Evidence suggests that the ancient Egyptians were the first to use essential oils. They developed distillation techniques and pioneered the discovery of medical and other uses of essential oils. At about the same time, the Indians and Chinese were also developing the use of plant materials in healing. Knowledge of oil use was passed on to the Greeks.. The Romans continued this process. A Persian physician named Avicenna (approximately 1,000 A.D.) is credited with perfecting the distillation process.
Oils have been shown to have many possible desirable effects such as reducing anxiety and inflammation, fighting oxidative processes, battling toxins and fighting infections by inhibiting bacteria, fungi and viruses. Oil odors can also be used to affect mental states and memory. Modern doctors are looking for agents that will assist in management of resistant infections and cancer, and these natural products may well hold the key to several major advancements.