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Attar: Uses, Types and Benefits


The word 'attar' or ittar originates from an Arabic term which means 'scent' or something which gives good smell and aroma. Attar is natural perfume oil and is a derivative of different flora and fauna. Attar are distilled naturally and most often they are taken from the botanical material through hydro or steam distillation. Attars are usually offered for sale in small quantities because they are highly concentrated. Attar perfumes have conventionally been showcased in decorated crystal cut type bottles or small jeweled decanters.

Since thousand years, ittars were used for attracting angels and warded off darkness or evil spirits. Saints and spiritual aspirants embellished themselves with the finest scents to assist them in their meditative state to attain enlightenment. Although attars have been used in the entire Eastern world, they are more prevalent throughout the Middle East and the Far East of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They are completely devoid of alcohol and detrimental chemicals. In ancient India, ittar was prepared by placing precious flowers and sacred plants into a water or vegetable oil. Slowly the plants and flowers would infuse the water/oil with their delicate fragrance. The plant and flower material would then be removed and a symphony of their aromatic beauty would be held in the ittar. These ittars were then worn as a sacred perfume or to anoint.

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One of the first ittars made were Rose and Hina.

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Types of Ittars:

Attars may be broadly categorized into following types of ingredients used.

Made with flower the mix of flowers, herbs and spices
Types Gulab, Kewera, Motia, Gulhania, Chameli and Kadam Amber, Musk Amber and Musk Hina.

Attars can also be classified based on their effect on human body such as warm Attars such as Musk, Amber, Kesar (Saffron) and Oud which are used in winters as they increase the body temperature and Cool Attars like Rose, Jasmine, Khus, Kewda, Mogra which are used in summers and are cooling for the body.

Uses of Natural Attar:

  • Natural Attars or ittars are natural perfumed oils that are used as natural fragrant material.
  • Attars are directly applied to the body as well as clothes. Attars are highly concentrated and thus used in a very small quantity.
  • Attars are used as Puja offerings during various ceremonies and rituals
  • Attars can also be used to treat ailments such as body pains, cold and cough, asthma, dizziness etc.

Buying attar online is becoming a major trend across the globe and so has the curiosity increased to know more about Attar perfumes.

How to Apply Attar:

  • Apply it to the inside of each wrist and dab a little behind each earlobe with the inside of your wrists before it dries. The attar will dry down in a few minutes after which you will experience its charming scent. You may also apply to the back of each knee so the fragrance envelops you.
  • A few drops of Attar can be added to water and used with aromatic vapor lamps.
  • A few drops of attar are used with cold drinks, such as milk, to give fragrance.
  • Certain attars can be mixed with unscented massage oils or lotions and used to massage the body for relaxation and health.
  • Attar can be applied on lighted-charcoal tablets to provide a fragrance to the surrounding. This has the strongest effect on the person especially his emotions.
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