The art of anointing ourselves with fragrance has been part of human culture for millennia. Myrrh and sandalwood, for instance, are among 700 aromatics mentioned in the Vedas. And the ancient Egyptians used oils like cedar and frankincense for both purification and perfumery.
Modern aromatherapy emerged in the mid-20th century, founded on extensive knowledge of the healing properties of essential oils and their systematic use. Extracted from plants’ cellular tissue, essential oils’ complex chemistries adapt and harmonize with our own multi-faceted natures, promoting well-being on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. Sweet orange oil, for example, stimulates digestion and evokes joy; eucalyptus relieves congestion while uplifting the spirit.
Feeling inspired to take part in the ancient aromatic arts? Here’s how to blend your own signature fragrance—indulging your senses and sense of wellbeing in the process.
Blending is more art than science, and balancing the “notes” is key. Top notes like lemon and eucalyptus lighten and lift; middle notes such as lavender and geranium are the heart of the fragrance; and base notes, such as vetiver and patchouli, ground and resonate. Use precious oils, such as rose and jasmine, sparingly. Whatever combination of essential oils you choose, try building your fragrance a few drops at a time, testing as you go. A total of 10 to 12 drops per 10 milliliters of carrier oil will make a richly perfumed blend.
ABOUT Maya Mary Herbert Maya Mary Herbert has studied both reiki and aromatherapy and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling. In 2006, she published My Father’s Window, a collection of prose, poetry, and photographs of witness.