Anosmia: Causes, Symptoms, and Natural Treatment Options

| Modified on Oct 26, 2023
Loss of Smell Remedies.

Anosmia, or loss of sense of smell, is a condition that can significantly impact a person's life. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience, the inability to smell can pose serious safety risks and can also affect a person's enjoyment of food and their environment. Recent research has suggested that air pollution may be a significant factor in causing anosmia.

In this article, we will explore some natural remedies that can help alleviate anosmia, along with information on its causes and diagnosis.

Causes of Anosmia

There are many potential causes of anosmia, ranging from head injuries and infections to neurological disorders and exposure to toxins. COVID-19 has also been linked to anosmia, with many people experiencing a temporary loss of smell and taste due to the virus.

Recent research has suggested that exposure to air pollution, particularly fine particulate matter (PM2.5), may be a significant factor in the development of anosmia. One study found that mice exposed to PM2.5 experienced a loss of sense of smell, and researchers have hypothesized that this may be due to damage to the olfactory neurons.

Natural Remedies for Anosmia

While some causes of anosmia cannot be reversed, some natural remedies can help stimulate the olfactory nerves and improve sense of smell. Here are a few options:

Essential oils

Some essential oils, such as peppermint and eucalyptus, can help stimulate the olfactory nerves and improve sense of smell.

To use essential oils to improve your sense of smell, try diffusing them in your home or adding a few drops to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam. You can add a few drops to a carrier oil and apply them to your pulse points.

Vitamin A

This essential nutrient is crucial for the health of the olfactory neurons. Foods that are rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach.


Zinc is important for the health of the olfactory neurons, and a deficiency in this nutrient can contribute to anosmia. Foods that are high in zinc include oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

These healthy fats can help improve the health of the olfactory neurons. Foods rich in omega-3s include fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds.

Castor Oil

Some people have found that applying castor oil to the inside of the nostrils can help improve sense of smell.

To use castor oil to improve your sense of smell, soak a cotton swab in cold-pressed castor oil and apply it to the inside of your nostrils. You can also try adding a few drops of castor oil to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam.


This pungent bulb contains compounds that can help stimulate the olfactory nerves and improve sense of smell.

To use garlic to improve your sense of smell, try adding more of this pungent bulb to your diet. You can also try crushing a few garlic cloves and inhaling the aroma.


Some studies have suggested that acupuncture may help improve a sense of smell in people with anosmia.

You'll need to find a licensed acupuncturist to try acupuncture for anosmia. They'll insert thin needles into specific points on your body to stimulate the flow of energy and potentially improve your sense of smell.

Ted from Bangkok's Anosmia Remedies

  1. 500 mg. of L-Carnosine 2-3 times a day.
  2. 1-3 tablespoons of cilantro or coriander once every two days.
  3. Vitamin B-50 once every two days.
  4. Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda in ½ glass of water two 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:

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

For excess fluoride:

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

It is important to note that not all of these remedies will work for everyone, and it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before trying any new treatments.

Take Away

Anosmia can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life, but there are natural remedies that can help improve sense of smell. While not all cases of anosmia can be reversed, addressing potential nutrient deficiencies and environmental factors such as air pollution may help prevent the development of the condition. As always, consulting with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment is important.

Please continue reading below for feedback from Earth Clinic readers who have tried various remedies and supplements to treat their smell loss. Let us know what you've tried!

Related Links:

Effective Natural Remedies for Managing Sinus Polyps
Post-Covid Long Haulers: Natural Remedies and Treatment
Quick Sinus Relief: Natural Remedies for Congestion
Sinus Infections and Allergy Medications
Zinc - Immune Health Wonder Nutrient

Alpha Lipoic Acid

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Adriana (California) on 01/28/2021

I recently had covid myself with loss of taste and smell. What has been helping with the loss of taste and smell has been Alpha Lipoic Acid 600mg 2 times a day. Also Sulphurophane (concentrated broccoli sprout extract and Barleans omega 3 oil, key lime. Good results in 2 weeks.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
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
(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 Con
(Cranbourne, North Victoria)

Hello, I also have lost my taste and smell for over a year now due to a viral infection. I just wanted to know where can I buy this alpha lipoic acid from?

Replied by Rsw


I always try to buy the r-alpha lipoic acid form which is supposed to be better in the body. If you look online for r-alpha lipoic acid, you will have a choice between several brands. If I am allowed to mention this, I find Life Extension to be a good source. Best wishes.

Anosmia Triggered by Antibiotics

5 User Reviews

Posted by Rosalia (South Africa ) on 10/13/2016

I have loss a sense of smell two months ago due to antibiotics, but I have found that castor oil is the best home remedy and I am using it now for the past 8 days, no sign of smell but I will continue to use it with the nasal spray got from my GP when I went back to tell him that the antibiotics have impaired me. I will pray and use castor oil until I reap the outcome.

Replied by Lala
(South Africa)

I have using it for almost a month now, after I have lost a sense of smell because of antibiotics given by my GP, I haven't lost hope, it will help me when the time is right, every thing smells sweet indoors and out doors everything smell metal, and I went back to my GP and he gave me nasal drops for one month, and planning on sending me to ENT, how long must you use castor oil to get results???

Anosmia Triggered by Antibiotics
Posted by Marcio (Sarasota, Florida) on 10/02/2015

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.

Replied by Hezekiah
(London, Uk)

I just recently noticed I can't smell any more. I had an infection and doctor gave ampicillin capsules to use for a week. Immediately after the course of that medication I can't smell at all.

Anosmia Triggered by Antibiotics
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 Charity
(Faithville , Usa)

I read antibiotics deplete zinc.

Anosmia Triggered by Injury

7 User Reviews

Posted by Laura (Southern New Jersey) on 10/23/2020

I have not had a sense of smell since I was pregnant with my first child. Had opened a can of tuna fish and that was the last time I have ever smelled anything- he is 30 years old now. Went to many doctors explaining my loss of smell and they either said there is nothing you can do or you must be insane - ???

I believe prior cocaine use is truly to blame but - also had a bad car accident with head trauma. I cannot explain this but in recent years I have not been able to take pain medication and started cannabis

I have my sense of smell after smoking cannabis, usually the weed reeks bad (I can smell that) and then the occasional fragrance wafts up, glass of grape juice was the first time I had a sense, that was 12 years ago. I have learned to "feel" bad smells, hangs heavy or looks bad!!

But my 30 year old did save my life recently when a gas line in a house was left open, he came down the stairs yelling CAN"T YOU SMELL THAT??!!! It was accidentally left opened in the laundry area. I never would of noticed- thanks

Replied by Charity
(faithville, Us)

interesting how cannabis is related to a zinc copper balance when I googled it. Too much zinc lowers copper and visa versa and low zinc causes loss of taste and smell. zinc used up as your body fight colds and flu and copper is used to fight grey hair and parasites. Hope this helps.

Anosmia Triggered by Injury
Posted by Sean (Idaho) on 08/31/2016

I had a bad head injury in May and didn't realize until weeks later my smell is distorted. I have one constant smell, an indescribable sweet smell. If there is something in the air, food, rotten fish bait, shampoo, whatever. The smell is stronger but always the same. It has been 5 months already.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sean,

If I were you, I think I would focus on nourishing the brain, reducing any possible inflammation that is there, and using herbs that are healing to nerves.

Brain Nourishing - Extra Virgin Coconut oil. Start with about 1 tablespoon a day. Try to work up to and maintain 2 tablespoons a day.

Turmeric - to reduce inflammation. 1/2 teaspoon a couple of times a day. Mixed into milk. Or 2 capsules twice a day.

Burdock Root is a blood purifier that helps the nerves. 2 capsules 3 times a day.

Also consider the supplement niacin for its positive effects on the brain and serrapeptase. It helps to get rid of non living tissue in the body, in the case that scar tissue is involved in the loss of smell.

Healing the brain could take some time. Research the above and then try out what makes sense to you. Try to stick with it for at least a few months before deciding it isn't working.

Keep us posted. I am hopeful that you will find a solution.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Timh
2063 posts

In any case of injury or any case of loss of smell, the number one go-to nutrient is Zinc. 50mg daily for a few days or wks and if taken any longer add 1.5-3mg Copper.

Many other really good suggestions here, but it is worth considering also supplementing Glutamine and Omega 3 Fatty Acids like Fish, Krill, or Flax Oil. More good natural remedies for the brain is Hemp/CBD, Taurine, Acetyl L-Carnitine.

I always use Magnet Therapy immediately following an injury and daily until healed.

Anosmia Triggered by Injury
Posted by Pam (Nashville, Tn ) on 10/26/2013

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.

Anosmia Triggered by Injury
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?

Anosmia Triggered by Injury
Posted by Russell (Abuja, Nigeria) on 12/29/2012

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
(Louisville, Ky, USA)
2063 posts

Russell: Magnet therapy would most likely help your injury.

Anosmia Triggered by Injury
Posted by Janis (Flat Rock, Nc) on 07/11/2012

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.

Anosmia Triggered by Injury
Posted by Jamacc (Houston, Texas) on 05/16/2012

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
(Louisville, Ky, Usa)
2063 posts

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.

Anosmia Triggered by Surgery

1 User Review

Posted by Judie (North Dakota) on 11/04/2015

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

Anosmia Triggered by Virus

2 User Reviews

Posted by Fellow Suffering Anosmiac (California) on 04/25/2014

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.

Replied by Paracelsus
(Orlando, FL)
47 posts

I read somewhere that loss of smell and taste are due to a lack of zinc. Try taking a zinc supplement.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

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
2063 posts

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.

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