Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Essential oil history - Culpepper

Language is fascinating. Part of aromatherapy study is all the medical terminology describing the properties of the oils.  Some archaic sounding like anti-phlogistic (anti-inflammatory).  On the subject of archaic language fever just isnt part of our daily experience. So the descriptions of medicinal substances as hot and cold, dry and damp would have made perfect sense to practitioners, researchers and patients seeing so much fever and sweating in for example Culpeppers day.

Fever and plague must have coloured other thinking and language - heaven (a temporate flower garden apparently) and hell (certainly hot), and the idea of the burning agent being within - sin etc and conduct good and bad being able to increase and decrease the weight of the soul/heart. the egyptians gods weighed the human heart on death and if it was too heavy bye bye eternity! who is to say they were wrong.

The control of plague with spices and essential oils in Culpeppers day must have seemed miraculous. Today the overriding western medical concern is extending the life and wellbeing of ill people who are aged so its little wonder that essential oils dont come high on medical agendas. But that is changing with the work on essential oils and the aging brain and of course essential oils and skin cancer research.

That said the effects of essential oils still seem miraculous. Im thinking of joint and muscular problems and how people can live with agonising pain and how the antispasmodic oils can pentrate deeply to release the muscle stuck in spasm.

  Today research confirms essential oil constituents being deliberately manufactured by medicinal plants and how you might accordingly select the best cultivars. This gene research is really interesting. Thank goodness Robert Tisserand can follow it! The impression you can get is that essential oils as 'secondary metabolites' is that the constituents are somehow accidental but this gene research make you think no.

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