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April 16 2014

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Aromatherapy, The Exhibit

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Fragrance has come to symbolize an instrument of attraction, something you can simply spritz on to stimulate your own senses—or those of the attractive guy you see on the subway every morning (you know who you are). However, the curative nature of certain essences has long been the subject of much study and intrigue. Predating the crystal-toting hippie healers that you may associate with the concept of aromatherapy, European monasteries and royal courts have had gardens devoted to raising plants for use in medicinal perfumes for centuries. It’s all detailed in author Annick Le Guérer’s new book Quand le Parfum Portait Remède: Jardins des Cloîtres, Jardins des Princes (When Perfume Cured: Gardens of the Cloisters and Princes), which is the impetus for an exhibit currently taking place at Musée Saint-Antoine de l’Abbaye in Paris. Givaudan perfumer Daniela Andrier and International Flavors & Fragrance’s (IFF) Dominique Ropion re-created 14 plant-based fragrances with reported health benefits from recipes dating from the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century—six of which are also mentioned in Le Guerer’s tome. The exhibit runs through November and is definitely worth, er, sniffing out, if you’re in Paris for the shows and beyond.

Photo: Courtesy of Garde-Temps

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