Pleasant smell in the house is an important part of the physical and internal comfort of people living there. By the way, the choice of fragrances is mostly personal: because of some of them a person can become relaxed and sleepy, because of the others he can improve the overall tone and the health, and because of the third ones he can just have a severe headache.
History of Usage of Scents
The tradition of placing tiny pots with sweet-scented substances in the house was established in pre-Christian times of our civilization. It is quite problematic to determine approximately the date because archeologists found special vessels for incenses during excavations of cities that had been destroyed many thousand years BC. There were such accessories only in noble houses so the conclusion is obvious: only the richest men could afford scents.
Ancient healers valued the special antiseptic properties of different essential oils and used these natural products for medical treatment. During an apocalyptic plague outbreak in the Middle Ages Europeans noticed that the Black Death bypassed those houses the air of which reeked of incense and cedar aromatic smoke. Unfortunately, not all people could afford this way of prevention as incenses, as well as spices, cost just like precious jewelry.
There is a poetic expression “to buy incense”, and we have this because of the tradition of burning sweet-scented substances in temples. The custom was reflected in all religions. Incense, sandal and bergamot scents were considered to harmonize thoughts, cleanse hearts and encourage a person to communicate with the Heavenly Powers. Moreover, the gods loved aromatic smoke that rose from special roasters or aroma lamps, and because of that men could contact them much easier.
In India the usage of incenses was brought to the level of high art, and these practices were described in detail in Ayurveda. There fine bamboo chips were often used as a base: they were covered with several layers of special herbal mixtures with resins and oils. The mixture turned out to be very complex as to get a particular composition even a hundred of different components could be mixed.
In Nepal and Tibet a bamboo rod was considered to be a luxury for fragrant products. Herbs and special minerals were crushed, grinded and then pressed in the form of thin sticks. In China slowly smoldering sweet-scented curls became widely adopted. Residents of the Middle Kingdom supposed that they had a special energy that is likeable by the gods.
In Europe people rubbed their bodies with incenses so this procedure was considered to be an exquisite alternative to washing. The unusual mixture of fifty ingredients based on oils was called as “sacred myrrh”. It was applied on the monarch’s head and hands during the coronation. Later different countries “inherited” this custom.
It should be noted that in Ancient Russia scented cushions and pouches that were filled with dry herbs having an unusual aromas were very popular. These “grand-parents” of the French sachets could be met in poorest houses. Slavs preferred pure and gentle fragrances such as lavender, mint, cedar, pine and linden.
Dry herbal ingredients were poured in fabric envelops that were placed in visible places and taken when going to bed as a remedy for bad dreams and different illnesses. Children hung such cushions on the bed headboard as a protection from dark forces, sicknesses and fears. Also such aromatic stuff was filled in special guarding dolls.
Version of Classification
Nowadays lovers of bright fragrances can buy incenses everywhere, in all corners of the world. Such products can entirely differ in a number of features:
• consistency (liquid, gel, powder, semi-solid, solid);
• shape (sticks, curls, pyramids);
• composition (some fragrances are created from tens of components, like a puzzle);
• intended purpose (removal of unpleasant smell, meditation, medical treatment, creation of a certain atmosphere in the house);
• country of production (the Indian and Tibetan incenses are very popular although the Chinese and Japanese ones are also of high demand with its admirers).
All incenses can be divided into groups by a smell. Eastern fragrances are rich and strong and can be seemed too sugary to somebody. The floral fragrances are gentle, sweetish and have a touch of sourness. But there are also the citrus ones: they are a bit spicy and refreshing. In practice different tints can be easily combined.
A most important distinction concerns the effect that is produced on a man by a fragrant plant. With aromatherapy people can achieve the following results:
• to calm the nerves (this effect is very important if you suffer from chronic fatigue, stress, digestive disorder and insomnia);
• to adapt to the new environment (a valuable aid for people who have difficulties with communication and learning and suffer from mood swings);
• to stimulate different organs’ work (such fragrances help focusing attention on something, increase efficiency and raise the sexual activity).
Fragrances are widely used in the sphere of esotericism. Some of them are able to remove the energy dirt from the house, while the others can bring luck and heal the “karmic holes” successfully.