What are essential oils & where do they come from?

A variety of plants cover the Earth in different shapes, sizes, colors, and scents.

Many of these plants contain compounds that typically can’t be seen with the naked eye—they hide within the roots, flowers, seeds, bark, or other areas of the plant.

These compounds are known as essential oils.

They are highly concentrated, making them extremely potent.

Also referred to as volatile aromatic compounds, essential oils give a plant its aroma, protect it from harsh environmental conditions and insects, and even play a part in plant pollination.

How Were Essential Oils Used Anciently?

Essential oil use is not a fad, but rather a long-time tradition started centuries ago in civilizations all over the world.

  • Egypt: Egyptians used plant-based products in beauty treatments, food preparations, burial rituals, and religious ceremonies.
  • Greece: In ancient Greece, men like Homer and Hippocrates explored the aromatic uses of plants, building on discoveries made by early Egyptians.
  • Rome: Ancient Romans often used plant extracts for massage, perfume, and scented baths.
  • Iran: In medieval times, people in the region of Iran often used and traded spices or resins for perfumery and maintaining health.
  • India: Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic healing system native to India, has developed over the span of 5,000 years and includes the use of aromatic and plant compounds.
  • China: For centuries, traditional Chinese practices have included the use of plant materials to promote wellness.
  • France: Rene Gattefosse, a French chemist, is credited as the first to coin the phrase “aromatherapy” as he studied and researched essential oils thoroughly in the 19th century.

Click here to learn more about where essential oils come from.

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