Perfume Ingredients Perfume Ingredients

Frankincense(Olibanum)

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  • Frankincense(Olibanum)

Frankincense is a gum resin obtained from the bark of trees of the genus Boswellia, family Burseraceae. Frankincense trees grow in the barren lands of places like Ethiopia in Africa and Yemen and Oman on the Arabian Peninsula. The resin is obtained by making an incision in the bark. The sap is a milky white liquid at first, but it hardens on contact with air and forms pale yellow tear-shaped drops of resin, the tips of which resemble the female nipple. From this feature is derived the Japanese word for frankincense, nyuko or "breast incense."
The New Testament describes how when Christ was born the Three Wise Men came from the East bearing gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold. Frankincense symbolizes God, myrrh symbolizes the Messiah, and gold symbolizes God in the flesh. Frankincense is a holy offering to the divine that with its cleansing aroma purifies body and soul.

Myrrh

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  • Myrrh

Myrrh is a gum resin obtained from the bark of low shrubs of the genus Commiphora, family Burseraceae. Myrrh trees are native to arid highlands in the East African countries of Sudan and Somalia, in South Africa, and particularly along the Red Sea coast. As with frankincense, the resin is obtained by making an incision in the bark. Myrrh has a more pungent aroma than frankincense and possesses astringent properties, and it has been valued as a preservative since antiquity. The ancient Egyptians used it in large quantities as an embalming agent, and the Japanese term for "mummy," miira, is said to derive from the word "myrrh."

Ambergris

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  • Ambergris

Ambergris originates as a morbid concretion in the stomach and intestines of the sperm whale. The beaks of the squids that constitute the sperm whale’s regular diet accumulate inside the animal’s belly as indigestible lumps of stones; these are coated in bile and gastric juices and then expelled from the body. That excretion is ambergris, or "gray amber." Ambergris floats on the oceans for months and years, in the process losing its noisome odor under the combined effects of sunlight, seawater, air, and microbes, until it becomes a waxy mass ranging in color from dark brown to gray that emanates an exquisite fragrance.
In China ambergris was so prized that it was called "dragon saliva," whence its Japanese name. For the lovely ladies of the imperial harem it was an indispensable love potion. The eunuchs of the Qing Dynasty, it is said, were so intent on obtaining the stuff that they sought it from the Portuguese and forfeited Macao in exchange.
Today synthetic amber is used in its place.

Musk

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  • Musk

Musk is a secretion from the reproductive glands of the male musk deer, which inhabits mountainous regions around Tibet, Yunnan, and Nepal. It is obtained by removing and drying the "musk pod" located in the deer’s lower abdomen. The scent is emitted by the male musk deer to attract females during mating season and to mark its territory. The kanji (Chinese character) for "musk," , consists of two elements, "deer" and "shoot (an arrow)," indicating that the scent emitted by the deer travels far like an arrow shot from a bow. It thus symbolizes how powerful the aroma of musk is.
Known as the king of fragrances, musk has been used since olden times in both East and West as an elixir, aphrodisiac, and perfume, and 15,000 musk deer used to be killed a year. But recently hunting of the species has been banned under legislation to protect wildlife. Today, therefore, synthetic musk is almost exclusively used.

Spikenard

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  • Spikenard

The Bible tells how Mary of Bethany, having repented of her sins and entered the path of faith, poured nard on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The nard there referred to is spikenard.
Spikenard is a perennial herb of the valerian family native to the Himalayan region around Nepal and Bhutan. The ointment is obtained from its rhizome.
Spikenard has been treasured since olden times as a raw material for perfumes and joss sticks and as an aromatic stomachic.