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Pyramids, lies and mythos of Modern Perfumery

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From my house in lefke.

If you believe that olfactory pyramids published by the industry are meant to give you information about the ingredients or about the smell of a perfume you are really ingenuous.

Pyramids are but a marketing tool used to persuade you into buying frags.

If you believe that the ingredients listed in the pyramids are in the fragrances you just missed the point. Pyramids are to make you dream a of a wonderful world where perfumes are made with real musk, real amber and real rose…

If it is written “Lavender”, it does is not meant the extract of lavender flowers, it means “lavender note” such as the one you find in dish wash soap. It smells nothing like lavender but it is, let us say, “legal lavender” because if it is not written “Lavender essential oil”, it is a “legal lye”. Read more

Philosophy of perfume (part three): Healing molecules

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How natural raw materials are different? Part two of three: 

2) Healing molecules

At the origins of the use of scents and fragrances, the philosophy of perfumery associated perfumes to spirituality and to healing.

This is so true that the knowledge of their preparation was reserved to priests and healers. In many cultures these two figures and functions were united in one person, the spiritual healer. This observation leads us straight to the concept of Spiritual healing.

Spiritual healing has been the only way in the story medicine until recently, it apprehends human being, disease and the function of the medic in a logic governed by the principle that the dimension of the spirit governs the physical one. Our actual philosophy of medicine has separated these two aspects, reducing the dimension of the spirit to mere psychology and physical neuronal processes.

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Perfumery and aromatherapy

DGA768633 Preparation of medicines for the treatment of patient suffering from smallpox,miniature from the Canon of medicine,by Avicenna (980-1037),Ottoman manuscript,Turkey,17th century; (add.info.: Istanbul, Istanbul Universitesi Kutuphanesi (University Library)); De Agostini Picture Library / G. Dagli Orti; out of copyright

Honouring the guest is much more than a part of the tradition of Islam, it is part of its fundamentals.

During my years of travelling in the Muslim world, I have been a guest all the time. This is how I have learned the art of receiving guests.

When you are guest of a perfumer, you will hope to be invited to smell some very special perfumes, to try them or even to be offered something.

Certainly, I do not disappoint my guests in their expectations, but I stupefy them when I serve them tea or coffee flavoured with the essences of exotic species. Cardamom, Ginger, Mint, Lemon …

Or when I add to the drinking water a drop of rose or peppermint, when I spray over the cookies essential oil of grapefruit or lemon, aromatic water of bay laurel and rosemary over the salad or the food.

If they come to me with some cold or other illness, I prepare for them some honey with a few drops of anise or incense…

Then I say to them my favourite phrase: “Never trust a perfumer who does not drink and eat his perfumes.”

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22. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: THE EARACHE

The earache is so widespread in Timbuktu that even I got it after a month. It is probably the desert wind that transports the poisoned dust street into people’s ears. Fortunately before it happened to me, I had a lot of practice with curing the population, so that I did not suffer from it for more that one day. If some day earache should happen to you without any medicines around, simply use warm olive oil inside the ear. This all Italian home remedy functions well, but for aromatherapy and extra efficacy I have always added one drop of lavender essential oil to it.

At the beginning in Timbuktu I continued to successfully cure earache with lavender and olive oil. But since I had brought little lavender with me and I had many patients, my supply ran out quickly, so I thought I had to find a substitute remedy. Read more

21. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: RINGWORMS AND OTHER

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Ringworm is a disease that affects mostly children. It makes them suffer a lot and the itching is so strong that they scratch their head until it bleeds, sores get enlarged and the pain prevents them from sleeping. Ringworm makes children’s life miserable. Timbuktu hospitals’ or traditional therapists’ remedies are so expensive that most families cannot afford to buy them.
Traditional medicine in Timbuktu is no alternative to hospital for the health problem. The remedies are prepared and sold by the “tradithérapeutes” themselves. They depend entirely on their sale for their living and when they do not overprice them, they convince their patients that their case necessisates several remedies, quickly making a sum that amounts to several days of wages.
In Timbuktu people fear the doctors more than the disease. Read more

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu – Haemorrhoids and headache

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The streets of Timbuktu in a day of sand wind

For a long time doctors have observed strange epidemics of non contagious diseases, for example rheumatism or ulcer. Cosmo–geological causes have been assumed –  that means solar winds or the fluctuations of terrestrial magnetic field. Two years ago in Timbuktu the major disturb I was asked to cure were haemorrhoids. A real epidemic disease. So when I returned this year I brought with me a big supply of a truly miraculous remedy for this problem – the essential oil of cypress.

Use it in its pure form of essential oil (although a bit hot) or diluted in olive oil (40 drops for 8 ml), it has to be used externally every time one goes to toilet. One should clean oneself with water instead of paper tissues, and then apply the product. Results are rapid and definitive. Read more

23. AROMATERAPY IN TIMBUKTU: THE TOOTHACHE

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One of the most frequent problems for which people of Timbuktu came to me was toothache.

In Timbuktu dentist is an unaffordable luxury for almost everyone. This fact accompanied by the loss of Islamic traditions, including cleaning teeth five times a day with a brush stick has caused an enormous problem of oral hygiene with dramatic cases of infections and great affliction amongst children and adults.

With aromatherapy the solution to the pain is rather simple – one drop of clove on caries has an immediate analgesic effect. Besides, frequent use of this essence can remove tooth infections and stop caries.

The problem which I stumbled upon was how to put the drop on the tooth when it’s on the upper part of the jaw and how to allow the patient to continue the treatment for next few days alone. Putting the head upside down is not practical and to treat every person in this way would take too much time. Read more