This proving was a project of our fourth year at the Vancouver Homeopathic Academy under the supervision of director Dr. Murray Feldman MCH, RSHom, CCH. The proving started the second week of January 2008 in Vancouver, BC Canada. This was a Hahnemannian double-blind research. The proving was conducted following Jeremy Sherr’s book: “The Dynamics and Methodology of Homeopathic Proving” 2nd edition; and Richard Pitt’s “Tobacco” proving format.
We’d like to thank our teachers from the Vancouver Homeopathic Academy for the unconditional support they gave us throughout our 4 years of study. Murray Feldman, Susan Gimble, Laurie Dack, Kim Boutillier and Lianne South. A special thanks to all the provers who participated and lived this remedy and the supervisors.
Perfume has been around since immemorial times. It has accompanied man in many rites, myths and beliefs. It piqued our curiosity why this had never been proved before. Perfume has had a major impact on civilization one way or another. It has been present in different forms and has evolved as has the technology of man.
WHY CHANEL No5
The reaction of people to perfume is an aspect that intrigued us; it is almost like a love-or-hate reaction, as some can’t stop smelling it and it is a big part of their daily routine and life linked through perfume to memories, stories, special events, culture. It is almost like comfort food, almost like a craving or urge to get immersed in the sensation that starts when we first open the beautiful crystal bottle that captures the essence of a magical translucent liquid like a crystal potion full of beauty, like a personal distinctive or a little extra something to boosts our confidence and energy. We feel pretty wearing perfume or some of us can’t go out without it, surrounding our aura with hints of flowers, woods and species masterly blended. But other people have a strong adverse reaction to it, to the point of having an allergic reaction, and all the symptoms arising from this like headaches, irritability, nausea, sneezing. This polarity seems so interesting that it captured our curiosity. What is behind perfume that affects human beings in such diverse ways? It is not only about a physical reaction but emotionally too it is connected to memories from our past.
How can this substance benefit human health based on the law of similars? What if perfume potentized could cure or help symptoms that in its pure state, it can produce. Then the journey began with the carefully chosen essence that represents Perfume as such, and Chanel No. 5 became the chosen formula.
We chose CHANEL NO.5 because it is the best known perfume in the world. It is an icon of the world of perfume and is associated with the images of change in women during a period where women broke with many stereotypes and expectations.
The whole creative process of Chanel No5 was as Coco Chanel, its creator, says: “Something abstract and unique”. This was a major aspect about choosing it. Till today, people identify Chanel No5 as the first brand that pops in their minds when we asked to mention a perfume. The great majority mentioned Chanel No5 independently of their preference. Many of them mentioned to be in one way or another linked to a memory related to Chanel No5.
WHAT IS PERFUME
The Merriam Webster dictionary gives us this definition:
1: the scent of something sweet-smelling
2: a substance that emits a pleasant odor; especially: a fluid preparation of natural essences (as from plants or animals) or synthetics and a fixative used for scenting
The word perfume comes from the Latin phrase, “per” meaning “through” and “fumus” meaning smoke.”
Perfume is a mixture of fragrant essential oils, and aroma compounds, fixatives and solvents to give the human body, objects, and living spaces a pleasant smell. There are classifications to describe a perfume according to its concentration level, the family it belongs to, and the notes of the scent, which all affect the overall impression of a perfume from first application to the last lingering hint of scent Perfume oil is necessarily diluted with a solvent because undiluted oils (natural or synthetic) contain high concentrations of volatile components that will likely result in allergic reactions and possibly injury when applied directly to skin or clothing.
By far the most common solvent for perfume oil dilution is ethanol a mixture of ethanol and water. Perfume oil can also be diluted by means of neutral-smelling lipids such as jojoba, fractionated coconut oil or wax. The concentration by percent/volume of perfume oil is as follows:
Perfume extract: 20%-40% aromatic compounds
Eau de Parfum: 10-30% aromatic compounds
Eau de toilette: 5-20% aromatic compounds
Eau de cologne: 2-5% aromatic compounds
As the percentage of aromatic compounds increases, the intensity and longevity of the scent increases.
78% to 95% of specially denatured ethyl alcohol with a remainder of essential oils makes the product we call perfume and is also loosely called scent or fragrance.
Products with 22% of essential oils are the costliest form of fragrance and are called perfumes.
ABOUT CHANEL No5 PERFUME
Chanel No.5 is classified as Aldehydic, floral.
Top notes: Neroli from Grasse (flower of the bitter orange tree), Ylang-Ylang from the Comoros, Aldehydes.
Middle notes: Grasse Jasmine, May Rose.
Base notes: Sandalwood note, Vetiver from Réunion, Vanilla from Réunion (Bourbon Vanilla).
Coco Chanel chose memorable scents from all over the world—jasmine and lush pink May roses from the medieval Provençal town of Grasse, creamy yellow ylang-ylang blossoms from the Comoro Islands off the east coast of Africa, rum-scented Tonka beans from South America, vanilla and sandalwood, and a rich mélange of other ingredients and blended them all into a sensuous fragrance that represented Paris in it best.
The remedy was made by Helios Pharmacy of Tunbridge Wells, England, using drops of Chanel No.5 perfume. The substance was from a sample of the perfume that was bought at a store in Vancouver B.C.
There were 13 Provers, 11 were women and 2 men, from the age of 26 to 64. All live in Canada, in the West Coast. The group was formed by different nationalities and cultures: Lebanese, Mexican, French, Czech, South African, English and of course Canadian. There was one placebo in the group.
METHOD OF PROVING AND ANALYSIS
The proving started the second week of January 2008 in Vancouver, BC Canada. This was a Hahnemannian double-blind experiment where the Provers and the supervisors did not know what the substance to be proved was. The only ones that knew were the two Master Provers, the professor, and the pharmacist in Helios that prepared the remedy. Double-bind refers to the two people who are blinded in the process, (the patients or Provers, and secondly the observers or supervisors)
There were 3 potencies: 12C, 15C and 30C, one placebo.
The proving was conducted following Jeremy Sherr’s book: “the Dynamics and Methodology of Homeopathic Proving” 2nd edition; and Richard Pitt’s “Tobacco” proving format.
The potency code was held by Helios until the end of the collation and analysis of data. The Master Provers were not aware who had the placebo. The remedy was mailed to all of the Provers at the same time. Provers and supervisors were contacted personally and invited to an initial meeting where they were given instructions and further information and advice on what to do or not, during the proving. (see appendix 1 and 2) . They each were assigned a supervisor that lived close to them with whom they had to take an initial baseline case and the Provers had to keep a journal for one week before taking the remedy. They had the option of writing on paper or directly in a program designed for the proving. ( see appendix 3). Roughly half of the Provers had some relationship or knowledge of homeopathy, the other half did not. The Provers promised not to share with anyone their experiences.
We had two married couples in the proving and it was emphasized the importance of not commenting on the symptoms arising. (It was also interesting in the extraction meeting hearing what one said about the other in their own experience). The Provers were given 6 doses in total, to take 3 times a day for 2 days. They had to stop taking the remedy as soon as they felt some change within them. They were encouraged to have contact daily for the first weeks until the symptoms were less.
Before the final meeting they were given the Extraction Process instructions to go over with their supervisors and to be discussed during the final meeting. The final meeting was set for May 4th where the majority of Provers and supervisor could share their experiences. And see the pace of the remedy with the Provers. Many of the Provers and supervisors continued having some kind of symptom after the meeting. See chapter “Around the Proving”. The Provers and supervisors brought along their journals with the extraction information to go over together.