I haven’t had a cold or flu since I was 20 years old. For the previous five years, I had been using essential oils and fresh herbs on a daily basis. Oils to anoint and herbs for food and sometimes medicinal purposes. I remember being shocked to read that one tablespoon of parsley would supply the daily requirement for Vitamin A. The oils supplied my daily need for beauty and the other world of natural fragrance that I adored. Of course, the health benefits of herbs and fragrant plants have been known for thousands of years, and the first healers were also perfumers, adept in the arts of incense and fragrant oils. The last century saw the art of aromatherapy introduced to the modern world, a systematic approach to using essential oils for healing. But rarely have perfume journals, the professional publications of the perfume industry, addressed the healing and prophylactic power of natural aromatics.
So, Were The Workers in Perfume Supply Houses Protected From the 1918 Influenza Epidemic?
So imagine my surprise when I found this, buried in a vintage journal I came across while doing some research (you may need to click on the scanned image to read it):
Those workers were extracting only 100% natural materials: rose, basil, jasmine, cardamom, vetiver, etc. They were benefiting from the protective (prophylactic) benefits of the volatile essences of these plants!
There are many new, independent perfumers using either 100% naturals, like myself, and others who use mostly naturals and some synthetics. I have found the indies use much less synthetics than the “big houses”, so maybe they’re more in line with the perfumers of the 1920s. That is, perhaps they can, and their customers can, benefit from the naturals they use in high percentage. Most, if not all, of the naturals used in perfumery have been used, at least in the form of raw plant materials, or infused oils, as medicine by the indigenous peoples of the world. To continue the tradition of using plants for healing, and beauty, is to continue the tradition of looking to our environment’s beneficial offerings.
My perfumery course is something I am most proud about in my professional life. Yes, I’ve made award-winning perfumes; yes, I’ve nurtured hundreds, if not thousands of aspiring perfumers in the Yahoo group; yes, I practice organic gardening and love to extract the fragrance from the plants in my garden – but teaching professional, modern ways to work the beautiful, healthy essences into natural perfumes is what I love the most. Do you want to take my course? Email me, let’s chat.