You have probably heard the term Aromatherapy and wondered what
exactly that funny word, „aromatherapy‟ actually means. It is the use of
plant oils in there most essential form to promote both mental and physical
well being. The use of the word aroma implies the process of inhaling the
scents from these oils into your lungs for therapeutic benefit.
If you have ever used a vapor rub for a cough then you have tried
aromatherapy, although not in its purest form. As a matter of fact, you
probably have been using aromatherapy on yourself and your family for
many years without realizing it through vapor rubs or electric vaporizers.
Vicks or other brands of vapor rub use eucalyptus or menthol to clear out
stuffy chests and noses. Imagine if you used the undiluted essential oil of
eucalyptus how clear your lungs would feel.
The term aromatherapy is generally new, beginning to be used in the 20th
century, but the practice has been around for thousands of years. It is
believed that the Chinese were one of the first cultures to use the scents of
plants to promote health through the burning of incense. Ancient Egyptians
used distilled cedarwood oil mixed with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and
myrrh to embalm the deceased. The Egyptians also used oils to perfume
both men and women.
In the 14th century when the bubonic plague hit, killing thousands of
people, aromas were used to ward off the deadly disease. There is even
discussion that the popular nursery rhyme, “Ring Around the Roses” refers
to aromatherapy. The lines, “a pocket full of posies” allegedly refers to
keeping the flower in ones pocket in an attempt to keep the illness away.
Moving forward through later centuries a growth in books about the use of
oils in healing grew.
The Greek alchemist, Paracelcus, used the term “essence” and focused
study on the use of plants for healing purposes.
While the use of essential oils for perfume continued to grow throughout
the ages its‟ use for medicinal purposes waned slightly until around 1928.