2. A term used for treatment of illness and maintenance of general physical health using essential oils distilled from such plants as camomile, camphor, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus.
Such treatments were known in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and other civilizations, while early Arabian physicians developed the distillation of aromatic oils through experiments in alchemy.
The term aromatherapy derives from the writings of the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, whose book Aromatherpie was published in 1928. Aromatherapy is more than simply a department of herbalism, since it postulates subtle energies of aromatic plants related to life force, which can be correlated with ancient Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang.