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Saturday, 25 October 2014


It was a Persian doctor, Avicenna (980-1037), who was the first to obtain the oil from flowers, known as attar, by distillation. Before this revelation, perfumes were derived from the bark of twigs and shrubs in the form of resins. His works were faithfully followed by other chemists, soon becoming general practice.

The development of distillation by Avicenna made the production of essential oils and scented waters such as rosewater possible. These were used for a wide variety of purposes, scenting rooms and linen as well as toiletries.

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