The term aromatherapy is one that has only been used since the 20th century but the practice of it has been around since almost the beginning of mankind. The extraction and use of essential oils we know has been around at least one thousand years, with the Chinese being at the forefront of using plants and its oils for medical purposes. Even further back than this, the ancient Egyptians used extracted oils from aromatic plants to treat ailments and more significantly they also used oils like of Cedar Wood, Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Myrrh for embalming the dead.
The ancient Greeks also practiced aromatherapy where the fumigation of oils was carried out both for physical and spiritual healing. It should be noted however that during this period the process of distilling essential oils was limited more to the extraction of floral water and not the oils themselves. It was not until around 1200 AD that the distillation of essential oils was possible due to the invention of coiled cooling pipes.
Thus in the centuries that followed essential oils started to become more popular and more types of plants started to have their oils extracted through the distillation process which were then sold in apocathery shops during the middle ages with more and more oils introduced as their popularity increased.
More recently essential oils of plants have been studied more closely for their medicinal qualities so much so that some components have been isolated to create medicines. However it is the synthetic man made chemical medicines produced in latter century and their sometime harmful side effects that have in recent times propelled aromatherapy and the use of essential oils as a more natural and preferable Alternative Health substitute which has stood the test of time.
About the author
Graham Grant is the editor of Aroma Therapy Best Guide a website totally dedicated to aromatherapy. For more articles and information please find out more here
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