Essential oils have been used throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications. The Egyptians were some of the first people to use aromatic essential oils extensively in their wellness practice, beauty treatment, food preparation, and in religious ceremony. Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were considered very valuable cargo along caravan trade routes and were sometimes exchanged for gold.
Borrowing from the Egyptians, the Greeks used essential oils in their practices of therapeutic massage and aromatherapy. The Romans also used aromatic oils to promote health and personal hygiene. Influenced by the Greeks and Romans, as well as Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic use of aromatic herbs, the Persians began to refine distillation methods for extracting essential oils from aromatic plants. Essential oil extracts were used throughout the dark ages in Europe for their wellness and fragrant properties.
In modern times, the powerful properties of essential oils were rediscovered in 1937 by a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who had a badly burnt hand that he applied pure lavender oil to it topically. A French contemporary, Dr. Jean Valnet, used therapeutic-grade essential oils to successfully soothe injured soldiers during World War II. Dr. Valnet went on to become a world leader in the development of aromatherapy practices. The modern use of essential oils has continued to grow rapidly as health scientists and medical practitioners continue to research and validate the numerous health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oils.