Oils have been used by the Jews, Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans both as cosmetics, perfumes and for medicinal purposes. In 1928, French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé used lavender oil to heal a burn on his hand. He then decided to further analyze the properties of lavender oil and how it could be used to treat other types of skin infections, wounds or burns.
With this the science of aromatherapy was born. Gattefossé’s main goal was to help injured soldiers during World War I. The use of these oils began to spread especially with practitioners of alternative medicine, such as massage therapists and beauticians throughout Europe.
Aromatherapy did not become popular in the United States until the 1980s when essential oils began to be added to various lotions, candles or other fragrances. Essential oils are now used in hospitals, which I will get into with my next post.