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.