The scent portal of aromatic plant medicine
“Aromatic extracts have had a dual purpose of medicine and alluring fragrance for thousands of years and were alone the original source of perfumes before the tradition of perfumery were severed by the chemical industry developed in the late 19th century.”
Aromatic potions, the heady, fleeting and mysterious alliance of essences of flowers, herbs and spices have existed since the beginning of times, in all cultures and civilizations. First used in rituals to communicate with the gods and as a vehicle to the realm of the spirits. Later as preventive medicine, physical remedies and as scent for the body – and always composed with the most expensive and precious raw materials. Natural flowers, rare woods, wild grass and valued resins have lent their souls to the art of fragrance to create the most precious and highly prized compositions of luxury and refinement.
Ancient Egyptians, whom were the first perfumers we know of, said: “Who breathes the smells of flowers, breathes the soul of flowers.”
In our time, smell is the most neglected of our senses yet it has an instantaneous power to penetrate our consciousness. Being the most essential of our senses, it is the first to awaken in newborns. Smell is seductive and able to stimulate desire, longing, and lust, stir our memories, and carry associations of love and happiness. A certain scent can change our emotional colour in an instant, as the sense of smell is handled by the limbic system in our brains, which controls our emotional impulses. So perfumes evoke feelings as well as memories, and we experience not just a scent but also a mood. Pure, therapeutic fragrances produce a feeling of wellbeing and pleasure, and sometimes also take part in healing. Perfume is part of our art of living.
The sense of smell makes us feel alive and connects us to our primal human selves and to the natural world. Like music and sound, aroma is a language of its own, fleeting and in motion. Odourant molecules have their different shapes, hence the different smells, and every molecule has a vibrational signature. The detection of these odour compounds is done by nerve ending receptors in our nose which triggers an electrical charge that sends a signal to the brain which in return gives us the perception of smell. So even before we are aware of a smell, we have already received it and unconsciously reacted to it.
Scent, with its invisible power is a divine chemistry!
But fragrance is not without pitfall as modern fragrances are more available then ever before – whereas in the past perfumes were expensive items used only occasionally, and then mainly by the few well-off, fragrances are now all around us, in shampoos, soaps, cosmetics, air fresheners, laundry liquids and detergents to name a few places we constantly find them.
“These days modern perfumes are mostly not made from flowers. Virtually all fragrances (apart from pure essential oils) – wether very expensive in little tiny bottles, or the stuff you put in the toilet to make it smell nice – they are all made from synthetic chemicals.
Some of the chemicals are the same as naturally occurring ones, but they’re used in very un-natural concentrations. Others are modern inventions – molecules that chemists have devised and patented, producing substances that humans have never been exposed to before. Some of them can be linked not just to headaches, asthma and allergies, but to cancer and hormone disruption. Even the fragrance manufacturers acknowledge that some of their ingredients can cause health problems.”
– Kate Grenville, author of the researched book ‘The case against fragrance’.
And so there are striking differences between natural scents and artificial fragrances. The natural scents that come from our environment sharpen our olfactory system and help our brain to perceive our environment and subliminally strengthening our instinct and intuition. Artificial fragrances are made from petroleum and coal tar and they are suppressing our ability to smell a wide range of scents.
Over time, sensitivity to these chemicals mentioned might manifest.
As a research shows, as staggering many as one in three Americans suffers from health problems because of our unnatural scent overload.
Today’s problem with the onslaught of artificial fragrances can make the olfactory system suffer damage and lead to desensitization.
“Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.”
– Vladimir Nabokov
A cornopaia of smell is all around us and is an unconscious background hidden in everything, the smell of rain, of spring, of a book, the city, of people…. And it effects us both physically and psychologically as well as on a social level as it works as essential cues of bonding.
The natural smell of a plant can be aesthetically pleasing as well as therapeutic, as plants all have different substances in them that can effect us both physically, mentally and psychologically. Whereas synthetic perfume put a strain on our bodies health wise and notably disturb and confuse the immune system.
True and natural smells of flowers can be made into essential oils which are the extracted aromatic volatile natural chemical compounds found in plants. For creation of our natural pure-fumes and balms, we use the best authentic distilled essential oils and precious absolutes available from sustainable and eco friendly sources around the world. The sense of pureness, quality as well as respect for nature is essential to us, which also can be detected and experienced in the nature of our remedies.