Doctrine of Signatures (scent)


ROSE redI’ve always focused on promoting the ‘perfumery’ component of my natural perfume collection rather than the ‘natural’ aspect because it’s simply what fascinated me more – the creative challenge to construct ‘proper’ fine fragrances that are alluring and beautiful, and exclusively derived from plants.

Call me old-fashioned, but I wanted to be part of the small group of perfume cranks that still hanker for the halcyon days when rose perfume was created by extracting the odour molecules from actual roses…

I’ve been a qualified clinical aromatherapist since 2001 so I think of botanically-derived perfumes as synergistic and radiant medicine. The Japanese word wa describes a person’s aura and the inner quality of harmony (or lack thereof) that emanates from within. I usually select my fragrance of the day to best support the harmony and the tranquility of my own aura. In fact, it’s this balancing element of natural perfume that makes the most sense to me. It is a fantastic feature of natural botanical ingredients that their aromatic essences offer such a wide array of aromatherapeutic benefits.

Citrus notes (such as bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, lime and orange) are tonifying; they uplift, clarify, revive and refresh.
Floral notes (rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, frangipani, lavender, mimosa, narcissus etc) are deeply calming and sedating; they harmonise.
Spices (such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, aniseed, pepper etc) are warming and they stimulate appetites of all kinds.
Herbs (such as marjoram, mints, rosemary, clary sage, chamomile, verbena and immortelle etc) synergise; they gather all elements in the blend to unblock energy channels and pathways in the body enabling better flow of energy for living and healing.
Woods (such as pine, eucalyptus, cedarwood, cypress and sandalwood etc) – increase stamina & endurance and they support better breathing to improve oxygenation and support the elimination of toxins.
Roots (such as ginger and vetiver) nourish and reset the body’s thermostat.
Resins (such as myrrh and frankincense) protect from pathogens.

Suspended in alcohol, natural perfumes are also well-being helpers.

These descriptions are of course over-simplified – many therapeutic outcomes are determined by specific dosage – for example, patchouli and lavender combined in small quantities are stimulating, yet, when blended in large quantities, become sedating. Therapeutic pathways are also determined by proportional ratios and specific plant varieties used. High altitude (and especially wild-crafted) lavender has a more soothing effect on neurological complaints (eg headaches, stress, anxiety, fretfulness) than say – Bulgarian lavender which is a blend of varieties, and is more suited to topical applications for easing irritation from burns, bites, itches and stings.

Next time you have a headache, try a splash of Moonlight cologne or a spritz of Tansy or Fleurs Sauvages. Allergic to dust and pollen? try Mary Jane or Black Spruce. Suffer from PMT? reach for Sylvana, Blue Lotus or …I could go on….

…but I’m just making perfume

Birthday roses 2017


4 thoughts on “Doctrine of Signatures (scent)

  1. Selfishly, I am glad you are making perfume. I do wonder, though, if we do choose our scents on a subconscious need, based on the very things you have outlined. It may explain why we feel a strong need to wear a certain scent or a particular note. I do suspect it is more than just liking a scent. I felt a distinct need for licorice today. But none with any wood or hefty floral accompaniment.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aromatherapy has been pooh pooh’d for years. I, however am a firm believer and will take a nap inhaling Batavia over a pain killer any day. It is my everyday soother, tummy settler, feel good fragrance and to anyone who says it’s simply a placebo – you’re missing out and it’s your loss.


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