We're so excited to welcome Aromahead graduate Lucy Miller to the blog! She's an ARNP, Clinical Aromatherapist, and Natural Perfumer. In this guest post, Lucy shares her experience of India from an aromatherapist's perspective. Take it away, Lucy!
I'm part aromatherapist, part plant whisperer and mostly a natural perfumer!
I am completely passionate about the intimate relationship I’ve developed with plants and flowers during my seven-year aromatherapy and natural perfume education. Now as I’m blending oils, making tinctures or creating a perfume, I often find myself thinking about botany, plant chemistry, and the subtleties and personality of each plant. These thoughts are likely driven by my scientific studies, which were part of an earlier medical career and my certification in advanced clinical aromatherapy.
For me, it’s not possible to separate the pure aesthetics from the science of the plants. And while not all of my blends have mass appeal, I have gained a deep appreciation for the complex character and benefits of each oil… a few drops in a relaxing evening bath, a drop or two into my diffuser, a trickle added to freshly laundered sheets…ahh! These oils are intoxicating and beautiful!
This fall, my scented journey led me to Thovalai, a sweet and sleepy village in the Kanyakumari district of India, situated 12 km from Nagercoil, and on the way to Tirunelveli. Large windmill farms generate electric power and add a rich beauty to the surrounding floral plantations.
Home to the famous Tamil Nadu Flower Market. One of the largest in the region, the market is truly a feast for all the senses.
The sounds of price bidding, the sights, and the smells make it one of the most special places in India. Alive with activity from 9:00 in the morning until dusk, the variety of locally grown plants and flowers is simply amazing. It was at Thovalai that I discovered a rare variety of Jasmine flower called 'Pichchi Vellai' or 'Pichchip poo'--its soft, exotic aroma immediately captivated me, and I began the search for the oil.
In India, fresh flowers are used in celebration, in spiritual rituals as honor offerings to the Hindu deities at Temple, and by people of all walks of life. Large hand-made garlands, or flower malas, are made on the edges of the market by young men and women--most of these garlands will find their way to the streets to be sold.
For a perfumer, India has a lot to offer, and for a spiritual seeker even more. The one thing I brought home with me is a deep appreciation for the richness of culture, the diversity of people, the profound beauty of fresh flower malas, and a simple way of life.
By Lucy Miller, ARNP, Clinical Aromatherapist, Natural Perfumer – Graduate of Aromahead Institute