Herbs Used in Fragrances


For over 5,000 years, fragrances have been used by an array of cultures, from the Greeks and Romans to the Egyptians, according to Texas A&M. Most perfumes consist of organic compounds with fixatives to help preserve them and may range from all natural to formulas with several components and chemicals. Various herbs are used in the fragrance world, providing aromas that are spicy, sweet and bold.


  • The herb Calendula, otherwise known as marigold, is added to oils and perfumes, according to NaturalCosmeticsSupplies.com. The annual herb can grow around two feet tall with long fuzzy leaves and flowers that range from light yellow to deep orange. The petals also are used to bring fragrance to skin creams, herbal baths, cleansers and in hair dye to make the color lighter. The herb is among those used in skin care, particularly for relieving abrasions, insect bites or infections. Perfumes that use calendula include Calvin Klein, Vivianne Westwood, Dolce and Gabbana, Estee Lauder and Escada, according to Fragrantica.


  • This perennial shrub can grow up to three feet tall with spiky flowers ranging from light purple to dark blue. Lavender oil used in perfumes has a calming effect and is used to help balance out stronger scent notes in fragrances. It also makes the skin very soft and works as a cleansing agent. Medically, it helps ease skin conditions such as eczema, abrasions and burns, according to NaturalCosmeticsSupplies.com. Lavender has been known as a therapeutic agent and is widely used in aromatherapy. The herb is used not only for fragrances but in soap and cleaning products, facial steams, rubs, vinegars, jellies and aftershave, to name a few. Perfumes that lavender is used in include Jean Paul Gaultier, Kilian, Hermes and Christian Audigier, according to Fragrantica.

Lemon Grass

  • This aromatic herbal grass has fragrant whitish to light purple leaves that grow in thick clusters in the wild. All parts of the plant taste and smell like lemon, and extracted oil from the plant provides an array of products. It is used to treat eczema, can be used as a deodorant, has antiseptic properties and soothes the digestive system, according to NaturalCosmeticSupplies.com. Perfumes that use the herb lemon grass include Sarah Jessica Parker, Cartier, Valentino, Lulu Guinness and Windsor, according to Fragrantica.com.


  • Ylang-ylang, otherwise known as cananga odorata, is an energetic floral herb. It is mild and compares slightly to geranium and rose. Known for helping ease depression and anxiety, this herb helps make a perfume more subtle, explains MSNBC. This herb is used for a number of products, such as teas, skin lotions, bath scrubs and candles. Fragrances that have ylang-ylang include Givenchy, Burberry, Apothia, Lolita Lempicka and The Body Shop, according to Fragrantica.com.

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