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The Ancient Egyptian Origins of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Ancient Egyptians Using Cinnamon Essential OIl
Ancient Egyptians Using Cinnamon Essential OIl

The Origins of Aromatherapy

Ancient Egypt (Kemet) is recognized as the origin for significant development in aromatherapy, and the first distillation of essential oils (dating back to 3500 B.C.) The roots of aromatherapy start with the Ancient Egyptian belief that healing is a holistic process. The body cannot be separated from the mind, the soul, or the spirit. Ancient Egyptians were masters of the holistic and believed that beauty, magic, and medicine were inseparable. They recognized that health and beauty were rooted in cleanliness. Unpleasant smells were associated with impurity, but pleasant aromas indicated the presence of the sacred. Ancient Egyptians were the first in the world to practice the extraction of flower essences and botanical oils. They were also the first civilization to incorporate perfume into their culture.

In no other culture was the concern with health and beautification so extensive. The idea of cleanliness even transcended economic status. Excellent hygiene was a prerequisite for all Ancient Egyptians. It was a common practice for both, men and women, of all classes, to oil their bodies daily as a form of moisturization and protection from environmental conditions like heat and dryness. Records show that body oil for daily use was one of the basic supplies issued in the form of wages even to the lowest class of workers.

Ancient Methods for Essential Oil Extraction

• Burning- perhaps the oldest method, this technique is evoked in the modern word “perfume”, which literally means “through smoke”
• Animal fats and pastes- evidence of this can be found in the enfleurage technique to extract the essence of jasmine. Enfleurage is a process that uses odorless fats that are solid at room temperature to capture the fragrant compounds exuded by plants.
• Oils- blending with botanical plant oils of moringa and almond oil to combine conditioning effects of the plant oil with the fragrant essential oils

Historical Uses for Essential Oil

During the 3rd Dynasty (2650-2575 BC) in Egypt, the process of embalming and mummification was developed by the Ancient Egyptians in their search for immortality. Frankincense, myrrh, galbanum, cinnamon, cedarwood, juniper berry, and spikenard are all known to have been used at some stage to preserve the bodies of their royalty in preparation of the afterlife. Extensive knowledge of Ancient Egyptian beauty regime can be credited to the burial customs and arid climate which preserves artifacts well.
One of the first extractions was done with the lotus flower. The lotus flower was growing everywhere along the River Nile and became the symbol of Upper Egypt. Many aromatic substances were necessary for the afterlife, and in Ancient Egyptian mythology, the lotus flower essence was believed to help in the resurrection.

During the period between the 18th and the 25th Dynasty (1539-657 BC), the Ancient Egyptians continued to refine their use of aromatics in incense, medicine, cosmetics, and finally perfumes. Until just a few hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Ancient Egyptian perfumery industry was celebrated as the finest in the whole of the Middle East and beyond.

Evidence of this has been found in the tomb of King Tutankhamon, where the funeral furniture displays the pharaoh’s wife wrapping his body with the lotus oil. It is believed that jars in the tomb contained lotus flower essence (the tomb was robbed during the Late period).

Early graves contained cosmetic implements and later tombs contained sealed airtight jars. The perfume industry of Ancient Egypt was justifiably famous, as the aromas of these jars lingered even after being opened thousands of years later. Many of these jars were made from alabaster, which was known as the finest material for storing scent.
Ancient papyrus is filled with mentions of myrrh, marjoram, olibanum, jasmine, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, lemongrass, almond, and other botanical oils. In addition, it is documented that Ancient Egyptians had access and used 21 different types of vegetable oils for cosmetic purposes—many of which are still used today in natural products.
There is a great deal of historical evidence that Ancient Egyptians used essential oils for medicinal, spiritual, and cosmetic applications to establish the foundation of what we know, today, as modern aromatherapy.

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The time is now!

Home-Essentials-Kit

For those of you who are wondering how to start incorporating essential oils in your life, and which oils to start with, The Home Essentials Kit is the perfect starter set. If you enroll with me before October 31st, you will also get 4 free oils.

HOME ESSENTIALS
• Frankincense
• Lavender
• Lemon
• Melaleuca
• Oregano
• Peppermint
• dōTERRA Breathe®
• DigestZen®
• dōTERRA OnGuard®
• Deep Blue® (5 mL)
• Petal Diffuser
• Wellness Advocate Introductory Packet

Free additional oils:
Serenity
Balance
Citrus Bliss
OnGuard (5ml)

It’s time to take control of our health & wellness. Message me for more information info@myourneyback2life.com or enroll now!

Prep Now, Play Later

As I continue this journey back to life, I realize that eating healthy is easier said than done. Healthy choices are a little more time consuming and way more expensive than my new stress-free and healthy lifestyle could handle. I just can’t find the time to cook 3 meals a day. I also don’t want to continue to spend a fortune on lunch while I’m at work. I started using Sundays as a “Prep Day” and spend a couple of hours preparing and jarring my breakfast and lunch for the work week. I also prep as much of my dinners as I can. This helps me save time, money, and stick to my healthy diet routine.

Here are my basic diet goals:

  • I want to maintain a healthy water intake. It’s recommended that we all drink about 2 liters of water a day. Water flushes toxins from your vital organs and carries nutrients to your cells. Lack of water can cause dehydration which drains your energy.
  • I want to get in my oatmeal and other heart healthy foods every day. Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber, which lowers bad cholesterol levels. This is good for my arteries and my heart.
  • I want to avoid any processed foods. In general, processed foods are high in sodium. Also, they are stripped of any natural nutrients during the processing. The most processed foods are white foods. Not naturally white foods like potatoes, but foods that are bleached like white bread and white rice. I also stay away from too much soy and “vegetarian” meats.
  • I want to have a well-balanced diet. I have eliminated red meat and poultry out of my diet. This means I have to make sure to get my protein from other foods like beans and nuts. I want to make sure my fruit and vegetable intake is varied so that I get all the different vitamins and minerals I need.

Here’s how I prep:

  • I create a weekly menu and shopping list. I find that I save at least an hour a day and tons of stress by not worrying about what I am going to cook and eat. Once I create my menu, I know what ingredients I need to shop for and how much of each item I will need. This helps me buy fresh foods in the right amount so there is no wasted produce.
  • Mason Jars are my best friends. Mason jars are great for prepping. They seal tightly and keep even my lettuce fresh for a week at a time. They are reusable and cost effective. Although, since the pictures above I have started using the plastic jar covers instead of the metal lids (unless I’m canning) because they are more convenient. They also hold up to the constant washing better and the metal cans can start to rust after a while. The best part about mason jars is they just make everything look so pretty!
  • I get breakfast and lunch for the work week out of the way. I make a quick and easy “summer porridge” (otherwise known as refrigerator oatmeal) with my favorite fruits for breakfast. You can make a different variety for every day if you like. Then I make “Quinoa Salad in a Jar” for my lunch. As you can see above, I have a variety of healthy salads. I also make a few jars of fruit infused water to keep on hand. Shout out to my favorite blogger Monica from The Yummy Life for the great recipes. When I am rushing out the door to work I just grab and go. During the cooler months, I make stews and cooked oatmeal.
  • I get a head start on my dinners. I check my dinner menu and prepare everything I can ahead of time. A great time saver is those ingredients you know you use regularly like garlic and onions. Also, any ingredient like rice or pasta that I am eating on more than one day, I make all of it and separate it into two containers and store them the refrigerator.

One day of prep makes more time for life.

My Journey Back to Life

 

Kibibi Oyo Purple

My journey back to life…

On May 21, 2011 I had a heart attack. I was only 41. The signs had all been there glaring at me but I was still in a state of denial. I argued in the emergency room with the doctor. There must be a mistake. I couldn’t be having a heart attack. I spent the three days in the hospital reflecting on my life. What in my life did I need to change? What was really important to me? I came up with one idea every time. I wanted to get back to life. Really enjoying my life. I wanted a lifestyle that was family-centered, free of unnecessary stress, positive and healthy. I have slowly been recreating myself and my life to reflect this idea.

There were a few lifestyle changes I knew I had to change immediately.

  • I had to take care of my heart, my physical heart. I needed to adjust my diet and exercise more routinely. I was in general a healthy person but I needed to fine tune. I had to cut certain things out of my diet and I also needed a real exercise regiment.
  • I needed to de-stress. Essentially, I was working at a place I hated, to pay a mortgage I couldn’t afford, for a house I didn’t even like. Crazy right? I am an entrepreneur at heart and I started to make plans to slowly exit the nine to five world. I had to reassess what I could afford to pay for a home. I also decided I needed to make sure my home was at least comfortable for me to live in.
  • I had to be honest with myself. There were people and situations in my life that did not make me happy. I was living a lifestyle I had been told was the right one for me. And from that hospital bed, the only thing that felt right was my family. The rest of it seemed like such nonsense. I set out to find my new square one, mine.

That was four years and 6 months ago. I have made some major lifestyle changes but mostly I have spent all this time making some mental changes. Am I there yet? No way. But I have decided to chronical my journey back to life to help me stay on track and to share with others. It’s a life in progress.