A brief history of essential oils

A brief history of essential oils

Here at Essentially Yours, we’re incredibly passionate about sharing our knowledge about essential oils. Whether it’s the benefits of a particular oil or a blend that we think you’d love - we put our heart and soul into giving you the best information all in one place. 

In this piece, we’re going to give a brief history of essential oils - great for all of you out there who’re looking to broaden your knowledge on such an ancient part of history. So, if you want to learn more - keep reading! 

Essential oils have been around for thousands of years, initially being found in ancient Chinese, Indian and African cultures. It’s reported that Egypt was the true birthplace of essential oils. Not only were they used for aromatic purposes, but also as medicine, and part of the embalming process. As early as 3500 BC it is assumed that essential oils were incepted - however, it’s important to note that there are still modern essential oils which have only come to fruition in the last twenty to forty years. 

Some of the more ancient essential oils have originated from herbs, spices and fruits such as lemon, frankincense, cumin and coriander - which are considered staples within the aforementioned geographies. 

How were these oils discovered?

Like most things in ancient civilisation, it was most likely discovered by chance or through using a fruit, herb, spice or seed for another purpose. For example, lemon is probably one of the most versatile fruits as it can be used in cooking, baking, sauces, oils, skincare, haircare, aromatherapy and so much more. A lot of “classic” essential oils have evolved from being so versatile.

The extraction process back in 3500 BC was admittedly, not as advanced as the methods we have today - meaning that there were often hundreds, even thousands of years passing before a new essential oil was discovered. For example, Tagetes Oil was only discovered in the last two hundred years, which in the grand scheme of essential oil history - is considered modern.

Other “modern” oils have originated in countries such as New Zealand and Australia/Tasmania, as these countries were only discovered between the mid-1600s to the late 1700s. There are probably still places around the world that we’ve not yet had a chance to analyse and find new species of plants and spices which could be used as an essential oil!

What does the future look like for the essential oil industry?

The future looks incredibly bright. Unlike many other ancient practices, it seems as though the popularity of essential oils is only going to increase as time goes on. It’s also important to note that essential oils play a huge part in skincare, makeup products as well as perfumes. Even if essential oils aren’t used in their singular form in candles, or through diffusers - they will still be an integral part of the skincare and cosmetics industry. We’re excited to see how the use of essential oils evolves as time progresses, and we can only hope that more beautiful oils are discovered in the future.