The term " aromatherapy " is not old: it dates from 1935. Yet, there are traces of distillation methods dating back several millennia in India, China, and especially in Egypt, where the use of Plants was well known. But, apart from a few quotations in Greek, Roman and Persian texts, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that it appeared as a medical science.
Birth by accident
Aromatherapy was born into an accident: in 1910, the French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé worked in the laboratory of the family perfumery company when an explosion occurred and seriously burned his hand. Taken with the means of conventional medicine of the time, his injury worsens, until the day he directly applies the essential oil of pure lavender on. The result is so rapid and so amazing that he will spend the rest of his life studying the properties of plant flavors and promoting them. He will forge the word "aromatherapy" (from the Greek arôma, "aroma", and therapeia, "care") to designate the medical use of aromatic plant extracts: essences and essential oils.
How do you get these essences? Thanks to different techniques, it is not possible to extract the essential oil of a bark, the skin of a citrus fruit or a flower. Two methods are mainly used. Distillation is suitable for the majority of plants: in a still, a balloon is filled with water and plants; The heat of the boiling water causes the cells of the plants to burst, and the vapor drives the molecules of the essential oils, which an apparatus recovers by cooling. The method of expression "mechanical" is reserved for citrus: the skin is pressed to extract the essences.
These traditional methods make it possible to obtain natural essences loaded with the active principles of the plant - some oils contain about two hundred, each possessing a property! By comparison, the drugs contain only one chemical molecule corresponding to a single property! This is the reason why the same essential oil can be recommended to cure various ailments.
How can essential oils "know" what disease they need to treat? This is their secret, and one of the great miracles of life: these molecules charged with vital energy, as the Chinese would say, are selective. They will attach themselves to the organ to heal or invade a painful region, kill the bacteria, regulate the exchange of neurotransmitters in the brain ..., only according to the real needs of our body. In summary, essential oils restore the harmony of our body by stimulating vital processes. That is why, unlike antibiotics - literally, "against life" - they are "eubiotic" - "for the return and the balance of life".
If you believe that aromatherapy is a branch of herbal medicine, you have it all wrong! Although in the history of medicine these two therapies have often been assimilated, they are quite distinct since in 1883 the biologist Charles Chamberland studied the action of essential oils of clove, oregano and cinnamon On the anthrax bacillus. Unfortunately, with the appearance of chemical antibiotics, work on the effectiveness of essential oils remained episodic for nearly a century. They have resumed at the same time as the organic wave, and we have witnessed, for ten years, a veritable explosion of research: more than ten thousand scientific studies have been published. One of the most important advances - and most important if you want to introduce yourself to aromatherapy - was the introduction of the notion of "chemotype" by pharmacologist Pierre Franchomme in 1975. Depending on the country, soil , Altitude, climate, the same plant can have different species with different properties. This chemotype is always indicated with the Latin name of the plant. Example: Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis . The so-called "cineole" variety, Rosmarinus officinalis cineoliferum , is excellent for all ENT diseases. The so-called "camphor" variety, Rosmarinus officinalis camphoriferum , is recommended, inter alia, as a venous decongestant. Since some plants have several chemotypes, get into the habit.