History Of Aromatherapy
The history of aromatherapy can be traced back almost six thousands years when mystic, magic and religious practices went hand in hand with therapeutic practices and thus with the first stages in the development of aromatic medicine. The Egyptians were the ones to create rituals that included the burning of incense, aromatic wood and herbs in honor of their gods. When the smoke raised towards heaven the prayers of the humans reached deities directly. Then, with the more frequent use aromatics in the treatment of various health conditions, the bases of aromatherapy were laid for the first time. Afterwards, people only built upon them.
The process of embalming and mummification is another interesting part in the history of aromatherapy; also developed by the Egyptians, this practice was supposed to open the way towards immortality. Arab merchants were the ones to bring and distribute the most famous herbs in the history of aromatherapy: these were frankincense and myrrh. The herbs and spices came from Greece, Rome, Persia, China, Babylon and Assyria and their value was comparable to that of the gems and the precious metals. Embalming was not a singular application in the use of aromatic herbs as Egyptians soon became masters of perfumery too.
By imitation, the use of herbal fragrances for medical purposes was imported by the European medicine too. The history of aromatherapy recognizes Asclepius, a Greek doctor, as one of the most skilled therapists to rely on herbs to improve his surgical practices. Hippocrates in his turn relied on baths, massages and infusions as well as on the internal administration of herbs for most of his remedies. As the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates has a revered place in the history of aromatherapy; during his lifetime, he studied and documented more than two hundred herbs that are still the basis for herbalist therapies nowadays.
Almost all cultures have a share in the history of aromatherapy by the mere fact that they all converge in one point: the use of herbs for the treatment of all the body ailments. Traditional medicine is nothing else but the skilled use of herbal remedies to heal and help one recover. Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Celts and more, they all brought their contribution to the developed use of aromatic plants and herbs. Take for instance the Arabs that managed to achieve one huge comprehensive knowledge of the aromatics and their medicine applications. Modern medicine and science in general would not be the same without the oral and written traditions that constitute the basis of herbal therapies.