Howdy! Consider this our first date. I may be moving fast, but we’ve got a lot to cover. Follow along as we date the usage of essential oil back to it’s roots, it’s humble beginnings.
Where are my manners? Let me introduce myself. My name is Korina Buehrer and I fancy many titles; Birth Doula, Mama Baby Haiti board member, mama of four boys, wife to my high school sweetheart, sister to five siblings, daughter to Yahweh, world traveler, homeschooler, animal lover, and healer.
Lets’s zoom in on the last title: healer. Healer by definition is, “Someone that alleviates a person's distress or anguish”. It never gets old helping people dig deep to make well thought out choices, to be empowered. I use three very powerful tools to empower others: essential oils, nutrition, and mindset.
In this blog post, we will focus on essential oils. They are incredible and never cease to amaze me. Essential oils have passed the test of time—they have been used medicinally since the beginning of recorded history.
~ Frankincense and Myrrh essential oils were a gift of the Magi.
~ In the history of mankind, let’s take a peek at the Egyptians. They were the first people to discover aromatherapy, and use aromatic herbs for religion, cosmetics as well as medicinal purposes.
~ At the same time the Egyptians were developing their knowledge on plant based medicine, the Chinese made use of herbs and aromatic plants. They were an integral part of the Indian Ayurvedic medicinal system.
~ The life changing benefits discovered discovered by the Egyptians were adopted and put into practice by the ancient Greeks. The most well-known physician of that time - Hippocrates (c.460 - 377 BC) was also a firm believer of treating the patient holistically and included aromatherapy massage as a treatment.
~ Good things can’t be kept secret for long. The wisdom of the Greeks made it’s way to the Romans. Romans were strong believers in hygiene to promote health and also place great stock in aromatherapy and the power of fragrances.
~ After the fall of the Roman Empire, and the subsequent Dark Ages, we saw the emergence of the Arabian empire which was in the position to draw not only from Greek and Roman teachings, but also those of China and India! The Persian physician Avicenna (980 - 1037 AD) is credited with perfecting the distillation process of essential oils.
~ The term aromatherapy, as we know it today, was first coined in 1937 by the French chemist and perfumer Rene Maurice Gattefosse. He was not a believer of the natural health movement but was interested in the properties that essential oils exhibited. In 1910 he burnt his hand badly in his laboratory. Pure undiluted lavender oil was the first available compound handy to treat his badly burnt hand. Not only did it immediately ease the pain, but helped heal the hand without any sign of infection or scar. He also found that minute amounts of essential oils are absorbed by the body and interact with the body chemistry.
~ During the second world war, as a result of Gattefosse's experiments, Dr. Jean Valet used essential oils to treat injured soldiers with great success.
~ Since the late 1970 and early 80's the use of essential oils and aromatherapy has become a major part of alternative and holistic health systems, and has a huge following across the world.
What a great date it’s been with our essential oils. There’s rich history offering much wisdom on essential oils and the herbal flower counterparts. These two belong together. You can’t have one without the other. Think of a time when you plucked a lavender bud or mint leaf, then squished them between your fingers. There was a potent aroma that came out. You just experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils by rupturing the microscopic oil sac on the plant.
Not all plants make essential oils, but the ones that do use their precious glucose storage to form the essential oils. Naturally occurring, volatile, aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. A high quality brand essential oil, with perfect chemical profiles, balanced notes, and thorough testing, will offer beautifully and powerfully fragrant oils. They can be up to 80 times more potent than an herb. 28 cups of peppermint tea equal 1 drop of peppermint oil. Holy macaroni, that’s an intense oil!
Practice caution by using a carrier oil when applying any oil to the skin, especially hot ones like oregano, cassia, cinnamon, clove, and peppermint. You’ll eliminate any irritation that could occur if applied neat (no dilution). Use a couple drops in the diffuser, and consider doing some DIY projects to reduce the toxic chemical cleaners and body products in the house! It saves you a bundle of money and the whole family, animals included, can fight the neurotoxins that are in synthetic household products. Remember they are extremely concentrated, a little amount of pure, therapeutic, oil goes a long ways.
Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, protect plants, and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their fundamental benefits to plants and their lovely fragrance, essential oils have long been used for making delicious food, beauty treatment, and health-care practices as our Roman, Egyptian, Chinese, Greek, and aromatherapist friends taught us on our date!
Sneak peek into next months column, How to use Essential Oils in Pregnancy. There will be amazing recipes to help support the different ailments women face as they carry their womb fruit 9 months!
I teach in home, or online essential wellness classes. Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.