Many ancient perfumes were made by extracting natural oils from plants through pressing and steaming. The oil was then burned to scent the air. Since the beaginning of recorded history, humans have attempted to mask or enhance their own odour by using perfume, which emulates nature's pleasant smells. Many natural and man-made materials have been used to make perfume to apply to the skin and clothing, to put in cleaners and cosmetics, or to scent the air. Because of differences in body chemistry, temperature, and body odours, no perfume will smell exactly the same on any two people.
Before perfumes can be composed, the odourants used in various perfume compositions must first be obtained. Synthetic odourants are produced through organic synthesis and purified. Odourants from natural sources require the use of various methods to extract the aromatics from the raw materials. Enfleurage, a process that uses odourless fats that are solid at room temperature to capture the fragrant compounds exuded by plants, is the oldest of fragrance extraction techniques. The process can be "cold" enfleurage or "hot" enfleurage.
In cold enfleurage, a large framed plate of glass, called a chassis, is smeared with a layer of animal fat, usually From pork or beef, and allowed to set. Botanical matter, usually petals or whole flowers, is then placed on the fat and its scent is allowed to diffuse into the fat over the course of 1-3 days. The process is then repeated by replacing the spent botanicals with fresh ones until the fat has reached a desired degree of fragrance saturation. In hot enfleurage, solid fats are heated and botanical matter is stirred into the fat. Spent botanicals are repeatedly strained from the fat and replaced with fresh material until the fat is saturated with fragrance. In both instances, the fragrance-saturated fat is now called the "enfleurage pomade". The enfleurage pomade is washed or soaked in ethyl alcohol to draw the fragrant molecules into the alcohol. The alcohol is then separated from the fat and allowed to evaporate, leaving behind the essential oil of the botanical matter. The spent fat is usually used to make soaps since it is still relatively fragrant.
This method of fragrance extraction is by far one of the oldest. It is also highly inefficient and costly but was the sole method of extractfng the fragrant compounds in delicate floral botanical such as jasmine and tuberose, which would be destroyed or denatured by the high temperatures required by methods of fragrance extraction such as steam distillation. The method is now superseded by more efficient techniques such as solvent extraction or supercritical fluid extraction using liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) or similar compressed gases.
The results ot the extraction are either essential oils, absolutes, concretes, or butters, depending on the amount of waxes in the extracted product. All these techniques will, to a certain extent, distort the odour of the aromatic compounds obtained from the raw materials. This is due to the use of heat, harsh solvents, or through exposure to oxygen in the extraction process which will denature the aromatic compounds, which either change their odour character or renders them odourless.
The country-island Madagascar-known for its extremely unique biodiversity-is recognised as holding tremendous potential for the development of new products in the essential oils, cosmetic and body care, due to the fact that 80% of its flora and fauna is endemic meaning so unique that they are found no where else in the world.
For 85 million years, the flora and fauna of Madagascar evolved in isolation from the rest of the world. Examples of the totally unique essential oils and botanicals from Madagascar include the Ravinsara leaf known for its aroma, spice and therapeutic applications. Aroma-therapists believe that the oil can travel deep into muscle tissues and joints. Some have suggested that the oil has antiviral properties, and it is thought to relieve rheumatism and joint inflammation. Another totally unique essential oil from Madagascar to relieve rheumatic pains is Katrafay, which is also used in Madagascar by women after giving birth as a fortifier and tonic.It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.Cinnamosma fragrance is used traditionally as a decoction for treatment of malarial symptoms. The essential oil is used for tired and aching muscles.
According to suppliers, there are quite a few other high quality aromatherapy oils produced in Madagascar. These include niaouli used for clearing, cleansing and mental stimulation; lantana camara used for flu, colds, coughs, fevers, yellow fever, dysentery and jaundice; ylang ylang used as an aphrodisiac; cinnamon (bark and leaf) used to destroy microbes and bacteria, and holding promise for people with diabetes; tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) used to treat skin ailments; wild orange petit grains, used as a lively and soothing fragrance and to relieve dry skin; a unique ginger (fresh) oil used for circulation, aching muscles and nausea; and clove bud oil, which has been utilised as a local anesthetic in dentistry, as a food preservative and as an alternative to Deet.
Because perfumes and essential oils depend heavily on harvests of plant substances and the availability of animal products, perfumery can often turn risky. Thousands of flowers are needed to obtain just one pound of essential oils, and if the season's crop is destroyed by disease or adverse weather, perfumeries could be in jeopardy. In addition, consistency is hard to maintain in natural oils. The same species of plant raised in several different areas with slightly different growing conditions may not yield oils with exactly the same scent.
Problems are also encountered in collecting natural animal oils. Many animals once killed for the value of their oils are on the endangered species list and now cannot be hunted. For example, sperm whale products like ambergris have been outlawed since 1977. Also, most animal oils in general are difficult and expensive to extract. Deer musk must come from deer found in Tibet and China; civet cats, bred in Ethiopia, are kept for their fatty gland secretions; beavers from Canada and the former Soviet Union are harvested for their castor.
Synthetic perfumes have allowed perfumers more freedom and stability in their craft, even though natural ingredients are considered more desirable in the very finest perfumes. The use of synthetic perfumes and oils eliminates the need to extract oils from animals and removes the risk of a bad plant harvest, saving much expense and the lives of many animals.
The flowchart below demonstrates the cold enfleurage method of fragrance extraction. Complete the flowchart with NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage.