Friday, March 19, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Seaweed

"Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us
so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments
or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers
like the homesick refugees of a long war."
~ Loren Eiseley

The weekend is upon us as is the arrival of sweet Springtime with warmer and longer days. Since the GreenWitch launches in the morrow I thought to highlight the fragrance of Seaweed today.


I've got a vial of Seaweed absolute from France. The aromatic of this rich, dark, viscous perfume raw material has a strong lichen and woody quality with a thread briney. Arctander describes it as "...seaweed drying on a saltwater beach after a heavy storm or surf." Many different types of distillates of this ancient material exist including: Fucus vesiculosus L. commonly referred to as Bladder seaweed, Dictyota dichtoma from Scandinavian and Carragheen also termed Irish Moss.

(A little flashback moment as my mind remembers making marbled paper with Irish Moss. Thus as I write this I am pondering finding my container and tincturing the material for future editions of GreenWitch.)

I like to pair Seaweed absolute with Oakmoss and Lichen as I have done in GreenWitch and Vera. Both these fragrances contain the concept of the ocean as part of the fabric of their story.
Due to the expense and limited production of the material it is not often used in perfumery, although now it is extremely rare to find true nature components in main stream perfume these days.

In "An Introduction to Perfumery" Seaweed is grouped in the Marine family but is not considered to be a good example of this family due to it's darker, aromatic profile. To achieve the more briney aspects of the material I suggest diluting it down in alcohol or with a tincture of seaweed.

Since the fragrance material is an absolute and not an essential oil there is no reference to it for aromatherapy. In general absolutes are not used for aromatherapy purposes because of the solvents involved in the distillation process. Instead I have whole pieces of it in the bath, which definitely makes you feel like a mermaid!

According to Steven Schecter, N.D "There is no family of foods more protective against radiation and environmental pollutants than sea vegetables ... sea vegetables can prevent assimilation of different radionuclitides, heavy metals such as cadmium, and other environmental toxins."

This statement above applies to consuming seaweed and using it in bath and body products. Oceanic material, like seaweed, has been found to contain electrolytic magnetic action which will facilitate in the bodies release of stored waste. As we shift from winter to spring this is the ideal time to support the body in ridding unwanted baggage such as excess body fluids.

"The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day."
~ Hippocrates

To make a detoxifying salt scrub or bath salts grind some dried seaweed in your food processor or coffee grinder and add to salt. Begin by measuring your salt into a metal or glass bowl. Add your carrier and/or infused oil, the ground seaweed and essential oils. Stir with a metal spoon, fork or ideally a whisker. Spoon into a dry, clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

Base ingredients:
Sea Salt (1 cup)
Carrier Oil or an infused oil (1 Tbsp)
Vitamin E oil (1 drop or the contents of a capsule)
Ground Seaweed (1 Tbsp, more if you like the aroma)
Optional: Essential oil synergy

The recommended essential oil dilution for 1 cup salt is 5-7 drops essential oil synergy. I suggest playing around with the amount of carrier oil to salt to fit your liking.

“Love is like seaweed; even if you have pushed it away,
you will not prevent it from coming back.”
~ Nigerian Proverb

Steffen Arctander "Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin"
Tony Curtis and David G. Williams"An Introduction to Perfumery"
Shirley's Wellness Cafe

The Depth of the Sea by Sir Edward Burne-Jones via Art Magick
A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse
via Art Magick
Old engravings on Parchment by Roxana Villa

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