Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Not all natural is good for you
I tried, in vain, to find where I had read the difference between synthetic and natural patchouli.
I had remembered some of it, was sketchy on the details, and thought "better get it right on the science", but here's what my memory offers up: I had once thought I was allergic to patchouli and could just not be around it. I've sent workers home because they were wearing patchouli, asked tattoo customers to return when they're not, made a rule where I once was boss that noone was allowed to wear it, and once had to leave a restaurant where my waitress smelled of the stuff, for I was nauseated and couldn't imagine eating.
Now I wear some scents with patchouli in them and think, "This stuff smells wonderful." Not always, of course, but there are a more than a few.
What's going on here? Not much. I still can't abide by what's sold in the health food stores or artsy clothing shops.
The difference is this: The patchouli in my perfume is not natural. Does that surprise you? After all, natural is supposed to be good, and synthetic is bad.
Here's what Luca Turin has to say in his book "Perfumes: The Guide"; ". . .the difference between naturals and synthetics is complexity. If you smell them, pure, natural raw materials are more interesting than aromachemicals. That's because most naturals are mixtures of tens, sometimes hundreds of molecules, and the nose recognizes this. . ."
So, if I remember correctly, there was just a whole lot more to be sensitive to in a natural patchouli. Who knew what it was exactly that was bothering my sensibilities?
Don't forget - everything is made up of chemicals. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's good for you. My mother grew lovely foxgloves in her garden, but I was told quite strenuously that I should not eat them. Not a silly warning, for I had been known to eat flowers (and even caught once on camera doing so). And not a silly warning, for eating digitalis can cause a heart attack.
Latex, which looks absolutely unnatural, is not. There's so much latex allergy in this country that most doctors and hospitals ask if one is allergic to it on intake forms.
Last week I layered a bit of Oshadi Roots, an all natural organic scent over some Bulgari Blu, which most assuredly has nothing natural in it anywhere. Neither scent smells great on its own, in my estimation, but the two together were heavenly (though not enough so to purchase either). The point? Together, naturals and synthetics can make a lovely brew.
I once thought I'd only wear cotton, wool and linen, but I've been thrilled with the jeans that have a bit of spandex in them. I'm not casting aside their comfort and their accomdation for a bit of weight change or a big meal just because there's something unnatural in them.
Image note: I've having quite a time of it today. My head hurts and my eyes ache and I can't find where I've read this or that. The discussion of natural vs. synthetics and allergies does continue in Perfumes: The Guide. I must apologize to Tania Sanchez for not mentioning she is the co-author. And, last but not least, somewhere is a quote from one of them about patchouli and the "dreaded dirty hippie smell".