Aromatherapy can be traced back thousands of years. Cave paintings dated at
18,000 BC in Lascaux, France depict the burning of aromatic plants, thought
to be used to drive out evil spirits.
The ancient Egyptian culture clearly documented their use of aromatic medicine in their hieroglyphic records. Evidence of the use of herbs in the way of aromatic barks, resins, perfumed oils, wines and vinegar's were found dating back to 4500 BC.
Persian physician and alchemist Avicenna distilled the oil of Rosa centifolia between 980-1037 AD. The use essential oils declined in the nineteenth century when the medical profession became enamoured with chemical and synthetic medicines.
In 1910 French chemist and scholar Dr. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse discovered the virtues of the essential oil of lavender. Gattefosse badly burned his hand during an experiment in a perfumery plant and plunged his hand into the nearest tub of liquid which just happened to be lavender essential oil.
He was later amazed at how quickly his burn healed and with very little scarring. This started a fascination with essential oils and inspired him to experiment with them during the First World War on soldiers in the military hospitals. He used oils of lavender, thyme, lemon and clove for their antiseptic properties. Gattefosse noted an increase in the rate of healing in wounds treated with essential oils and that the oils seemed to be free from the disadvantages present with other antiseptic agents in use at that time.