What is aromatherapy ?

Aromatherapy is a common practice wherein fragrant herbs and essential oils are used in promoting health or natural healing. The practice of using scented herbs for spiritual and medicinal properties bates back to ancient Egypt and Babylon, wherein pharaohs were embalmed with pleasing and scented herbs to purify their bodies in preparation for afterlife. The father of modern medicine Hippocrates also used aromatherapy in belief that the use of herbs can benefit health. Many of Hippocrates’ early prescriptions included herbs and oils.

A French cosmetic chemist from the 1920s named Rene Maurice Gattefosse coined the term “aromatherapy”. When working in his lab, he was burned and plunged his arms into a cold substance with lavender essential oils to cool the pain down. Much to his surprise, the burns rapidly healed without too much scarring. Since then, Gattefosse studied the use and healing power of certain herbs and essential oils.

Today, many people still use aromatherapy since studies have shown that certain herbs and essential oils indeed contains healing and therapeutic properties. For instance, eucalyptus is used in relieving chest pains, while lavender is used in treating burns, anxiety and depression. Rosemary has been effective in treating muscle pains and arthritis, while Tea Tree Oil has been used for decades as a treatment for fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot.

Some of the most effective essential oils, which can be bought in drug stores and health food stores, include rosemary, lavender, thyme, lemon, tea tree, chamomile, peppermint, eucalyptus, geranium and clove.

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