Origin: a Latin derivative
meaning "Gift of the Earth."
The use of plant-based products has been recorded as far back as 3000 BCE with the Egyptians, who used plant extracts for a myriad of purposes. They used them for beauty treatments, food preparations, burial rituals, and in religious ceremonies. Precious plant compounds such as peppercorns, cinnamon bark, frankincense, and myrrh fed the thriving trade routes that snaked through the arid deserts of the region. The reverence that this ancient culture had for plants is evident in the botanical depictions found in hieroglyphics and other Egyptian art. Modern archaeological techniques have also allowed researchers to identify residues of aromatic gums and resins in mummified bodies and at burial sites. When analyzing the mummy of Ramses V, an ancient Egyptian ruler, the aromatic compounds of juniper, camphor, and myrrh were discovered, confirming their usage in these sacred burial rituals.