing fancy.
Replied by Lj
Southern California

Wondering if you can tell me how the castor oil is applied for the loss of smell? You put it in your nose??Jjust a drop or more? Thank you
Replied by Greta
Kentucky, US

[WARNING!]   If using castor oil internally get one marked "Hexane Free". Hexane is a bad chemical to turn loose in the body. Health Food Stores usually carry the Hexane Free and yes it costs a bit more but so worth it.

Posted by Hernando (Plano, Texas, Usa) on 12/07/2010

My wife lost her sense of smell seven month ago. I want to contact Tenderson from St. Louis, Missouri, about the suggestion of using castor oil. I want to be sure that it works and its secondary effects. Please contact me as soon as you can. My wife is getting crazy with this situation and I really appreciate any help.

Replied by Brooke
Montgomery, Tx, Usa

I would say that this is due to a glandular problem. You might need to get her on an alkaline diet and then do some chiropractic adjustments. How has her digestion been? I would think that maybe it has been off a little. The alkaline diet will help with that. Ask her if she has a problem or a slight problem with the sense of taste and sight. If so - then definitely get her to a chiropractor. After the chiro if she can, then have her take a steam bath or a long hot bath to open her pores and after you should rub a 50/50 mixture of olive oil and peanut oil w/ a little lanolin into her back, specifically her spine. The rub is to give her body some "food" to her bones and muscles. And then I would follow all of that with the castor oil packs. I might do this for approx 5 days and then rest for 2 and then start again (the baths and castor oil packs) I would go to a chiro for maybe 2 or 3 times on the first month and then 1x a month after. For the glandular problem - if a doctor tells you that she has that - then the doctor would be able to let you know what she should take. Hope this helps!
Replied by Gaiane
North Hollywood, Ca

Please let me know what you find. My little sister just lost her sense of smell after a fall. I would do anything to help her
Replied by Margit
Los Angeles, Ca

To Gaiane from North Hollywood:

How is your sister doing?

I am a journalist from Europe, now staying in L.A. to attend a filmmaking program. Right now I am doing reasearch for my next documentary - about the loss of sense of smell. And I am looking for people I can talk to and who experience this loss of smell. It would be awesome to hear from you! My email adress is sonnenschein2406(at) Thank you & I hope to hear from you!

Yours, Margit

Replied by Hihello
Austin, Tx

I would love to hear more about this documentary. People have a hard time relating and it would be nice to hear other stories.
Replied by Gladys
Miami, Fl Usa



Replied by Jamacc
Houston, Texas

Can someone please explain to me about the castor oil in greater detail? How often and how much? I lost my sense of smell 5 years ago and was told it was due to Nasal Polyps, I had them removed and my sense of smell only comes back temporarily with the use of steroids, such as a Medrol Dose Pack. It is way to unhealthy to take steroids continuously and I worry about building up an tolerance so I save the steroid route for once or twice a year when I just cannot stand not being able to smell anymore.

I have had 5 ENT's One told me he had never heard of someone losing their sense of smell only to regain it temporarily with steroids, so he never addressed my complaint. I have never had a single Doctor ever use the word Anosmia, in fact only one out of five attempted to address the issue at all. So I am looking for any ideas, I am in my thirties and the thought of not being able to smell again depresses me. One more thing that happened; I hit my head on an open cabinet door once and was able to smell perfectly for one hour before it faded away, any one else have an odd experience like that as well?

Replied by Timh Donate

Louisville, Ky, Usa

Jamacc, from your testimony, there is the possibility of heavy metal toxicity. You can order an hair analysis kit online to be sure of this, or simply begin using the common spice Cilantro (Coriander) and the algae Chlorella. Both these are found in food or supplement form. Following 2 wks of this, supplement Zinc 25-50 mg daily for a few days for results (loss of smell is one of the most common symptoms of zinc deficiency). Also apply some Cod Liver Oil over the nose (you will need endure the fishy smell, which you might even enjoy as it is a smell, lol! ).

Hope this helps and good luck.

Replied by Joelcoqui
Roslyn, Ny

Do you mean Castor or Cod Liver Oil?? Im smelling smoke and it burns my nostrils and I smell weird things. It usually happens when Im indoors. Sometimes I pick up a smell in a store im shopping at and it stays with me for days. I taste my delicious foods as if Im congested and have a cold. I can hardly taste it. Im so disappointed. I have lost so much weight because of it too. I only eat because Im hungry not because I enjoy it. Im also IgA deficient but all these NY doctors dont know what to do about it. I have IBS-D as well. This olfactory/taste problem started about a year ago. An ENT said to try Zinc 50mg a day. Already went thru the cortosteroid thing. HELP> I cant take it. Im 53 /female.
Replied by Janis
Flat Rock, Nc

I have been without smell for two years. I have tried the castor oil, zinc, acupunture, alpha lipoic acid, and steroids. Don't want to try and hit my head again. Anybody know of another treatment option. Hypnosis? Neural implant??? Don't miss the bad smells on the bright side.
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa

Hi Janis, Have you ever considered Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture? It really is an amazing system. It finds the source of the problem and then treats the body based in a wholistic manner. In this system, there are relationships between organs and body parts that are not recognized in Western medicine or allopathy. You would be amazed how two seemingly unrelated organs and/ or body parts are connected! I just know that I have sent over 30 friends and family to my acupuncturist and all have had results for various issues. I think you would find an answer there. Best to you on your path, Lisa
Replied by Timh Donate

Louisville, Ky, Usa

Janis, loss of smell is a very common side effect of Heavy Metal or possibly some kind of Zenobiotic toxicity. You can purchase Hair Analysis kits from online vendors or labs to check for HM. Detox Foot Pads are quite effective at eliminating all manner of toxins. Lots of recent comments on Far Infrared Sauna therapy here on Earth Clinic. Ionic Trace Minerals would certainly help.
Replied by Gcook
Newnan, Ga

I have a similar problem relating to loss of smell. See the segment on nasal polyps. I tried the tea tree oil recommendations on my sinus polyps and they are gone. To ensure the never come back, I mixed tea tree with alkalol in a old sinus spray bottle and use twice a day. Last Friday; a sinus polyp fell out and I have been smelling every since.
Replied by Russell
Abuja, Nigeria

I noticed that I developed Anosmia and hypertension after I slumped while carrying a heavy object. I hit the back of my head on the floor when I fell.

I still have my sense of taste in place but I can not smell at all. It has been this way for over a year now. I was booked for endoscopy to check for any possible nasal blocks but this has not been done. Viewing my nostrils exteriorly has shown no Polyps.

Can I please get any suggestion on what to use. I am in Nigeria, and the variety of options I can access may be limited. I would be glad to know what chances I have to regain my sense of smell back because the situation is really messed up for me

Replied by Timh Donate

Louisville, Ky, USA

Russell: Magnet therapy would most likely help your injury.
Replied by Pam
Nashville, Tn

I just ran across this site tonight and am glad I did.

I had a fall over 7 months ago and hit the front of my head and then quickly fell back on the back of my skull, fracturing the skull and spent 5 nights in the ICU. I was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and the Drs. are treating it like I had a seizure. I have no past of having seizures, and am currently on 500 mg of Keppra (down from 1500 mg) daily. I have no real sense of taste or smell. When I do get tastes, they are so way off that it makes me sick. I either have a taste like soap or a very burnt ash taste. I have lost weight and like others on here have posted, I only eat to survive and keep my strength up. I have no cravings whatsoever. I am still weak and tired (have to take more rests than ever before) I am a otherwise healthy 55 year old woman with no other health issues. I am going to the Smell and Taste Clinic that is affiliated with UPenn Hospital in Philadelphia, PA in December. The Dr. there, Dr. Richard Doty is very well known in diagnosing and treating patients with this disorder. I am very happy with the neurologist that I am currently seeing, but am discouraged that this problem is not more well known or researched. I am glad I found this site.

Replied by Toourlady89
Hayward Ca

There is more about this topic on this website, titled: Cure Loss of Smell or Anosmia
Replied by Ooi
Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia

Need help to cure my loss of sense of smell for 3 years.
Replied by Dallas
Amesbury, Ma

Hi. I do not have this problem but I have heard that taking zinc, after a while, will help with the inability to smell. This can be a serious problem as, if you have no sense of smell, you cannot tell when food is bad, which happened to my mom last week, and she got VERY sick. She would never try zinc before; maybe now she will. Check online for dosages. I think 50 mg./day is tops. You CAN overdose on zinc so be careful. It may take a few weeks to improve.
Replied by Dave Donate

Fountain Inn, Sc

To Ooi from Malaysia,

Re loss of smell for past three years.

Hello Ooi...if you google "Google Scholar" and type in "loss of smell" you'll find a number of articles that reference that such loss of smell can OFTEN (not always) be tracked to sinus infection. I just recovered (four weeks ago) from a sinus infection (and some in bronchial passages) that I fought off for a full month before clearing. I used my old stand by ... Colloidal Silver and I make it myself so I know the strength will work. This recent infection was a very bad one and I suspect it was a lipid coated variety.

Well, during the illness, I lost my sense of smell.

That loss went on for a period of about a week and only as I gained control over the infection did I find the sense of smell return. That was the first time that had ever happened to me that I recall. But now, full recovery with elimination of virus.

I use an ear syringe to squirt the Colloidal Silver into sinus passages (called an irrigation) and let drain down back of throat or exhaling mucus first and then a second irrigation into back of throat. I never miss irrigating the ears also as I've found over the years that the eustachian tubes which connect ears to sinus cavity can also hold viruses and is a source for secondary infections. So; irrigate both sinus cavities and ear canals also.

And if the infection (if there is one) is the cause of the loss of hearing, the hearing will begin to return in time unless permanent damage was done to the nerves.

You might ask if the loss of hearing was precipitated by an infection or by medication? You said it started three years ago. Some more information for us might help give the cause. The idea of infection as cause is just a guess, after all.

Replied by Toourlady89
Hayward Ca

Loss of smell unless caused by any physical issues is related to Magnesium deficiency. RDA for Mg is 350 to 400 mg elemental Mg a day.. Takes months to rebuild Mg stores in the body, so you will need to be patient.. Google Magnesium and loss of smell. Avoid Mg Oxide. Best to use will be Mg glycinate 3 caps a day..
Replied by Oscar Donate

Syracuse, New York

I have no answers to this loss of smell issue. All I can add to the discussion is that the sense of smell is unique of all the senses. It`s anatomy is different than all other senses. The pathway this sensory information is processed by our brains is unique as discussed here:
Replied by Alan
Mexico City

[YEA]   You should all try one month of raw food, that is everything must be raw giving more importance to raw vegetables this will liverate all the incrusted toxins and strange substances that could be from the air or chemicals that we usually eat with all the junk food and all the saturated greases and artificial colors etc.etc. Once I did it and wow! Your body really thanks you for these, the only thing is that you will really start smelling the terrible cadaveric smell of meat even in the best of beef restaurants and you will know what you have being eating erroneously all of your life.

I am not a vegetarian but please concider this because I have 35 or more years with holistic naturistic and orthomolecular medicine as my hobby.

Eat big raw smoothies in the morning plus a big veggie or frut salad in the afternoon and night ..give preference to adding cilantro to your smoothies because it desintoxicates the liver, do not forget garlic onion and radishes in your raw salads, repeat a big veggie smoothie any time you want avoid all comercial industrialized or cooked food for at least one or two months drink plain water, add sea salt to your salads lemons or lime, do not eat any absolutly any kind of oil, no even olive oil. You will desincrustate all the impurities of your smell cells and feel younger and with lots of smell.

Wish you all the best please do it do it with will and you won't regret it, see you tube for raw recepies they have many do not drink smoke or anything, give your body a break and be creative with your food there are many vegetables with wonderful flavors for you...

Best of luck to all of you, alan just a jewish guy from mexico..byby

Replied by Judie
North Dakota

I lost my sense of smell after an ablation of my neck.

Posted by Gautam Desai (Vadara, Gujarat, India) on 03/17/2009

[YEA]  i had severe problem of sinus coupled with loss of smell. Doctors suggested this is dsue to polyps and i had them removed about 5 years.

this surgery has given temporary relief but the loss of slell continued.

some of my friend suggested use of castor oil.

i put one drop of luke warm castor oil in morning and one drop before i sleep.

this i am doing for last 10 days and to my surprise i got rid of my sinus problem and smelling sense is gradually coming back

EC: Thank you for this feedback! We take it you mean 1 drop of warmed castor oil in each nostril?

Replied by Gean
Salina, KS

Does this have to be cold-pressed castor oil, or is the regular kind that is odorless and tasteless OK?
Replied by Tanderson
St. Louis, Missouri, Usa

[YEA]   I tried it but I didn't warm it. IT WORKED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY! Thank you SO much for the castor oil suggestion! Since the smell returned, so did my lack of taste. What a great, safe remedy! I love this site. It's provided me so many wonderful suggestions and this is one of the best!
Replied by Jeff
Stockbridge, Ga

Tell me more about how you applied the oil to make it work. I have put one drop into each nostril and tilted my head back to get it way up in there. I even "sniffed" a bit too. I hope this works for me. Have been without smell/taste for over two months after a sinus infection!
Replied by Joanne
Stony Brook, Ny

I just read your threads regarding castor oil. At the vitamin shoppe I frequent, I was referred to this treatment and to increase zinc to my vitamin regimen. I just tried the castor oil. What do you suggest about zinc? I lost my sense of smell from a sinus infection (not sure if the meds and nose sprays I also was told to take may have contributed to this loss of smell. I feel like it got worse over time, and I didnt notice it right away...
Replied by Funnychica07
Batavia, Ny, United States

I've had the same problem with loss of smell; I'm only 21, but I've already had three surgeries that temporarily relieved my anosmia, but the doctor I've been seeing seems to have no other solutions. My question was, what exactly do you do with the castor oil? I'd be willing to try just about anything to try to get my smells to come back, I appreciate your insight!
Replied by Candy
Fort Madison, Ia

You might want to check into zinc. I've heard it helps for this.
Replied by Sunil Kumar
Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

hi.... My name is Sunil Kumar from India and I am 25 years old. From child hood I have been suffring from nasal allargy and cough problembs. I contacted to Allopathic Doctor and I took medicines for 2-3 years, But I did not get any relief from those medicines. Now I am very frustrated with this disease. Due to this disease I have lost my smell power, I can't smell whether there is dirtly place. And I saw your website and I found it can be cured by using 'Castor Oil'. If it is so please suggest me something ASAP....
Replied by Diane
Oakland, Ca, Usa

[YEA]   I have had a diminished sense of taste and smell for over a month, following a bad bout with the flu and pretty bad congestion. I have spent hours searching for cures online. I have been irrigating my sinuses with warm saline for about 2-1/2 weeks and it seems to have helped somewhat. Then I read an article about "re-training" your brain by smelling things with strong odors (coffee, cloves, pine, etc). That helped a bit but not substantially becuase I could only smell those things in a diminished way.

I finally came across the posts about castor oil a couple of days ago and just went out and bought some today. After trying it just once this afternoon I noticed a big improvement in being able to smell things more. I am thrilled that this seems to have helped. Tonight it was chilly in the house and I put the heat on (gas heat) and for the first time in ages I could actually SMELL the heat! My food already has more flavor and I am looking forward to more improvements as I continue the castor oil treatment (one drop in each nostril; head hanging over the bed).

By all means, give it a try! The castor oil was less than $2 and really seems to be working like a charm. Thanks so much for posting this information!!

A very, very grateful renewed smeller/taster

Replied by Carol
Calabasas, Ca/ United States

This information about the Castor oil is very exciting. I have had 14 surgeries on my sinuses over the past 30 years. The only time I can smell or taste is when the doctor's have put me on steroids. I am going to start the treatment with Castor Oil and zinc, as suggested. What I would like to know is, exactly how to administer the drops. From what I'm understanding, the head is tilted backward from laying head back on the bed. Once the drops are used how long should I lay in that position. I'm assuming the oil goes down the throat and swallowed or is that such a small amount it just lines the inside of the nose. Thank you so much for any help here.

General Feedback
  User Ratings

Posted by Vishy (Sedona, Az) on 03/10/2015

You gave suggestions to treat loss of smell as garlic, B12 and castor oil. But it never said how to use these. Fresh garlic? Pills? how much? and Castor Oil? how do I use this? Please help. This article was not really that helpful. I don't know whether to eat the castor oil, pack it in my nasal passages, or lay it on a pack across my nose. Please advise.

EC: Hi Vishy, thanks for your suggestions! We've revised the article and hope it is more helpful.

Replied by Lisa
Pennsylvania, Usa

All of the post that I've read, both here and other sites, says to use a drop or two in every nostril morning and night. I've made myself a 60-40% Castor oil and tea tree oil mixture. I've been putting this on a Q-tip ( Cotton bud in UK, I understand), But have not had much luck bringing back my sense of smell. But I'm going to try tilting my head back over the side of my bed. And applying the oil this way. I really hope it works, I'll try to keep up on here, and let everyone know. I'm suffering from Nasal Polyps, they're not very big, but located where they block my Olfactory glands. Good Luck, and God Bless!

Posted by Prentiss Belton (Santa Clara, CA) on 01/26/2009

i was shot on the left side of my upper nose bridge by a bb gun, we never found the kid that did it, the doctor said i almost lost my left eye , i was 10 years old but before that i had perfect smelling ability... I am now 66 years old and thanks to god i am in good shape still, is there a chance i can regain my smell, i can smell fresh ground coffee and fresh chocolate, i can smell fresh lettace... i can not smell perfumes and saops and most delicious foods, i can not smell wine, of the items i listed that i can smell, its only for a moment then i can not smell them again. can any one help me. prentiss belton

Replied by Candy
Fort Madison, IA

this is for Prentiss Belton who wrote about his loss of smell. you might try supplementing with zinc. i've read that it helps with that.
Replied by Larry
Austin, Tx

Reading the remedies for anosmia was disappointing at best. A couple people said use zinc. Another says, too much zinc can cause loss of smell. Aonther says sugar may damage the nerves and cause the problem but aspartame is worse.

"The best remedy for lack of smell or anosmia is L-Carnosine." Since when? And heavy metals cause loss of smell. Where do these people get this stuff?

Some say use this or that or the other thing but not one says anyone actually got results from these chemicals or potions.

This is all just people's opinions and very mis or poorly informed opinions. What good does this do for the person who has anosmia.

This is not helpful at all for people who suffer from anosmia. All it does is promote people trying goofy and quite possibly dangerous things in desparation with nothing good coming from it.

Sorry to say but this site was a waste of time to find any help with anosmia.

Austin, TX

Loss of Smell Remedies
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Posted by Kajal (South Bend, Usa) on 01/09/2014

Sir, I cannot smell since last four months. I went to the doctor and he did my allergy test . When the results came he told me that I am allergic to dustmites. I am trying my best to keep my house dust free but still no smell.

Replied by Jan

I found chiropractic adjustments helped restore my sense of smell.

Posted by Francisca (La Romieu, Gers, France) on 07/17/2013

Hi, a friend of mine lost all sense of taste and smell after she had a virus a while ago. The doctor tell here that they will never come back and she is really sad. Does anyone know of a solution for this problem? She came to us for dinner and it was really terrible to see her only enjoying the colors and textures without knowing what anything tasted like. I promise her to try to help her find a solution. Help!

Replied by Mama To Many Donate

Middle, Tennessee, USA

Dear Francisca, Doctors' hopelessness at times can be so discouraging! If a virus caused her to lose the sense of taste and smell, perhaps the virus isn't really gone? Or perhaps there is lingering inflammation caused by the virus?

The first thing that comes to my mind is Extra Virgin Cold Processed Coconut Oil. This is antiviral and anti-lots of other things and good for you. :) When my son had mono a couple of years ago he was very, very sick and we tried so many things to heal him. The doctor who diagnosed him (he did bloodwork) said there was nothing we could do except steroids if it got really bad. Well, we really didn't want to go there! Finally, we read about coconut oil on earth clinic and within days he was so much better! I was floored that it worked so well. Anyway, your friend could try it. 1 T. twice a day. She might start out with 1 t. twice a day and work her way up.

Whenever I don't know what to do, I try apple cider vinegar and blackstrap molasses (1 T. of each twice a day) as they are so good for so many things and so inexpensive.

If inflammation is the cause (which you can't tell, I guess) turmeric could be helpful. 1 T. twice a day. I prefer mine in capsules (4 twice a day. )

I would do any or all of the above for at least 2 weeks and more like a month to see if they work.

Have a great day!
~Mama to Many~

Replied by Ruth
Hot Spot, Texas

Tell her to try taking zinc. A really good book that discusses vitamin and mineral loss due to drugs etc, is "Drug Muggers". Sometimes the drugs we take deplete us of certain nutrients. Or it may be that the virus did. Also vit c would be good as the body uses it up in fighting the virus.
Replied by Liz
Boston, Massachusetts

Welcome back, Francisca. :)

A couple of weeks ago, I posted asking if anyone had heard from you as I hadn't seen you post here in ages and wondered how you'd been progressing after your arm surgery.

Hope that it all went well and that you're as good as new.

Replied by Fellow Suffering Anosmiac

I too have been suffering with not being able to smell or taste the things that I used to taste, but it has gone so much further that things that are supposed to smell good actually smell worse than awful and all the things that I used to love to eat I don't anymore. I have been to neurologists, EENT docs and had all kinds of tests done and medications prescribed and nothing has worked. It has now been a year and a half and the EENT finally said that it was probably a virus that destroyed the olfactory nerve endings that "sense and taste" the sent molecules. Unfortunately when nerve fibers die there is no regenerating, however I stumbled upon this medical study about the heavy metal Cadmium and the signs & symptoms of toxicity. Now I won't list all the symptoms beside taste and smell and taste, but it might be a good idea to discuss it with your doctor especially if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or other kidney issues.
Replied by Lj
Southern California

A virus took out my smell and along with it my taste a year and a half ago. I've seen MANY doctors but I'm working now with a medical doctor who is also a homeopathic Dr. I've had slight improvement from smelling nothing to some things. Get a smell kit to smell every day. Do sinus washes with sea salt. I would appreciate talking to anyone who has had some success with other remedies.

Posted by Worried Mom (Westwood, Ma) on 03/15/2013

My young adult daughter had a bad head injury with brain bleed 2 yrs ago.. It has resulted in loss of taste and smell however she does get odd metalic or chemical tastes and smells.. Is there a treatment that anyone knows that will help her regain these senses?

Replied by Joy
Battleground, Wash

Wow, just this week I heard a podcast of a woman who used a nasal spray that destroyed her palate and ruined her sense of taste and smell and she was a writer of garden type work. At first her symptoms were horrible taste and smells that wouldn't go away. She went to a doc and used an old anti depressant that helped her to get rid of the first symptoms, but completely took away her smell and taste. Her name is Bonny Blodgette, not sure of the spelling. After almost a year she healed and regained her senses. Hope this encourages you.

I know a zinc deficiency can cause a loss of taste. You don't want too much zinc either.

Protect Your Nose
  User Ratings

Posted by Mourningwarbler (Florida) on 09/13/2015

If you or someone you know has lost the sense of smell, totally or in part, whether from an antibiotic or infection, it is important to protect the nose, the olfactory organs. I mean protect it from strong smells from which you would have backed away previously. Dogs and cats lick their nose in order to pick up scents.

I think my loss of smell had to do with an zithromax aka azithromycin/antibiotic, and then I did not know to protect myself and may have injured myself further by not protecting my nose; I was trying so hard to smell stuff such as tea tree oil or lavender oil; those may have been too strong. Would garlic be too strong? I tried that too. Maybe it was always going to be gone, but now I may never know.

Nobody tells you the mechanism by which an antibiotic causes loss of smell; I doubt they know or care unless they can make a lot of money off of knowing; if they would lose money by knowing, they're certainly not going to be honorable. Evolution means survival of the fittest! I might just kill myself to save the predators the trouble, LOL.

Anyway, you know there are little glands in the olfactory organs that produce moisture or mucus to facilitate smelling. I don't know why doctors do not know about this. For myself, I think that is the source of my trouble. Drying out one's sinuses in this situation is only going to make matters worse.

Replied by Marcio
Sarasota, Florida

I have anosmia for 6 mos due to antibiotic, I only have one ( Grey smell ) if you know what I mean. I sympathize with everyone with anosmia and appreciate any input in solving the problem. I thank you in advance. Marcio.

Zinc Acetate, Vitamin B6, Magnesium
  User Ratings

Posted by Melanie (Surrey, B. C. Canada) on 01/17/2006

I have not been able to smell anything for many years and wondering if you have some magical natural cure for this?

Replied by Ted Donate

Bangkok,Thailand 388 Posts
Your conditions of not being able to smell anything is called Anosmia. Anosmia is a condition where you cannot detect smells. I believe this is caused by a zinc deficiency. For the body to best respond to zinc, I suggest you take zinc acetate (without the calcium carbonate and tricalcium phosphate fillers), vitamin b6 and magnesium. These three seems to work in synergy.
Replied by Murthy
Hyderabad, INDIA

For Lack / Less of Smell Sense
Pl clarify:
Zinc Acetate - Powder?
Vitamin B6 - "Riboflavin" - Strip?
Magnesium - Which Form / Compound - Powder?
DOSAGE per day?
Replied by Ted Donate

Bangkok, Thailand

388 Posts
The best remedy for lack of smell or anosmia is L-Carnosine. The condition is often due to excess heavy metals in the neural system, lack of vitamin B complex and excess toxins which causes loss of smell.

The remedy that I would likely to use is 500 mg of L-Carnosine usually twice or three times a day. Some cilantro or coriander taken once every two days, usually of a small amounts such as one- three tablepoonful, and B50 taken once every other day. Magnesium is synergistic, where magnesium citrate or magnesium gluconate maybe helpful.

Certain foods that should be avoided that kill the nerves includes aspartame, sugar, and avoiding paints, thinner and moldy environment. Sometimes the toxicity of chemical toxins may be neutralize includes 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar plus 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water twice a day.

To be correct, riboflavin is vitamin B2, vitamin B6 is pyridoxine. The zinc is not used. If fungus, moldy or allergy is indicated, the common remedy is 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1/2 glass of water taken twice a day to reduce the allergy and fungus problem that induces anosmia or loss of smell.

Sugar may damage the nerves but not as dangerous as aspartame, sweet n low, or diet products. Lack of balance in dietary fats are often common cause too, so I would likely take fish oils, which are high in omega 3 once a day. Granulated lecithin also helps reduced some excess heavy metals as it reduces free metals due to their hydrophopic fat soluble properties, of which granulated lecithin is soluble. The dose I would use is one tablespoon a day, often on an empty stomach.

As to the magnesium it is synergistic with the vitamin B complex, especially B6. Excessive zinc can also cause anosmia (loss of smell) and hence chelation therapies such as cilantro, fish oil, and lecithin is helpful. While l-glutathione is not a chelation it does detoxify to help recovery of neural degenerative disorders and I might take these 500 mg twice or three times a day, usually 5 days out of a week.

Quite often in certain parts of India, high levels of arsenic (usually north part) and certain regions of India, is high in fluoride, which causes neurodegenerative disorder. Fluoride increases absorption of free metal toxicity, such as aluminum, and possibly, free metal zinc, etc. causing neural damages. The demyelination of aspartame, monosodium glutamate as also causes in which avoiding these is most helpful. The lecithin can help myelination which protects neural damages and some neural transmitter supplements of vitamin B complex, but also certain amino acids that increases serotonin such as L-tryptophan maybe helpful. To further protect more damages, the use of dechlorinator in drinking water is best in reducing the inflammation of the nerves and tissues which deaden the sense of smell. Woman especially the sense of smell swings greatly depending on their menstration period, which are often linked to hormonal changes. Reduction in toxic effect of fluoride as well as
more normal hormonal levels, is the use of borons supplements. The boron I prefer is borax, such as 1/8 teaspoon of borax dissolved in one liter of drinking water, perhaps once every two or three days, assuming I don't know the level of fluoride in drinking water.

The constant source of free heavy metals is usually from defected water faucet and water filtering devices. A change of old water faucets, old metal pipe fittings, old water filters, is especially helpful as the prime source of heavy metals come from that. Interestingly, I have found out heavy metals also come from vegetables and flour due to fertilizers high in heavy metals. but people without a way to check heavy metals are pretty much blind by the level of toxicity from metals going on which leads to Alzheimer, lupus, Parkinson's disease and even Multiple Sclerosis. Sometimes a mild condition starts with concentration problems, anosmia, for example. Wheat products and excess oils used in cooking products are also a problem because they are acid forming and oils used in cooking products sop up heavy metals during cooking when one uses metal frying pans, and other metalic cooking utensils. Even the excessive use of cellular phones can cook the brains as it is microwave
radiation, destroying nerve cells. For example when I do use cellular phones, I often used it on a handsfree mode.

This is the updated remedy.

Replied by Bea
Kc, Mo

Will to be in doc. Lost my sense of smell and taste. Very dangerous, can't tell if something is burning until the smoke and/or alarm goes off. can't tell if food is bad until I get sick.
Replied by Rhonda
Watertown, Ny, Usa

I lost my sense of smell & taste almost a year and a half ago. I had a head injury where I had broken my jaws and when the wires were removed I was physically sick every day for 3 weeks until they finally hospitalized me. During this time I lost both my smell and taste & vertigo set in.

I read, on the net, that if you swab your nose with castor oil, a thin coating, it will help & it has! I can't smell in full or properly, but it's there & that is HUGE for me!! I don't do it everyday, nor every week or month, but plan to do it more often now that I've realized just helpful this is.

Unfortunately, I cannot find that article that made the suggestion.

Since I use such a small amount of castor oil I'd think there is no risk or harm involved, but I am not a doctor and if anyone reads this and finds that statement to be inaccurate, I'd like to know.

Replied by Mark
Alpena, Mi

Hello Everyone, I was anosmic for 20 years. A handful of times I got my sense of smell back temporarily when taking steroids or having a steroid injection. Once or twice in those years I got a temporary low percentage of smell back after I had been drinking lemon water for a few days. (I realize now I temporarily alkalized my system with the lemon) I tried hundreds of different remedies to no avail throughout the years and then suddenly 2 years ago I got back my smell and it has been perfect everyday since. Looking back I believe the reason I became anosmic is because of dehydration, an acidic system and the allergies that accompany those problems.

There are 3 things that I changed in my life over the course of a year that I believe was responsible for me getting my smell back. The first is I practiced the watercure which is drinking one half of your body weight, in ounces, of water per day along with taking sea salt. The other is I became vegetarian and the third is I used a silver sinus nasal spray every day. My theory is I was chronically dehydrated and my body was way too acidic. Those problems manifested themselves into chronic sinusitis and anosmia. When I started the watercure I experience an incredible detox and as I increased my fruits, vegetables and alkalizing foods my sinuses cleared. The sinus silver spray helped heal my chronically irritated sinuses and one morning I put on some coffee & I smelled it.

That was 2 years ago and I have been smelling perfectly since. I am so thankful to have this sense back and I hope all of you suffering from anosmia take a look at yourself and do whatever you can to keep your body hydrated and at the proper ph. Every medical doctor I ever went to said there was nothing you can do about smell loss. Well with determination, luck and prayer, I proved them wrong. I hope it can help some of you out there.

Replied by Nathina
Montpelier, Vt Usa

Thank goodness I came across this!! I have been losing my sense of smell for almost 2 yrs now. I have changed my diet, stopped drinking and smoking. I thought that this would help but not until last month I got strep throat and the flu at the same time and had to take antibiotics. The day after taking them I could smell!! I had a fever and was still a little delirious walking around my house smelling everything and tasting as much as I could!! I could smell for about 2 weeks but then my antibiotics wore off and back to no smelling. I feel like crying all the time. I almost can't even take it anymore. I see all these posts about castor oil but I have no idea what kind or how far up the nose to put it. Someone help!!!
Replied by Isabella
Vancouver, Canada

Mark from Alpena, thanks for validating what I had been thinking. I haven't had my smell for over 10 years. The only time it came back was when I was nursing (with both my babies, must have been a hormonal thing), a year at a time and then gone once I stopped nursing althogether. It wasn't until a few months ago that I got my smell back for about 1 month. I was so excited! And then disappeared again. I have been wondering what was I doing differently? Like you, I was drinking water with squeezed lemon in it all summer long. I was eating lots of fresh herbs and greens, cilantro being one of them. What I was doing was keeping myself hydrated and my alkaline levels high. Starting tomorrow, I'm going out to buy a big bag of lemons and stock up on my greens. It worked before, it should work again. What I found though was that as soon as I stopped, my sinus problems and no sense of smell came back.

Thanks again Mark, it's so nice to hear someone had the exact same story as me. Can't wait to get my smell and taste back.

Replied by Di
Tampa, Fl

I too lost my smell/taste after sinus surgery in '07. Hate not tasting food or being able to smell. It comes and goes every 4-6 weeks so glad I can SOMETIMES taste food. Might skip the zinc being it can CAUSE these issues.