The history of aromatherapy is nearly as long as our civilization. Although the term was first introduced in 20th century, the practice of using plants and plant oils for treating physical and mental ailments has been with us for thousands of years. Various cultures all over the globe are known to have studied and used aromatherapy methods for health benefit.
The Chinese people were among the first cultures that practiced the methods of aromatherapy. The famous Chinese Yellow Book of Internal Medicine is an old manuscript (dating back to 2500BC) that discusses a number of plants and their application in medical treatments. It is also known that the Chinese always used aromatic plants oils and incense in order to maintain a natural life balance. Even today, in China and related cultures, there is equally wide use of scents in creating a peaceful and healthy balance both at homes and at work places.
History of Aromatherapy – Egypt
There is a well documented usage of aromatherapy methods is ancient Egypt. Many papyruses dating back to 1st century BC, describe the uses and methods of application of various plants. Some of the mentioned plants are still used and applied in the same way as was the case in ancient times. Ancient Egyptians, being advanced in a wide range of scientific areas, are proven to have used the plants in the procedures related to embalming for their dead. Egyptian culture was also advanced in sense that they kept a record of the body of knowledge for future generations.
History of Aromatherapy – Greece and Rome
Both civilizations have a long history in aromatherapy. Hippocrates, the famous philosopher and physician, was an advocate of aromatherapy use for both the fragrance benefits and the medicinal benefits. Many Greek people used certain plant oils for treating wounds and soothing inflammation.
In Rome, massage oils were used for treating the skin and other tissues following the baths. Romans also utilized aromatherapy for distilling and makeup techniques. There is the evidence that the history of aromatherapy in Rome comprised the use of aromatic fragrances.
History of Aromatherapy –Other Cultures
There is a number of other cultures that have the history of using aromatherapy over the centuries. In spite of the fact that this history of usage and records are scattered and not entirely conclusive, it is evident that aromatherapy had an important place in many cultures: European, Asian, African and Indian. Along with the exploration of the world, the cultures shared information from the world of aromatherapy – to our global benefit.