The history of aromatherapy is linked strongly to the development of aromatic medicine. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all used aromatherapy oils. In the Doreen of France there are cave paintings found to be 18,000 years old that depict the use of plants for medicinal purposes. The origins of aromatherapy have been lost with time before the keeping of any records. It is although believed that crude forms of distillation, the main method that essential oils are now obtained, were practiced thousands of years ago In Persia, Egypt and India.
Distillation was used mainly for the extraction of exotic flower waters. The medicinal use of plants and their extracts In India has been continuous from ,000 years ago to the present day. One of the oldest known books on plants Is Indian and is called "Veda". This book highlights the various uses of plants for medicinal and religious purposes. The human was seen as part of nature and the preparation was considered a sacred practice. Arrived medicine is one of the oldest forms of medicine practiced since ancient times. There is more information available about the development of plant use in Egypt.
The Nile Valley became known as the Cradle of Medicine. Some of the plants brought to this area were codeword, cinnamon, frankincense and myrrh. In Egypt 5,000 years ago, there was a strong link between perfumery and religion. Each God was allotted a particular fragrance. It was the priest who formulated the aromas. The Egyptians used plants, aromatic oils and aromatic resins In the embalming process. They successfully preserved human bodies for 3,000 years using this method. The process of embalming and mummification was developed by the Egyptians in their search for immortality.
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The ancient Egyptians first burned incense that derived from aromatic woods, spices and herbs in honor of the Gods. It was their belief that as the smoke SSE up towards the heavens it would carry their prayers and wishes directly to the deities. The development of aromatics as medicines delivered the creation of the foundation that aromatherapy was built upon. In the hot climate and with poor standards of sanitation, aromatic substances were used to make life more pleasant and safer. The Egyptians were passionate about the use of simple fragrances and used them In their dally lives.
At celebrations and festivals women wore perfumed cones on their heads that melted in the heat and released a beautiful scent. After washing, they sun and to refresh their skin. The use of aromas for religious and medicinal purposes was also adapted in other countries such as China, Greece and Rome. The Greeks expanded the knowledge of the Egyptians by recording and classifying the actions and main properties of plant medicinal. The father of holistic medicine, Hippocrates, was an advocate of massage and recommended the use of daily massage and a scented bath.
He also recognized the medicinal values of aromas. Greece is subsequently famous because of the presence of Hippocrates. Another Greek, Messages, formed a perfume called 'Angelino'. It was capable of healing mounds and in the reduction of inflammation. The Greeks used the knowledge they had gained from the Egyptians to classify the future study of plant medicine thus making a vital contribution. Because of the influence of the Egyptians and Greeks, the Romans became more appreciative of perfumes and spices. The word perfume derives from the Latin per fume, meaning "through the smoke".
This refers to the burning of incense. There are many biblical citations making reference to incense together with the use of ointments and plant oils. As the Roman Empire spread, the knowledge of the healing properties of plants parade also. Roman soldiers went on long Journeys and collected seeds and plants which in time reached Britain and other countries, eventually becoming naturalized. Among these were parsley, fennel, sage, thyme and rosemary. The Romans used lavish means for plant aromatics with baths and massage being most recognized.
Romans also used aromatic plants for beauty treatments, cosmetics, hygiene, and medical treatments. Distillation In 980 AD a man named Vaccine was born in Persia. He is responsible for making a vast improvement to the basic distillation units known then. He extended he length of the cooling pipe forming a coil shape. This enabled the vaporized plant molecules and steam to cool down more rapidly and efficiently. With improvements to the distillation process, more attention was giving to essential oils because of new formulae for ointments and perfumes.
It is believed that the use of essential oils as we know them today began at this time. During the Holy Wars, the Crusaders were treated for stomach problems with the same plant medicines used by the natives. These would include the floral waters and essential oils. On their Journey omen they would have stopped at various Mediterranean islands where the knowledge of plants had been preserved from Roman times. The Crusaders brought home perfumes and flower waters for their wives relaying the stories of the medicines being known once again in Italy and perhaps for the first time in the rest of Europe.
During the Middle Ages aromatic plants such as Thyme and Melissa were cultivated in monasteries. In the 12th century a German Abbess, Hildebrand, grew lavender for therapeutic properties which he also used as an essential oil. Throughout the 14th century, Frankincense and Pine were found to be burned in the trees. Perfume candles were burned inside and garlands of aromatic herbs and spices were often seen worn around ones neck in a bid to fight against the deadly plague which raged throughout Europe. Venice was the gateway to trade with the Arabs.
Perfumed leather for gloves was first discovered here. In 1 533, Catherine De Medici influenced the production of essential oils and perfume in France. The area of Grease in France became the main perfume producing area. The Renaissance period brought with it the wide use of essential oils because of improvements in methods of distillation. The first botanical gardens were introduced in Europe prior to the birth of Christ. They were later to be found in many monasteries. During the 16th Century, Royal Hungarian Water was produced by the distillation of alcohol with fresh rosemary blossoms.
Another infamous water was introduced by a Franciscan monk who left Italy to live in Cologne in 1665. The recipe for 'Aqua Memorabilia' was made world famous by his nephew J. M. Farina. It is known nowadays as the well known 'AAU De Cologne'. It was used as a health-promoting lotion and included the essential oils of bergamot, lemon, orange, lavender, thyme and smeary. These were then diluted in strong ethyl alcohol. In Britain by the year 1700, the use of essential oils was widespread. It was used in mainstream medicine until the time came that chemistry allowed the synthesis of materials within the laboratory.
Around the time of the Bubonic Plague, doctors would walk through streets wearing hats with large 'beaks'. Within these beaks they placed aromatic herbs so that the air inhaled passed through them and this air was believed to be antiseptic. The decline of the use of herbs in Britain is partly due to the Industrial Revolution. The relocation of peoples housing to smaller terraced houses with little or no gardens resulted in a decline of the use of fresh herbs. By the year 1986, chemistry was becoming increasingly important.
The drugs produced through the synthesis of the therapeutic properties from plants have proved to be very powerful in the role of modern medicine. The synthetic copies of the natural healing materials tend to be toxic and do not appear to have the same respect for the living human tissues. During the early years of this century a renewed interest in natural healing methods became apparent. This was no doubt stimulated by the side effects shown after long properties of essential oils. Essential oils were used on the wounds of those who suffered in the awful trench warfare of 1914- 1918.
Gatepost© discovered in his research that essential oils take 30 minutes to 12 hours to be absorbed by the human body after application to the skin. Aromatherapy was introduced by beauty therapists using massage techniques which is why aromatherapy has appeared to be, for many years, a massage using essential oils. The main use of aromatherapy in Britain was to relieve stress and improve skin conditions by massage and only sage. Today aromatherapy is growing hugely in popularity and is recognized widely for an alternative treatment by many people.
The use of the essential oils and plants has increased hugely in recent years. It is in general considered to be a complementary therapy. It is also being recommended by professional health careers as a complement to traditional medical treatments. Aromatherapy has been associated with massage as a method of delivering essential oils. There is growing evidence that aromatherapy treatment has many positive side effects on medical conditions either alone or in conjunction with traditional medicine.
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