Part 3: Historic Value of Essential Oils—Rome


In ancient Rome, aromatics were equally important in culture and health. The Romans were known for their scented baths, perfumery, and massages using plant extracts. The scientific literature discovered from this time period shows that plant extracts and aromatic compounds were widely used for their health benefits. Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), Dioscorides (40–90 AD), and Galen (130–200 AD), well-known Roman scientists and physicians, all mentioned plant oils in their written works. Galen, an especially talented surgeon who relied extensively upon the teachings and methods of the Greek physician Hippocrates, used plant extracts during his work on the medical team at the Coliseum. There he performed surgeries on injured gladiators. Although many of his written works were tragically destroyed in a fire, his research influenced medicinal practices throughout Europe. 


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