From Mediaeval times until the mid-1800s, it was generally believed that diseases were caused and spread through a corruption of the air or ‘miasma’. If you have ever used a vapour rub for a cough then you have tried aromatherapy, although not in its purest form. As a matter of fact, you probably have been using aromatherapy on yourself and your family for many years without realizing it through vapour rubs or electric vaporizers. Vicks or other brands of vapour rub use eucalyptus or menthol to clear out stuffy chests and noses. Imagine if you used the undiluted essential oil of eucalyptus how clear your lungs would feel.
It also appears that the severity of symptoms a person has may be related to the number of different pathogens that the person has. A person can experience pain and other symptoms that are very resistant to conventional methods of treatment, because the pain can persist as long as the pathogenic load is not reduced. Simply suppressing symptoms such as pain does not work very well or work for very long for people with this condition.
You can also take hot oil baths to relieve the pain after the massage. There are many natural essential oils that will help relieve the pain. To make a great hot aromatic pain-relieving bath, use 10 drops of Eucalyptus and 10 drops of Peppermint added to your bath.
Aromatherapy was used in the healing temples in both Egypt and later in Greece, which also incorporated the use of colour healing utilizing solar light. Great glass windows of various colours were built in to the ceilings of these temples at specific points, corresponding with the journey of the sun across the sky. The patient was placed in the stream of coloured light and incense was burned or oils applied to the patient as need dictated. This form of healing is called Heliotherapy.
Moving forward through later centuries a growth in books about the use of oils in healing grew. The Greek alchemist, Paracelcus, used the term “essence” and focused study on the use of plants for healing purposes. While the use of essential oils for perfume continued to grow throughout the ages its’ use for medicinal purposes waned slightly until around 1928. It was at that time that a French chemist named Rene-Maurice Gattefosse accidentally discovered the use of lavender essential oil to heal wounds.
There are also significant differences between synthetic fragrance oils and pure essential oils. Synthetic fragrance oils are produced by blending aromatic chemicals primarily derived from coal tar. These oils may duplicate the smell of the pure botanical, but the complex chemical components of each essential oil created in nature determine its true aromatic benefits. While synthetic fragrance oils are not suitable for aromatherapy, they add an approximation of the natural scent to crafts, potpourri, soap and perfume at a fraction of the cost.
Chamomile – Used to promote sleep, relaxation and meditation. (That’s why so many people have a cup of chamomile tea at bedtime!) It’s relaxation properties and can be used to treat indigestion, peptic ulcers, nervousness, menstrual cramps, sore throat, burns and skin inflammations, vaginal infections, insomnia, sunburn, hay fever and sprains. The oil is extracted from chamomile flower heads and has a sweet, fruity and floral scent.
Producing the purest of oils can be very costly because it may require several hundred pounds, or even several thousand pounds of plant material to extract one pound of pure essential oil. For example, one pound of pure Melissa oil sells for $9,000-$15,000.
EO’s are very expensive to produce; some more than others, due to the labor intensive process and the quantity of the plant required to produce the oil. Approximately 800 lbs of Thyme would produce 2 lbs of the essential oil, 4400 lbs of rose petals to make 2 lbs of oil. 6 tons of orange blossoms to produce 2 lbs of Neroli and 4 million jasmine flowers to produce 2 lbs of jasmine absolute. Essential oils may be up to 75 to 100 times stronger than dried herbs.
Those who could afford it burned a range of aromatic herbs – such as rosemary, juniper, laurel, pine and beech – in their houses, to help ward off bad smells and purify the air. Camphor and sulphur were also thought to be effective. Sweet-smelling herbs, such as lavender, sage, thyme, meadowsweet and winter savoury, were dried and strewn on the floor, sewn into cloth bags or carried as posies. Cloths infused with aromatic oils, such as camphor, rosemary or laurel, that were used to cover the face when going out were a more expensive option. Vinegar was also thought to be an effective deterrent.