A World of Perfume
For thousands of years perfumes had been widely used in the middle and Far East.
Myrrh and Frankincense, the gifts the wise men gave to the baby Jesus, were more expensive than gold.
Perfumes were worn by both male and females; also dead bodies were anointed with scented oils.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the body was a sacred part of a three-tiered existence and therefore should be a pleasant place for the dead person’s soul to return to. Although the Egyptians made perfumes from locally produced ingredients, they did import different varieties from other countries. These were very expensive and so were only used for the gods. Frankincense Absolutes was coveted the who could not grow it because of their climate.
The Greeks, unlike the , used exotic perfumes and oils as aphrodisiacs. Whilst the mostly used perfumes and oils for ceremonial and burial purposes.
In biblical times, the tradition of anointing bodies of both the living and the dead were common place amongst the Hebrews, in which perfumes and spices were used.
The English word ‘anoint’ comes from the French word ‘enoint’, which means ‘smeared on’. In the bible Aaron was anointed with oil poured upon his head. This act of anointing emphasizes that the anointed one is taken from this depraved world to a new kingdom and elected into God’s family.
In the Hindu religion, the cow is a most sacred beast and the butter from the milk of the cow is used for anointing.
The Chinese ancient routes brought, amongst other wares, musk and other perfumes.
The ancient Chinese had and still have today, perfume pouches also called sasays, which they carried to ward off evil spirits and for longevity.
About the 6th Century the Chinese had incense clocks in which they could place incense sticks or powdered incense. These types of clocks were also used by the Japanese.
The ingredients in the Chinese incense, is made, most commonly, from agarwood, sandalwood, benzoin resin, Chinese incense-cedar, camphor, frankincense, cloves, star anise and cinnamon.
There exists a deep cultural affinity to perfume in China which connects to nature and beauty through the sense of smell and perfume.
Hundreds of years ago in the UK, and possibly Europe, if you can possibly imagine what it was like, everyone ponged like mad. I presume, of course, that because everyone smelt the same, no one cared! Nobody bathed, as the general consensus of opinion was, that water carried diseases and should not be applied to the body by bathing or to even drink it and that hot water would open the pores letting in diseases especially bubonic plague. Mmm, I think some of the younger males of my family, still believe in this theory!!! In fact, some of the poorer classes went the whole of their lifetime without ever having had a bath!
Hair was never washed, so wigs were used instead.
Today we have large selections of fabulous perfumes to choose to apply to our own bodies. Scented candles, room diffusers, incense sticks and various essential oils placed in oil burners to make our homes smell fragrant and arouse the senses. We can have relaxing massages with lovely scented essential oils which have benefits of well-being.
Some oils, such as lavender can encourage the growth of new skin cells. They are effective in treating injuries such as burns. Also, by preserving a healthy looking skin which is soft to the touch.
Oils can be used for inhalation, room vaporizers, potpourris. They can be sprinkled onto wood fires, air purifiers, cleansers, and deodorizers. Oils can be most beneficial in the sick room, air purifiers, cleansers, deodorizers, poultices, cold compresses, and inspect repellent. They can also be used for hair problems and to help keep hair in good condition. There are many oils that can be used for different hair types.