Perfume notes, mystery of the sense of smell

In perfumery a mixture that smells different from its components is called an accord. However the nose retains its capacity to analyse the accord in order to detect each component.
This is very stange.

Let us remark that the accord will be perceived as a smell of its own by everybody, but only the persons who know the ingredients will be able to analyse the accord.
Analysis of smell requires the help of the evolved part of  the brain, particularly the orbitofrontal cortex and the language center.

I have met people who are able to detect the presence in a perfume of the smallest part of an essence that they abhor, rose or Frankincense for instance.
Their nose does not detect the smell of rose or frankincense in the perfume, there is too little of that in the perfume to be detected, I know it well enough, having composed the perfume myself.

What they detect is the emotion that these smells associate.
These persons did hate rose or Frankincense due to a trauma. They had been exposed to them in a situation of stress and distress and had memorized these smells associating them with the negative emotions lived during that situation.
Their nose acted as a detector, it detected the presence of the essence associated with distress and notified the danger they represented (according to their personal experience) by reproducing the record of the emotion.

The facts about the nose illustrated in these reflections are three:

The nose has a synthetic perception of scents, thousands of aromatic molecules are identified as a single odour.

The nose has an analytic perception of scents, and can be used as an instrument by the brain in order to split an odour in each of its components.

The nose can act as a gas chromatography instrument, informing us about the presence of some components in a scent that are of particular relevance for our survival.

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu: the earache

The earache is so widespread in Timbuktu that even I got it after a month. It is probably the desert wind that transports the poisoned dust street into people’s ears. Fortunately before it happened to me, I had a lot of practice with curing the population, so that I did not suffer from it for more that one day. If some day earache should happen to you without any medicines around, simply use warm olive oil inside the ear. This all Italian home remedy functions well, but for aromatherapy and extra efficacy I have always added one drop of lavender essential oil to it.

At the beginning in Timbuktu I continued to successfully cure earache with lavender and olive oil. But since I had brought little lavender with me and I had many patients, my supply ran out quickly, so I thought I had to find a substitute remedy.

I picked the Anti Sharks oil because it contains lots of lavender and it is very anti-inflammatory. It is fantastic – the pain passes instantly leaving a sense of freshness in the ear and a physical feeling of the oil curing the disease, substituting pain with pleasure and relief. One drop per every millilitre of olive oil is enough and according to the capacity of the ear three to ten drops of remedy are used.

Often I have observed that one application is enough, but for most cases three days of treatment with three applications a day have been resolving. Anti Sharks is made with the essential oils of lavender, geranium and peppermint.

The earache can degenerate into very serious conditions, the best way to illustrate it is the case of little Buyah. His healing in 10 days shows again the great power of Anti Sharks.


When his mother brought him to me. The child is suffering very much, he does not eat and does not sleep at night. His gaze stunned me very much, it was not child’s. The neck, the chin and the cheek under the ear are swollen. The colour is red and it shows a deep inflammation.

Mother is very worried. I used immediately pure Anti Sharks and gave to mother a bottle of essence diluted in olive oil to use at home.


After the first day of treatment with Anti Squali. Swelling has extended to the eye, but the colour is not red anymore. Child is still suffering but much less and finally he could sleep at night. Mother is still worried.


After four days – The child is suffering less and he has started to eat again, swelling is reduced and the mother is reassured.

The abscess has formed under the ear and the eyes are no more swollen. It is a very painful acute phase. Besides Anti Sharks I frequently wet the abscess to favour it’s burst. We wait another three days.

Second day.


For next three days the mother of Buyah did not return to me with the boy. I know that when it is like this it means that the things are going well. Nonetheless I was wondering how was the little patient and in that moment I saw them coming to me.

The day of joy. His mother brought him to me – the abscess has burst and Buyah has healed.

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu: ringworms and other

Ringworm is a disease that affects mostly children. It makes them suffer a lot and the itching is so strong that they scratch their head until it bleeds, sores get enlarged and the pain prevents them from sleeping. Ringworm makes children’s life miserable. Timbuktu hospitals’ or traditional therapists’ remedies are so expensive that most families cannot afford to buy them.
Traditional medicine in Timbuktu is no alternative to hospital for the health problem. The remedies are prepared and sold by the “tradithérapeutes” themselves. They depend entirely on their sale for their living and when they do not overprice them, they convince their patients that their case necessisates several remedies, quickly making a sum that amounts to several days of wages.
In Timbuktu people fear the doctors more than the disease.

There are different scalp diseases in Timbuktu – one ugliest than the other, but fortunately I brought with me an important supply of the best remedy for all of them – Anti Squali (Anti Sharks). A mix of lavender, peppermint and geranium.

Others… pus under the skin

Sore on the top of the head…


In Timbuktu Anti Sharks heals all of these disturbs – one does not even have to know what is the disease, just to use the remedy. It must be used in olive oil (60 drops per 50 ml of oil) three times a day after washing the shaved head with soap. After the first day, inflammation, itching and pain disappear and by the third day the regression of sores becomes visible.

A traditional therapist told me that along with ointment they also give a remedy to drink because this disease comes from the stomach. So, besides Anti Squali oil, I always prescribe a piece of sugar with three drops of this essence before going to sleep to sufficiently grown children (the taste is not good).
In two or three weeks the healing is complete.

Anti Sharks is used for all disturbs that result in itching such as scalp diseases or that produce infection and pus (like the case of Ibrahim, see previous post). It has been the remedy that I used more than any other in Timbuktu.

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu, tricks and recipes: haemorrhoids and headache

The streets of Timbuktu in a day of sand wind

For a long time doctors have observed strange epidemics of non contagious diseases, for example rheumatism or ulcer. Cosmo–geological causes have been assumed –  that means solar winds or the fluctuations of terrestrial magnetic field. Two years ago in Timbuktu the major disturb I was asked to cure were haemorrhoids. A real epidemic disease. So when I returned this year I brought with me a big supply of a truly miraculous remedy for this problem – the essential oil of cypress.

Use it in its pure form of essential oil (although a bit hot) or diluted in olive oil (40 drops for 8 ml), it has to be used externally every time one goes to toilet. One should clean oneself with water instead of paper tissues, and then apply the product. Results are rapid and definitive.

But when I arrived in Timbuktu I found an epidemic headache. In majority of cases it was caused by sinusitis. In order to recognize this, it is enough to knock with the tips of a finger on the arch of eyebrows. If patient feels pain, the Para nasal sinuses are inflamed.
The sand winds that sweep the city all year lift the dirty dust of the streets and are the obvious cause of this epidemic disease. Sewers pour out in the streets, and everyone spits on the ground.

The dust of Timbuktu is a real poison and it is not a surprise that women and children, who do not wear the turban with which men wrap their head, are the most affected by all respiratory diseases included sinusitis. However I wonder why two years ago, when hygienic situation in Timbuktu was the same, this epidemic was not an issue. Two things have changed in the city – the gigantic “Orange” telephone antenna and the taste of tap water that smells of a chemical product that is not chlorine. Maybe bleach. Right away I suspected the water because I also had the headache starting from the first days.

However with aromatherapy the solution to migraine and sinusitis is the same and simple – it is the essential oil of peppermint. It is applied on painful places, eyebrows, temples, cranium or also neck because many headaches can have as origin a problem of neck vertebras and muscles. Peppermint has an immediate effect on the symptoms of sinusitis (headache, nose congestion of and inflamed Para nasal cavities.
With long-term use as a symptomatic cure, this essential oil also works on the cause of the disease until it resolves it definitively. In Timbuktu, however, I obtained straight away long lasting results that I could not have obtained with peppermint alone by using also acupuncture needles on eyebrows.

I went along experimenting the use of aromatherapy and acupuncture together with other problems such as arthritis and back pains with very good results.

Acupuncture needles and essential oils for headache

Aromatherapy in Timbuktu: tricks and recipes, the toothache

One of the most frequent problems for which people of Timbuktu came to me was toothache.

In Timbuktu dentist is an unaffordable luxury for almost everyone. This fact accompanied by the loss of Islamic traditions, including cleaning teeth five times a day with a brush stick has caused an enormous problem of oral hygiene with dramatic cases of infections and great affliction amongst children and adults.

With aromatherapy the solution to the pain is rather simple – one drop of clove on caries has an immediate analgesic effect. Besides, frequent use of this essence can remove tooth infections and stop caries.

The problem which I stumbled upon was how to put the drop on the tooth when it’s on the upper part of the jaw and how to allow the patient to continue the treatment for next few days alone. Putting the head upside down is not practical and to treat every person in this way would take too much time.

The solution is there – put 50ml of water and 9 drops of essential clove oil in an empty bottle; shake energetically and pour the remedy with which you will rinse your mouth in the bottle cap.

In the case of  Ibrahim, the essence of clove was used in this very way. He could hardly open the mouth and talked with difficulty when he first came, but the grave infection resistant to the antibiotics was resolved thanks to the Anti Shark essence (Lavender, Geranium, Pepermint). It was  used pure on the swollen jaw and neck every day when he visited me, and he applied by himself a dilution with olive oil when he was home.

After a week I had him use the essence in internal use, 3 drops on a sugar 2 times daily. Anti Sharks is the  best essence against all types of inflammations and local infections. It penetrates deeply and brings immediate relief. 

AbdesSalaam Attar
Medico Profumiere

After 10 days of aromatherapy, joy rediscovered

Thoughts from Timbuktu: olfactory jewels


I really did not  choose to become a natural perfumer or to make exclusively natural perfumes. I noticed from the beginning that I could  successfully use natural essences to cure myself while chemical ingredients, which I also used to wear undiluted on the skin caused me allergies and heavy headaches.

Or at least naturalty was not my initial choice. I started with ingredients that the public clamored for – musk, amber, violet, sandal, rose, patchouli and so on, but I was always searching for something better, for the most beautiful smells, and soon I recognized that which I was searching for in natural essences.

I chose to make natural perfumes as someone chooses to work with precious metals and rare gems instead of plastic and pearls of colored glass. From the aesthetic point of view I could have considered to insert synthetic aromas into my natural compositions but there were two things that prevented me from doing so.
The first was my experience with allergies and with the inconvenience they caused. The second was that I wanted only the best, and in the world of scents the best simply means the natural.

An emerald is more beautiful than a piece of green glass, it is not a question of taste, but of knowledge. Costume jewelry of glass is loved by children and girls, it makes scene with a small price and there are real masterpieces of costume jewelry made with common materials, but the real ladies wear real jewels and a bride would never accept anything else than a golden ring and an eternal diamond.

There are many things that jewelers cannot do with their stunning materials – for example the gorgeous glass windows of cathedrals are not made out of rubies, emeralds or gold, but of colored glass and lead. However altar vases are made of gold with mounted gemstones, and crowns of kings and queens that step up on it to be consecrated are priceless unique jewels.

The commercial perfumery has a right to it’s existence as much as costume jewelry of colored glass and plastic does. Until it does not poison the public…with IFRA (International Fragrance Association) certified ingredients.

AbdesSalaam Attar
Composer Perfumer