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Thousands of Years of Essential Oils

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

Essential or aromatic oils have been used by many cultures around the world for thousands of years. One of the most unique aspects about the history of essential oils is that they seemed to have been developed independently by different cultures as they saw their unique value. From being used in medicinal treatments to the overall improvement of wellbeing, essential oils have had a wide number of uses and popularity.

The overall history of the creation of essential oils actually goes back to pre-historic times as cave paintings discovered in the Dordogne region of France that date back nearly 20,000 years shows the use of medicinal plants and the oils they created for everyday use.

In recorded history, the Egyptians who were the first to build a large scale civilized culture used essential oils as far back as 4500BC. They were renowned for their knowledge of ointments, aromatic oils and cosmetology which stretched into making herbal preparations. These preparations were used to make perfumes, medicines and incense that were used on a daily basis. Plus, they developed many resins, spices, aromatic vinegars and other concoctions based on the oils from the plants that grew along the Nile River. Interestingly enough, despite the wealth of resources around them, the Egyptians never actually distilled their own oils and actually imported them from other places, even those of cypress and cedar. Ready To Go to find premium essential oil gift ideas and gift sets.

In China, the first use of essential oils was recorded during the reign of Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor around 2697 to 2597BC. The book that Huang Ti wrote on internal medicine contains several different aromatic oils and is still used as a guideline by many who practice in Eastern medicine today. India shortly followed suite with the development of aromatic oils roughly 3,000 years ago. The Vedic literature of the time included over 700 different substances that were used for all types of essential oils and medicines. In fact, they were once used to actually stem the tide of bubonic plague that ravaged the countryside.

Back on the European continent, the Greeks were the first to start using essential oils since their prehistoric ancestors. The first recorded use of such oils was as gifts or trade from the Egyptians where they were instantly recognized for their many different uses. Hypocrites, the famous Greek physician included over 300 plants where such oils were derived and additional knowledge was gained from India after being partially invaded by Alexander the Great. The combined knowledge helped to spread the use of the aromatic oils as they were highly promoted. Hypocrites himself wrote that having a perfumed bath and a scented massage with such oils was the path towards good health and wellbeing.

Another Greek who helped promote such oils was Galen who developed a wide knowledge of plants and their uses. His life during the Roman Empire was heralded thanks to his reputation for apparently never having an injured gladiator die under his care. He even treated the Emperor himself, Marcus Aurelius and wrote a considerable amount of information about plant medicines.

The Romans were well known to use perfumes and aromatic oils on their bodies, clothing and even their bedding. Oils were used for baths and massages and many Roman physicians used the books of Hypocrites and Galen in basing their treatments. This knowledge was kept when the Roman Empire fell and the text translated to a number of different languages.

The Persians and in particular Ali-Ibn Sana who lived from 980 to 1037 AD not only wrote a number of books on the properties of plants, but he was the first to actually distill them into the oils that we see today. In fact, his methods are still being used to create aromatic oils that are distilled and used for a wide variety of purposes.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, it took the Crusades where Knights of different countries entered the Holy Land and came back with many different herbal medicines as well as essential oils and perfumes that became quite popular in Europe. By the 14th century, these oils were used to combat the bubonic plague just like earlier in India and enjoyed a considerable amount of success when they were used.

By 1653, Nicholas Culpeper has written “The Complete Herbal” which remains one of the most valuable resources for essential oils today. His book actually describes the many conditions that the oils can treat and the remedies that can be created.

Hundreds of years later, a French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse actually coined the term “Aromatherapy” while researching the various oils. His book about aromatherapy published in 1928 actually details cases of how such oils have helped to heal people over the years. The book became a resource that helped influence many of the medical practices in France. However, Gattefosse actually had firsthand knowledge of the healing powers that the oils. One night, he accidentally burned his hand badly and quickly immersed it into lavender oil. The skin healed without any infection or scarring and that discovery led to conducting further research where lavender oil was used in many French hospitals. In fact, during the outbreak of Spanish influenza which claimed many lives in France, there were no reported deaths of any personnel who worked in hospitals where the lavender oil was present.

The rich history of essential oils continues to this day where they are used as aromatherapy gifts, massage oils and even for medicinal purposes. Over the years, they have helped people obtain a better sense of wellbeing and have even helped prevent the spread of diseases.

Send more than just a gift. At Gifts Ready To Go, you can find a wonderful selection of essential oils, aromatherapy gifts and many other products infused with natural essential oils to help live well. With gifts perfect for family, friends and that special someone, you can enjoy our aromatherapy gift sets that use natural essential oils to help soothe the mind and ease away the troubles of the day. Gifts Ready To Go has what you need for sending great gifts to those you care about, including yourself. you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They can be both beautifully and powerfully fragrant. Essential oils give plants their distinctive smells, essential oils protect plants and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and their beautiful fragrance, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices. 

But what exactly is a volatile aromatic compound? In short, these compounds are small organic molecules that tend to change quickly from their solid or liquid state to a gas at room temperature. They are called volatile because they change state quickly. When you first open a bottle of essential oil, you instantly notice that the aroma is potent and you can smell it typically even from some distance. The physical and chemical properties of the volatile aromatic compounds that compose essential oils allow them to quickly move through the air and directly interact with the olfactory sensors in the nose. Such unique properties make essential oils ideal for applications inclusion in aromatherapy – using these compounds from plants to help maintain a healthy mind and body – as well as other applications. The type of volatile aromatic compounds present in an essential oil determines both the oil’s aroma and the benefits it offers. 

Over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds have been identified to date. The nature of an essential oil varies from plant to plant, within botanical families, and from species to species. The delicate ratio of aromatic constituents found in any given essential oil are what make it unique and give it specific benefits. 

Even with pure essential oils the composition of the oil can vary depending on the time of day, season, geographic location, method and duration of distillation, year grown, and the weather, making every step of the production process a critical determinant of the overall quality of the essential oil product. 

Essential oils can be used for a wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used as single essential oils or in complex essential oil blends depending on user experience and desired benefit. Want to learn how to use essential oils? Visit our essential oils usage page to learn how to safely use doTERRA essential oils. What Are Essential Oils?

If you have ever enjoyed the scent of a rose, you’ve experienced the aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Essential oils provide plants with protection against environmental threats and play a role in plant pollination. In addition to their intrinsic benefits to plants and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices.

Quantum Physics and Essential Oils

Essential oils are used for a very wide range of emotional and physical wellness applications. They can be used a single oil at a time or in complex blends in one of three methods:


Certain essential oils, when diffused, can be very stimulating, while others can be calming and soothing. Diffusing essential oils can also cleanse and purify the air of unwanted odors.


Essential oils are easily absorbed by the skin and can be safely applied topically.


Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements for targeted wellness.

Essential oils are both exciting and promising when it comes to taking care of your own and your family’s health. Whether you’re applying essential oils topically, enjoying the aromatic benefits through diffusing, or taking essential oils internally, the positive effects of essential oils are boundless.

That’s why you’ll want to ensure that the essential oils you are using are capable of delivering on their promise. You’ll want to make sure that you are choosing essential oils for their potency and their purity.

Leaves, flowers, bark, peels and many other parts of plants are used in this process. Essential oils are highly concentrated and it often takes only a drop or two to deliver some amazing health benefits. Essential oils can have many different therapeutic benefits that stem from their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties.

Essential oils have been in use by many different civilizations for thousands of years and have been put to use by the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Roman civilizations.

Today, many of the healing arts use essential oils in their practice such as physical therapists, massage therapists, alternative medicine practitioners, and yogis.

Today even hospitals and midwives use essential oils for their patients to reduce anxiety and pain and improve moods. Essential oils contain some very powerful antibacterial compounds and have been know to fight even the most antibiotic-resistant bacteria!

How do you use essential oils?

Essential oils, molecularly, are very small and are very easily absorbed into the skin. Once they penetrate the skin, they can be absorbed into the blood stream by the tiny capillaries and sent to all parts of the body. They can also be mixed with other carrier oils (like coconut oil) to be spread out over the skin. Because essential oils are highly concentrated as well, they have strong aromatic benefits and once inhaled, are absorbed by the lungs into the body. Some essential oils work well when ingested, but because they are so concentrated, they usually need to be diluted. And essential oils are a wonderful addition to add to your natural personal care products like shampoo, lotions, deodorant, bug spray, and even laundry soap and household cleaners.

Here are some of the top ten essential oils and the best ways to use their powerful properties:

Clove—clove oil is an antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antioxidant oil. It has natural anesthesia properties and can be used for pain. It is often used on wounds to prevent infections, and it has powerful pain-killing properties as well. Mothers often use clove oil for their teething infants since it is safe, natural and powerfully effective.

Eucalyptus—An invigorating oil that is often used in aromatherapy to help purify the body, and improve sinus and allergy symptoms as well.

Ginger—We know the value of ginger and ginger oil is just a more concentrated form of that powerful health elixir. Ginger is well known to reduce inflammation, help digestion, relieve nausea, and improve circulation.

Lavender—Lavender oil is a great anxiety reliever, and excellent for sound sleep. Lavender oil also has powerful antibiotic powers and a few drops of will naturally clean and sterilize any surface.

Tea Tree—Tea tree oil is one of the most powerful anti-fungal, antibiotic oils that you can find and is excellent to keep on hand in a first aid kit for bites, scrapes, and cuts. It also works well for any type of fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus.

Oregano—Oregano oil has powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties, as well as anti-fungal power. It works well when fighting off a cold or a virus, and can also kill bacterial and parasitic stomach infections. It’s a necessary item when traveling overseas to prevent traveler’s diarrhea.

RosemaryRosemary is known to stimulate brain function, so it’s great to use when working or studying. Rosemary also contains properties that can naturally thicken hair, so it’s great added to shampoos.

Orange—Orange oil has a very ‘happy’ uplifting scent, so it’s known to improve mood, and works as an antidepressant and a calming agent. Along with the mood lift, it has stimulating properties that can improve digestion, clear up skin, and even work as an aphrodisiac! Orange oil is also a strong anti-fungal and antibacterial. Orange oil contains d-limonene, which has been studied for its application to fight cancer.

Peppermint—Peppermint oil has been proven to help fitness workouts and help you workout harder and longer. Just add a dab on your wrist or other accessible area before you hit the gym. Peppermint has also long been known to sooth the stomach, improve focus, help reduce fever and stop muscle pain. Who doesn’t love the uplifting smell of peppermint?

Frankincense—Frankincense is one of the oldest essential oils and has a variety of uses. It has often been used in religious ceremonies and is considered an incense, mood enhancer, stress reducer, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial and digestive aid. Frankincense oil also works well on the skin to heal wounds and reduce scarring, itching and swelling.

Essential oils are great for beautiful skin. The conventional cosmetic and body care industry contains products that are loaded with dangerous chemicals that can disrupt hormones, cause cancer, and even destroy your skin. Making your own beauty products with natural essential oils is a much better option! Tea tree oil can stop acne breakouts and help heal wounds. Rosemary, sage and lavender oils help to stop hair loss and thicken hair. Lavender and chamomile calms irritated skin, frankincense can reduce age spots, and helichrysum and myrrh make a natural sunscreen.

Don’t want to spray on dangerous DEET bug spray?

Make your own with lemongrass, eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint or clove oils. These oils will repel bugs, make you smell good and keep you away from those scary chemical bug sprays!

Want your own natural first aid kit? So many essential oils work well for killing germs, soothing inflammation, and stopping pain. Try keeping some lavender oil on hand to soothe burns, rashes, bee stings, and heal cuts and scrapes. What’s more, the soothing aroma of lavender is very relaxing as well and helps to calm ragged nerves. My favorite addition to a natural first aid kit is tea tree oil—its powerful properties kill infection-causing germs, kill fungus, and help bring on fast healing.

Peppermint helps those sore muscles and achy joints, relieves tummy aches, lowers fevers, and helps to get rid of headaches. And don’t forget the frankincense—it helps to heal up bruises faster, reduce scars, and get rid of inflammation.

Essential oils can possibly for weight loss too!

Cinnamon oil is extremely valuable at keeping blood sugar levels even, keeping you from the resulting insulin and fat storage surge. It’s also very effective if you have diabetes. Peppermint oil helps burn fat because it not only helps you workout harder and longer but it also helps to suppress munchies cravings. And don’t forget metabolism-boosting ginger oil. A few drops of this can increase your body’s ability to burn fat and gain energy!

Not all essential oils are alike, so it’s important to get the highest quality therapeutic essential oils, as some of the cheaper ones may be synthetic oils and worthless for health benefits.

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