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  • Liza Carbalo

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ESSENTIAL OILS

Because of the recent rise of essential oils in the mainstream, it might be surprising to know that they have been used since ancient times in various uses. There have always been doubts about its effectiveness, but its history alone proves that essential oils are potent and are an effective alternative solution to various ailments.


The history of essential oils begins as early as 5000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, where people used animal fat and the heat of the sun to extract the oil from plants. Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, and juniper were commonly used for incense, perfume, and medicine. It was also used in embalming to ward off the smell of decay.


Around the same time in China, Huangdi, also known as the Yellow Emperor, wrote his Classic of Internal Medicine, which contains the properties and medicinal uses for over 300 plants. This ancient tome is still referenced by many practitioners today, and stands as a pillar of the effectivity of essential oils.


About a thousand years later in Pakistan, the introduction of distillation allowed for essential oils to be produced at night, and in larger quantities.


In Ancient Greece, essential oils were also widely used, applied mostly in healing, home and body care, and beauty. Hippocrates, who lived in around 400 B.C. and became known as the father of medicine, was also a big advocate of essential oils. He believed that a daily aromatic bath, followed by a scented massage promotes good health.


Jumping to Iran in about 1000 A.D., the Persian polymath Avicenna developed steam distillation, which dramatically improved the quality and quantity of essential oils and their production. The methods developed in this era are still used by modern distillers in the Middle East, with little modifications to the process.


Development in essential oils continue on in the modern era, with a breakthrough from France in the 1930s by way of accident. Cosmetic chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse was conducting an experiment when he burned his hand, and when it healed badly and got infected, he applied lavender oil on the burn. To his surprise, the wound healed quickly and completely, prompting Gattefosse to go into further research on essential oils.


About a decade later, a French doctor named Jean Valnet used essential oils to heal wounded war soldiers using Gattefosse’s research. He found that the antibacterial properties of certain essential oils he used helped the soldiers’ wounds heal faster and with less infection, much like the burn that Gattefosse suffered. Jean Lapraz, a student of Jean Valnet, in turn discovered in 1980 that some microbes could not survive in the presence of some essential oils, which gave value to them as antiseptics.


More recently, John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland has found that essential oils could kill a type of Lyme bacteria through a study. This joins a number of studies that have found even more potential in essential oils in recent years.


Essential oils have also been found to be effective in treating ailments aside from aiding in healing wounds and acting as antiseptics. Dr. Terry Friedmann, the former medical director of the Phoenix Health and Medical Center, has found that essential oils could be used in the treatment of children with ADHD. On the other hand, Dr. Alan Hirsch, the director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago believes that the future of medicine lies in aromatherapy, and that in the near future, every home medicine chest will contain essential oils.


All this has led to the development of Fermoil, the perfect carrier for essential oils. Through 25 years of research and development, Fermoil has been refined to have four to seven times better absorption than other carrier oils. It has prebiotic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties and is a protein activator, which are all achieved fermentation and evaporation through a patented process. In a sea of carrier oils, Fermoil has become one of, if not the best, carrier oils available, well-proven in the consumer marketplace — certainly one for the history books.

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