As many of my patients know I am currently studying to be an Essential Oils Coach. This means that when a patient comes in for an acupuncture treatment, I can also prescribe them essential oils to use topically, internally or to be diffused in a room. When I first heard about The Essential Oils Institute, a 12 week essential oils class taught by Dr. Josh Axe, I was intrigued. I always love finding new ways to heal people, especially if its natural and good for you. I was curious, do essential oils actually work? It seemed odd to me that something I would use as a perfume would actually have medicinal benefits.
So I signed up for the class. I was surprised to learn that this was a fully accredited course and was associated with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. This was huge for me. As someone who made a conscious decision never to prescribe western medicine to patients, this was a society purely based on just those beliefs. As I sat down for the class I immediately learned that there was more history to essential oils than I thought. So, if you’re someone like me who didn’t think there was much to essential oils, get ready to be amazed.
Essential Oil use dates back to the Bible. At least 33 specific essential oils and essential oil producing plants have been mentioned in the Bible. These oils are mentioned in the Bible as fragrances, ointments, odors and perfumes. Essential oils were use for healing the sick and anointing kings. These specific oils are frankincense, rosemary, hyssop, spikenard and myrrh.
Historically, the next time we see essential oils is from the Egyptians. They used essential oils as medicine and for burial rituals. Several different types of oils were used to preserve bodies of the royals, and they were buried with the essential oils as well. Many Egyptians believed in the afterlife, and what was in your tomb would be with you in the afterlife. In King Tut’s tomb they found over 50 different jars of essential oils. The Egyptians also used them for religious reasons. According to Dr. Josh Axe book, Essential Oils Ancient Medicine, Dr. Axe explains that entire Egyptian Temples were dedicated to the production and blending of oils and the recipes were written on the walls in hieroglyphics.
In Ancient China, essential oils were also used as medicine. As someone who has studied Chinese Medicine for several years, this one is the one that made most scents to me..(get it? A little essential oil humor to break things up). In Chinese Medicine herbs and spices all have different actions and properties. Some herbs are cooling, while others are warming. Some herbs invigorate and others sedate. Some herbs have a tendency to move things upward while others are more grounding. The Ancient Chinese used essential oils in this way as well. Chinese Medicine is all about balancing the body, or balancing the Yin/Yang as they explain it as. The Chinese figured out the properties of each oil and figured out a way to incorporate these oils into healing their patients based on their diagnosis.
The Greeks also believed in essential oils as well as a very plant based medicine system. Hippocrates, although referred to as the “Father of Western Medicine” was very interested in plant based medicine and believed surgery and other options should only be used as a last resort. He documented over 200 different herbs in his lifetime and believed very much in a more holistic approach.
Which brings us to modern day essential oils. Around the 20th century many people stopped using plant based medicine and began using synthetic drugs. This is around the time people stopped using essential oils and began believing in essential oils as “folk medicine.” That’s why I’m here today, to help bring us back to nature and back to the medicine that has been healing people for thousands of years. I’m grateful to be taking this class and to be able to not only heal people with Chinese medicine, but with essential oils as well!
PS. Stay tuned for lots of blog posts about how essential oils can help you!