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The Inspiring Journey of Perfume Throughout History

The Inspiring Journey of Perfume Throughout History

People use perfume every day. Statistics for the perfume industry show that annual global perfume sales revenue reached US$27.5 billion in 2012. In the US alone, the annual industry revenue reached US$5.2 billion. More details about the American perfume industry can be seen in the following table:

Annual global perfume industry sales revenue $27.5 billion
Annual US perfume industry sales revenue $5.2 billion
Percent of American women who don’t use perfume 17 %
Number of perfume brands carried by US department stores in 2002 756
Number of perfume brands carried by US department stores in 2010 1,160
Percent of fragrance market held by Coty Inc 13 %
Percent of designer perfume brands priced at over $75 46 %
Percent of celebrity perfume brands priced at over $75 1 %

 

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source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/perfume-industry-statistics/

So, if only 17% of American women don’t use perfume, then a staggering 83% do. And yet, how many of us know the history of perfume? One thing’s for sure, it’s been used for so long that it’s hard to pinpoint the time when the first perfume was made because fragrances were used long before the beginning of written history.

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The first perfumes

It’s believed that the first perfumes were used in the Bronze Age, or possibly even the Iron Age, somewhere in East Asia. Of course, we shouldn’t start picturing people from that time using perfume before going out hunting. So, what did it actually mean back then? Exactly what it should, considering that the word perfume comes from the Latin per fumus, meaning “through smoke.” People used to burn scented herbs and flowers in order to create an odor that would please the gods during their rituals.

Enfleurage

The capacity of the same herbs and flowers to alter and improve the smell of our skin was later discovered by the Egyptians around 1000 BC, or at least that was when the first bottles of perfume were made. Perfume oils were extracted through enfleurage, a method in which flower petals are placed on glass, over a thin layer of fat. This method is hardly ever used nowadays because of the high cost and duration of the process, but back then it was the only way people could extract aromatic oils from plants. An interesting fact is that glass had only just been discovered in those times, and it was often considered more precious than jewels. Perfumery was one of the few fields it was worth using glass for.

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Distillation

From around 1000 BC, perfumes started being used throughout the world in various religions, and priests from every culture acquired perfumes for their rituals and celebrations. Meanwhile, perfumes became quite a common thing among the richest people in the great empires, such as those of the Romans and the Egyptians. Arabs then advanced the process of making perfumes one step further through distillation, a method that is widely used nowadays.

Obtaining a more delicate scent had a great impact, and people started using perfumes not only on special occasions, but also in their everyday lives. Soon a large variety of perfumes had been developed, catering to different personal tastes. A few rich people even had their own perfumeries, like Catherina de Medici, who linked the laboratory and her home through a secret passage, so that no one could steal the recipes.

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These are only the highlights of the journey from the simple odor of burning herbs to the perfume samples waiting to be tested in stores all over the world, then to be brought home to complete our fragrance collections. To truly appreciate something we can’t imagine living without, we need to know its journey through history. Perfume’s history is far from being over and each and every one of us can help write it bit by bit.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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