OLFACTORY SENSE IN ANIMALS IS HIGHLY DEVELOPED
Humans have benefited in many ways from the highly tuned natural sense of smell held by dogs. Some breeds are particularly suitable for training and have been successful in serving as 'sniffer dogs' working in various areas. One is in border control in restricting importation of drugs through enlistment of enthusiast beadle dogs that have a well trained natural talent but also appear to enjoy their work.
Another is the work in forensics and police work, made known to the public through the TV show 'Inspector Rex', a well loved dog hero of the Alsatian breed. In reality many dogs are trained in police work for the purpose of tracking criminality. There are other breeds that can locate illness and abnormal conditions in human animals and prove invaluable in early detection of cancer and other diseases.
PLANTS FOR PERFUME
Plants provide our main source of aromatic resins and essential oils. There are an estimated 80,000 plant species in the world. Yet, pleasantly perfumed plants are rare and of the 42,000 plants calculated to inhabit Europe, only about one tenth of them have a pleasant perfume. Possibly the same result will be found worldwide. The 21st century will see an extension of research into plants of all continents and hopefully, the cultivation of many rare scented ones that will extend our range of perfumes.
COLORS OF PERFUMED FLOWERS
Nature seems to have 'favorites'. Her handiwork has produced a domination of certain colors in flowers throughout the world. At present botanists observe that the red and yellows outnumber the blues and purples. Scented flowers with orange, brownish or green colored flowers are few. Those that dominate with their fragrance are the white flowered plants. Of next importance are the yellow, then the red flowers.
NIGHT AND DAY PERFUMED PLANTS
In nature we have changes of scent that can seem dramatic. To some extent it must be that different times of the day or night attract the particular insects or creatures upon which they depend for pollination. Because of the different conditions that intensify plants scents, we must be sure to learn from their habits in order to have maximum enjoyment from their cultivation in our gardens.
Some flowers are without perfume in the day but at night exude a potent perfume. Strongly spotted cestrum and port wine magnolias are definitely nocturnal perfumes. Sweet peas and petunias are best viewed in warm daytime conditions. Other flowers give forth their best scent in the middle of the day. Yet there are those that exude perfume constantly! And the perplexing question comes to mind – can we exhaust the flowers if we inhale their scent too much?
It has now been established that flowers and living plants exude perfume in waves and cycles. But there is much that remains nature's secret. Mystic legend tells that the spirit of the flower is responsible for controlling the perfume and who are we to believe otherwise? Sometimes botanists record strange events … an American perennial, known as the Musk Plant Mimulus moschatus perplexed botanists when the plants all over the world suddenly and simultaneously lose their perfume. Even plants in the wild lost their scent at this time. It remains a botanical mystery to this day.
ELUSIVE NATURE OF VIOLET SCENT
One's enjoyment of the perfume of the violet flower is fleeting because of a substance within the violet flower called ionone that inhibits our sense of smell. It sees that the flower does not lose fragrance – we lose our perception and must take a few breaths to recover before enjoying another sweet sniff!
This as a food ingredient is much loved and appreciated in cooking. Usually we are not as sensitive to its potent odor however, when we are all sharing the same meal. However, there are some who find any garlic is obnoxious and the odor so objectionable that they do not like its smell at any time.
An old cottage remedy for lung problems of children was to place crushed garlic in their socks while they undertook normal activities of the day. At the end of the day the putrid garlic was removed and by that time, the breath of the child would reek of garlic. The method was claimed to help many children enslaved to work in industry and the mines centuries ago, live free of tuberculosis and lung disease.
Cassia flowers, that possess the scent of violets, make the breath of one who inhales it, smell of garlic. The scientist, Sawyer, thinks there must be some connecting link between these two scents. Yet another flower joins in – the Lily of Buenos Ares flower has an exquisite scent of violets until it is crushed and then it too, smells of garlic!
EACH PERSON'S SENSE DIFFERENT
Many perfumes are extracted by the process of crushing called maceration. The plant henna has an exquisite scent until it is crushed, and then it becomes almost unpleasant. Those who wish to enjoy it as a personal perfume then only use it in its fresh form.
If the scent could be taken as a true reflection of the plant's nature it would make our understanding easier. But we can not take for granted that a sweet smelling plant is sweet by nature, as a food, a perfume or as a remedy. Nor is the reverse true, as in the case of the putrid smelling fruit that so many people enjoy in taste as a 'divine fruit', the Durian. Many would describe that it 'stinks like hell and tastes like heaven'! It must be that our human taste perception is what changes, one person from another.
Not all perfumes are pleasant or have a positive impact upon us. Aside from perfumed flowers to which some of us may have an aversion, there are some scents of poisonous flowers that have been known to have been used as a means of sedation, or seduction in order cause a person to swoon in order to more easily inflict harm upon them such as the Dura flower.
For deliberate employment of fatal toxic scents and perfumes Catherine de Medici is well known.With the help of her infamous perfumer Rene, she concocted special lethal perfumes that were used as poisons to kill the unwanted, and the unwary!
There are natural aromas from which we instinctively protect ourselves, unconsciously aware that to inhale them will not be to our benefit. In addition we must be now aware of the many industrial chemicals and smells that are harmful to brain and body and cause disease.
PERFUME OF SAINTS
Accounts are not uncommon of extraordinary and beautiful perfumes around the bodies of saints. This is often referred to as 'the odor of sanctity' and is often associated with a body that remains incorrupt for an unusually long period of time.
There are many accounts of people becoming aware of deficient perfumes in sanctified environments, in their private meditations or in the presence of exceptional spiritual humans or divine beings.
MYSTERY OF CREATION OF PERFUMES
The Indian adept Vishudandha, is reported through reliable witnesses as having an exceptional ability to utilize the sun's rays to materialize any perfume an onlooker would request. He used only a simple magnifying glass and the handkerchief of the onlooker. After concentrating for a few minutes he would return the handkerchief to its owner, and it would be filled with the requested perfume! This, in addition to his wisdom, earned him a reputation as' the perfumed saint “- he who could manifest beautiful perfumes from out of the air.
BODY CHEMISTRY CAN ALTER PERFUME
Scents can alter with temperature, atmospheric effects and chemical alterations. In toilet perfumery this is well known. It is allowed that skin perfumes are bound to alter with a woman's health and changing conditions. Knowing this, most beauty clinics and perfumers will recommend sample applications before selection and purchase of the ideal personal perfume.
PERSONAL PERFUMES SHARED
Perhaps one of the strangest and regrettable aspects of the sense of smell is when scents are used as a personal perfume. Soon after we apply a cologne, our olfactory sense becomes neglected through familiarity and after a very short few minutes we are usually no longer aware of the perfume we have consciously applied. As we lose our sensitivity to our personal toilet perfume, we must remember that others not be so desensitized and as recipients will be acutely aware, sometimes to their disadvantage, but hopefully to their added pleasure, of our gift as they inhale intermittent wafts of delight !