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Perfume - The Other Identity

Sep 3, 2008
Perfume was first made in Mesopotamia, by a chemist called Tapputi, in the 2nd century BC. Lately, archeologists have unearthed the oldest perfumery in Cyprus. With all the amenities required to make perfumes; this place still had remnants of perfumes that were made 4000 years back. A book, on the various methods to extract aromatic oils, was written by an Arabian named Al-Kindi, in the 9th century.

The process of distillation was first introduced by a Persian chemist Avicenna. Before that, perfumes were a blend of herbs, flowers and fragrant oils. The art of making perfumes spread to Europe in the early 14th century, due to Islamic rule. The first manufacturer of the advanced form of scents was Hungary. In 1370, there was the production of perfume, which as a mixture of aromatic oils in alcoholic solution. This was ordered by Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and was known as Hungary Water. Soon Italy began making perfumes and prospered in it.

In the 16th century, France became the leading manufacturer of perfumes. Plants were being cultivated on a large scale, for their fragrant flowers. Initially, perfume was made only for royal and other wealthy families. The Grasse area of France was used mainly for the cultivation of aromatic plants so that the raw material could be steadily supplied to the growing perfume industry.

The source of fragrance is mainly three, the plants, animals and the synthetic source. Aromatics are usually produced to guard against infections and to lure pollinating agents. Different parts of the plants produce different kinds of scent. The various parts come in useful for the manufacture of perfume. Cinnamon and Cascarilla roots are very useful sources of raw material. The most common and useful source of scent is the plant blossom. Jasmine, rose, mimosa and tuberose are some of the commonly used flowers .The blossom of citrus fruits and the y-Lang y- Lang tree.

Though usually used as a spice, the clove blossom too is a rich source of fragrance. The citrus fruits, like orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit greatly contribute to the making of perfumes. Rosemary, lavender, sage and violet leaves are highly aromatic too. The roots of the ginger family, the seeds of coriander, caraway, anise cocoa, mace and nutmeg are common ingredients of the perfume making process.

Wood again has a strong effect. Wood of the pine tree, birch, cedar, and sandal wood has definite smells and form the main fragrance tone. A resin from coniferous trees is used too. Animals contribute in their own ways. Ambergris, obtained from the Sperm Whale is a common ingredient used. Castoreum, form the beaver, civets from the mongoose family, honeycomb from bees, musk from deer are indispensable raw materials for perfumes. Other natural contributors are the lichens and the sea weeds.

After the perfume is made its preservation is important and that can be done if it is kept away from the heat, strong light, oxygen and other organic matter.

The ingredients used in making fragrances, no matter whether they are natural or synthetic, do have adverse effects on the environmental. These generally cause diseases like asthma, nausea and allergy. Inhaling some of the perfumes can cause irritation for the skin too.

Prolonged use of some perfumes may have carcinogenic effects. Large quantities of musk that are synthetic are often used in detergents. Food items like milk is also said to contain these, at times. The water underground often gets contaminated due to the effluents of the perfume industry. Illegal harvesting of certain plants, damage of trees, and the killing of animals to supply material to manufacture a luxury product like the perfume is endangering several species.
About the Author
You can have access to portuguese articles about perfumes from page www.polomercantil.com.br/perfume-fragrancia.php

Roberto Sedycias works as IT consultant for www.polomercantil.com.br
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