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- Note from the Editor
- The Origins of Aromatherapy -
- Product Spotlight - Clear Metabolism
As promised in our last publication, the
feature article this edition is part two of "The Origins of Aromatherapy",
an overview of the history of this healing craft, taken from our recently
launched sister site, A
World of Aromatherapy. We have a few announcements to make, and then
we'll get straight to the article...
We're proud to announce the lauch of our
second sister site, located at A
World of Acupuncture. Our latest project features extensive information
on this popular and effective treatment - much more so than space allows
us to provide here. Take a look around, and feel free to provide us with
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And now on to this edition's article. We
sincerely hope you enjoy the second installment!
Rediscovery of a Healing Art
With the decline of the Roman Empire, the use of aromatics
faded, and the knowledge of their use was virtually lost in Europe during
the dark ages...
One of the few places where the tradition
of Aromatherapy continued was in monasteries, where practicing monks used
plants from herbal gardens to produce infused oils, herbal teas, and medicines.
At the time of the plague, and during the
Middle Ages in general, it was discovered that certain aromatic derivatives
helped to prevent the spread of infection, and others, such as cedar and
pine, were burnt to fumigate homes and streets.
The revival of the use of essential oils
is credited to a Persian physician and philosopher known as Avicenna,
who lived from 980 AD to 1037 AD. Based on his work, the Arabs initiated
a method of extraction known as distillation, and study of the therapeutic
use of plants once again became popular in the Universities of the day.
The knowledge of distillation spread to their invading forces during the
Crusades, and the lost process was once again returned to Europe.
By 1200 AD, essential oils were being produced
in Germany, based mainly on herbs and spices brought from Africa and the
When South America was invaded by the conquistadors,
many medicinal plants and aromatic oils were discovered. The wide variety
of medicinal plants found in Montezuma's gardens provided a basis for
many new and important remedies and treatments.
Throughout the northern continent, Native
American Indians were also using aromatic oils from which stemmed their
own style of herbal remedies. These remedies, as well as many others,
were discovered when settlers began to make their way across the oceans
to the plains of the New World.
Although herbs and aromatics had been used
in other world cultures for many centuries, it was not until the 19th
century that scientists in Europe and Great Britain began researching
the effects of essential oils on humans.
It was French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse
who discovered the healing powers of lavender oil after burning his hand
in his laboratory. He proceeded to publish a book on the anti-microbial
effects of the oils in 1937, and the term "Aromatherapy" was born.
Today, aromatherapy is practiced in
one form or another on virtually every continent, and in every culture.
Its strengths as a complementary form of medicine continue to be documented
through scientific study, with the results serving to ensure its presence
in the future of nature-based health care.
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