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.
During this meeting the rest of the Provers and supervisors met and they were able to share the most striking symptoms and experiences during this proving. Afterwards we went over each body part to see the totality of the remedies action. After we told them what the remedy was we showed them a power point presentation and advertisement containing some information on CHANEL NO.5 the perfume and life of Coco Chanel. (To see this power-point see Appendix 4 or log into our website www.equilibrium-healing, under the proving icon). And we continued with the informal proving.
After the discussion we proceeded to do an informal proving with the group where we applied some drops of CHANEL NO.5 on the inside of their wrists, we asked them to sit quietly and just smell the perfume for some minutes and share what they were feeling or the thoughts and emotions that came to them.(See appendix 4) The journals were left with the master Provers for the extraction.
The criteria used to include a symptom were as follows:
- If in serious doubt, leave it out
- If the prover is seen to be under the influence of the remedy (as can be seen by the general appearance of the symptoms), then ALL other new symptoms belong to the proving
- Any symptoms that are usual or current for the prover should be excluded unless intensified
To a marked degree, in which case it should be noted as such.
- Symptoms should not be included if they have occurred in recent history (note such
Symptoms RS), meaning that if the prover has experienced the same symptom within a year or less, do not record the symptom. How recent depend on the totality of the circumstances of the case. We should discard symptoms that may have appeared naturally or spontaneously during the proving. For example if a prover gets running nose due to allergies from tree pollen every year, the running nose is not to be considered a symptom of the proving as it occurred regularly in the past.
A symptom that is current but that has been modified or altered should be included while clearly describing the current and modified components and marked with (AS Altered symptom). For example, in the annual symptom of running nose due to allergies as above, if during the proving eyes were also streaming and there was also sinus congestion, which were symptoms never experienced before, then the symptom is accepted and noted as AS. Any symptom that has occurred a long time previously, especially longer than 5 years, and that would seem to have no reason to repeat itself naturally at the time of the proving should be included. As Hahnemann writes in aphorism #181
.... All the suffering, accidents and changes, of health of the prover… must be regarded and
registered and belonging peculiarly to this medicine, as symptoms of this medicine, even though the experimenter has obverse d, a considerable time previously, the spontaneous occurrence of similar phenomena in himself. The reappearance of these during the proving of the medicine only shows that this individual is, by virtue of his peculiar constitution, particularly disposed to have such symptoms excited in him. In this case, they are the effect of the medicine”
This is the reason that old symptoms should be marked as OS. Accidents that occurred during the proving are valid proving symptoms as Hahnemann mentioned in aphorism 139 with the word “Zufall” meaning “to fall upon one”. Therefore, accident or coincidences that arise during the proving should be recorded. For example “I cut the third finger of my left hand with a knife” or “I had a fender bender while driving” are to be included.
If a present symptom has disappeared during the proving, it should be made clear that this is a Cured symptom, CS. The precise nature of the symptom previous to the proving should be fully noted. This should include both sensations and function. So, instead of “my sleeplessness was much improved during the proving” should be more written in a more specific manner for example “my sleeplessness which had been due to repetition of thoughts or events of the day, has improved. I previously would lie awake for up to 2 hours, but have been falling off to sleep within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.”
Cured symptoms were not included in the Materia Medica, but are presented in the Potential cured symptom section.
- If you have a slight doubt to whether include a symptom or not, include it in brackets, and it will become clear during collating, the symptom will only be included if it is also present in other prover(s).
- Intensity and frequency are also important. If a symptom is particularly intense and it occurs daily, it is likely to be a proving symptom, unless the intensity was present before the proving. If the frequency of a symptom is strongly increased or greatly decreased, these are notable symptoms. These symptoms belonging to the Altered symptoms category and classified as AS.
- The inner knowledge and conviction of the prover that these symptoms do not belong to him/her and therefore belong to the proving state, is a definite and reliable consideration that the symptom should be included.
Finally, all the above factors may still never give us 100% certainty until the final proof from clinical verification.
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This was done the same day the final meeting for the proving took place. After talking with all the supervisors and provers about what their experience had been and revealing the remedy, we proceeded to apply some drops of Chanel No.5 on the inside of the wrists of each person, and asked them to sit quietly and let the fragrance envelope them. These are some of the words and sensations that the provers and supervisors experienced:
softness and comfort
vibrates as it goes, expands
really tired, calm, nice, it is ok to be on me, the connection, calming
grounded on me on, light ease, grounded with the ease. Dreamy about it. Feel in Lalaland.
Strong heavy, feel I cannot breathe , angry, too strong, like a strong personality, too heavy, something that I push away, not in tune with me, strong heavy, controlling, gets into my nose and cannot get rid of it. A successful woman can wear it. An active, strong woman. Seems that nobody can stop her for whatever she wants to do. I hate that smell. It is aggressive, strong, heavy, gives me a headache, can hardly smell it. dizzy, overpowering I don’t like anything taking over me. I have to be above, I have to have the upper hand, makes me uncomfortable. Uneasiness. Too strong, makes me feel like i don’t have control, makes me nervous. I usually am in control. Anxious. Angry, someone who need that to make herself strong and confident, someone who has that confidence would not need to wear a perfume so strong. would not stand close to the person who has the fragrance. I relate it to mu grandmother . She was very controlling. It smells old to me. Uncomfortable.not repulsed at all, I like it on me. Calming, tired, I like it. Calming, brushes your shoulders off tranquility, it will be okay, it’s ok. It happened and it will be okay.
grounded, unconditional, everything that happens is ok. We can all share, we are accepting about it. It gives me a headache.
comforting , it is okay and it will pass. Lightness ethereal quality, not mind is escaping me, not at the mercy. Big perspective on this, ( aerial perspective), when I went back there was all this sadness but it is okay, it is going to be okay.
No constriction in throat, sharing, important to share, not stay in the bottle, meant to be shared, spreads. Has to go out. Experience it in a different way. Has to spread and vibrates, happy energy. Something needs to be covered up.
overwhelming tiredness, – it is okay. Relate it with mother and grandmother. elegant
melancholy, deep sadness, not go back to that place. Let go and move forward, keep going.
Very romantic live now, she got rid of the corsets. No constriction.
Constriction and being bold. Perfume. Marilyn Monroe: needed to feel that, felt lonely, and sadness.
Leave behind, it is okay.
This makes us stuck if we cannot go forward.