of aromatherapy history
Described as a way of healing through the use of oils
derived from various plants to aid physiological and
psychological well being, aromatherapy is considered as one of
the oldest practices out
there. Studies show that aromatherapy through the use of
various oils has been practiced for thousands of years.
However, it is only in the 20th century that the term
"aromatherapy" started being used.
Experts say that the people in China were the first ones to
utilize plants with aromatic and therapeutic properties for a
person's well-being. The Chinese did this by burning dried
plant extracts in the form of incense to help achieve balance
and harmony. Years after that, aromatherapy was traced to the
Egyptian culture where they invented a machine that extracts
crude and oil from cedar wood, myrrh, cinnamon, nutmeg, and
clove and was used to embalm dead people. From that, Egyptians
are said to have discovered infused oils and other herbal
preparations that are still used for spiritual, aesthetic, and
medicinal purposes. A machine with variations depending on the
need and the plant type to be extracted was also invented by
the early civilizations of India and Persia (now Iran).
With the progress of Egyptians, Greeks also made variations
in terms of healing using plants. In fact, they also
acknowledged the benefits of plant extracts in the field of
healing. Because of the great potentials of plant extracts,
even Hippocrates known as the "Father of Medicine" tried
experimenting on it to achieve medicinal and aromatic benefits.
Megallus, a Greek perfumer also discovered "megaleion," a
fatty-oil from the plant myrrh which is known not only for its
great aroma but also because of its anti-inflammatory
properties that can heal various skin conditions.
Romans also made experimentations on plant extractions but
were more focused on fragrance and not on the essential oils.
The 11th century has marked a major movement in the emergence
of essential oils with the discovery of a cooling pipe that is
coiled by Avicenna. In the 12th century, Hildegard of Germany
focused on lavender and its medicinal and therapeutic
properties. The 13th century opened the doors for the public
consumption of the essential oils with the birth of the
pharmaceutical industry. In the 14th century, herbal
preparations using mainly essential oils somehow helped fight
the plague during the Black Death. The 15th to 19th century
focused more on the discovery of other means of extracting
plant extracts and the types of plants that have medicinal
The 20th century paved the way for the booming of
aromatherapy when Ren-Maurice Gattefoss, a French chemist
invented the term and studied the medicinal uses and benefits
of essential oils. Today, aromatherapy comes not only in the
form of essential oils but also in other precuts such as
incense, candles, bath and body products and many more.