A lot of people think that this whole Essential oils thing blew up over night and now it’s nothing but another Fad But, you’d be surprise to know that they aren’t… They have been around for thousands of years! Research has shown us this time and time again. But, Essential Oils (as we know them) didn’t start being understood, studied, produced or used until not that long ago! Here’s a brief history on how long essential oils have been around.
- Researchers have discovered Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts showing that priests and physicians have used essential oils for thousands of years.
- The Chinese were some of the first to discover and use the medicinal properties of plants. They used aromatic herbs in conjunction with massage well before the birth of Christ.
- In Egypt essential oils were used in the embalming practice and were found in King Tut’s tomb. Clay tablets have been found which tell us that cedarwood and cypress were imported into Egypt and essential oils were traded between nations.
- Some Egyptian temples were dedicated with the specific role of producing and blending oils. Recipes recorded in hieroglyphics have been discovered on the walls of these temples.
- Ayurvedic medicine was developed by the people of India and uses massage techniques and pressure points along with essential oils to enhance health. They believed that the secret to long life was related to the use of aromatic plants as food and as medicine.
- Hippocrates was a Greek physician known as “the father of medicine” and he also recommended the daily use of aromatic baths and massage that incorporated essential oils.
- The aristocrats of ancient Babylon believed that at palace banquets the aroma in the room was as important an element as the food. Guests had their own incense burner at their place setting!
- In the bible you will find some 188 references to essential oils. Frankincense, myrrh, rosemary, hyssop and spikenard were used for anointing and healing the sick. The 3 Wise Men brought Frankincense and Myrrh to Christ upon his birth. There are many other references to healing and anointing with oils throughout the
The term aromatherapy as we know it today was first coined in 1937 by the French chemist and perfumer Rene Maurice Gattefosse. He was not a believer of the natural health movement but was interested in the properties that essential oils exhibited.
In 1910 he burnt his hand badly in his laboratory and being the first available compound handy, treated his badly burnt hand with pure undiluted lavender oil, which not only immediately eased the pain, but helped heal the hand without any sign of infection or scar.He also found that minute amounts of essential oils are absorbed by the body and interact with the body chemistry.
Dr. Jean Valnet was the first to establish dosages of essential oils for therapeutic use. In his aroma therapy book, he writes: “Internally, the essential oils are prescribed in the form of either capsules or drops, or most often, in honey water. They are given alone or in association with other oils. Depending on the case, dosage will vary between 5 and 20 drops of pure essence administered several times a day before or during meals, or between 20 and 30 drops taken four times a day in honey diluted in a half a glass of warm water.” (1)
For “sluggish digestion,” Dr. Valnet wrote that one could take peppermint essential oil internally in a dosage of “2 to 5 drops several times a day, either in a draught [drink] or in honey water.” (2)
In 1964, Dr. Val net wrote:
“It is conceivable that the day will come when the true therapeutic value of substances will be given proper recognition.”
Today, modern science has validated the worth of essential oils in thousands of medical studies.
In the 1950’s Marguerite Maury started diluting essential oils in a vegetable carrier oil and massaging it onto the skin using a Tibetan technique which is applied along the nerve endings of the spinal column.
She was also the first person to start the use of “individually prescribed” combinations of essential oils to suit the need of the person being massaged.
Since the late 1970 and early 80’s the use of essential oils and aromatherapy has become a major part of alternative and holistic health systems, and has a huge following across the world.
How far back can you go?
In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have been used throughout history in many cultures for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. These same plants, roots, flowers, seeds, etc have been used in many forms, including “oil” form throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications.
The Egyptians were some of the first people to use aromatic oils extensively in medical practice, beauty treatment, food preparation, and in religious ceremony. While in ancient times the actual essential oils themselves were not able to be extracted; Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were considered very valuable cargo along caravan trade routes and were sometimes exchanged for gold. Now in modern times we have the knowledge to take these amazing plants, roots and resins to an even higher level with the process of essential oil extraction.
One of the phrases I often see right now are “oils of the Bible”, “Essential Oils used in the Bible”, etc. This really is just a problem with phraseology.
Were there oils used in biblical times? Absolutely! Olive Oil and other pressed oils were used and revered. But remember, the modern extraction methods that we now use to create “essential” oils was not possible in biblical times. And yet most of the plants, herbs, flowers, resins that we now know are so powerful — they knew that too! This is why Frankincense, Myrrh, Lavender, Cloves, Cinnamon… and many more things were a part of the everyday lives of Biblical times families.
so there you have it! Aren’t Essential oils amazing? I think so!