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Ancient Beginnings: Tracing the Timeless Journey of Essential Oil Origins

A Brief History of Essential Oils

Ancient Beginnings of essential oil uses

Maybe our modern love of essential oils is rooted in our ancestral DNA.

From what we understand today, nature has provided these therapeutic essences since the beginning of the plant kingdom. Cultures all over the world— Rome, Egypt, Greece, India, China, and Europe — have historical evidence of using essential oils for centuries. They have been used for everything from beauty and healing, to ceremonies and food preparation. (1)

The first documented use of essential oils was back in 4500 BC. Ancient Egyptians used aromatic oils in cosmetics, perfumes, and ointments as well as for spiritual and physical well-being. (1) Though it’s not documented, it’s believed that aromatic oils were also being used in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine during the same time. Based on the recorded history (starting as early as 3000 BC), “China and India listed more than 700 substances including cinnamon, ginger, myrrh, and sandalwood as being effective for healing.”(2)

There are many prized depictions of Egyptians in ancient pictorials on temple walls showing royalty using essential oils. As the story goes, an excavation team found King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922 and found over 50 alabaster jars that were specially carved for essential oils. Previous thieves of the tomb had taken the revered essential oils, but left the gold! (1)

The Way to Health

The use of essential oils to combat the bubonic plague dates back to the Middle Ages, particularly during the outbreak known as the Black Death in the 14th century. During this time, people turned to essential oils for their purported antiseptic healing properties in an effort to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of the disease.

The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, also fumigated the city of Athens with aromatics to combat the plague, and prescribed aromatic treatments to Greek soldiers. (1) Hippocrates is known to have claimed that the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day. Count me in!

Though essential oils had long been considered prized possessions to be used sparingly and with care, Romans used essential oils with sheer decadence. Not only did they scent their hair, body, and beds, but they also lavishly bathed multiple times a day with their oils and had frequent aromatic massages. (1)

As history goes, Roman culture was influenced by Greek culture which was influenced by the Egyptians. At least with their use of these precious aromatic oils! 

The Test of Time 

We continue to use essential oils in many of the same ways our ancestors did. Today, essential oils are widely used throughout the world for therapeutic purposes ranging from sleep disorders, stress relief, wound healing, aches and pains, skincare, cosmetics, bug bite and sting relief, meditation, and an assortment of aromatic purposes.

According to the National Library of Medicine, some essential oils like Lavender, Peppermint and Myrrh are still being used pharmaceutically and soon “could be used effectively as suitable alternatives for many synthetically produced medications.”(2)

Perhaps Hippocrates was onto something. Maybe it doesn’t have to be hours of soaking or lavish spa days. Maybe the way to health is as easy as using essential oil-based skincare. Topsy Blends offers a wide range of both natural remedies and luxurious body care made with 100% pure essential oils for cleansing daily rituals proven to stand the test of time.

Cheers to good health,


Your personal aromatherapist 

(2) Elshafie HS, Camele I. An Overview of the Biological Effects of Some Mediterranean Essential Oils on Human Health. Biomed Res Int. 2017;2017:9268468. doi: 10.1155/2017/9268468. Epub 2017 Nov 5. PMID: 29230418; PMCID: PMC5694587.


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