When I wash my hair with shampoo infused with therapeutic grade essential oils of Lavender, Jasmine and Clary Sage, the scent intoxicates my whole being.  I feel like Cleopatra...

When I diffuse Frankincense in my son's room at night, I feel gratitude.  When I use therapeutic grade essential oils on someone to balance and strengthen their health, I feel fortunate for making a difference for better in someone's life.

"In the first three decades of the twentieth century, chemists learned to identify an increasing number of the components of essential oils."...(Kurt Schnaubelt Medical Aromatherapy Healing with Essential Oils)  As they searched for active ingredients responsible  for healing effects, they isolated essential oils constituents, creating unbalanced chemicals.  With the advances in creating synthetic chemical compounds, patents were created, and, instead of essential oils, people have been given harmful chemicals.

Essential oils have been used by people all around the world for over 5,000 years.  
Nowadays, in France,  for example, insurance companies pay for essential oils treatment.  
Currently, there are about 10,000 records on Pubmed.   Read more in Evidence. Using in hospitals. Research   

Let's turn the pages of history to discover how essential oils were used by  in different countries, by famous women like Catherine de Medici, Queen of FranceMarguerite and Dr.E.A.Maury,  Cleopatra Trota,  and ordinary people, through out the history.  

from Awaken to Healing Fragrance by Elizabeth Anne Jones

    The importance of essential oils was not limited to the royal family in Egyptian society, oils were used in toiletry, healing, and ritual observance, as they had been for centuries. 
In fact, credit for the invention of aromatherapy belongs to the Egyptians, notably Imhotep ("the grandfather of aromatherapy.", the architect and physician of the Third Dynasty (2650-2600 BC) who used fragrant oils in massage and reflexology.           

    In Hatshepsut's day, the Egyptians considered fragrant body oils a basic necessity.  Aromatic oils were added to a base of animal fat or vegetable oil such as olive, almond or sesame, the less affluent used castor or palm oil.  Fragrant resins, herbs, and flowers added a sweet scent.  These scented oils were then used in baths, massage, anointing, and cosmetics.

    The use of oils and ointments was prevalent to protect the face and body from sun, dust, and the dryness of the eastern climate.  These perfumed oils were not regarded as luxuries and were used by men and women of all strata of the population.

    The Egyptian pantheon included the god of perfume..  The priests knew the importance of the biochemical response the human body and mind achieved by inhaling a scent such as Frankincense.  They sought to uplift the citizens, emotionally and spiritually, through the transformational fragrance at large gatherings.

    The Egyptians burned Myrrh every day at noon as part of their sun worship ritual.  This fragrance had the emotional effect of energizing, overcoming apathy, and grounding, while at the same time enhancing spiritual awareness.  The resinoid is also antiviral and hormone-like ,as it balances the thyroid gland. Queen Hatshepsut rubbed Myrrh on the bottom of her feet so she would continually exude a pleasant fragrance for herself and others wherever she went.  The oil offered her feet an antiseptic ointment that kept her heels from cracking in the hot sun.  As the Myrrh molecules entered her bloodstream, they stimulated the immune system by creating white blood cells or lymphocytes.  Energetically, the oilstrengthened her spiritually and supported her need to trust those around her... it gave her mind and body vitality.

    The following oils were used for mummification: Cedarwood, Myrrh and Casia.  Cedarwood would also kill all infection, even fungus.  In addition, the living used it as a tonic for any chronic complaints or pain.  It was especially helpful for coughs and bronchitis.  The use of cedarwood in a bath could bring relief from arthritis and a feeling of comfortable composure.  It also strengthens the individual's connection with God and brings a sense of balance and control.

    When archaeologists opened the famed King Tutankhamen tomb, the smell of Myrrh and Spikenard permeated the air.

    Esther, the Persian Queen Who Saved the Jews, 
before attending the banquet, bathed in Frankincense, and wore a linen bag around her neck with Patchouli and Myrrh to give her courage to speak to the king.

    It was the custom of the women to carry, beneath their clothes, a small linen bag containing Myrrh and other fragrant substances.  This was usually suspended from a cord around the neck and lay in the hollow between the breasts.  Here, the solidified Myrrh would release its fragrance from the warmth of the body and this would be enjoyed both by the wearer and by those in close contact.

    Precedents in Hebrew history for using aromatic oils came from both Moses and Solomon.  He had learned about the oils in Egypt.  "The Lord said to Moses: take ... liquid myrrh, half as much ...fragrantcinnamon...fragrant cane ...casia and ...olive oil.  Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer.

    Enfleurage - using animal fat to extract the fragrance.

    Esther might have used the stimulating essence of Cinnamon.  The pungent essential oil was used to restore heat to the body and increase circulation, and calm spasms of the intestinal tract.  The ancient Jews recognized cinnamon's antibacterial qualities; the oil was used to treat a cold, the flu, and other infectious diseases. It helped to overcome feelings of weakness and fragility, and strengthened the central nervous system for stress-related problems.

   
 Cleopatra, the Queen of Kings


    Before taking a bath... a cascade of fragrance descends upon you like a shimmering waterfall of Cinnamon, Cardamom, Jasmine, Sandalwood, and Lime.... The total effect makes you feel alert, excited, and sensually awake. 

    Cleopatra's greatest assets were ... and her poise.  The latter was partly the result of her daily extensive bathing and her use of all the fragrant oils available at that time.  She used Rosemary, Lavender, Spikenard, Myrrh, and Jasmine in milk to create a tranquil aromatic moment designed to strengthen her mind, refresh her body, and empower her personality for courageous acts.

posted on 
http://modernscribe.blogspot.com/2012/07/
wordless-wednesday-cleopatra-statue.html
   
 Rosemary oil with all its vitality and mind-stimulating qualities, was certainly one of the favorites of this vigorous queen.  She could inhale it for enhancement of memory or rub it on her skin for aching joints and painful muscles.  She valued its regenerative quality, its boost for the heart and liver, its ability to act as a protector, and its work for clear thinking.  ... used it in her bath, her hair since it stimulated her scalp and gave her hair a special luster.

    For hundreds of years priests kept the secret formulas of scents, which were prepared in fragrance workshops attached to the back of every temple where only the priests entered.

    Scent was often used to bring about an altered state of conscieousness, especially at Alexandrian cafes where people sat discussing philosophy and religion in rooms filled with essential oil fragrance.  The Egyptian god Nefertum, the lord of oils and unguents, was known for his transformational, life-giving powers. 

    For deodorants they put little balls of myrrh or balsam incense where the limbs met the body.  They often used an ointment of Frankincense and honey as a moisturizer or for a burn.  They chewed fennel seeds for their breath and Frankincense to keep their teeth clean.  They used Juniper berry oil to color graying hair and stimulate the scalp.

    Caesar found Cleopatra's perfumes to be incredible aphrodisiacs.  One of her favorite perfumes wasJasmine, known for its powerful effect on the reproductive organs and its aphrodisiac qualities, especially as a stimulant for transforming the physical act of reproduction into a more spiritual experience.  Once labor started, it strengthened the uterine contractions and brought a bonding of mother and child.  It was wonderful when diluted as a massage oil in the pelvic area to balance a woman's hormones and create a regular menstrual cycle.  Jasmine also boosted Cleopatra's confidence and warmed her emotions when she felt depressed.

In Egypt

In Hatshepsut's day, the Egyptians considered fragrant body oils a basic necessity.  Aromatic oils were added to a base of animal fat or vegetable oil such as olive, almond or sesame, the less affluent used castor or palm oil.  Fragrant resins, herbs, and flowers added a sweet scent.  These scented oils were then used in baths, massage, anointing, and cosmetics.

The Egyptian pantheon included the god of perfume..  The priests knew the importance of the biochemical response the human body and mind achieved by inhaling a scent such as Frankincense.  They sought to uplift the citizens, emotionally and spiritually, through thetransformational fragrance at large gatherings.

Queen Hatshepsut rubbed Myrrh on the bottom of her feet so she would continually exude a pleasant fragrance for herself and others wherever she went. 

Energetically, the oil strengthened her spiritually and supported her need to trust those around her... it gave her mind and body vitality.

Scent was often used to bring about an altered state of conscieousness, especially at Alexandrian cafes where people sat discussing philosophy and religion in rooms filled with essential oil fragrance.  The Egyptian god Nefertum, the lord of oils and unguents, was known for his transformational, life-giving powers. 

    For deodorants they put little balls of myrrh or balsam incense where the limbs met the body.

 Mary, the sister of Lazarus, the childhood friend of Jesus

    Anointed Jesus’s feet with a pound of costly perfume made of purest Spikenard (sometimes called “mountain nard”) oil.  The most sought after oil by the Romans, Spikenard was considered valuable as a perfume for the hair.  A desirable aspect of Spikenard is that the longer it is kept, the more potent becomes its odor.  In de Materia Medica, the Greek physician Dioscorides described Spikenard as a warming and drying oil, good for treating nausea, indigestion, and inflammation.  It was also known to be very calming emotionally, yet it also intensified feelings of devotion toward God or a spiritual teacher.  Patricia Davis finds that Spikenard exemplifies the “spirit of generosity”

Of all the audacious things Jesus did during his life, the most astonishing was gathering a group of twelve women to further the work of his ministry.  The twelve women surely carried with them the red petals of rose (Rosa gallica) of the Rosaceae family, native to Persia and one of the oldest plants known to humans.  Jeanne Rose writes, “In Persia, such large quantities of rose water were produced that canals were filled with it, and on hot, sunny days, an oily scum would rise to the surface and be captured in small vials.Due to the rose’s ability to retain its perfume, even when dried, it later earned the name “the apothecary’s rose” in the Middle Ages and was used to heal lung disease. Emotionally, Rose was soothing for dark feelings like jealousy, depression, and grief.  Spiritually, it was believed to open the heart chakra to radiate more love.  The heart is the middle ground where the spiritual and physical are united.  Appropriately, the heart is associated with Jesus, who was a living example of spiritual energy uniting with physical reality.  The Rose, either Rosa gallica or Rosa damasena, is symbolically his scent.The fragrance of Rose is known to enhance the truth, beauty, and goodness of anyone fortunate enough to use the oil or smell the flower.

Fragrant Influence of Rose (Rosa damascene) (from Essential Oils Reference)” Its beautiful fragrance is intoxicating and aphrodisiac-like.  It helps bring balance and harmony, allowing one to overcome insecurities.  It is stimulating and elevating to the mind, creating a sense of well-being.

These are some of the plants described by Dioscorides and promoted by the Women’s Evangelistic Corps:

  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis): for respiratory infections, as a laxative, and for purification.
  • Marjoram (OriganumMajorana): for rheumatic pains, grief, and toothaches
  • Frankincense (Boswelia carteri): for the nervous and endocrine system
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita): for digestive upsets, cooling, and infection.
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha): for gum and skin infections, and as an immune stimulant

 

Zenobia, the Syrian Queen of the Palmyrene Empire

     Was born in 241 ad in the city of Palmyra, which was part of the Roman Empire for 200 years.  The desert city, located between Roman Syria and Persian Babylonia, was built near an oasis watered by the Efqa spring.  Its citizens were a mixture of Aramaic and Arabic stock; most were former Bedouins.  Like Cleopatra, Zenobia had a love affair with fragrant oils.  One of her favorites was the stimulating, spicy, and penetrating Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) from the Myrtaceae family, which came over the spice route that ran through Palmyra from China.  The tree reaches a height of fifty feet and remains in bearing up to one hundred years.

Zуnobia would sprinkled a few drops of Clove oil into her bath water and sometimes on her food.  It gave her a tingling feeling of strength and health.  She frequented the perfumer's bazaar at a market in Palmyra, where scents of aromatic gums like Frankincense from Oman, Myrrh from Yemen, and balsam from southern Arabia mingled with floral aromas like Rose and Lupine to delight the nose and intoxicate the brain.  She loved Cinnamon from Indonesia, Costus and Spikenard from Bactra, Sandalwood from North India, and Nutmeg from Ceylon.  As noted in Richard Stoneman’s Palmyra and Its Empire, she also used a renowned Greek perfume called Megaleion, named for its inventor Megallus, who lived in the time of Alexander.  His perfume, made with a base of the celebrated oil of Balanos from the date-like fruit of a thorny desert tree, included Myrrh, Cassia, Cinnamon, and burnt resin.  Megaleion was a famous unguent for its rejuvenating qualities when applied to the face, which was helpful in the desert air.

Zenobia’s fountains took many fantastic forms … like an enormous elephant of stone disgorges from his uplifted trunk a vast, but graceful shower, sometimes charged with the most exquisite perfumes and which are diffused into the air through every part of the palace.  … To fully invoke the presence of Cleopatra, Zenobia filled her rooms with the fragrance of Frankincense, Juniper, and Rose.

            The oil of Juniper (Juniperus communis) of the Cupressaceae family seemed to resonate with Zenobia.  Derived from the berries of a juniper shrub, the oil gives off a powerful, no-nonsense scent like this queen.  It is a diuretic and detoxifying agent for a body laden with too much alcohol or food.  It regulates the appetite and is a tonic for the kidneys and liver.  Wanda Sellar claims, “tis ability to throw off poisons by purifying the blood.. and eliminating uric acid … in cases of arthritis, rheumatism, and gout” made it a valuable oil.  Mentally, Juniper clears and stimulates thoughts, especially in challenging situations, so Zenobia would have enjoyed the effect of the oil in her military and intellectual pursuits.

 

            The city of Damascus was named after the damask rose, which was grown in every garden in Syria.  According to Roy Genders, “The country takes its name from the word suri, meaning “land of roses”.  Today, in Persia, marketers of roses cry: “Buy my roses.   The rose was a thorn; the sweat of the Prophet, it blossomed”. This is a reference to Mohammed, whose sweat, when he was uplifted to heaven, fell back to the earth and from it sprung a rose..  Even today in northern Persia, people deodorize their apartments by burning fragrant woods and gums, and every Friday after bathing, the body is anointed with fine-smelling perfumes.

            The tradition of aromatics was intense in Syria from such legends as that of Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria from 175 to 163bc, as described by Athenaeus: “Antiochus ordered that two hundred women, stripped to the waist, carry golden sprinklers filled with expensive perfumes to disperse over the crowd.  Then, boys marched in, dressed in purple tunics, each bearing a golden dish containing very expensive Saffron, frankincense, Spikenard and Cinnamon brought a thousand miles from the Himalayas.  Every guest at the games was given a crown of interwoven twigs of frankincense and myrrh.

            The most famous member of Zenobia’s court was Cassius Longinus, a Greek philosopherHe was her teacher, “a living library and a walking museum”  Even in Greek mythology the concept of fragrance was included in the afterlife.  The Greek’s idea of heaven was the elysian fields, a golden city with gates of cinnamon. About the walls flowed a river of perfume deep enough to swim in and with an odorous mist hovering over it.  Inside this golden city, over three hundred fountains cascaded the sweetest essences.

            Zenobia may have originally hoped for partnership with Rome, but she was guilty of not consulting them first. 

            She was successful at defending her beloved city until some of her troops deserted Palmyra and joined the Romans.

            Learning of this desertion, in the middle of the night, Zenobia bathed in the essential oils of Jasmine, Thyme, and Juniper to give her the extra vigor and power needed to ride through the desert to recruit a supporting army from Persia.

Theodora, empress of the Byzantine Empire

… Hippodrome of Constantinople, about 536 ad.  The people are cheering the newly wedded emperor, Justinian, and his lovely wife. She seems so confident and happy, speaking to the crowd about her plan to be an empress for the people’s rights… She sends forth a waft of perfumed incense directly toward the crowd.  A sense of joy and hope comes with the smell of Lemongrass (Cymbopogen citrutus) and Sandalwood (Santalum album).  People feel her warmth and commitment with every delicious inhalation.

            Constantinople was the capital of a dying Roman Empire during Theodora’s life.

            The use of essential oils was especially popular at the public baths.

            Justinian loved to frequent the baths.  The beautiful bath buildings in Constantinople were constructed with guilded and vaulted ceilings, marble walls, and mosaic pavement.  They had three large rooms: In the central room, the tepidarium (warm room), bathers warmed themselves in preparation for the caldarium (hot room), and the frigidarium (cold room).  Smaller rooms included the sweating room, the oil-anointing room, and the room for wiping and drying off.  On entering patrons took off their clothes and proceeded to the unguent shop (unctuarium), where oils were chosen for every part of the body.  Some popular unguents, placed in a small jar known as an ampoule, were made from roses, bitter almonds, and narcissus.  After being freely anointed with stron oils, he was covered with sand or powder.  Then he went to the sphoeristerium, and immense hall where he engaged in gymnastic exercise.  The he would go to the various temperature bathing rooms where he took his place on a marble bench, placed below the surface of the water.  There were also immense basins for swimming.  While here, an attendant scraped the skin with an ivory knife, called a strigilis, by which all impurities were detached.  In The Toilet in Ancient and Modern Times, James Cooley describes the scene: “After leaving the bath, he was thoroughly cleansed from head to foot by pails of water poured over him.  Then he went to the cold bath (frigidarium) to brace the pores.  He was then dried with cotton and linen cloths… The attendant came out of the unctuarium, carrying little alabaster vases full of perfumed oils which they rubbed over every part of his body, even to the soles of his feet.”  The baths were extremely popular because they provided an arena for meeting friends, discussing the issues of the day, and being uplifted by the fragrant oils.

            The unguents were made with a base of vegetable oil (oilive, almond, sesame) or animal fat.  The fragrant plant material was allowed to steep in the oil for days and then strained out.  Fixatives of milk, honey and salts were added.  Poor people used a castor-oil base.  Resins such as Frankincense, Benzoin and Myrr were dissolved directly in the vegetable oil base.

            One day after Theodora’s father died and her mother and two sisters lost their home beneath the seats at the hippodrome, the three children were sent out into  the arena to beg mercy for themselves.Their mother had bathed them with essential oils and dressed them in their best clothes.  The little girls addressed the crowds of the Blue Party with their story, and were so well received that they were given a new home on the Blue side of the hippodrome.  This was Theodora’s first experience in how essential oils could elevate her presence at an important moment.

            As a young girl of fourteen, Theodora was sold to a brothel of Maxuma and stayed there for two years.  In Empress of the Dusk, John Vandercook describes Theodora’s typical routine: “She spent much time bathing and in the long luxuriously pleasant task of anointing, shaving, and tinting her body.  She also applied the oils to her legs and feet because she had heard the story of the Greek cynic, Diogenes, who was reputed to have said, “When you anoint your head with perfume… it flies off into the air and only the birds obtain any benefit.  But when applied to the legs and feet, the scent envelopes the whole body and gradually ascends to the nose”.

          As an actor Theodora became famous playing the lead role in Leda and the Swan…  For the first time Theodora could afford to buy expensive essential oil perfumes from Damascus, like Rosa and Sandalwood.  Sandalwood (Santalum album) of the Santalaceae family, of the the principlal commodities shipped from India to the Roman world, is distilled from a parasitic evergreen that attaches its roots to other trees and eventually reaches a height of forty feet.  In India Sandalwood was used to build temples and entrance gates that still stand today.  The highly scented wood is used as incense in Hindu religious ceremonies.  Theodora loved the essential oil for its balancing action on dry, sensitive skin.  Its relaxing, soothing effect on nerves and hormones helped her remain calm.  Sandalwood also acts as an antiseptic for acne and infected wounds, and as an emollient for baby’s skin.  It is useful for healing urinary tract and respiratory infections.  The young Aphrodite, goddess of love, appreciated its aphrodisiac effect.

            … In Alexandria she met a famous religious man, Severus of Antioch, on the Monophsite path.  She believed Christ had been pure spirit and all God; in contrast, the belief of the Orthodox Church was that Christ was both man and God.  Theodora later influenced Justinian to reconcile the Monophysite path with the Orthodox Church.  In this new phase of her life, Theodora probably discovered another aspect of Sandalwood: its spiritually elevating effect on the mid.  It opens the crown chakra and helps meditation by quieting the chatter of the mind.

            In the fifth year of their reign a rebellion escalated into a full-scale revolt.  The Greens nominated a new emperor and Justinian prepared to flee, but Theodora refused to leave the city.

            Theodora spent the day in her bath with soft clouds of fragrance filling her chambers, creating psychological rest and contemplation, providing serenity to her body in the fashion followed by the Greeks: Rosemary to her ear lobes, Sandalwood to her forehead, Rose to her chest, Jasmine to her stomach, Lemongrass to her thighs, and Lavender - of which she was so fond – to her hands and feet.  Then her attendant rubbed her body, blending the beautiful body fragrances.  Kathryn Degraff describes Theodora during this ritual: “… she anticipated and rehearsed the moment ahead and her awareness of herself as a woman reached its height.  This feeling of womanhood, carefully nurtured and enhanced by the use of perfume, was the source of her power”.

            She chose Lemongrass (Cymbopogen citratus) of the Poaceae family for its invigorating effect on her body and mind.  A grass that grows prolifically in Indian and an Indian favorite for hundred of years, lemongrass balances excessive sweating, so it is a natural deodorant.  Due to the lemon scent of its aldehyde, citral, it gives a revitalizing yet calming boost to the parasympathetic nerves.  It acts as a good tonic for the body, speeding recovery from an illness and encouraging appetite.  It is excellent for relieving aching muscles and pain, and for stimulating circulation, so this way a good choice for Theodora’s thighs.  Mentally, Lemongrass energizes and gives an exhausted mind new vitality, something she needed at this moment of crisis.

            The revolt was put down…

 

Trota, the Wise Woman of Medicine

 “Southern Italy, about 1115 ad; a female healer and teacher; some of her manuscripts are found in museums throughout Europe.  She wrote Practical Medicine According to Trota, which includes 71 remedies for everything from gynecological and obstetric conditions to problems of the eye, foot, and spleen.   She gives advice on how to treat a fever, a toothache, or hemorrhoids, and, of course, there are recipes for cosmetics.

            On the Treatment of Illnesses, a massive book written in the second half of the 12th century by seven leading Salernitan medical writers, including Trota, also verifies her importance.  Her writings reveal considerable expertise on gastrointestinal disorders and ophthalmology.

            “Women, on account of medesty, dare not reveal the difficulties of their sicknesses to a male doctor.  Therefore I, pitying their misfortunes, began to study carefully the sicknesses which most frequently trouble the female sec.”  This is why she chose to focus on gynecology, obstetrics, cosmetics, and skin disease.

If the woman were too cold, Trota suggested that warming oils and plants such as Clovebud (Syzgium aromaticum), Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora), Storax (Liquidambar orientalis), and Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) be placed in an eggshell and set upon a few hot coals for fumigation.

Page 66 and 67, 71 and 72 have many of Trota’s recipes.

 

Trota often included sage (Salvia officinallis) in her prescriptions,which was grown in most medieval gardens, either in a monastery or at home.  The Romans valued it so highly they called it herba sacra for its use in respiratory infections, digestive complaints, and menstrual difficulties.  It is still included in the British Herbal Pharmacepocia as a specific remedy for inflammations, especially of the mouth, tongue, and throat.  Sage serves as a source of natural antioxidants, which may be why Trota used it in her cancer treatment.

            Most medical ideas in the 11th century could be traced back to Hippocrates and Galen.  Hippocrates, “the father of medicine”, lived from 460 to 361 BC.  He was a highly skilled, successful and ethical physician.  He conceived of the four humors as the case of disease: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile.  The four humors are also associated with the four qualities (hot, cold, moist, and dry), the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) and the four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholy).  Health is the result of the harmonious balance of the four humors.

          Galen (130-215 AD) was a Greek physician who left Asia Minor to practice medicine in Rome.

          In the 7th century, the Arabs overran northern Africa. Avicenna (980-1037), a talented Arab physician from Persia and a devoted student of Galen ,wrote the famous Canon of Medicine, five volumes summarizing all the known medical knowledge of the civilized world – Greeks, Europeans, Arabs, Indians, and Chinese-with mathematical accuracy.  He did much to promote the benefits of aromatic oils and wrote a whole book about Rose oil, his favorite.  He developed the apparatus and method of alembic (from Arabic al-anbīq الأنبيق, from Greek μβυξ ambyx possibly from Semitic)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alembic  )distillation with a condenser for the extraction of essential oils

  

Hildegard of Bingen, Prophetess of the Rhine

Was the first to present a whole system of botanicals in writing.   Was a preacher and a healer.

Born in 1098 into a noble family in Germany; began her visionary life at 5.

She first wrote Phisica (The Book of Simple Medicine), which summarized the natural science of her times; the work was broken into four parts on animals, two parts on herbs and trees, and three parts on gems and metals.  In this book she lists about three hundred herbs, relating the best time to pick them and their medicinal uses.  A companion book, The Book of Composite Medicine Causes and Cures, analyzes two hundred diseases the their cures, including actual proportions for ingredients used in the formulas.

            Most of her remedies are easy to prepare and consist of herbal teas, wines, syrups, herbal oils (similar to the Egyptian method of soaking plant material in olive oil), salves, and powders.  She proposed sound principals for a balanced diet as a keystone of her healing system.  There are three foods she highly recommends: chestnuts, spelt grain, and fennel.  She called fennel God’s greatest gift in the plant world.

             Fennel (Foeniculum vulgure) of the Apiaceae family remains an important essential oil in aromatherapy today.  Hildegard urged using it dailyto promote good digestion.  She said it assisted the body in throwing off accumulated toxins and waste products, furnishing good blood circulation.  It gives us a healthy skin, a happy disposition, clear eyes, a pleasant body order, and good digestion.  As a tonic for the digestive system, Fennel relieves hiccups, nausea, colic, constipation, and vomiting.  Rubbing the oil on the stomach or drinking fennel tea can neutralize stomach acid, with the fennel acting as antiacid.  The phytoestrogen in Fennelstimulates the hormonal system, which helps prevent PMS in women, slows the aging process, and glides a woman through menopause.

            Hildegard especially loved lavender.  She is credited with making the first lavender water in her still in the convent garden.  She advised using lavender to relieve liver and lung pain and congestion, which she knew too often manifested simultaneously….

             The aim of medical practice at that time was to find a balance among the elements of dryness, cold, moistness, and heat, as well as with the corresponding elements of air, earth, water, and the fire…

             Hildegard was explicit in describing the relationship between the mind and the body.She saw a direct connection between spiritual protective factors like hope, joy, and affection, and a strong immune system…  Worrying, rushing, stress, sadness, and anger can increase black bile, a blood poison.

             You can listen to her music on Youtube.

 Catherine de Medici, Queen of France

 … The smell of Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) and Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) floats over their excited voices.  The fragrance revelas the sensual frivolity and royal camaraderie of the queen’s children.

             Catherine was born in 1519 into the richest nonroyal family in Europe (Italy), but without any emotional security since her mother died soon after her birth.

            Catherine loved to heal and had a stock of medicinal herbs and oils for her children and friends.

             According to Ralph Roeder, “she imported her gowns from Italy.  She patronized Italian artists, humanists and perfumers, such as Nostradamus and Rene le Florentin.  The perfumer Rene occupied a shop on the Pont au Change in Paris, which became a meeting place for the fashionably elite.  Rene created fragrances, lotions, and balms that enchanted Catherine.  When he introduced a new fragrance, the whole court took time to appraise its qualities.  His perfumes were made entirely of essential oils unlike today’s commercial perfumes that are 95 percent petrochemicals”.

             `In her day, the fountains of Paris on festive occasions had perfume added to their splender.  A 1548 receipt was found for six golden crowns, paid by the city of Paris to the perfumer Georges Marteau “for aromatic herbs and plants to perfume the waters of public fountains”.

            Catherine made an herbal douche of hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), citronella (Cymbopogan mardus), oregano (Origanum valgare), valerian (Valeriana officinalis), and wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).  She took hot baths perfumed with Juniper (Juniperus commuris), Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), Basil (Ocimum Basilicum), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). 

            She asked Cosimo Ruggieri to make perfumes of aphrodisiacs such as Jasmine (Jasminum grandiforum).  Mary Stuart, who later became Queen of Scots, learned the value of fragrant oils from Catherine and later took the knowledge back to the British Isles.

           

            Henry II, Catherine’s husband died of infection (just as Nostradamus had predicted) from a severe blow to his eyes in a jousting match.  Then her son, Francis II became ill and died in 1560.  Her second son Charles IX, was 10 at the time. Catherine decided to rule. “No-one expected political genius to emerge from the humble, self-effacing woman she was during her first forty years.  Perhaps it was the Patchouli oil (Pogostemon cablin) that was imported and distilled from leaves of a bush in India.  She constantly used this oil to keep her earthbound, awake, and forceful.  She loved it in her daily toilette blended in one of Rene’s perfumes or by itself.  It has astringent and diuretic properties that help alleviate water retention and promote weight reduction; both were something Catherine had to watch.  The oil has a masculine character that she found useful in solidifying her new sense of political power.  She found its grounding effect on the mind and body of vital importance after taking the reins of the French government.  She liked its persistent and voluptuous fragrance, which was asin to her own personality.  The oil tuned her immune system and balanced her central nervous system, which allowed her to cunningly bring warring forces together for the purposes of peace.

            Everyone was amazed at Catherine’s patience and endurance.  By the age of sixty-seven she was no longer able to ride a horse, but she took long walks.  Her mental energy was still acute, perhaps from the Basil essential oil she used for bathing.  The oil of Basil (Ocimum basilicum) of the Lamiaceae family was held in high esteem in Greece.  Basil remains “king” in the Greek language.   India also considered the oil sacred and used it in ayurvedic medicine.  Catherine no doubt loved its stimulating and go-getting effect.  She must have appreciated how it sharpens the senses and the concentration, clarifying the intellect while strengthening the nervous system.  In her bath it helped to relieve tired, tight, overworked muscles.  It is first rate for headaches, especially the migraines she must have endured at some of the difficult impasses in her life.  It also has a refreshing, tonic action on congested, sluggish skin, which Catherine had from sometimes overeating.  Basil also minimizes uric acid to relieve gout, a condition that plagued Catherine.  Catherine kept her mind keen and confident by bathing in the sharp, spicy fragrant oil, even near the end of her life.

            Catherine was central to the development of the French perfume industry, which owes her a great deal since she sent Renato Toubarelli from Florence to found the first laboratory of perfume in Grasse.

Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen of England

Elizabeth became one of England’s greatest monarchs and rallied the country into a Renaissance of the arts, legislation, naval supremacy, and essential oil therapy for the average citizen.  The later half of the sixteenth century England and Europe is called Elizabethan Age. 

She was a Protestant, when she was young.  Elizabeth used the scent of Marjoram oil (Origanum majorana), disliking the heavy scents favored by the men and women of the court such as Aloeswood, also called Oud (Aquillaria agallocha), Nutmag (Myristica fragrans), and Styrax (Liquidambar styraciflua), or her father’s inventive perfume of musk, ambergris, and civet.

            When Edward (her half brother) became ill with swollen legs and arms, doctors prescribed a stimulating medicine of Spearmint oil (Mentha spicata), Fennel oil (Foeniculum vulgare), liverwort, turnip, dates, raisins, an ounce of mace, and two sticks of celery. 

            Elizabeth’s love of Marjoram oil of the Lamiaceae family, with its effect of warming comfort along with encouraging a tendency toward celibacy, perhaps helped her stay true to her political values.  Marjoram promoted her good health in many ways.  It would ease any muscle pain during the winter s spent in cold, drafty castles by dilating the arteries and capillaries, giving a feeling of warmth.  It was a good tonic for her heart and lowered her blood pressure.  It would relieve any headaches, menstrual cramps, or stuffy head colds due to its warming analgesic action.  For Elizabeth, it would steady her nerves and relieve stress at some crisis points.  It would strengthen her mind, allowing her to confront issues and make weighty decisions of state.  It has been used to numb the sexual drive, yet its warmth offered feelings of comfort in loneliness.  

            Elizabeth established many industries in England including the perfume industry during the fifteenth year of her reign.  The Earl of Oxford brought her perfumes gloves and sweet bags from Italy that totally delighted her Majesty, whose sense of smell was quite developed.  Three Italians made scented gloves for her.  In Shakespear’s As You Like It, the courtiers’ hands are perfumed with civet.  In London milliners who lived and worked alongside the herbalists made scented gloves in the Bucklesbury neighborhood, where the scent of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Rosemary(Rosmarinus officinalis) was ever present.  Roy Genders describes the effect. It was perhaps these delicious smells which persuaded Sir Thomas More to make plantings of lavender and rosemary in his garden when he moved to Chelsea, for rosemary was said to “gladden the spirits” of all who inhaled its perfume.  “As for rosemarine,” wrote More, “I let it run over my garden walls, not only because the bees love it, but because it is the herb sacred to remembrance, to love and to friendship.”  In Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” and every year on April 23 … the people of Stratford-on-Avon walk in procession through the town, wearing sprigs of rosemary…  They make their way to the church where Shakespeare was baptized and where he is buried, and there they place on his grave rosemary…”

            Not very extravagant in most ways, Elizabeth indulged her love of scent, according to Roy Genders: “Clothes were kept in coffers made of fragrant wood such as juniper, cedar or sandalwood… Elizabeth’s love of clothes and perfumes was the only feminine weakness she allowed herself for…. Genders also describes how Elizabeth had no alcohol-based perfumes, only perfumes derived from essential oils, as they were made during her time.

            The queen’s shoes and cloaks were made of leather and perfumes using a technique called Peau d’Espagne.  Charles Piese described this process in the Art of Perfumery (1880), according to Roy Genders: “The skins were first steeped in an otto made up of the oil of neroli, rose, sandalwood, lavender and verbena, to which was added a small quantity of the oils of clove and cinnamon.  All this was added to a half pint of spirit in which four ounces of gum benzoin were dissolved…Next, a paste was made by rubbing together … civet and … musk, with gum tragacantha to give a spreading consistency … the skins were then pressed with weights for several days, during which time they became so saturated with the perfume that they retained it permanently.

            Castle of the Tudor Dynasty, Hampton Court Palace, had every convenience but one, indoor plumbing.  “The stench of the great royal establishment must have been at least as awe-inspiring as its architecture,” according to Erickson.  There was no sewage system for the servants’ privies; that, combined with the overpowering odors from the discarded kitchen garbage, the stable sweepings, and the foul-smelling rushes on the floor, made the castle odor excruciatingly bad.

            The queen didn’t know how to eradicate the malodorous atmosphere, so her solution was to use fragrant oils.  She and her ladies held aromatic pomanders – made in the shape of a ball composed of lavender, ambergris, and benzoin – to their noses as they passed through noxious chambers.  Some “pomanders were made of gold or silver and worn as a pendant on a lady’s girdle.  They were constructed with a control core around which were grouped six orange-shaped segments held in place by a ring… When the ring was lifted, the segments opened… each one to be filled with a different perfume,” wrote Roy Genders.  Elizabeth’s favorite silver pomander can be seen today at Burghley house.

For strewing herbs on the foul floors, Elizabeth used basil, lemon balm, Roman chamomile, lavender, hyssop, sage, thyme, andmeadowsweet, her favorite.  As the herbs were walked on, the essential oils were released to create a charming smell.  She hired a woman with a fixed salary for the sole purpose of always having fragrant plants available.  She thought the scent of meadowsweet made the heart joyful and delighted the senses.  Lemon balm was used to rub on furniture.  Shakespeare wrote in The Merry Wives of Windsor:

            The several chairs of order look you scour

            With the juice of balm, and every precious flower.

Rue was used for combating the fleas that multiplied on the feasting rats… Dr. Turner, the author of Herbal written in 1531, suggests burning southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) over a low flame in the fireplace, since it will not only make the room fragrant with its pungent smoke but will drive away “serpents” (frogs, rats, and toads). .. Elizabeth also sprinkled Rose water on the floors or had it available in silver bowls for washing.  

To establish the perfume industry in England, Elizabeth encouraged her female subjects to cultivate gardens of fragrant plants. “The use of perfumes in every way became so popular that even the smallest country houses had their still rooms,” said Eleanour Sinclair Rohde.  All classed used perfumes.  Books from the Elizabethan period on gardening and stillromms contain recipes for Rose water, honey of violets, Lavender oils syrup,  Lily of the valley spirit, Rosemary oils, Jasmine water and sugar of damask rose.  The lady of the house made scented ointments, wash balls, scented waters, pomanders, and sachets for the household.  Sachet powders were popular in Elizabethan times to place among clothes.  Sir Hugh Platt mixed into powder for the queen’s sachet orrisroot (iris florentina), calamus, clovebud, styorax, and rose petals.  This powder retained its perfume for a year or more.

 

From Wikipedia

Orris root is a term used for the roots Iris germanicaIris florentina, and Iris pallida. Once important in western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery, as well as an ingredient in many brands of gin. It's also the most widely-used fixative for potpourri.

Fabienne Pavia, in her book L'univers des Parfums (1995, ed. Solar), states that in the manufacturing of perfumes using orris, the scent of the iris root differs from that of the flower. After preparation the scent is reminiscent of the smell of violets.

from http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/orris-root-powder

"Orris root powder is used mainly to preserve the scent of holiday pomander balls.

The orris root is from a species of iris grown in Dalmatia. It has a scent similar to violets; while a popular flavor in the 1800's, today it's used to scent and preserve pomander balls, spice wreaths, or sachets.

A Pomander ball is a citrus fruit or small apple into which cloves are inserted in even rows. After covering the fruit with cloves, roll it in a mixture of equal parts cinnamon and orris root powder. This adds greatly to the fragrance and, due to the preservative nature of the orris root, the ball will hold its marvelous scent quite a bit longer."

Elizabeth had her own stillroom, as did all the ladies of the court, where she composed her own perfumes.  One of her recorded compositions was a pomatum made from apples, the fat of a young dog, and fragrant oils.  Ralph Rabbards was Elizabeth’s perfumer.  He created her famous “Water of Violets” which she used until the end of her life.  Perfumes were never richer, more elaborate, more costly, or more delicate than during the reign of Elizabeth.  Arnold Cooley wrote, “Her majesty’s nasal organs were quite fine and sensitive and nothing offended her more than an unpleasant smell.  At the end of her reign, Rabbards suggested special floral waters “to cleanse and keep bright the skinner and fleshe and to preserve it in a perfect state” as disclosed by Roy Genders. Perhaps this is why Elizabeth outlived everyone in her court and had an overabundance of energy even at the age of sixty-four.  After applying her daily scent – compounded of Violet water, Lavender, Musk, and Rose water – she went for long walks, even up to the age of seventy.  She rubbed the sweet hydrosol on her hands.  The smell of her toiletries, especially the pungent smell of lemon, permeated her bedroom.

 Of all the scents she used, Lemon (Citrus x limon) of the Rutaceae family was her preference due to its strong antibacterial quality as well as is uplifting fragrance.  This was the time when plagues ravaged cities with disease and death. There was a horrible plague in London in 1603, the year of Elizabeth’s death, when people intuitively used essential oils and fumigating herbs for protection.  Ther perfumers who constantly used essential oils usually survived.  In the 19th century research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris revealed that the microorganisms of yellow nad typhoid fever were killed by essential oils of Cinnamon, Thyme, and Lemon within half an hour.  This was the beginning of future European research on the anti-infectious nature of essential oils.  No doubt this intelligent queen sensed that Lemon stimulated her white blood cells against infection.  Lemon also offered her a heart tonic to keep her blood pressure low.  If she did contract a cold, Lemon would relieve a sore throat and a cough.  It made her whole digestive system more alkaline, allowing the kidneys and liver to function better.  She liked Lemon since it brightened her pale complexion by cleansing away dead skin cells.  She felt more alert and queenly after using lemon because it was elevating and produced clarity of thought.  She chose oils that calmed her passionate nature and gave her the balance to rule with wisdom.

 

Marguerite Maury, the Holistic Healer

Marguerite Maury has been very important in the modern development of essential oil therapy by giving it a connection to the ancient healing philosophies of India, China, and Tibet while reemphasizing a personal, holistic approach through massage…[she] is a bridge from the past to opportunities of the present.  

She was born Marguerite Konig in Austria in 1895 and was raised in Vienna… received degrees in nurse and surgical as assistance…book Les Grandes Possibilities of Odoriforous Materials by Dr.Chabenes published in 1838 became Marguerite’s bible, as did studies by Rene-Maurice Gattefosse.

Marguerite met Dr.E.A.Maury in 1930s …they shared a desire to heal through alternative, natural methods.  “They explored homeopathy, naturopahy, acupuncture, osteopathy, meditation, Zen, yoga, macrobiology, and radiesthesia.  They formed a remarkable team, working, researching, and writing books together. 

The pivotal point in Marguerite’s career was in the 1940’s, when she began research on the effects of essential oils on the nervous system and how they created rejuvenation.  Dr. Maury became a specialist in homeopathic medicine and acupuncture treatments that were still on the fringes of established Western medicine.  Marguerite borrowed two concepts from homeopathy: First, essential oils like homeopathic granules create vibration in cells of the body, even though imperceptible to human senses.  And second, the prescribed remedy relates to the individual, not the illness. Marguerite invented the extremely important concept of the “individual prescription” for aromatherapy, where the blend of oils is custom-=created for the individual in a holistic sense: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  

 The individual prescription (IP) consists of a thorough examination of the client from observation, questions of past health history, and even what Marguerite called “blood spectrography” (the study of intracellular hemoglobin).  It is strange to discover the similarity between the impression produced by the composition of the perfume and that given by the living person.  The IP blend needs to compensate for the deficiencies and reduce the excesses of the person’s persona.  It serves to balance the rhythms and life force of the individual.

            For example, Marguerite used a blend of Elemi, Galbanum, Violet leaves, and Lemongrass for a woman who had gray skin, gray hair, and a joyless attitude.  The first two oils are reminiscent of advanced age since they were employed in impregnating the bandages of Egyptian  mummies.  These oils are revivify lifeless skin and bring the user more into the present moment, letting go of the past and enjoying the creativity of the now.  Violet leaves dissolve rheumatic toxins and bring back an elasticity of tissues and muscles.  Elemi of the Bruseraceae family from the Philippine Islands is a wonderful oil for rejuvenating aged skin and relieving chronic health problems.  It is very helpful for nervous exhaustion and the stress-related conditions that Marguerite’s client experienced.  Elemi is expectorant for bronchial congestion and strengthens the immune system.  On a psychic level it balances our spiritual practices with worldly responsibilities.  Mentally it has a grounding yet joyous effect, making it good for meditation and visualization.  Results: after two months of treatment with these oils, the woman’s gray skin became olive and pink, and her behavior was youthful.  She slept better and had even fallen in love!

            Marguerite developed a special massage technique of applying essential oils along the nerve centers of the spine as well as to the face.  Her wealthy women clients reported dramatic improvements in their complexions.  Christine Wildwood writes, “To their amazement, there were also some interesting “side-effect”; many experienced relief from rheumatic pain, deeper sleep, and a generally improved mental state.”  The development of holistic aromatherapy massage as it is practiced in the UK today is deeply indebted to Marguerite.

            Daniele Ryman, her most famous student, wrote a book about essential oils and her mentor, The Aromatherapy Handbook. 

            The Royal College of Nursing insurance policy has helped to make essential oils used by thousands of British nurses for improved patient care.

            Marguerite’s favorite oil was the lively Ginger.  She loved the warm woody-spicy scent that brought balance to the digestive system for problems like indigestion, cramps, and nausea.  She also found it useful for     colds and coughs and great in steams.  She enjoyed how it warmed her emotions and gave her mental energy for her many projects.  She appreciated how it sharpened her senses and stimulated her memory.

          Daniele Ryman wrote,”In France, she single-handedly reestablished the reputation of aromatherapy”.  Marguerite wrote Le Capital Jeanesse in 1961, which was translated and republished in 1987 by C.W.Daniel Co. under the English subtitle The Secret of Life and Youth.  Her work eventually led to the establishment of more than 80 aromatherapy colleges in the UK with thousands of practicing aromatherapists abiding by the decisions of a standards council for the quality of the oils and educational certification.  Patricia Davis, who established the first school, London School of Aromatherapy, was inspired by Marguerite’s fine work.  Patricia wrote the world’s bestselling aromatherapy book, Aromatherapy, An A-Z.