The English word “aromatherapy"‘ is derived from the French word ‘aromatherapie’ which was first coined…
Throughout history man has relied on the primal sense of smell, it was important for survival being able to smell possible threats, mates, food, the scent for babies is highly developed for recognition of their mothers. But in order to understand the reason the survival mode of scent and its connection to our successful adaptation to the natural world lies in the connection to our anatomy and our synergistic connection to our natural world. You see our sense of smell is connected to our nervous system and various biological activity.
When we breathe in aromatic molecules, the more than 10 million olfactory nerve cells are stimulated, sending cellular information to the brain. This information is initially sent to the limbic lobe, one of the oldest parts of the brain and the seat of sexual and emotional impulses. This information is then transferred to the central nervous system, from there chemical reactions happen within the body. And this is why the sense of smell is important for our health.
We know that throughout history man adapted to his sense of smell. It kept him in connection with his environment. Relaying important survival information to the receptors in the brain. As ancient humans adapted to the natural world our sense of smell became highly evolved, because it was used in connection to everything man needed to biologically adapt to his surroundings, and for the procreation of our species.
This sense of smell was so highly valued that ancient civilizations like the Egyptian, Romans, and Greeks began cultivating botanical material to enhance their health and spiritual well being. These civilizations understood the connection to aromas or essences as means to enhance health and vitality. We have well-documented use of botanicals for thousands of years throughout the history of humanity. Use of botanicals and herbs were used to treat the body, but also for energetic clearing and purification rituals. Used extensively in religious ceremonies, meditation, and for maintenance of health by cleansing the air of viruses, by using antibacterial, anti-microbial resins, and plants.
In contradiction to the past, we today in modern society have been exposed to various synthetic fragrances. Being continuously being exposed to these synthetics and adulterated aromas are sending the wrong messages to our nervous system over and over again, for many of us over a course of a lifetime. At first glance, this may seem harmless, but it’s important to recognize the history of our evolution and how we have adapted with of our sense of smell on a biological level.
You see the connection to scent is biologically connected to our health it’s just the way we are made. It is our unity to our natural world, it is vital to our health and survival. If we live a lifestyle that contains many synthetic aromas we can eventually cause inflammation in our bodies. This can manifest into many symptoms, once we are experiencing systems the body has already been in a state of inflammation for some time. In Ayurveda we say, the dosha has left its seat and has begun to overflow becoming systemic. Or it has manifested into the bloodstream because ultimately everything you breathe, eat, or put on your body ends up in the bloodstream.
Botanicals end up in our bloodstream also, but they are sending a completely different message. They are relaying their biological immunity to our limbic lobe, and central nervous system. This is why sustainable wild harvested plants have some of the most prolific profiles in the plant world. They have survived the elements in various seasons, they contain, the air, sun, moon, earth, water, they are the vessels of the elements. There will never be anything created in a lab as magnificent as a single rose, or one helichrysum plant off the coast of Croatia, especially when it comes to healing the human body. The amount of information translated from the rose plant which has evolved over the past 30 million years has infinite healing information because its immune system has survived that long. The rose plant in the concept of evolution would definitely be considered successful.
For many of us, we may never have the pleasure of the real aromatic treasures that lie with 1 drop of pure jasmine sambac or Bulgarian rose. Most of us have an idea of what these smell like, but we have to understand that a lot of the aromas we smell have been adulterated, in fact, most. What we do know in aromatherapy is that the flower aromatics have a tremendous impact on our sense of relaxation, of the mind and body. This topic is greatly misunderstood and can be generally unvalued in terms of what we think we know about healing and plant medicine. What we are talking about here is the most concentrated form of botanical medicine, your inhaling the botanical wisdom of time, and of nature. We are enhancing the prana, aka, life force energy, in a quest for nourishment, rejuvenation, detoxification, clarity of mind, body, and spirit. We must be reminded that all of these things we seek come in the form of plants.