The Ancient History of Aromatherapy
Essential oils are concentrated substances that are extracted from certain species of flowers, fruits, grasses, leaves, roots and trees. You could say it is the heart and soul of the plant. These powerful substances are the chemical components of the plant cells that are released during the extraction process. In ancient cultures they began to discover the benefits of aromatherapy with the burning of fragrant woods, leaves, needles, and tree gums. This practice more than likely arose from the discovery that some fire woods, such as cypress, cedar and frankincense filled the air with scent when they burned. The modern word perfume is derived from the Latin ‘per fumum’, which means "through smoke." Many religious ceremonies still burn incense and wood during their ceremonies.
The history of aromatherapy has been recorded for thousands of years in many ancient cultures such as the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks. They recorded using aromatherapy in spiritual ceremonies, and as a healing tool, in beauty rituals and as aphrodisiacs. Ancient Egypt is recognised as the origin for the significant development in aromatherapy, and the first distillation of essential oils (dating back to 3500 B.C.) was done in Egypt. It is recorded that Cleopatra wrote a book called “Cleopatra Gynaeciarum Libri “, around 50BC, which has been unfortunately lost, but other references say that it contained recipes for essential oil combinations, perfumes and beauty products.
Cleopatra famously used jasmine, patchouli and rose oils as perfumes which are powerful aphrodisiacs and are widely used in beauty products today. Another beauty secret of Cleopatra is her famous milk baths. Milk is a wonderful exfoliator as it contains lactic acid and it is also a natural moisturiser so you skin will be smooth and hydrated. I have created this luxurious and aromatic recipe for Cleopatra’s Milk Bath.
Cleopatra’s Milk Bath
Ingredients 1/4 Cup Powdered Milk or 1 cup of fresh milk 1/4 Cup Honey 1 tablespoon Almond or Jojoba Oil 8 drops Rose Essential Oil 8 drops Jasmine Essential Oil 2 drops Frankincense Essential Oil 5 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly then add to your bath. Lie back, relax and let the heady aroma of essential oils and the moisturising benefit of honey, milk and oils hydrate your body so your skin will feel soft and silky.
Enjoy the healing journey!