Essential oils are seen by some as an overnight sensation, a fad whose growing popularity is based more on clever marketing and promotion than legitimate health benefits. What those who hold that perspective fail to consider, however, is the history of essential oils. These beneficial oils have been used in one form or another for thousands of years. Though modern production has leant new sophistication to the production of essential oils, the medicinal properties of those oils have been known for millennia.
The history of essential oils dates all the way back to ancient societies. Humans have been attributing curative properties to plants both wild and grown - sometimes correctly, sometimes not - for as long as there have been societies to speak of. That said, it was not until we come to the great empires of the past (including those of Rome, Greece, and Egypt) that we see the first evidence of individuals deriving essential oils from natural ingredients. Though extracting the beneficial or valuable components of plants had been going on for some time, it is not until we get to this point in human history that we see any record of the distillation necessary to create essential oils. Even then, the practice was not at all widespread - the technology needed for the consistent creation of essential oil was still many years away.
It was, in fact, not until the 18th century that we developed distillation processes similar to those used today. At that time, essential oils were primarily used for perfumes and flavoring, a practice that continues to this day. The producers of the oil, however, were not initially aware that their product potentially possessed significant medical benefits. That field of research did not come about until the 20th century when it was popularized by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé.
Though he did not invent the concept of aromatherapy - nor was he the only individual researching the topic - he did conceive of the term, and his studies have proven groundbreaking in the understanding of the properties of essential oils. What's more, his research in the field was stymied by the fact that he was not a doctor, and as such he was not allowed to conduct clinical experiments or prescribe essential oils. Still, the path he forged proved to be an influential one.
Inspired in part by Gattefossé's research, a French doctor named Jean Valnet founded the first college of phyto-aromatherapy, a field in which all forms of plant extracts (not just essential oils) are studied for their medicinal qualities. He also wrote the 1964 text The Practice of Aromatherapy, which is considered to be the first modern text detailing the benefits of the application of essential oils. His work inspired a brand new generation of aromatherapy researchers, including French doctor Daniel Pénoë. In 1990, Pénoë published L’aromatherapie Exactement, a catalog detailing the properties of over 270 essential oils. The text became an essential reference book for those interested in aromatherapy and to this day is considered an invaluable source of essential oil information.
We at SpaRoom believe in the healing properties of essential oils. That's why we only offer 100% essential oil blends and do so at prices our customers can afford. We even offer organic essential oils like our lemon organic essential oil, rosemary organic essential oil, and more! Though no one knows for sure what the future holds for essential oils, we look forward to seeing the next evolution of these natural remedies and to introducing new generations to the awesome power of aromatherapy.