A Brief History of Essential Oils

Before there were pharmaceuticals and modern-day physicians, before the Enlightenment which ended the Dark Ages, back in the time when knowledge was closely guarded by the educated and only the rich could afford to fight off illness no matter the cost, there were essential oils. The poor had what folk wisdom and local herbs they could afford, and over time, sometimes these remedies were able to restore health. However, pharaohs and queens were given the concentrated form of many of these same herbs, as well essences from rare or exotic plants from the far-flung reaches of the earth. The distilled essences of healing plants were once the most valuable and sought after substances in the world. More precious than any metal or gem, heavily guarded caravans traversed from East to West, carrying oils in just one trip that could make a trader rich for life… or take his life. Very telling is the fact that Egyptian tomb robbers chose essential oils first, often leaving the rest of the treasure behind..

The power and value of essential oils were also known to Biblical peoples. There are 188 references in the Bible, with oils perhaps most famously appearing in the Tabernacle and Temples of the Old Testament, in rites worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the New Testament, Christ was lovingly given the best that could be offered him: in the beginning, frankincense and myrrh and near the end, the oil of spikenard.

The rise of the Dark Ages either eradicated ancient wisdom or sent it into exile. We first hear of essential oils again in the 15th century, when the deadly bubonic plague raged across Europe. Nobody could escape the Black Death, so it seemed, until authorities discovered that the dead and dying were being repeatedly robbed. Why weren’t the thieves contracting the disease? At last, in 1413, four thieves were captured and brought to the magistrate for trial. The thieves were offered leniency if they would reveal how they resisted contracting the infection. The crime ring included perfumers and spice traders who knew of a combination of essential oils which, if worn, protected the robbers from any harm. This formula is now known by various names and sold by various companies such as Young Living and DoTerra. Young Living markets it as Thieves essential oil blend.

Since the start of this blog, I have been amazed to watch the gradual mainstreaming of essential oils.  What was originally mocked has begun to be reconsidered.  It is because people have begun to discover, for themselves, the power of essential oils. One of my favorite sites for learning about the many experiences folks have had with these wonderful oils is oil-testimonials.com

My History With Essential Oils

I was the first person in my family to learn about essential oils. I was pretty much the only person who directly used essential oils for about 2 years; from 2003 until the beginning of 2005.  In the middle of my third pregnancy, strange symptoms began to arise, symptoms I now attribute to a combination of factors: the stress accumulated after surviving over 20 years of  various forms of abuse combined with environmental pollutants (chemtrails, fluoride, etc) and nutritional deficiencies/food allergies .  We spent the first half of 2005 going from doctor to doctor until I was finally diagnosed hypothyroid, with some debate over whether I have Hashimotos.  One of the new challenges of my condition was a severe intolerance of the smell of anything chemically-derived.  I went from feeling nauseated at the smell of cigarettes and English muffins to seriously wondering how I’d ever manage daily life while wearing a gas mask.

So while we had only dabbled in oils before, my strange new sensitivities called for a drastic change.  We had to examine every product in our household, and any product we were thinking of buying.  I often thought about the Breyer’s Ice Cream advertisement as I read label after label for different versions of Junky Gunk in a Bottle of Who-Knows-Whats-It.   We used up, gave away or threw away anything whose label listed ingredients we could not discern as botanically-based or natural.   Our family began to watch what was in or on the foods we ate, the water that we drank, and the air we breathed. We also became rather gung-ho, enthusiastic, independent distributors for Young Living essential oils.

However, since 2012, I have become increasingly disenchanted with the company.  My post about that process continues to bring a lot of traffic to this blog. I will probably NOT remain a distributor past 2015, when my account expires, because YL’s new contract for independent distributors makes it VERY clear that you do NOT own the company and if you do anything whatsoever to harm said company (according to THEM) you also give them the right, indefinitely, to sue your pants off. Of course, I won’t agree to that, so I guess I’m done.  We have never made a living from YL; that remains the privilege of Mr. Young and a very small circle of his friends who got on the MLM bandwagon early enough. That’s how it always works with MLM’s. I think I have purged this blog of any identifiers, but if you find anything with my member number, please don’t use it, as it won’t work. In case the company and any of its representatives are reading this: the blog has always clearly stated in the legal writing at the bottom of every page, that this is an OPINION blog. Testimonials are how the essential oil industry skirts the FDA, and that, dear friends, is how I also skirt you. Last I knew, free speech is still a right in the United States of America, so go jump in a lake.

As of 2015, I am still hypothyroid and still struggling with my health, but I am glad to be alive.