The first references to aromatherapy come from ancient Egypt, where essential oils were already being extracted from cedar wood around 4000 BC. In Europe, from the 13th century onwards, oil was primarily produced from rosemary and in France, at the time of the Sun King, more than 60 essences were already known. With the progress of chemistry in the 19th century, it was possible to analyse the essences more precisely and finally to produce them synthetically.
These products can only imitate the natural oils incompletely and are therefore not used in modern aromatherapy. Essential oils are found in practically all plants, but only a few contain therapeutically effective oils in sufficient quantities. They are obtained by steam distillation or cold pressing.
These are mainly terpenes which are related to ether, alcohols and aldehydes. They unfold their effect via the sense of smell, via the skin by rubbing in, compresses or baths and some of them are suitable for internal use. Oils that are suitable for aromatherapy must always be 100% pure natural essential oils!
No “nature-identical” and synthetic scented oils are used. At first glance, aromatherapy seems to be only one variant of herbal medicine (phytotherapy), in which essential oils from them are used instead of the medicinal plants. However, the advocates of aromatherapy emphasize again and again that it is an independent healing method, which works mainly on the “subtle level”.
They thus lead to mental and spiritual harmony, which is also communicated to the body. With scientific methods this effect cannot be proven exactly. What is certain, however, is that the aromatic substances absorbed through the nose influence the limbic system in the brain, which is responsible for the emotional and instinctive life and the organ functions associated with it.
The vegetative nervous system and hormonal functions are influenced. Aroma substances can influence body, mind and soul. The individual essential oils also have special effects, some of which remain local.
These include, above all, relief from catarrhs of the respiratory tract and from rheumatic and nerve pain, as well as stimulation of the digestive function and blood circulation. Depending on the ingredients, they can have relaxing, stimulating and balancing effects. Various essences have disinfecting and antibiotic effects.
Essential oils are applied internally and/or externally according to the instructions for use or professional prescription. When used properly, they are usually well tolerated. Side effects can occur if the dosage is too high in the form of irritation of the skin, respiratory and digestive tracts or as an allergic reaction to certain aromatic substances.
Essential oils do not combine with water. In some methods of application they must first be mixed with an emulsifier before they are added to water. Suitable emulsifiers are honey, healing earth, milk, whey and cream.