El perfume

Éste es el adelanto de mi columna del próximo domingo en La Capital

Gattefosse sintió el profundo ardor en su mano y supo de inmediato que la quemadura iba a ser severa. Instintivamente, el químico francés atinó a mojar rápidamente su mano en el líquido que tenía más cerca en su laboratorio. No era, como él pensaba, un frasco de agua, sino de aceite esencial de lavanda.

Para su sorpresa, y como en tantos otros descubrimientos por azar, pronto se dio cuenta que la quemadura sanó rápidamente y sin dejar cicatrices. René-Maurice Gattefosse se convirtió desde ese momento en un investigador incansable de las propiedades curativas de los aceites aromáticos y en el fundador de la Aromaterapia, término que acuñó en un artículo que escribió en 1928.

En rigor, esto había sido sólo un redescubrimiento, ya que el uso de perfumes y aceites aromáticos para buscar el bienestar físico y espiritual se remontaba a los antiguos chinos y egipcios. Hipócrates, el padre de la medicina, practicaba “fumigaciones” con fines aromáticos y medicinales y un perfumista griego, de nombre Megallus, creó un perfume llamado Megaleion (esencialmente mirra sobre una base de aceite), que tenía propiedades antiinflamatorias y cicatrizantes.

Aunque en la actualidad es controversial su efecto medicinal, se acepta que inducen la relajación y el estado de bienestar. Y es precisamente el ansia moderna de relajación y bienestar (una de las tendencias sociales más importantes y potencialmente lucrativas), la que ha disparado los negocios relacionados con la aromaterapia.

Hierbas y Esencias (www.hierbasyesencias.com.ar) es una empresa rosarina que crece a caballo de esa tendencia. Fundada en 2002 por un ingeniero químico y una ejecutiva de cuentas, basa su estrategia en integrar la producción desde el cultivo mismo, que se hace sin el uso de agroquímicos en su propio campo.

H&E se mueve en un mercado global que superó los 2.300 milones de dólares, incluyendo productos como velas, difusores, aceites esenciales y sprays. Se calcula que el 34,4% de la población mundial utiliza estos productos y que el 46,9% tiene menos de 35 años.

La aromaterapia forma parte de una tendencia robusta y con gran futuro. Gattefosse estaría orgulloso.

72 pensamientos sobre “El perfume”

  1. Hola Eduardo, muy interesante lo del francés lo había leído hace mucho y no lo tenía presente. Hace poco leí algo que me fascinó, dicen que de acuerdo a descubrimientos arqueológicos, las pinturas en las paredes de las cuevas de Lascaux, de 18.000 años AC, ya hablan del uso de plantas en medicina. También estuvieron presentes en civilizaciones hebreas, árabes, chinas e hindúes. Y yo creo que aunque no haya registro, antes también, hasta los perros saben instintivamente que cuando andan mal tienen que comer hierbas.
    No puedo más que ponerme paranoico cuando se habla de “lo controversial de su uso medicinal” cuando está probado que muchas esencias tienen efectos terapéutico no solo por sus propiedades antisépticas y desinflamatorias (como descubrió Gattefosse) sino también sobre las emociones. El sistema límbico, que comanda la actividad sensomotora, el hambre, la sed y el sexo, además de estar también muy ligado con el actuar de nuestras emociones a través de un complejo sistema neuroquímico dentro del cual se producen ciertas hormonas como la encefalina, serotonina, noradrenalina, endorfina, etc, las que influyen luego en forma determinante sobre nuestro estado de ánimo, es el área del cerebro que está conectada con el sentido del olfato y es la parte más “vieja” de nuestro cerebro.
    La venta libre de esencia quizás no sea rentable para la medicina tradicional, pero por suerte, y por lo que vos contas, sí lo es para muchos otros.
    Los que las consumimos… gracias!

  2. Gracias Leonardo por la información. Por otro lado, estoy de acuerdo con vos. Buena parte de la controversia sobre el efecto medicinal de las terapias alternativas se debe a que afectan a la industria tradicional. Puede haber, sin embargo, un grupo de personas, profesionales de la medicina o no que descrea pero sinceramente, no motivados en intereses económicos.
    Por otro lado, como bien decís, las vinculaciones entre emociones y bienestar o trastornos físicos es bastante evidente. Pienso que el cuerpo de investigaciones sobre este tema no va a hacer más que aumentar, despejando gran parte de esa controversia.

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