Plants and oils are one of the major components in learning to take care of the full spectrum of body, mind and spirit. Plants, herbs and their oils can trace it`s roots of ancient healing techniques back to Egypt over 5000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians were using aroma therapy more than 3000 years before Christ for medicine, cosmetics, ointments, salves and enema`s. In addition they used plant oils and incense for burial rituals, as special offerings to the gods and for the embalming of the dead.
The earliest uses of
aromatherapy goes back to earliest mankind. Archaeologist have found
traces of plants of medicinal value in ancient ruins and burial places
to earliest man. These have been verified by scientific analysis. It is
speculated that the uses of these plants and their oils were discovered
It is likely that when certain plants, berries and roots were gathered for the group that the sick became well and the injured healed. It is also likely that early people observed sick animals seeking out and eating certain plants and becoming well.
Unlike today, early people would have only had access to plants and
herbs that were grown locally in their region. So those plants would
have been considered very important and even ritualized.
The knowledge of these plants and herbs would have been carefully handed down from one generation to another. When stems and twigs of some of these were thrown into fires the tribes would discover that many of the smells produced from the burning of the plants would cause a relaxation response or feelings of joy or even aid in giving one more energy. Some plants such as the poppy gave the tribes people feelings of a mystical nature.
These experiences of chance lead to the study of plants in early
mankind and hence became early medicine. Some form of incense burning
has been practiced in almost all forms of religious
practice since earliest humans.
Since ancient man would have been limited to the use of plants and
herbs with-in their localized area`s, the burning of these valuable
plants as offerings to God or the gods would have been seen as a
Large numbers of ointment, cosmetic and aroma therapy bottles and jars have been found in pyramids with some of the aroma`s still perceptible. Clay tablets record international trade of aromatic oils and their plants.
Mesopotamian and Babylonian doctors also recorded the medicinal use of plants and aromatherapy oils. There are clay writings accounting one Babylonian King ordering the planting of pumpkin, garlic, onions, thyme, myrrh and other plants well known in the medicinal use of aromatherapy. Mention of myrrh, mustard seed and others are also mentioned in the Christian Bible.
The ancient Greeks learned from
the Egyptians and expanded on the medical knowledge of plants and
aromatherapy oils. They developed the use of olive oil as a carrier of
the essential oils for the use of topical medicines and cosmetics.
Greek soldiers would carry an ointment made from myrrh and olive oil
into battle for the treatment of wounds.
Hippocrates, ( the father of modern western medicine from which the Hippocratic oath taken by modern western doctors), greatly expanded the knowledge of plants and aromatherapy oils as medicine and is quoted as saying "let your medicine be your food and your food be your medicine".
Galen, the doctor to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, started as a doctor for the Gladiators and became famous for never having a Gladiator die from their wounds while under his care. Galen also invented the first cold cream and his formula is the foundation of all modern day cold creams. He later went on to greatly expand on Hippocrates idea of the four Humours which observed that illness and disease would often be accompanied by one of four fluids; phlegm, blood, yellow bile and black bile.
It was wrongly concluded by them that these were the cause of illness...we now know that these are the result of illness rather than the cause. But it was first Hippocrates and later Galen that got doctors to looking at more than just spiritual causes for sickness which allowed great advances in medicine.
Now the opposite is happening... modern western
medicine has concluded that the entire cause of illness is physical and
the best cure is man made synthetic chemicals instead of understanding
that illness and disease comes from physical, mental, emotional and
It is only when we address all of these that health can be achieved. While surgery and chemical drugs and chemotherapy have a place in the healing of illness, no one on drugs is healthy. It is only those that can reach a state where they are living on natural elements that are truly and completely healthy...at least in the opinion of the authors of this site.
Muslims have contributed greatly to society in the area`s of math
and science. It was a Muslim that introduced Algebra and expanded on
geometry. They also have a long history in the use of herbs, plants,
oil and honey for medicinal use. Abu Ali Husayn Ibn Abdaliah Ibn Sina
known as ( Avicenna ) was a child prodigy and Islamic philosopher who
made advancements in medicine, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic and
His writings record over 800 medicinal plants and essential oils
including chamomile, lavender and countless others. He was the first to
perfect the distilling of oils from plants which is used today to make
concentrated forms of aromatherapy oils. By the age of 10 he was
considered a scholar of the Qur`an and several area`s of science. While
still a teenager he attained such a degree of medicine that his
reputation spread throughout many lands.
At the age of 17 he was asked to treat Nooh Ibn Mansoor, the King of Bukhara, of an illness all the well-known physicians had given up hope on. The King had a complete recovery and asked "Avicenna" what he wanted as a reward. The young man asked only to have full access to the Kings unusually large library.
Avicenna went on to become the most famous physician, philosopher,
encyclopedist, mathematician and astronomer of his time. His major
contribution to medicine was his book "al-Qanun" translated in the west
as the "Canon". It contains over a million words on medical knowledge
and expanded the knowledge given by Galen and remained the authority of
medicine for six hundred years until the early dawning of modern
He described over 700 drugs from plants and aromatherapy oils; was the first to understand some diseases could be distributed through soil and water; and was the first to understand the connection between psychology and health; and even greatly expanded our knowledge of minerals which was the main source of the Christian,(although he was Muslim), encyclopedia of minerals of the day.
Avicenna`s work on aromatherapy oils which became known as "perfumes
spread all over Europe by crusading Knights which would bring them back
with them along with the knowledge to distill them. India and Asia have
an unbroken history of the use of herbs and oils for over 5000 years.
Indian religious test from 2000 B.C. contains instructions for the use of plants, ( called "simples"), as medicine. One quote, "Simples, you who have existed for son long, I want to understand your seven hundred secrets! Please heal this patient for me". Ayurvedic medicine includes the use of such plants and aromatherapy oil as clove, ginger, sandalwood, sesame oil, aloe, castor oil and others.
In China, "The Yellow Emperor`s Book of Internal Medicine" , dating from more than 3000 B.C. contains more than 8000 instructions on the use of plants and aromatherapy oil and herbs. This represents the greatest amount of knowledge for the use of plants, herbs and aromatherapy oil of any culture of the time. Japan learned from the Buddhist monks that came to the Islands of Japan from China and Tibet. In Asian practice of aromatherapy oils the idea of Yin and Yang, or opposing energies create balance.
The use of aromatherapy oils in Asia and
India are for a complete balancing of physical, mental and spiritual
aspects of life. We now know that many aromatherapy oils have
anti-bacterial and anti-microbial components clearly lending itself to
the idea that it can affect physical aspects of the body.
Many aromatherapy oils have been studied under the scrutiny of
scientific methods to look at chemical and electrical changed of the
mind while using aromatherapy oils and these studies show clear changes
in the brain further lending to the credibility of the aromatherapy
oils having an effect on the mind and emotions.
Anyone who has taken a warm bath with certain aromatherapy oils or received a therapeutic massage using these oils can attest to the spiritual nature of such therapy. So be sure to include aromatherapy oils in your collection of home remedies and natural healing.