Fragrances of Life

Capture plant essences from the garden for long-lasting enjoyment.

| October/November 2004

Since ancient times, scented body products havebeen used to seduce, entice, influence and heal. The queen of Shebareportedly used aromatics to seduce King Solomon. Cleopatra usedscents to influence the Greeks and Romans. People of many differentcultures wore plant essences in an effort to prevent illness andplague. Even Napoleon enjoyed herbal scents; he reportedly used upto 60 bottles of rosemary cologne a month!

For me, making herbal perfumes, powders and oils is a way ofcapturing a little bit of my garden to be enjoyed later. Fragranceis the very heart and soul of my patch of herbs, and wearing thatfragrance is a way of keeping my garden close throughout theday.

Even if you don’t have a garden of your own, there are many waysto capture and wear herbal fragrances. Essential oils and a fewingredients found at the local supermarket can be combined tocreate delightful perfumes, powders and body sprays. You can usejust one fragrance note at a time, such as lavender, rose orpeppermint, or you can combine essential oils to create yourpersonal signature fragrance.

The recipes here are very basic, but if you crave moreinformation on perfumery, several books teach the fine art ofblending natural perfumes. As you try the different recipes,remember that you always can experiment and substitute differentoils to suit your taste. That’s part of the fun.

Making your own fragrant products gives you great freedom ofchoice. Using the principles of aromatherapy, you can decide howyou want your fragrances to affect you and those around you. Forexample, you may want to wear lavender for its calming, refreshingeffects, sweet orange because it is uplifting, or rosemary formental stimulation. However, you must use pure essential oils(distilled using water and steam) or absolutes (essences extractedwith the use of a solvent such as alcohol) to reap these benefits.Synthetic fragrance oils do not offer the same results.

Some pure essential oils can be very expensive or hard to find.Attar of roses and oil of neroli can cost about $200 per ounce.(You may choose to simply omit the neroli from the solid perfumerecipe.) Other essences, such as vanilla, are hard to find in apure absolute. From such natural products, however, come superiorfragrance and less chance of an allergic reaction. Expensiveessential oils often are available in very small quantities, suchas 1/16 ounce or 1/2 gram. These tiny amounts are perfectlyadequate, however, because you only need a few drops per recipe(see sources on Page 30).

chuck brooks
10/30/2012 1:01:56 PM

Last time I read the Bible....The Queen of Sheba did not seduce Solomon. That was depicted in the movies, which when it comes to relating events in the Bible, they almost always get it wrong. Thought you would like to know.

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