Aromatics have been used since the time of the Egyptians over 5,000 years ago. Most Aromatics take the form of essential oils. Essential oils can be used in lamp rings or candle lamp diffusers. When combined with carrier oils such as sweet almond oil, they can be poured under running water for a soothing bath.
Aromatherapy, the therapeutic use of pure essential oils for benefiting the body, mind and spirit, is an ancient practice. Use of essential oils can be traced back 5000 years to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda. From ancient Egypt mummification evidence, hieroglyphs and the remains of scented oils from tombs confirm the historic use of essential oils for healing and spiritual practice.
Four thousand years ago the Chinese used aromatherapy preparations. These are recorded in the Materia Medica of Li Shih-Chen. He described nearly 2000 herbs and 20 essential oils.
The scent of Bergamot oil is basically citrus, yet fruity and sweet, with a warm spicy floral quality and is reminiscent of neroli as well as lavender oil. The color ranges from green to greenish-yellow and the oil has a watery viscosity.
The Bergamot tree is native to South East Asia, but was introduced to Europe, and particularly Italy and is also found in the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
Bergamot oil is made from a tree that can grow up to four meters high, with star-shaped flowers and smooth leaves, bearing citrus fruit resembling a cross between an orange and a grapefruit, but in a pear-shape. The fruit ripens from green to yellow.
The oil is one of the most widely used in the perfumery and toiletry industry and forms, together with neroli and lavender, the main ingredient for the classical 4711 Eau-de-cologne fragrance. It is used to flavor Earl Grey tea.
The name is derived from the city Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy, where the oil was first sold.
The essential oil of Cajeput is distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs of the Cajeput tree. It has a slightly medicinal aroma that is reminiscent of camphor and eucalyptus oils.
In Southeast Asia, the Cajeput tree grows abundantly. The people of Vietnam and surrounding countries highly regard Cajeput as a traditional remedy. It is known in their healing culture primarily for its use for muscular and joint discomforts. It is also used for promoting healthy skin, as well as for its benefits to the throat, sinus and respiratory tract.
As an aromatherapy agent, Cajeput oil stimulates the mind and promotes clear thinking.
The Cajeput tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia, and grows in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Java, and the tropical regions of Australia. It is related to the Melaleuca species, and is also known as White Tea Tree, White Tree, and Swamp Tea Tree.
Cajeput essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the fresh leaves and twigs from this tall evergreen tree, which grows up to 30 meters high.
Citronella is a family member of the Poaceae plant, otherwise known as the Graminaceae plant family. Citronella commonly grows in Sri Lanka, where cultivation of this plant happens in large quantities especially in the southern part of Sri Lanka.
The present day citronella species came from the ‘managrass’, a wild growing plant in Sri Lanka. The aromatic essential oil of citronella is distilled by steaming from partly dried or dried fresh grass and emits a very relaxing lemon-citrus odor. It is said that the citronella from the Java species can produce twice aromatic power than those from the Sri Lanka citronella species.
Citronella is used widely for aromatherapy because it has cicatrisant oil, which is capable of forming and healing scar tissues; it is also diuretic, antiseptic, insecticide – for repelling insects, deodorant, bactericidal and emmenagogue. All of these citronella purposes make it as one of the more useful aromatherapy herbal medicines in the world today.
Frankincense is derived from the gum resin of the trunk of the Boswellia tree. Boswellia is also known as Indian frankincense and the trees of this genus are well-known for their aromatic resin that possesses several therapeutic properties. The term frankincense has been derived from the French word ‘franc’ denoting pure, noble or genuine and the word ‘encense’ denoting incense.
Frankincense essential oil has been in use for more than 4000 years now. During the ancient times, people held frankincense in greater value compared to gold and people who were very wealthy and had enough of it could have this substance. Even today frankincense is a very costly essential oil
Apart from aromatherapy, frankincense essential oil is also used in the production of perfumes and has been regarded highly for the sugary smelling fumes produced by it when burnt. Owing to this aspect, the oil has made its use extensive in meditation and religious ceremonies.
The Gardenia plant has shiny, dark foliage that provides a striking contrast for its white blooms.The Gardenia plant is native to the South American continent.It is now widely cultivated world over. The beautiful sweet smelling flowers bloom during the spring and summer season. They are also referred to as gardenia jasminoides. This name came into being as the fragrance of the big white flowers is very similar to jasmine.
Gardenia essential oil is extracted by means of the solvent process, due to the very delicate nature of the gardenia flowers. Gardenia extract is known for its soothing and calming aroma. In addition to its characteristic enchanting fragrance, gardenia essential oil possesses excellent medicinal properties as well. It is, therefore, largely used by most aroma therapists for the treatment of various ailments and disorders. Aromatherapy performed using gardenia fragrance oil is also termed as gardenia aromatherapy. In modern aromatherapy, the use of gardenia essential oil is made in a number of ways such as massages, in bath waters, and for vapor therapy.
Jasmine has long been regarded as the jewel of flower oils. Its scent is romantic and passionate. Jasmine oil is expensive, requiring more than 3 million 1-day-old flowers to extract 1 pound of oil. Rich in esters, relaxing chemicals that soothe the nerves, jasmine's spicy aroma offers powerful therapeutic properties and can be used in a variety of ways to enrich one's body and home. asmine essential oil has a sweet, exotic and rich floral smell and the oil is deep orange-brown in color.
Jasmine is an evergreen fragile climbing shrub that can grow up to 10 meters (33 feet) high.It has dark green leaves and small white star-shaped flowers, which are picked at night when the aroma is most intense.An experienced picker can pick 10,000-15,000 blossoms per day.
Jasmine is originally from China and Northern India, brought to Spain by the Moors and the Mediterranean with France, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, China, Japan and Turkey producing the best essential oil now.
Lavender is a very common herb of Mediterranean origin, which is known for its fascinating fragrance and is widely used in perfume industry, housekeeping, medicine, aromatherapy and so on. It is a shrub with thick branches, narrow green leaves and very beautiful purple flowers. Nowadays, lavender is cultivated in warm climate areas all over the world.
Lavender has the distinction of being the most popular and most common Essential Oil in use, both by Aromatherapists and the average individual. Lavender has so many uses and is very versatile for all it's therapeutic purposes. Lavender is commonly used for treating burns and healing the skin. Lavender also has antiseptic and analgesic properties which help prevent infections and eases pain, and it's cytophylactic properties help promote quick healing and can help reduce scarring of the skin.
The Romans are known to have bathed in water mixed with lavender oil, in Egypt, the Pharaohs used this oil as a perfume. People in England used lavender to add fragrance to their linen boxes as well as an effective pest control.
Myrrh is actually a reddish-brown resinous substance collected from the dried up sap of the trunk of trees belonging to the Burseraceae family. This sap is distilled to obtain myrrh essential oil. While the trees and shrubs belonging to the genus Commiphora are native to India, eastern Africa and Arabia, myrrh essential oil has been traditionally used by the ancient Egyptians to refresh facial masks as well as for embalming. While myrrh is mentioned in primeval history (around 1700 B.C.), its English name has been derived from the Greek myth of Myrrha
The resinous balm exuded by the trunk of myrrh shrubs or trees are usually found in the fissures in the tree that become entrenched as reddish-brown lumps. If myths are to be believed, in ancient times, goats normally rubbed against the myrrh shrubs or trees and the shepherds taking care of these animals collected the resin that had stuck to the goats’ hair. However, presently the resin is collected manually by making incisions in the myrrh trees or by commercially growing the trees.
There are 16 species of sandalwood that grow naturally throughout the Pacific and Eastern Indian Ocean regions. Sandalwoods are evergreens ranging in size from tall shrubs up to large trees. They grow in a variety of climates--from the Australian desert to subtropical New Caledonia--and at elevations from sea level to over 8000 feet. Sandalwood is a parasitic plant, equipped with special structures on its roots that penetrate the roots of host plants and obtain nutrients.
The whole tree is harvested and used--including the sawdust and the stump (which has the highest oil content) and the sapwood (which contains a small amount of oil). The lower grades of sandalwood, such as the sapwood, are used for incense and for chips and powder, while the better logs are used in carving (from small objects to furniture).
Sandalwood was first used in ancient times--probably more than 4,000 years ago. In India, it's been valued for at least 2,000 years as one of the most sacred trees. A key ingredient in perfumes and incense, lotions and body oils, sandalwood has been one of the most important perfume materials since ancient times.