Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Global History Of Aromatherapy

G'morning everyone!
So since I started this blog, I have been sharing with you the logistics of working with herbs and oils etc...Today I thought it would be fun to just sit back and share with you the global history of aromatherapy, and how aromatherapy has had such a great influence on history....affecting such divers developments as trade routes, cultivation and religious beliefs. I hope you enjoy today's post!

Global History Of Aromatherapy


Essential Oils~Aloe vera, geranium, clove, citronella, cedarwood, clary sage, melissa, myrrh, rose, spearmint and thyme.
Aroma Types~Many African plants yield oils with pungent scents, such s heady geranium.

History & Use~In North Africa in particular, herbs are still widely used by the nomadic Berber tribes in natural medicine. They share many ingredients with Egypt, which influenced their culture.

The Americas

Essential Oils~Bergamot, cedarwood, lime, mandarin, peppermint, sage, avocado, citronella and bay.

Aroma Types~Traditionally, the popular aromatherapy herbs were aromatic woods and dried plants with fresh scents. In recent years, citrus fruits have become popular.

History & Use~Native Americans used oils in remedies and religious rituals long before the arrival of Western settlers, burning aromatic plants in rituals to honor their gods. Sweat lodges, similar to saunas, often use aromatic plants to cleanse and purify the body once the steam has opened the pores. The Aztec ruler Montezuma cultivated vast botanical gardens full of healing aromatic plants.


Essential Oils~Benzoin, cajeput, ginger, petigrain, cardamom, cinnamon, citronella, cypress, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, lemongrass, mandarin, melissa, myrrh, neroli, peppermint and sandalwood.

Aroma Types~Asian oils favor sweet, gentle flower aromas, such as jasmine and neroli, as well as sharp cirtrus aromas, such as lemongrass and melissa (usually derived from grasses rather than citrus fruits). Spicy aromas such as cajeput and cardamom are also popular Aromas are generally middle to top note scents.

History & Use~Aromatherapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years. The Ancient Chinese Burned aromatic woods and incense in religious ceremonies and used the therapeutic qualities of essential oils in healing techniques such as massage and acupressure.


Essential Oils~Cajeput, eucalyptus, lime and tea tree.

Aroma Types~Strong, camphorous, antiseptic scents predominate in the plants in this part f the world. Many of the native plants are unique to Australia and have developed in isolation, thought some , such as the spicy cajeput, are shared with the Pacific Rim countries and the Indonesian Islands.

History & Use~Australian Aborigines have long incorporated essential oils into their healing techniques - including healing water infused with tea tree oil, it was one of the first "Western" cultures to formally acknowledge that aromatherapy had a place in conventional medicine: during WWI all Australian soldiers were issued with tea tree oil

Europe (Northern)

Essentail Oils~Basil, chamomile, clary sage, juniper, lavender, mandarin, melissa, rose, peppermint and thyme.

Aroma Types~Herbaceous plants such as lavender, sage and thyme dominate aromatherapy in Northern and Central Europe. Farther north, woody and cleansing aromas predominate.

History & Use~Aromatherapy spread across Europe with the Romans. In the Middle Ages, it was practiced in monasteries to prevent the spread of plague. Western doctors did not use aromatherapy until the 19th century, and it has only recently been recognized outside of cosmetics. Techniques currently used were developed by the French.

Europe (Mediterranean)

Essential Oils~Basil, fennel, bergamot, lemon, bay, marjoram, parsley rose, rosemary, sage and spearmint.

Aroma Types~Herbacious aromas such as basil, and sharp citrus scents such as lemon and bergamot. Middle to top notes predominate.

History & Uses~The Ancient Greeks used oils both medicinally and cosmetically more than 4,000 years ago. Many of their practices were adopted by the Romans, who enjoyed scented baths and massage with therapeutic oils. Many oils were imported from India and Arabia, opening up trade routes.


Essential Oils~Aloe vera, basil, geranium, frankincense and mint.

Aroma Types~Heady, floral and resinous base note oils, used in perfumes and incense.

History & Use~Aromatherapy is thought to originated in Ancient Egypt, and the use of essential oils is thought to date back more than 6,000 years; traces of cedarwood oil were even found Tutankhamen's tomb.


Essential Oils~Basil, lemongrass, black pepper, lemon, cardamom, cinnamon, patchouli, myrrh, palmarosa and sandalwood.

Aroma Types~Spicy oils, aromatic grasses, and earthy scents all originate from India

History & Use~Oils are an important part of Ayurveda, which has been practiced for more than 3,000 years. Oils and incense are also important for stimulating the seven Major Chakras of the body.


Essential Oils~Black pepper, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg (Spice Islands), patchouli and ylang ylang (Malaysia)

Aroma Types~Heady, aphrodisiac; base note scents predominate. Warming spice oils form cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg also appear.

History & Use~Javan envoys introduced oils and spices from Indonesia to the Han-Dynasty court of China as early as 200BC. Cloves were especially popular and spread to Europe in the Middle Ages; the Dutch eradicated clove cultivation in the 17th century on many Indonesian Islands in order to keep the price artificially inflated, but French smuggling broke the Dutch hold on clove trading. Cloves have become especially popular in the West as a Christmas spice.

Middle East

Essential Oils~Frankincense and myrrh.

Aroma Types~Relaxing, aphrodisiac base note oils that conjure images of Arabian nights are found in this area.

History & Use~Aromatherapy has a long history in the Middle East, where is was important in cosmetics and medicine. The study of oils reached its peak in the 10th century

Well there you have it...pretty interesting.

Have a wonderful day!

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