To understand essential oils, you must first learn what these are, what is their history and their use for health.
An essential oil is a liquid generally distilled with steam or water from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, or roots of a plant. Once extracted, the oils can be used for skin treatments, to lift the spirits and / or health benefits.
Essential oils history
- 3500 BC: The Egyptians were the first to make extensive use of aromatherapy and herbs, and included religious use, cosmetics and medicinal purposes.
- 3000 BC: At the same time, the Chinese also made use of herbs and aromatic plants. This was also taken up as an integral part of the medical system Ayurveda, originating in India.
- 460-377 BC: Medical wisdom of the Egyptians was taken by the ancient Greeks. The most recognized of the time physician, Hippocrates, patients treated using essential oils.
- 25 AC- 450 AD: The Romans took the medical wisdom of the Greeks once again and were ardent advocates of hygiene to promote health and also had great confidence in the power of aromatherapy fragrances.
- 900-1037 AD: After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Arab Empire continued teaching on essential oils from Greece, Rome, China and India. During this time the Persian physician Avicenna perfected the process of distilling essential oils.
- The Dark Ages: The monks who helped the sick continue to use herbs but the holistic approach of Hippocrates, by that time, he had completely disappeared. Holistic methods returned later during the Renaissance period and is used to treat leprosy.
- 1910 AD: The French chemist and perfumer by Rene Maurice Gattefosse learned that lavender oil can be used as treatment after using it to treat a burn on his hand. He also learned that small amounts of essential oils are absorbed by the body and interact with body chemistry.
- 1930: The modern term “Aromatherapy” is coined by Rene Maurice Gattefosse.
- World War II: Dr. Jean Valnet used oils to treat wounded soldiers, with great success.
- 1950: In the 50s, they begin to use essential oils in massage therapies. Diluted oils mixed with vegetable oils and massage into the skin using a Tibetan technique consisting in applying on nerve endings along the backbone was made.
How to use essential oils
- Inhalation: Consists in the use of essential oils in hot compresses, using diffusers, or hot water for inhalation. The standard dose is 10 drops.
- Baths: A safe dose is usually 5-10 drops of softer oil. Put oil in the water just before the bathroom, and disperse. It can be mixed with ½ or 1 cup of sesame oil or milk and then put in the bathroom.
- Compresses: Pour 10 drops of oil in 4 ounces of hot water, then soak the cloth and wrap. It’s good for bruises, wounds, muscle aches and pains, dysmenorrhea and skin problems.
- Facial steamers: Pour 1-5 drops in a pot with hot water, cover your head with a towel and misting your face with steam. Excellent compressed to open chest, headaches, skin treatments.
- Massages: Consists in the use of essential oils for body massage. The pure essential oils are about 70 times more concentrated than the whole plant. For massage typically is diluted between 2% and 10%.
- Diffusers: Several types of diffusers on the market, such as candle diffusers, electrical, heat, cold air nebulizers and humidifiers.