Kate’s Word:- on Perfume and Pica

A few months ago, I told Teone about a strange sensation I have when I wear a few perfumes. I get a desire to eat my perfume. Yes, I know ‘drink’ would be a more apt word, but the desire is for me to eat something that the scent triggers in me. There are two perfumes that evoked this sensation quite severely. Others to a lesser degree.

The offending scents are Joy (edt by Patou) and Jardins de Bagatelle (edp by Guerlain). Over time, I discovered that Teone’s Blue Lotus in edp form brought out a strong desire for me to bite my wrist where I had sprayed. I did some research into smells and autism and found something called Pica. I knew it was something that commonly affects pregnant women due to nutritional deficiencies, but I was not sure why these perfumes were causing Pica for me.

Through trial and error, I now know that Eau Premiere and No 5 edp, both by Chanel, cause a slight feeling of wanting to eat flowers. I used to eat certain flowers as a 7 yo, possibly even younger. I learned it was not a socially acceptable thing to do and stopped a while later.

Discovering that the common theme was floral, I knew there had to be something about them all to cause me to want to devour my bottle of perfume. Given the shrieking metallic narcissus note of Jardins de Bagatelle and the jonquil beauty of Joy were what I sought in each of those scents, I assumed it was tuber type flowers I craved. But, interestingly, I don’t get Pica feelings when wearing Giorgio, Alien or Chloe Narcisse. (I do a little with Chloe, but it is a dull ache.)

It was only speaking with Teone about it all that I realised the common element is ylang-ylang. Wearing Blue Lotus in oil form gave me the desire to crunch some banana lollies by Allens. It may be that these lollies are flavoured with, or coloured by, ylang-ylang. That requires more research, but final confirmation came when I applied a drop of ylang-ylang essential oil on my skin. All those feelings brought about by Joy, Jardins, Blue Lotus etc were contained in this very oil!


Ylang Ylang blossom borrowed from the internet

Knowing this, I have to be careful when I apply these scents. I crave Blue Lotus and Chanel No 5 parfum at times. And it helps to know why. I can only wear the heavier ylang-ylang scents when I am fully in control of myself. I have to be able to impulse control. I tend to revert to impulse when I am tired or stressed. So, I avoid Joy, Jardins and Blue Lotus edp on such days. If I feel the need for a little giving in to cravings, then I know I can apply a smidge of Blue Lotus oil or No 5 parfum.

Next thing for me to do is to investigate ylang-ylang’s role is in my nutritional profile. In a way, I don’t want to rectify this Pica issue because I quite like the sensation. It would be an academic exercise to appease my brain and learn how to control my Pica.

– Kate Apted ©2018

Screen shot 2018-01-26 at 4.47.30 PM*These locally grown ylang ylang flowers are drying in the sun after being removed from the ethanol tincture I prepared for my next batch of Blue Lotus. Here about to be ground into powder for my hand-rolled incense. Waste not!…



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