Pharaohs, cosmetics and essential oils: Egyptian influence on aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has a history that is as old as the history of medicinal practices itself. Though no one is certain as to when aromatherapy was first used, the fact that it has a revered history dating back to 4500 years is accepted by all. Experts believe that aromatics were the first medicines and they pre-dated even the use of herbs for medicinal treatment.

If one has to go to a recorded time when one can be sure of the prevalence of aromatics, one has to time travel to ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians were the first (in recorded history) to have widely used aromatherapy in their daily life, religious rituals and medical substances. The Egyptians were the first to discover that fragrances are effective and can be used for religious practices, illness treatments and other physical and spiritual needs. They used essential oils, herbs, perfumed oils and spices extensively in skin care, body massage and to cleanse physical impurities.

Egyptian cosmetics: Perfumes, sunscreen lotions, exfoliants, depilatories, lip-glosses, anti-wrinkle creams etc. may sound like a cross-section of the current cosmetic and skin care industry. But the ancient Egyptians too knew about all these. They used a lot of skin care products and fragrances to keep their bodies clean, fragrant and to ward off diseases. In no culture or civilization has cosmetics played a vital part in social living like in Egypt. And the source of all this cosmetic industry were the essential oils. Egyptians transported valuable, aromatic and healing herbs and spices from other lands (like Persia) to be steam-distilled into essential oils.

Their love for perfumery made them keep perfumed cones under their headdresses during festivals. The cones, consisting of aromatic oils, would melt into the head and release sweet fragrances. After bathing, they would anoint their bodies with oils to moisturize their skin cells and replenish dead cells. They had formulated eyeshadows, eyeliners and other cosmetics from essential oils way before the western world could pack them and give them names and labels.

Pharaohs and mummification:
In their quest for immortality, they buried their Pharaohs with lots of oils inside the pyramids. When the tomb of King Tutankhamen was explored in 1922, it contained about 50 alabaster jars designed to hold about 350 liters of essential oils. Thieves had looted all the oils instead of gold and stones, which show the value the ancient Egyptians gave to essential oils. Oils made from frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, cinnamon, cedarwood, juniper berry and spikenard were buried with the Egyptian dead. This was in practice from 2650 to 2575 B.C., illustrating the advancement of Egyptians in aromatherapy as a science.

Egyptian essential oils:
Myrrh was the most popular herb used for producing essential oils. Apart from Myrrh, other oils made from frankincense, spikenard, cedarwood, cinnamon etc. were also in popular use. Masters of cosmetics and perfumery, the Egyptians slowly brought aromatherapy into medicinal practice also. Ebers Papyrus (discovered in 1817 by Ebers), dating back to 1500 B.C., is a medical scroll that lists over 800 different medical remedies and prescriptions of which most of them used essential oils. Many mixtures used myrrh and honey with myrrh serving to alleviate skin and throat infections and for regeneration of throat tissue. The temple of Edfu has hieroglyphics depicting the use of Kyphi, an aromatic substance to induce sleep, alleviate anxieties and as an antidote of toxins.

In brief, Egyptians were first to master the art of aromatherapy. Many of the systems and methods followed by them have influenced aromatherapists down the ages.

Essential Oils, Base Oils, Carrier Oils, Hydrosols: Where lies the difference?

Aromatherapy is a unique science that demands great care and attention from the practitioner. And not everyone can master it. Anyone new to essential oils can be confused with the name tags associated to groups of oils. A beginner can be baffled by terms like Base Oils, Carrier Oils, Hydrosols, Vegetable Oils, all and sundry. If you are illiterate about essential oils, you may assume all these oils to be of one variety or may think they fall into different categories. You may even confuse essential fatty oils with aromatherapeutic oils. To avoid all such confusion, this article will brief on the differences (and similarities) between Essential Oils, Base Oils, Carrier Oils and Hydrosols.

Essential Oils: As you must have by now known, essential oils are extracts from the root, bark, stem, leaves and aromatic portions of the plant. There are several extraction methods in practice like the steam distillation method, cold-pressing method and solvent extraction method to produce essential oils of absolute or concrete kinds. Essential oils are thin oils with strong aromas. They evaporate pretty quickly and are classified into Top Notes, Middle Notes and Base Notes based on their evaporation levels. Essential oils do not go rancid over time, but they can oxidize and often lose their therapeutic properties. Every essential oil should be within a particular therapeutic grade to be effective. Very diluted oils yield no sort of therapeutic benefit and are no better than aromatic fragrances. Essential oils should be stored in tinted glass bottles in dark, cool places to avoid evaporation and oxidization.

Carrier Oils: Carrier Oils are vegetable oils that are used to dilute Essential Oils. Since essential oils can cause skin irritations or itching when used in undiluted forms, Carrier Oils are used as base oils to dilute them. Also called as Base Oils, Carrier Oils are derived from the fatty portion of plants like seeds, nuts and kernels. Since each Carrier Oil has its own set of therapeutic benefits, an essential oil’s value, worth and effectiveness depends on the proportion and properties of Carrier Oils used in the blend.

Natural skin care products, body lotions, bath oils, lip balms and other skin products are produced using Carrier Oils. From a simple oil to a complex blend, Carrier Oil can make huge differences to the properties of Essential Oils with which they are mixed. They can change the aroma, color, texture, shelf life and quality of essential oils in aromatherapy. Carrier Oils are either odorless or have faint, nutty odor. They turn rancid in a short period of time and hence have to be bought and used immediately. They do not evaporate readily as Essential Oils and hence are mixed with them during massages and topical applications.

Base Oils:
Base Oils or Fixed Oils are nothing but vegetable oils, used as Carrier Oils. However, it should be noted that not all Base Oils/Fixed Oils are vegetable oils. Especially, animal-based oils are not used in aromatherapy work.

Hydrosols are floral waters that are byproducts of the distillation process of plants. First used by American herbalist Jeanne Rose in 1990, Hydrosols are referred also as distillate waters. Anti-inflammatory and water soluble, Hydrosols are used in general skin care. They are also free of irritants and hence can be used in children and adults as well. Sometimes, they are even ingested into the body owing to their antiseptic, styptic and refreshing properties. They serve as natural substitutes of tonic lotions used in the cosmetic industry.

Antiviral oils: Immune-supportive properties of essential oils

The medical world has gradually warmed up to the functions of essential oils as antibiotics. Though essential oils have been in practice for ages, it is but recently the scientific, especially the antibiotic properties of essential oils have been recognized and recommended for use in treating viral diseases and acting as disinfectants. These essential oils do not just cure viral or bacterial infections, but rev-up the immune system also.

Essential Oils as Antiviral Oils: You may wonder how can an oily substance that is but a plant extract be effective in treatment of several ailments. Essential oils are not just ordinary plant extracts. They are the life-blood of plants. They support a plant’s immune system and prevent it from infections and viral attacks. Since essential oils are basically concentric absolutes, they are highly effective plant extracts. With oxygen, carbon dioxide and so many common nutrients between plants and essential oils, these plant extracts act as antibiotics in the human body. There are several essential oils with antiviral properties. These oils prevent and cure viral infections when massaged or applied topically or when used in aromatherapy.

How do antiviral essential oils work? Many essential oils work by the following ways: They stop virus replication; they improve efficiency of white blood cells; they change the electrical potential of cell walls and make them immune-supportive. Some essential oils are highly antimicrobial, owing to their bactericidal and antiseptic properties.

Antiviral essential oils: There are a few essential oils which have the reputation of treating viral infections like herpes, skin disorders, influenza etc. Below are a list of such oils:

1. Strong antiviral oils:
Melissa, Ravensara, Clove, Cinnamon, Oregano and Thyme are some of the well-known essential oils with antiviral properties and immune-supportive characteristics. Of all of them, Melissa and Ravensara have strong abilities to combat viral infections. If you have to deal with virus or pathogen, you can rely on Clove, Cinnamon, Oregano as they are high on phenol and reduce inflammation or infectious conditions. However, these oils can cause skin irritations if used without carrier oils. So, dilute them with appropriate, therapeutic base oils before aromatherapy.

2. Cold sores treatment:
Melissa oil, peppermint oil, spearmint oil and bergamot oil are effective in fighting cold sores. They reduce the inflammation and pain drastically when applied immediately after outbreaks.

3. Immune-supportive oils: Some essential oils help generate more white blood cells. They stimulate the body to produce more immunity resistance. Such essential oils are lavender oil, bergamot oil, lemon oil, niaouli, rosemary, tea tree, and ravensara.

4. Influenza and respiratory infections: Eucalyptus, Radiata, Rosemary and Ravensara can be used as complements to regular medical care. These oils do not just relieve the patient of infection, but also speed up the recovery process and protect from further damage. These oils can also be applied regularly to lymph nodes for better results.

While using essential oils as antiviral oils, it should be understood that different plant families exhibit varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the virus strain. Healing depends on the molecular structures of the oils, the extent to which they penetrate the human body and structure of the virus strain. So, cure is possible only when appropriate, therapeutic grade oils are used in the right measures.

Homemade Essential Oils: 5 essential materials and how-to-do tips

If you are an avid user of essential oils and know all about various carrier oils, absolutes, including their therapeutic properties and aromas, you can start making them at your home. By making homemade essential oils, you could save a lot of money and have loads of fun in knowing more about healing oils. Joys apart, essential oil making demands great patience and care. As a novice, you may have to have a few materials and know about the right measure of herbs, spices and oils you need to use.

Below are a few essential tips you need to know with regard to making essential oils at your home:

1. Learn about essential oils: You maybe an expert with regard to essential oil usage. But you can suck when you venture to make a preparation on your own. As a basic rule, get to know everything you can about essential oils. Know about the home preparation methods suggested and choose the best that you can afford. Instead of starting on a large scale, start with a small experiment. Try making small ounces of oil and test it to verify the results. You can even take it to a local aromatherapy apothecary to check the quality of your preparation.

2. Possible sources of essential oils: You need to know from where you can extract which oil. A general information search on the Internet or a trip to a local, alternative medicine library would help a lot. Since plant materials are the basic substances from which essential oils are made, parts of plants form the possible sources. Depending on the nature of your oil, you can extract from flowers, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, kernels, stem, bark etc. Possible flowers are rose, lavender, jasmine, neroli, marigold, lotus, vetiver, orange blossom etc. Possible sources of herbs are thyme, peppermint, basil, marjoram, rosemary, lemon balm etc. Coriander, cloves, cinnamon and cumin form the best kind of oil sources in the spices category. Even the zest of citrus fruits can be used in essential oil preparation.

Materials you may need: Essential oil preparation is easy if you have the right materials. Here is a list of materials you may require:

3. Measuring Devices: Must for any kind of preparation, more so for essential oils. Since essential oils are highly concentrated, you need to use the right measure of oils when mixing or in combination with carrier oils. If your measure exceeds the right dose, you may feel skin irritation or the oil may go rancid quickly. You may get a different aroma too.

4. Containers, jars, Vitamin E caps: This is required to hold the oil once extracted from plants. You will also need a tinted bottle with a tight lid to store the prepared oils. Vitamin E gel caps can be used as a natural preservative to prevent oils from getting spoilt.

5. Enfleurage:
Enfleurage and maceration are the processes by which oils can be prepared at home easily. Enfleurage is a method which involves steeping of essential oils in cool olive oil. The extracted oil is purified or heated to get the desired quality. Sometimes the enfleurage container is kept in hot water to speed up the extraction process. This is called maceration. Since enfleurage may involve repetition and take about 24 to 48 hours time, better to get the detailed measurements of the carrier oils and plant extracts you need to add.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil

Latin Name: olea europaea

Forms Available: oil

Olive Oil – olea europaea – Olive oil has the properties of being calming, demulcent and emollient and can be used pure or in blends for burns, sprains, bruises, insect bites, to relieve itchy skin, and to massage the gums of those suffering from pyorrhoea -periodontal disease.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Calming, demulcent and emollient and can be used pure or in blends for burns, sprains, bruises, insect bites, to relieve itchy skin, and to massage the gums of those suffering from pyorrhoea.

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Latin Name: commiphora guidotti

Forms Available: essential oil, resin

Opoponax – commiphora guidotti – steam distilled wildcrafted resin, Ethiopia. Opoponax is a resin from the Myrrh family native to eastern Africa and the Middle East. Opoponax, along with Myrrh, has been a component of incenses, perfumes, insect repellents, and herbal remedies since biblical times. The Egyptians also used myrrh to help preserve their mummies. May cause sensitization. Opoponax is known as “scented myrrh”. Its scent is sweet, spicy, balsamic and warm. It’s an excellet fixative for blends or perfumes which use Neroli in the mix. Opoponax has muscle relaxing properties. Due to its drying action is effective against excessive mucous in the lungs. Recommended in cases of bronchitis, colds, sore throats, and coughs. Blends well with patchouli, orange, lemon, frankincense and sandalwood.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Due to its drying action is effective against excessive mucous in the lungs. Recommended in cases of bronchitis, colds, sore throats, and coughs. Blends well with patchouli, orange, lemon, frankincense and sandalwood.

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The quintessentials of essentials: 4 common types of essential oils

Essential oils are highly beneficial health care products. What distinguishes them from other medicinal products are their drug-free, side effects-free, safety properties. When you use an essential oil for a particular ailment, you can be sure of getting cured without hiccups. Essential oils do not interact with other oral medications too. On the whole, they are 100% safe irrespective of the person on whom they are administered.

Types of essential oils: Essential oils are differentiated or grouped by their extraction methods. Nowadays different methods are used in extraction, but the most common and prevalent methods are: Steam Distillation, Cold Pressing and Solvent Extraction. Based on these methods, essential oils can be classified into four different types: 1.Steam-distilled, 2. Expressed, 3. Solvent-extracted and 4. Absolutes or concretes.

1. Steam-distilled oils: Steam distillation is the oldest and traditional method of oil extraction. Pure aromatherapy oils are extracted through this process as it yields pristine oil, free from impurities. The process works like this: Plant material is placed in a container and steam is passed through it. Heat from the steam opens pockets of plant containing aromatic molecules and oils. When released, these molecules rise with the steam and pass through a closed system. After this, the aromatic steam is passed through a cooling process and is distilled with cold water. During this process, the essential plant oils condense and transform into liquid state. The liquid mixture is separated later into two – essential oils and aromatic water or hydrosol.

Steam distillation takes into account a variety of things, including the pressure of steam passed through plant material, the coolant used, the temperature of the closed system during production of oil etc. An oil’s quality and purity is based on all these factors and the skill of the distiller. Reputed distillers’ oils are rated high owing to the quality and purity of their extracts.

2. Cold-pressed or Expressed oils:
This is a method used to extract oils from the citrus family of fruits. Oils are produced from the rind of fruits like tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, oranges and others. Though they should be known only as expressed oils, they are classified under essential oils due to their high therapeutic value. Using mechanical pressure, oils are forced out of the fruits in juice form. Since the juicy form of oils contain a lot of water, a separation process is carried out to separate oils from water. One downside to this method is, cold-pressed oils get spoilt quickly than other oils. So it is recommended that these oils are bought in small quantities and refilled whenever required.

3. Solvent Extracted Oils: Some plant material cannot tolerate heat (in steam form) or be subjected to cold-pressing. When they are subjected to any such method, the oil thus produced may be contaminated or impure in quality. To avoid this, some plants like Jasmine, Rose, Orange Blossom (Neroli), Tuberose and Oak are extracted through solvents. Solvents such as ethanol, ether, methanol, hexane, alcohol, and petroleum are used to extract essential oils.

The process works like this: Plant material is first passed on through hydrocarbon solvents. Then, the solvent mixture is filtered and distilled in low pressure to produce essential oils. A downside to this method is that, sometimes, solvent residues remain in the oils. This can cause allergic reactions in certain individuals.

4. Absolutes or concretes:
Absolute oils are essences that are obtained by extraction of a concrete with alcohol. A concrete is generally the solid waxy residue that remains after extraction of oils by solvents (especially hexane).

Facts, Fiction and Limitations: Is Aromatherapy worth all the hype?

Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile, aromatic and absolute plant oils in the physical and psychological well-being of people. Though aromatherapy has been prevalent for centuries, it has received great attention in the recent times. Only in the 20th century, the very term aromatherapy was coined by a French chemist. However, in this short time span, aromatherapy has gained enormous reputation as an alternative medicinal system. It has been proven that essential oils benefit people in numerous ways without any disturbing side effects. All popularity apart, the question remains the same: Is aromatherapy worth all the hype it is being given? What is so special about aromatherapy that it gets a lot of press these days? This article is an answer to these questions.

Aromatherapy – Fact, fiction and Limitations:
Like with every other system of medicine, there are a lot of myths about aromatherapy. People tend to be carried away by the cures promised by aromatherapists and believe that treatment with essential oils can cure every other disease in the world. This is not true. Aromatherapy is not a cure for every other disease. It can treat only certain ailments and is not a complete alternative to the existing system of medicine.

Below are a list of myths, facts and limitations of aromatherapy as a system of medicine:

1. What is it and what is it not:
Aromatherapy is the use of volatile, aromatic essential oils (plant extracts) in the treatment of physical conditions. Owing to the aromatic and healing effects of the oils, aromatherapy helps in the psychological and physiological well being of individuals. Some media reporters, marketing people and vendors claim aromatherapy as a new system of medicine and thus give it a false hype. It is not a complete system of medicine and neither it is new as it has been prevalent right from the times of Egyptian civilization and Ayurvedic medicine.

2. Fragrance oils are not essential oils: Fragrance oils or oils used in perfumes and air fresheners are different from essential oils. Any unnatural product is not part of holistic aromatherapy. But unfortunately several vendors project their medicines as aromatherapeutic cure. Beware of such medicines.

3. Aromatherapy is not a cure for major illnesses: Aromatherapy cannot definitely cure major illnesses like cancer or AIDS. It can neither relieve one from depression or stress completely. However, it can help in alleviating the symptoms of such disorders and help in the treatment process. It can enhance a cancer patient’s quality of life by changing his mood, calming fear and giving temporary pain relief. Similarly, essential oils can improve an AIDS patient’s immune system and thereby, reduce the symptoms. But aromatherapy cannot treat major diseases.

4. Aromatherapy is complementary: Aromatherapy is what is called a complementary, alternative health modality. It cannot replace standard medical care but can only complement it. It can offer alternative choices and help you avoid prescription or over the counter drugs, but it cannot replace standard medical system. It can offer practical cure to a variety of ailments like cuts, wounds, PMS symptoms, bruises, inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, fear, depression, pain, rheumatism, hair loss, acne, skincare, menstrual problems, and so on.

5. Labels on medications: Some marketers use the label “Made with essential oils” even if the medication has other ingredients in it. Since the U.S. does not regulate the use of the word aromatherapy on product labels, many marketers use it to create a false hype. As a buyer, you should know to sieve fact from fiction when it comes to aromatherapy.

Understanding Essential Oils: 3 major ways of healing you should know

Essential oils are efficient in treating several ailments in the human body. They are very different from vegetable or fatty oils and are non-greasy, anti-microbial, transport oxygen, and do not clog the skin pores. Essential oils work in a specific way to cure illnesses. This is because they are highly complex substances which are mosaics of hundreds of natural chemicals.

Essential oils and the human body: Any average essential oil may contain about 80 to 400 known chemical constituents that combine together to have a therapeutic effect on the body. These are natural chemicals that are useful in protecting plants from several environmental attacks. By supplying essential oils to the body, you can protect it from bacterial and viral infections, and deliver proper oxygen and nutrients to cells.  Since carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are common to both plants and humans, these plant oils also digest toxic waste in the body. They also have a lipid-soluble structure that makes them compatible with human body.

Historical methods of healing through Essential Oils: Essential oils were historically used in three different methods called the French, the German and the English methods. The English method dilutes drops of essential oils in vegetable oil and uses the mixture in massages, body relaxation techniques etc. The French follow the oral method of healing. They swallow therapeutic essential oils internally for quick healing effects. Many French practitioners believed that essential oils were extremely useful when  taken orally. The Germans recommended the inhalation of oils and engaged in aromatherapy. This has been scientifically proved to be a good method as the aromatic compounds of the oils have a strong effect on the brain, especially the hormone center of the body (hypothalamus) and the seat of emotions or the limbic region.

Major ways of healing: Three major healing methods are practiced in aromatherapy to  bring about the therapeutic effects of essential oils. Though there are several other methods to bring cure, these are the most common methods that are known to every aromatherapy practitioner.

1. Pharmacological: In the pharmacological method, essential oils enter the blood stream through lungs. Candles, air fresheners, inhalers and room sprays are used in this treatment.  By controlling or reacting with different hormones and enzymes, the essential oils produce chemical changes in the body.

2. Physiological:
In the physiological method, essential oils are made to enter the body through skin. With products such as lotions or massage oils, essential oils are absorbed through the skin in order to treat ailments. When applied to the affected area, they cause human body systems to become sedated, energized and stimulated. This method works especially well with physical ailments related to muscles, body pain, headaches, injuries and wounds.

3. Psychological:
Psychological way is through the brain. Like the German method, this way is  through  inhalation. By inhaling an essential oil, you can have a strong impact on the brain and the hormonal system of the body. This method is often said to bring peace, happiness and feelings of sedation into an anxious and otherwise-restless body. By inhaling, you can also avoid oral intake and cure your conditions in a safe, natural and drug-free way.

Since aromatherapy does not interfere with any of the medications, its benefits are numerous. All the major ways of healing work to bring a calm and relaxing effect on the body. When the body is relaxed, the oils act on the enzymes and hormones, curing the ailment for which they are used.

Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: A historic overview

The history of Essential Oils is as old as the history of civilization. Essential Oils have been in practice in almost every ancient civilization known to the human race. Before we proceed to chart a historic timeline about the usage of essential oils, we need to know what exactly does the term “essential oil” means.

What are Essential Oils?
Essential Oils are basically extracts from flowers, plants, seeds, leaves, stem, bark, roots of herbs, bushes, shrubs and trees. They are volatile and aromatic liquids which are used in various treatments as healing oils. An essential oil is the soul or blood of a plant. It takes a whole plant to create a single drop of an essential oil. Highly concentrated, they protect plants from diseases and cankerous attacks and are expected to do the same in humans. Essential oils are indeed the oldest form of medication known to man and were considered more valuable than gold or gems by the ancients.

Historic Timeline of Essential Oils:
The history of essential oils dates back to 4000 B.C., though the term ‘Essential Oils’ and ‘Aromatherapy’ are pretty modern (coined only during the 20th century). The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Chinese and Indians were known to have practiced aromatherapy using essential oils in their medicines for centuries.

Egyptians: Ancient Egyptians were one of the first practitioners of essential oils. They used plant extracts in cosmetics, for relaxation, for embalming their bodies and for their mummies. The Egyptians kept a gradually-melting cone in their headdresses that released oils into the head and also kept the fragrance of people alive. The Egyptians used distillation methods to extract plant oils.

The Greeks learned about healing oils from the Egyptians. They used herbs and therapeutic oils for healing, relaxation and even in surgery. Asclepius in 1200 BC and Hippocrates in 400 BC were the famous physicians to have used plant oils in aromatic baths, remedies and healing therapies.

Indians and Chinese: Ancient Indians used aromatherapy in surgeries, for healing diseases, wounds and other injuries. Essential oils are an integral part of the age-old Indian medicinal system called Ayurveda. The Chinese too, on their part, is believed to have used healing oils in their medicinal practices.

Romans: After the Greeks, it was the Romans who took up the practice of healing oils in medicine. They borrowed medication practices using essential oils from Egyptians and Greeks and then, developed techniques to extract and distillate plant oils. Claudius Galen (150 AD) is said to have treated hundreds of wounded gladiators using healing oils and botanical remedies. He was also the personal physician of Emperor Marcus Aurelius to whom he advocated essential oil treatments.

Persians: Though the Persians borrowed essential oil practices from Romans and Egyptians, Persian physician Avicenna (1000 AD) is the first world physician to have discovered a steam pipe to distillate plants and produce essential oils instead of floral waters.

Dark Ages: During the dark ages, the Catholic Crusaders brought healing oil practices to Europe. However, there was no significant progress as the Church ruled out disease as a punishment of God and those who were diseased as sinners. Owing to this, essential oil practice did not see any growth during this time. When Black Death wiped out half the population of Europe, botanical remedies were used but without much success.

Later periods: After Europe started exploring the East, they once again started practicing aromatherapy. Many wealthy people in Europe used aromatic handkerchiefs to ward off unpleasant smells and for microbial protection. Sometimes essential oils were used to fumigate hospitals and keep germs at bay. Apothecaries and herbalists engaged in formulation of pharmaceutical remedies, essential oils, fragrances and herbs. These remedies treated people of several ailments from headaches to injuries.

Aromatherapy: French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse was the first person to coin the term ‘Aromatherapy’ in 1928. Following him, French army doctor Jean Valet used essential oils to treat wounded soldiers in the Second World War.  An Austrian biochemist named Marguerite Mary used essential oils for cosmetic benefits whose research results are still considered the basis of aromatherapy all over the world.

First book: The first book in aromatherapy and essential oils was written by Robert B. Tisserand in 1977. Titled ‘The Art of Aromatherapy’, the book details on the basics of aromatherapy and the therapeutic value of several herbs. From then on, aromatherapy and essential oils have become popular worldwide as an alternative medicinal treatment.