Aromatherapy literally means therapy through aroma or scent. In practice, it uses essential oils extracted only from plants and no other sources. Even though the word “aromatherapy” was new to the west (1928), aromatic substances had been used by the main early civilizations of the world (the Chinese, the Egyptians and the Indians) in their religious, medical and social functions.
The wall paintings of Lascaux caves in France, dating back to 18000 BC, tell us about the use of plants in medicine. The interest was rekindled in the 20th Century by the French chemist, Gattafosse who used aromatherapy to treat the wounded soldiers during the first world war. Aromatherapy was continually used by doctors to fumigate hospital wards and sterilize equipment during the 2 world wars.
Before the development of the synthetic drug industry, a lot of drugs were discovered from plants. Aspirin was originally derived from the willow tree, Salix. Quinine which is used to treat malaria was originally derived from the bark of the Cinchona tree. Even the contraceptive pills were derived from the Mexican yam The famous antibiotic penicillin came from fungus, a type of plant.
Today the interest in aromatherapy is growing very fast. Amongst the reasons are:
- it is safe
- easy to use
- a natural way to care for our health
- helps to prevent illness
- stimulates the natural body resistance
Psychologically it helps to promote a positive mental state. It works on every level to cleanse the body and balance the mind. Its scent has a powerful effect on the mind while its chemistry affects the body. Due to its complexity, aromatherapy needs to be used with care, knowledge and experience.
Aromatherapy can also be used as a complementary therapy for jinn possession. Those with jinn possession may experience various symptoms such as loss of focus, insomnia and anxiety and the use of aromatherapy helps to reduce the symptoms.