Essential oils – therapy or perfumery?

Aromatherapy is basically an empirical knowledge handed down and perfected through the centuries. Certain empirical traits of essential oils have later been correlated by science. Perfumery is the twin of aromatherapy where scents are used to enhance, seduce and heighten awareness.

Essential oils are both medicines and perfumes. At one time the line between the two was more or less non-existent.

When essential oils are used for aromatherapy or medicine, there are special criteria; the EO’s have to be fresh, unadulterated and organic or wild. Chemistry is important when using EO’s therapeutically or medically since the chemistry in oils change with age and oxidation, therefore changing the effects of the EO’s. The fresher and purer an oil is, the better it will work.

For perfumery there are other criteria, scent is the name of the game. Each single scent as well as what they become in a blend. Chemistry isn’t really important unless you want to reconstruct chemically (which is impossible to do). With natural fragrances there is a marriage that happens between the oils in a blend and this can only be discerned by the nose. Aged or oxidized oils sometimes have a deeper and rounder scent such as rose and patchouli for example, making them more suited to perfumery.

Essential oils are useful in so many different ways; sometimes they can heal an infection, and sometimes they are a voyage of discovery through their gorgeous scent. To me EO’s are magical; I make medicine, skin-care, perfume…Whatever, they are always part of my life and after more than 20 years of living and working with them, unlocking their secrets and learning how to use them, I find myself with more questions than when I started; it is wonderful to constantly find new dimensions within this beautiful world of natural scents.

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