Aromatherapy Through the Years

Aromatherapy is one of the hottest things in the world of healthcare today. It involves using the essence of plants—their miraculous essential oils—in things like diffusers and salves, to provide one various types of health and therapeutic benefits. Seemingly everyone is turning to aromatherapy as an alternative to modern Western medicine, from celebrities to suburban housewives, thinking that this “newer” medicine is something groundbreaking that will change the face of healthcare as we know it.

However, aromatherapy is the oldest form of medicine on the planet, being a beneficial aspect to nearly every major culture and civilization throughout history. Aromatherapy is in itself the base of modern medicine. Without the breakthroughs that came about hundreds, even thousands, of years ago, the medicine and healthcare you receive today may not be as advanced or thorough as you would like.

The real start of aromatherapy goes back to ancient times, when the Egyptians first started using things like myrrh, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to embalm the dead, but also for their own beauty practices. Later, the trend was found in places like India and China, and the ancient Chinese are credited with being the first to use plants, specifically the essential oils contained within, for well-being, burning incense to promote health and happiness.

In 2697 BC, the groundbreaking book Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, the oldest surviving medical book in China was published. The work documented information on more than 300 different plants, highlighting their properties and medicinal benefits.

Fast forward nearly 3000 years, to the time when Nero ruled Rome, and a military physician named Dioscorides (AD 40-90), published the five-volume De Materia Medica (aka Herbarius). The work contained information on over 600 different plants, and over 1000 medications made from botanicals. De Materia Medica would become one of the most influential works on botanicals in history, and the foundation for all botanical medicine in Europe for more than 1500 years.

However, aromatherapy as we know it (including the word aromatherapy) didn’t really come about until the 20th century, when French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé used the essential oil of lavender to treat a burn wound that occurred in his lab. In 1928 he was credited with coining the term aromatherapy, and in 1937 wrote and published Aromathérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones végétales, or Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy. Many other highly respected aroma therapists would soon follow Gattefossé, furthering the research into the medical benefits of plants.

 

Unfortunately, there isn’t much hard, scientific evidence either proving or disproving aromatherapy as medicine, but it’s hard to argue nearly 6,000 years’ worth of testimonials.


 

Do you think aromatherapy is legitimate, and that cannabis is an integral factor in that? Let us know in the comments below, and while you’re here go ahead and browse our Remedies line to find the products that might help you to feel a bit better.

 

 

 

 

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