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Sometime near the dawn of the 12th century, the German Benedictine abbess and all-around mystical soothsayer Hildegard of Bingen became obsessed with the concept of viriditas, a word she stole from the Latin root for greenery but twisted into her own ecstatic definition. For Hildegard, who was also, as of 2012, anointed by the pope for her early contributions to holistic medicine, the word was synonymous with health, of both body and mind. Viriditas was a feeling of lushness, of fullness, of overall well-being, and it could come only from an engagement with the natural world.

In other words, Hildegard was one of the original wellness mavens, pushing herbal poultices and ground-up seed pod pastes as the path to enlightenment. Her woo-woo cure-alls may not be with us today, but her viriditas has turned out to be a viral idea. Healing via plants is a seductive concept. If only we could solve what ills us by loping through meadows carpeted in thyme.

This year, perfumers have taken the concept of viriditas and transformed it into a bevy of zippy new fragrances. There is a hunger, it seems, for pungent, herbal smells that are almost medicinal in nature. These are wearable green juices, wheat grass shots for your collarbone. Perhaps our digital lives have left us starved for sylvan fantasy, because the hottest trend this summer is smelling like a bouquet garni. See the full list of green & herbal scents recommended by NY Times HERE.


These days, cannabis is the plant most people associate with so-called wellness. While the varietals containing THC may not be legal in most states, cannabidiol (or CBD), a compound found in cannabis that doesn’t get you high but may help calm nerves and release happy-making neurotransmitters, is the health craze of the day. It comes in lattes, body lotions, gummies, even dog biscuits. And now, perfume. “I’ve been wanting to develop a weed-inspired fragrance since 2016 but couldn’t find the right blend of ingredients,” said Douglas Little, a creator of Heretic. “I began looking at hemp-derived CBD for another project and was blown away by its aromatic profile. It had a distinctive herbaceous, green and sage-like odor that I fell in love with.” Each 15 milliliter bottle of Dirty Grass, which smells a bit like an Arnold Palmer made with bong water, contains 150 milligrams of CBD, which the creators say the wearer can absorb through the skin.