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The History of Essential Oils

February 1, 2017

You may be hearing a lot about essential oils lately, perhaps from friends or family members, or from posts on social media. And although it may seem like the newest health fad, essential oil use has been around for thousands of years. Yes, you read that right — thousands! Evidence of the earliest uses of essential oils has been found dating back over 5,000 years to Ancient Egypt. Pharaohs were often buried with their earthly treasures, like gold, jewels, and yes, even essential oils. When King Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened in 1922,  some 50 alabaster jars designed to hold 350 liters of oil were discovered.

Translations of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts describe how priests and physicians used essential oils thousands of years before the time of Christ. The precious essential oils of frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, rosemary, hyssop, cassia, cinnamon, and spikenard were used extensively for anointing and healing the sick. There are also over a hundred references to aromatics in the Bible!

Today’s modern essential oils are produced by a method called steam distillation. The earliest recorded mention of the techniques and methods used to produce essential oils is believed to be that of Ibn al-Baitar, an Al-Andalusian physician, pharmacist, and chemist who lived from 1188–1248 A.D. How does steam distillation work? Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into a distillation apparatus over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel to be bottled for use.

Today, we use essential oils for a wide variety of uses. Some people use them for spiritual reasons, others use them to help alleviate pain or strengthen their immune system. It’s important to note that they are not meant to take the place of modern medicine, and shouldn’t be intended to diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are unsure how to use essential oils or whether they are safe for use in your particular situation, it is best to consult with your healthcare professional.

If you are interested in diving into the world of essential oils, stop by Davis TV. We have a selection of oils right here in our store, as well as a diffuser so that you can see and smell these oils in person. We are so excited about what we can do for you, and we want you to be excited, too!

Essential Oils

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