Honoring the Fragrant Mind

Lakenda Wallace

Exploring the techniques, folklore, and history of perfume, herbs, and flowers sparked a question for me. If herbs and flowers have healing properties, would those healing properties be available once extracted into scents? Could scent actually elicit positive emotional states of being?

Research led me to Valerie Wormwood’s The Fragrant Mind. The sense of smell is the ONLY physical sense with direct access to the brain. It was one of early man’s first danger detectors. Smells bad, don’t eat. Smells good, take a try.

The concept: use scents to improve your mental outlook and happiness. Sure, it’s no Xanax, but let’s face it, every little bit helps. Think “A little grapefruit essential oil for happiness in the morning and a little lavender blend to settle at night.”

This was a new concept. The traditional perfume scents of the 1980’s and before were meant to capture attention through smoke-filled rooms. Perfumes, historically, were necessarily strong and overpowering to drown out the less pleasant smells of the day. However, in today’s smoke-free interiors (and regular bathing), those perfumes are the second-hand toxin.

Synthetic perfumes use chemicals to achieve those dense, forever-lasting scents. According to The Guardian, “Why Smelling good could come with a cost to health," outlines the many issues with our synthetically fragrant world. Cancer, reproductive effects (hormone issues), migraines, skin rashes, and more have been linked to the very worrisome chemicals lurking under the label under the legally-undisclosed cover of “fragrance.”

The overload of chemicals in car fresheners, fabric spays like Febreeze, and synthetic perfumes cause reactions for me. My sinuses become inflamed in minutes, literally, which triggers a migraine. This is where my search for a modern, natural equivalent began. Valerie Wormwood’s Fragrant Mind is where my passion was lit. I created Cashmere to help me feel more self-assured. The alchemical recipe for this includes roses for love, spikenard for self-love, and lavender for a calm demeanor.

The pursuit of beauty has been a world facing out. How am I perceived? What do I need to hide or cover up? But these perfumed cover ups are taking their toll.

Modern Peasant is trying to turn that beauty pursuit around. Beauty should be more of a quest to find ways to appreciate yourself-- flaws and all--so your inner radiance shines out. It is better than the alternative, fragranced perfumes and room sprays, which are, literally, making you sick.