Aug 12, 2016
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
- One drop of warm (not hot) castor oil in each nostril;
- Do this in the morning and again at night.
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
- Chop 3 cloves of garlic.
- Add to 1 cup of water and simmer for a few minutes.
- Cool and drink while still warm.
- 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.
- 500 mg. of L-Carnosine 2-3 times a day.
- 1-3 tablespoons of cilantro or coriander once every 2 days.
- Vitamin B50 once every 2 days.
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda in ½ glass of water 2 times a day.
For zinc deficiency:
- Zinc acetate (without the calcium carbonate and tricalcium phosphate fillers), vitamin b6 and magnesium.
For nerve damage from aspartame, sugar and diet products:
- Omega3 fish oil once a day.
For excess heavy metals:
- 1 tablespoon of granulated lecithin, once a day on an empty stomach.
- 500 mg. of L-glutathione 2-3 times a day, for 5 days of the week.
For excess fluoride:
- 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
- Have extra smoke detectors in the home, especially near a fireplace or in the kitchen.
- Keep fire extinguishers handy.
- Use an electric stove instead of a gas stove.
- Read warning labels carefully on cleaning products, insecticides, etc. Prominently mark products that must only be used in a well-ventilated area.
- Reduce the risk of eating spoiled food by labeling leftovers with a throwaway date.
- 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!
Remedies for Smell Loss
|Alpha Lipoic Acid||1||2015-06-08|
Replied by Connie
Slc, Utah, USA
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Goldsboro, North Carolina
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Posted by Tina (Australian Capital Territory) on 06/08/2015
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
Replied by Knlviolin
Santa Fe, Nm
Posted by Acorus (Boulder, Colorado) on 08/31/2014
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
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Las Vegas, Nevada
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Posted by Dmortii (Cape Coral, Florida) on 12/25/2015
Castor Oil treatment for loss of smell:
I used the castor oil once in the morning and once at night. I warmed it and put it in each nostril with an eye dropper. I did this for three weeks and my sense of smell and taste is returning; however, how long do I need to do this for and if I stop will I lose smell again?
Replied by Janet
Replied by Ahmed
Posted by Susanne (Illinois) on 07/09/2014
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...:-)
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Replied by Greta
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
Replied by Gaiane
North Hollywood, Ca
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Los Angeles, Ca
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Miami, Fl Usa
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Flat Rock, Nc
Replied by Lisa
Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa
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Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
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London , Uk
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Posted by Gautam Desai (Vadara, Gujarat, India) on 03/17/2009
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
Replied by Tanderson
St. Louis, Missouri, Usa
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Stony Brook, Ny
Replied by Funnychica07
Batavia, Ny, United States
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Fort Madison, Ia
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Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
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Oakland, Ca, Usa
Replied by Carol
Calabasas, Ca/ United States
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
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
Replied by Larry
Posted by Lydia (Bergenfield, Nj) on 03/28/2016
Hello, I am not sure what made me start looking again for any updates on ideas to get my senses of taste and smell back. Four years ago, a restaurant customer suggested I take zicam zinc swabs for my cold. I figured, sure, it's natural, right? It was a month after using these swabs that I found I couldn't taste or smell anything.
I am a chef. My life was over.
I hired cooks and continued in my restaurant as if nothing happened, but in fact, my world as I knew it ended.
With no insurance, I started looking and found the Taste and Smell Clinic in Washington DC. I visited and was put on theophylline...and encouraged to go back every few months. With no job, and no insurance, this was impossible. And it has continued in this fashion for all of these years.
Upon discovery that I have Hashimoto's Disease for the past 10 years or so -- it took many endocrinologists to figure this out -- I wondered now that I am on meds that are supposed to help me with my horrible thyroid situation that maybe it has helped me to get some of my smell/taste back. Not much, but I have noticed a bit of a difference.
Have you heard of Hashimoto patients and anosmia? I am going to try the castor oil -- and let you know how it goes.
Replied by Robin Birnbaum
Replied by Emma
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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 Ruth
Hot Spot, Texas
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Replied by Fellow Suffering Anosmiac
Replied by Lj
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
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.