Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Odors have a power of persuasion

stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will."  ~ Peter Suskind

With the winter season about take over much of the area, not to mention the flu and other medical issues, we might want to take a look at history and aromatherapy.  Candles smell better on a winter day.  Cinnamon and ginger work better under 50 degrees.  There is something about 90 degrees and the pumpkin spice smell that does not work for me (no offense, Florida!)

Both men and women wore scented bags in ancient Chinese dynasties.  Although men did move away from wearing the bags, they did use them as ornaments and to absorb sweat, repel insects, and ward off evil spirits.  By the 17th-19th centuries, China created scented sachets for love tokens.
Medieval times saw the sack...sachet...become a plague-bag.  They were worn around the neck or dangled from the waist.  People thought they would provide protection against parasites and miasmata (bad air).  These contained a mix of sweet powders - from balsam families...calamus, benzoin, storax, galingale(ginger), cloves, herbs and flowers.

Queen Isabella of Spain used fragrant sachets a dried roses, carnations, orris and calamus roots, along with powdered coriander seeds to scent her dresses.  Wonder if she gave one to Columbus to tuck into his suitcase as he boarded his ship? 

The Brits kicked it up a notch with sachets filled with hops.  Hops are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer although hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.  George III and Prince Albert used the Pulvinar Humuli - hop pillows - prescribed by the doctors when sleeping meds did not work.

The sachet pillow still has some therapeutic uses...lavender sachets will calm...sachets with dried moth-repellent herbs like wormwood, southernwood, costmary, lavender, pennyroyal, lemon verbena rosemary, rue, sage and tansy are called "moth bags."

We have beautiful sachet pillows for gift-giving...from an American company-Votivo...these make unique gifts for "Secret Santa"  or hostess gifts.  Memorable tuck-in for a package that is traveling across the miles.  Always nice to open a box and have a wonderful scent waft through the air.  Let the holiday aromatherapy begin!


“We are all human, and our senses are quicker to prompt us than our reason. Every man gives off a scent, and that scent tells you how to act before your head does.”
          ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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