History of Medecine: Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Through Ages
Progression and evolution of aromatherapy through ages:
Nobody can tell precisely for how long men are using aromatic plants to treat themselves and for wellbeing. However we found the first vestiges of essential oils around 4000 to 5000 BC, in Orient.
It is interesting to note that in Australia, aborigines were already using plants fumigation 40 000 BC.
Greeks and Roman were big consumers of balm and fragrances.
Hippocrate, the father of medicine, recommended essential oils for women disorders.
Middle East allowed a considerable evolution in chemistry, and in distillation techniques.
The most ancient still made with terra cota was found in Pakistan
They produced numerous perfumes, especially in Damas. Even if the benefits of aromas and essential oils were not well known at that time, we can say they are the founders of aromatherapy.
Muslims took the use of plants on a therapeutic way after improving the distillation technique.
In the middle age, the occidental world was largely using spices and essences, thanks to the fact they were bringing back the distillation art from cruises.
At the end of the XVI century, more than a 100 essences were used to treat health disorders.
Under Louis XIV, essential oils were largely used as fragrances.
The industry civilization drived aromatherapy almost to oblivion. Except for a few, like Charles Maurice de Taylerand-Périgord, who had a real passion for aromatherapy, this protected him against a devastating virus: the pox virus
When the trend of essential oils arrived in south of France, and Grasse especially, which is still considered the capital of aromas, it was used to cover the lambskin smell of gloves. Grasse was at that time famous for lambskin’s tanneries.
Grasse, Capital of Essential Oils
Jean de GALIMARD lived in GRASSE in 1747 where he created the first perfumery.
Founder of the corporation of Glovemakers and Perfumers, Jean supplied the court of Louis, King of France, with olive oil, pomades and perfumes from which he developed the first formulas. Since perfume was used to scent the fashionable gloves, the industries literally grew together hand in hand.
As another example, the Princess of Neroli gave her name to the bitter orange flower essential oil in the 17th century. Her husband was perfuming his gloves with neroli essential oil.
Aromatherapy’s coming back
In 1928, René-Raymond Gatefosse, a French chemist, who is a modern precursor in the field of aromatherapy. He proved the effectiveness of essential oils after critically burning himself and treating his infected wounds with lavender essential oils.
In 1931 he wrote a book named Aromatherapy, which is the first time this term has been used.
In 1938 he wrote another book named antiseptic essentials where he described his knowledge and science in the field of healing with essential oils.
Following this pioneer, Mme Maury gave another orientation to aromatherapy by exploring the beauty and cosmetic field.
It is interesting to note that, at that time, aromatherapy was famous in the area of Lyon- France, where a pharmacist spent his life working on aromatherapy development as a human therapy and as a veterinarian therapy as well.
The hitting discovery of antibiotics let aromatherapy as a second choice medicine.
It is to be noticed that in the 60th, Jean Valnet, a French Doctor during the Corean war, used essential oils on his patients very successfully.
In the 70 th, Pierre Franchomme, a Belgian biochemist created the Pranarom Essential oils Lab entirely dedicated to aromatherapy, he developed his researches on the chemotype: the ID card of essential oil, identifying the different molecules composing an oil, as well as the benefits of each chemotype (anti inflammatory, calming, antiseptic…)
Aromatherapy can be used in different manners and for different purposes.
In the early 90th, Philippe Mailhebiau is researching about essences’ characterology. This theory is lying on the relationship between the plants’ essences and the human being in his entirety.
This essences’ characterology is offering a better understanding on human being by observing his temper and behavior. This approach allows the therapist to use essences on the 3 subtil folds of the person: physical, emotional and mental.
Has also been developed: the phyto-energetic by Michel Odoul and Elske Miles.
The phyto-energetic therapy is stimulating acupunctural points with essential oils, allowing to establish links between EO and the well known energies of oriental therapies.. EO are than potentializing the meridians.
And then, olfactotherapy by Gilles Fournil, is the use of essential oil to stimulate the olfactive nerves, which are in intimate contact with the limbic system, allowing to stimulate or to balance hormones production and inducing well being.
Recognised since antic era for its powerful therapeutic properties and therapeutic fields, Aromatherapy deserves to stand on an important spot in medicine.
Indeed, aromatherapy is useful to fight against infectious agents such as bacteria, virus, fungus or even parasites. It is now proved that overusing antibiotherapy is allowing bacteria to adapt and increase their resistance to antibiotics, it is also killing the good germs in organism. Aromatherapy isn’t presenting any of these negative side effects. Thanks to its complete chemotypes, it is also acting on an endocrine balancing therapy, it has a stimulating or calming benefit and its fragrances are positively affecting our mood and wellbeing.
Thanks to all these reasons, Aromatherapy is on its way to stand on the front stage of natural and holistic therapies.
I hope you enjoyed your reading, I wish you learned a few things about aromatherapy history…
And please, if you like it share it 🙂