A Brief History of Essential Oils
There are many legends for the supposed use of therapeutic oils throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications. Egyptians used aromatic oils in medicine and for beauty treatment, food preparation and religious ceremonies. Throughout the Middle East frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were valuable trade merchandise along caravan trade routes. Aromatic herbs and their extracts were widely used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and also in China.
The Persians began to refine distillation processes for extracting essential oils and these extracts were used throughout the dark ages in Europe for their anti-bacterial and fragrant properties.
The birth of modern medical aromatherapy
In the 20th century the medical benefits of essential oils were recognized by a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, at a perfume factory. He healed a serious burn with pure lavender oil. Between 1920 and 1930 when Alexander Flemming was working on the discovery of penicillin, Gattefossé in France was doing his first investigative research into the therapeutic properties of essential oils. Pharmacists in France were quick to recommend eucalyptus and tea tree for things that were being treated elsewhere in the world with penicillin. At the time they were basically equivalent, except that essential oils have been proven to be safer.
The big difference was that penicillin and all the subsequent antibiotics and drugs could make a fortune for the pharmaceutical world because they could be patented, while essential oils were natural substances. So essential oils were ignored except in France and Europe where there had already been significant amounts of research done.
A French medical doctor, Jean Valnet, used therapeutic-grade essential oils to successfully treat injured soldiers during World War II. He saved many lives in Viet Nam (French Indochina) during World War II. When he returned to Paris, he continued his great work with plant extracts and devoted his life to getting plant medicines accepted in the world. We owe a lot to surgeons who worked with him and who were trained by him. Dr. Pénoël’s and Pierre Franchomme’s first training in the world of essential oils was from his book.
The modern use of essential oils has continued to grow rapidly as chemists and medical practitioners like Pierre Franchomme and Daniel Pénoël did research in the laboratory and their medical clinic to validate the numerous health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oils. Everyone who was to be trained in therapeutic essential oils after 1990 had to understand what was in their book, L’aromathérapie exactement.
Essential oils for the common man
These pioneers could see that they needed to do worldwide training to avoid serious problems for their new industry. Essential oils would be severely restricted in some countries, others would use them in ways that were unsafe. So there began extensive training.
The English speaking countries were already doing what the French medical doctors called “timid” aromatherapy with too many restrictions and rules. In these countries the oils were greatly diluted and only applied topically.
You can’t really accomplish anything significant with microbes and many health issues with that timid approach. Dr. Pénoël said, “It’s like having a wonderful pocket knife without ever opening the blade.” You have no real therapeutic value when all you can do is use a two percent essential oils solution in a carrier oil for topical massage. The English allowed for no ingestion and no undiluted application. They were missing most of the power of true medical aromatherapy. And that’s why we see in the USA and the UK mostly recreational fragrances and dead, synthetic essential oils in most shops.
The pharmaceutical establishment has always tried to instill fear about essential oil safety even though they are used extensively in the food industry and animal husbandry. They try to keep the information so complicated that all medical decisions have to be kept away from ordinary people and only in the hands of trained professionals certified to practice medicine.
You can care for yourself safely and effectively
Because of the simplicity and safety of essential oils, the mission of Dr. Pénoël and many in the network marketing companies has been to empower lay people to care for themselves safely and effectively using the most beneficial oils and blends. However, the network marketing companies have also created a complex training system to sell their overpriced oils to maintain their supposed exclusivity. They try to get their people to order enormous, costly kits and become “little doctors” using hundreds of individual oils and blends. They publish huge pharmaceutical-like reference encyclopedias with an oil or blend for everything imaginable.
We need to distill all the complicated training into its essential simplicity. What you will find on this website is profound in its background and depth of knowledge and research, but simple in its teachings and habits. We advocate fundamental habits using affordable essential oils that will restore health in a deep way. This website is not about the quick cure. A quick cure is like a mirage—all show and no permanent health.
©2012 True Compass LLC