Dairy Aromatherapy


***This is a review of an article based on the title of this article. I am discussing this as it introduces a number of concepts that are directly related to the study of Aromatherapy and its application in other areas than just on the human body. I hope you will enjoy it and learn from it.  

Many times we run across articles in print media that really jumps out and grabs our attention. The other day I had one of those that just jumped out and invited me to "smell" it.  The article was entitled, "Dairy Aromatherapy".  Since i am happily involved in a branch of the dairy industry and involved with aromatherapy, it caught my attention in a number of sensory perception areas. This article can be found in the October 10, 2017 edition of Hoard's Dairyman, beginning on page 606. It is authored by a Dr. Blagiotti, a practicing large animal vet in the Jerome, Id. area. I wanted to share this article withall of you for several reasons. Mainly because he brings up several points that are very useful in the aromatherapy that all of you are involved with, yes, even outside of the dairy world. lol. What i will do is go through the article and share with you some of the main points and make associative comments with regard to the aromatherapy that you do. Hopefully I can do justice to this whole deal. 

He begins by talking about how there are 2 kinds of people in this world, those who can't stomach the smell of skunk and those who will go out of their way to get a whiff.  He says that he is one of the latter, as I am . Wow, I though ti was the only weird one in this world.  However, he says that the over powering aroma of when his dog got both barrels at point blank range, is a bit too much even for him.  But the subtle whiff, that is another story. As he moves along in the article he discusses how we are what we eat and that has a profound effect on "our" aroma.  As a side note, I have had associations with a number of people that was involved in the Vietnam conflict, (we must be politically correct, right?), they have discussed with me the aroma thing that they faced when there. For example, one friend that was a Navy Seal, said that usually up to 10 days before they went out in the field, they only ate rice. This was to clear out the scents associated with the diet that the Americans ate, so as to make their detection much more difficult for the enemy. Needless to say he did not have any desire to even eat anything rice related. He said that life was more bearable in the jungle when they ran across a monkey. They would light it up and eat him. The natives ate monkey, so the aroma of eating one, helped with their camouflage.

Anyway the doctor goes on to talk about how the diets of dairy cows have changed over the years and as a result the manure has taken on different aromas over the years. I might also add that when the cows are under stress, such as being transported, they will really "unload" and that manure has a completely different aroma than say a cow's manure that is peacefully grazing on green pastures. It is interesting how an emotion, such as stress, can alter the excrement of cows, I don't know that humans pay much attention to the changes in emotions or even physical changes might have on their own excrement, but it is realand it does change and if you pay attention, you will notice, as it will change depending on your diets. Here on he brings it around to aromatherapy. I want to do a direct quote from his writings.

"Odors are highly evocative. That is, they are well remembered and are strongly associated with particular memories. Aromatherapy is the use of distinctive smells to arouse the human (and animal) nervous system in therapeutic ways". In Psychology this is generally refereed to as Classical Conditioning. You have heard me mention that a few times.  It plays into aromatherapy very heavy. He goes on to say that he had recently undergone a surgicalprocedure that required general anesthesia.  As he was being wheeled into the operating room, the nurse opened a packet of Lavender scent and placed it under his nose.  He said that it helped to calm him and helped to lower his blood pressure. if only temporarily.

From this pint on he discusses how important and a major component of taste.  Iam sure that most of you have experienced the taste of food when you have ahead cold. Very bland. Then he talks about how if the food smells good, it always tastes better, both in humans and animals. You may not think animals pay much attention to this aspect but from my observation it does pay a role in how fast they feast at the feed bunk. Also, how humans feast at the table, depending on the smell of the food. Hey, maybe we have discovered a weight loss potential thing here. Food that tastes bad, loose weight. Ummm. Wel, good cooks are usually a little on the heavy. except for me, I am a crappy cook, but heavy. I just can't fit the mold I guess.

From this point he gets into some more heavy stuff. He talks about how Ketones possess a certain odor. These Ketone bodies are produced by the Liver when cows are enduring an excessive negative energy balance. Humans are also such to this same process. So why do you not smell it? Well according to this man, not everyone is able to detect the odor.  Some people can and some people can't. Either you can or you can't. It appears to him that some people are genetically determined in their ability to recognize the acetone like odor of ketones. Those of you that have been involved with cows have known people that can diagnosis certain aliments in cows long before they show physical signs of those ailments just by smell alone. This same thing applies to the pH balance of cows and I might add with humans as well. The female parts of both species has to run at a very low pH in order to be healthy. When that starts to climb, it is a good indicator of things headed in the wrong direction.

One needs not to be up close, a distance of 5 feet is usually close enough. I don't mean to pat myself on the back here, but that is a big advantage for me in dealing with this aromatherapy thing. I must have that genetically determination because aromas, even faint ones will alert my radar real early on. So that really helps me in many, many ways. I am sure that there are many of you that are very aware of what I am talking about as you live wit it as well. It is both good and bad. To extend this even further, you have heard people talk about being able to smell fear,in people... hey, it is real. You can also smell confidence coming from people as well. Both of these constructs can be smelled long before they are observed. 

Anyway, he goes on to indicate how helpful it is to consider the "why"  somethingsmells the way it does.  For example he says, Bacterial and Fungal decomposition of food stuffs and tissues generates volatile molecules and chemicals through enzymatic action. Nontoxic and nonodorus urea is produced by the Liver from two toxic and ammonia molecules created by bacteria in the rumen.  A rumen is one of 4 parts to a cows stomach. A similar type of action also takes place in the stomach and liver of humans producing very similar results.  OK, so in this paragraph we have all sorts of heavy stuff being mentioned. He He brings up Bacteria, fungus, the volatile thing is mentioned, as well as enzymatic actions and on to urea and in the next paragraph he mentions that once the urea is out of the body, then the bacteria is free to turn it into noxious smelling ammonia. 

Later on he discusses the most distinct smell of a dairy and that is of corn silage. He mentions how many people will describe that complex aroma in different terms, it does produce a very distinct aroma that is not mistaken by animals or humans. However, he does mention that the complexity of the aroma of corn silage is determined by the qualities of the soil that is was grown in. Man, here we go again with that soil contributing to the outcome, even down to the aromaof a food stuff. He also discusses the delight of the feed stuff and how it delights more than once.

or example when it is freshly cut and again when it is cured (dried).  He then goes onto say that when a neighbor complains about the smell or aroma of manure of today, remind them that in a short time that manure will be converted into the fresh smell of drying hay in June or the balsamic vinaigrette scent of corn silage in the fall. But he does say that his favorite smell/aroma is associated with the udder of the cow. Strange you might say and how is that?  Well have any of you ever smelled the aroma of bag balm and the benefits of the balm on your hands?  His other one is the Udder Mint in its Peppermint oil base, pleasant smelling topical udder lotion.  I have to admit that I am with him on both of those. Not only the aroma, but it sure helps the skin on your hands, and feet, and so on.

So there you have it. A review of an article that is aromatherapy related and I do hope it helps some of you that may not be aware of some of the aspects of aroma, might benefit from this man's perspective. I only added commentary, the main points of this article is sourced from his learning and experience. 

Have an enjoyable thought process to this article.

Kent King