Dee's Blog


Chanel No 5

CHANEL No. 5 comes under scrutiny for its use of herbal ingredients

Some of the world’s best loved perfumes are now falling foul of the EU over legislation that has hit everything from herbal medicine to bananas in recent times.

The new legislation is now focusing on some of the natural ingredients found in perfumes including Chanel No 5. Tree Moss is a key ingredient in Chanel’s iconic scent, giving it its distinctive woody fragrance. The EU's Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety has now listed 100 possible allergens that they say could put consumers at risk, and are calling for Tree Moss to be completely banned. As a result of the regulations, the affected fragrances would be forced to use new ingredients and the scents themselves will be changed forever.

Mosses and lichens have been used in herbal medicine as well as in perfumery for centuries. Actions attributed to mosses and lichens include being antibiotic, antifungal, antispasmodic and analgesic. From the earliest times, Western and Chinese herbalists administered them orally as an expectorant and topically to treat infections and ulcers. Today, they are used in poultices, applied locally to help heal infected wounds and as a tincture or infusion to treat tuberculosis and bronchitis.

Every day people all over the world use fragrances and creams which contain possible allergens. Many ingredients in perfumes and skincare products are known to be allergens and this has always been the case. This is nothing new. Sometimes these allergens react with our skin and sometimes they don’t. So, if you know you are sensitive then don’t use it and when you begin using a new product, always patch test a tiny area first.

This is another example of a knee jerk reaction by EU legislators regarding ingredients and herbs which have been used for centuries. Common sense would say that any one of us could be sensitive to many things, from foods and fabrics to cosmetics and fragrances. Nothing has changed here for centuries. We need to recognise this and work round it and with it. Banning an iconic perfume or indeed a much used herbal remedy because of a perceived possible allergy, is removing from many the benefits of herbs and the pleasures of fragrance.



Dee Atkinson MNIMH

Dee is one of the UK's top herbalists and owns and runs D. Atkinson Herbalist in Edinburgh - a herbal dispensary and shop which provide a wide range of herbal medicines, vitamins, supplements, herbal skincare as well as a herbal dispensary. Next door is Napiers Clinic.

Dee qualified as a Medical Herbalist in 1988 and took over Napiers the Herbalists in 1990, building it up into one of the UKs most respected and trusted Complementary Medicine Clinics.

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