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November 8, 1995

Handbook of Olfaction and Gustation

Author Affiliations

Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1995;274(18):1479. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530180073039

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This monumental book overflows with wisdom. Richard Doty's historical perspective enlightens us as to the prevalence and meaning of perfumes in ancient societies. In the Book of Exodus, God instructs Moses to "make an altar to burn incense upon." Examples of the divine nature of odors abound in Greek mythology wherein the invention of perfume is ascribed to "the Immortal." In sixth-century BC Athens, perfume was used so extensively that laws were passed restricting its use. In Christian history "good" and "bad" smells symbolize the holy and unholy. In 16th-century Europe, unpleasant stenches were used to identify witches and warlocks and the pleasant "odor of sanctity" to identify saints. And the use of aluminum as an antiperspirant predated Right-Guard by about two millennia.

Johnnye L. Lewis and Alan R. Dahl highlight the nose-brain barrier and the importance of nasal xenobiotic metabolism. Donald C. Lanza and Dean M. Clerico reveal fascinating

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