A Brief History

✤ All ancient pharmacopoeias are full of information about the use of aromatic plants.

✤ Anthropologists speculate that primitive use of aromatics began with the burning of gums and resins for incense, and smudging with aromatic plant material.

✤ Egyptians utilized the essential oils medicinally over 5,000 years ago, we have learned how the resins, balms, and fragrant oils were used by the priests, who were also the doctors, for magical and religious ceremonies, for embalming, and as an offering to their gods.

✤ Frankincense could still be smelled in the tomb of Tutankhamen when opened thousands of years later.

✤ Many hieroglyphics on the walls of temples depict recipes and blends of essential oils.

✤ In the 1880’s micro-organisms we discovered as playing a role in disease and by 1887 French physicians show records of laboratory tests on the anti-bacterial properties of essential oils. These early tests resulted from the observation that there was a low incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the flower growing districts in southern France. In 1888 a publication shows the micro-organisms of glandular and yellow fever were easily killed by active properties of oregano, Chinese cinnamon, angelica and geranium.

✤ The actual term “aromatherapy” first originated in 1937 when Rene-Maurice Gattefosse a French chemist who was interested in essential oils, was severely burned as a result of an explosion during lab experiments, he later applied essential oil of lavender to the wounds. The rapid and remarkable healing that occurred inspired him to write the first modern day book on the use of essential oils entitled “Aromatherapie” in 1937.  He coined the term Aromatherapy.

Plants that wake when others sleep, timid jasmine, buds that keep their fragrance to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away lets the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about.

Thomas Moore