Ancient Tales: The History of Aromatherapy


The ancient Egyptians are generally regarded to be the founders of aromatherapy and were using aromatics as far back as 4,500 BC. Traces of the oils have been discovered in the tombs of ancient Egyptians. There are two explanations as to why oils would have been found in the tombs and pyramids.

First, the ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife. They thought they could take their worldly goods with them. Many of the tombs were full of treasures and riches, all buried with the owner so that when they woke up in the afterlife, their riches would be there waiting for them. As aromatic oils were considered very precious for health and beauty, they would have been part of the wealth stashed alongside the mummy.

Second, the oils were used for embalming. Traces of the oil of spikenard, cedarwood, cypress, frankincense, myrrh, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon have been found impregnated in mummies’ bandages. These oils would have been used for their antiseptic and antibacterial properties to help preserve the bodies. In the case of royals, they thought that the embalming protection of the oils would help them to arrive in the other world of the afterlife intact. In fact, the embalming was remarkably effective as fragments of intestine examined under microscope were found to be in remarkable condition even after thousands of years. Physicians from all over the world are reputed to have traveled to Egypt to learn aromatic medicine from the masters.



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