Aromatherapy

What can it treat?

All the essential aromatherapy oils have been thoroughly study by modern science, and in the hands of an expert they can be used to help reduce the suffering of any dis-ease.

A Brief History

Strangely the term “Aromatherapy” was coined in 1928 by French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse, but the actual history is much older.

The use of plants and herbs goes back a very long way and they have been found by archaeologist in graves and tombs throughout all eras of human development, although it unsure what exactly they where used for and why. In terms of recorded history the earliest currently known is from the ancient Sumerian civilisation dated to about 10,000BC, which states how plants are used for medicine. The ancient Egyptians had a great store of knowledge about all things herbal, and perfected the art of mummification utilising herbs in around 6000BC. (It is known that the first mummies are 9000 years old.) It is thought that they must have developed some type of distillation mechanism in order to extract Cedar oil which was used in this process although no record of it remains today. It is the Ebers Papyrus from around 1800BC that really tells use about the uses of Aromas from plants in great detail, to aid both internal and external ailments.

The Chinese were also developing these skills and the earliest work on this is from the reign of China Emperor Shen-Nung, who reigned in 2838BC, is credited with the invention of farming and the introduction of herbal medicine. Although the Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine from circa 2598BC has more to say about this. It was around this time that the Rig Veda Scriptures of India detail over 1000 plants and there healing properties, There are records from Kashmir which list twice distilled Rose water, although this technique was lost and not rediscovered until 840AD.

There have been many other great treatise on the medicinal uses of herbs and aromas such as:- Asclepius (practising around 1250BC), the ‘father of medicine’ Hippocrates (460-377BC), formulated a more scientific approach based on diagnosis and treatment. Pedanius Dioscorides, AD60, wrote in his 5-volume De Materia Medica descriptions of the properties of approximately 600 plants. Claudius Galen, AD131-201) went on to write over 500 treatises on all aspects of medical science and the term ‘galenic’ is still used today to describe drugs and medicine made from plant and animal ingredients. In the 9th Century the Iraqi scholar Al-Kindi (800-870AD) wrote extensively about essential oils. He also wrote The Book on Chemistry of Perfumes and Distillation which contains over 100 recipes for the uses of essential oils and it gives a diagram and an explanation of the apparatus used for distillation. There were great increases in knowledge throughout the next few centuries, the Swiss-born Paracelcus (1492-1541), is said to have coined the phrase “essence” and then Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) published The Complete Herbal.

So this is a very ancient and complex therapy, which uses the life force energy of plants, in the form of extracted oils. These heal the body in various ways; by rubbing them onto the skin using either, balms, soaps, lotions or oils, by inhaling the vapour, adding them to water which this then gently heated, known as a steam treatment. Or adding the oils to wood and burning it. It can also be used in Massage, a very soft and gentle sort, where the massage oil is the carrier, which carries the essential oils into the epidermis (skin), and sink into muscles.