Mother Nature's Great Gift
Aromatherapy is the use of highly concentrated extracts of trees, plants, herbs and flowers in order to promote health and well-being. These extracts, known as pure essential oils, hold many healing properties and can be used pharmacologically, physiologically and psychologically.
The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, Cleopatra and her scented baths, Hippocrates and the early perfumers all used essential oils, and consequently, the art of aromatherapy. Gypsies even used aromatherapy to ward off the plague. Today essential oils can be found in a myriad of places from cosmetics to massage oils, skin care to bath blends, and perfumes to soaps and toothpaste. It is because essential oils are natural that they can be used to enhance so many different every day items. The beauty of aromatherapy is it makes these every day items extraordinary.
Even though essential oils had been in use for thousands of years, at the beginning of the nineteenth century their use began to taper off. Scientists had discovered how to isolate a scent and make less expensive, synthetic oils for use in perfumes and medicine. Then, in the early 1920’s French cosmetic chemist René-Maurice Gattefosse badly burned his arm in a lab explosion. He hastily thrust his arm into the nearest cold liquid, a tub of lavender oil. When his burn healed quickly and left no visible scar he was inspired to study the properties of lavender and other essential oils. He soon coined the term aromatherapy and is credited with reinvigorating the popularity, use and study of essential oils.
Through Gattefosse’s and others continued studies, it was discovered how powerful essential oils really are. On average essential oils have one hundred components each, and some contain many more. These varied components are what make the oils so useful in healing and perfuming. The oils synthetic counterparts, with only a few components, just don’t have all that nature has to offer. The multitude of elements in a true essential oil are all there, working together and counter-balancing each other’s actions.
Aromatherapy can be described as a healer of the body and the soul. The “life force” of the plant is said to be in its essence, which becomes the essential oil. This essence gives the plant its aroma and helps to protect it from parasites and disease. Essential oils used in aromatherapy offer these same healing qualities and many more. The oils can be antiviral, antiseptic, sedating, uplifting, detoxifying, digestive, stimulating, bactericidal, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, expectorant, and vulnerary just to name a few. This makes aromatherapy helpful for numerous ailments, cuts, scrapes, insect bites, skin conditions, emotional woes, and captivating a lover.