Aromatics in Magic and Ritual Part 1
Aromatherapy played an important role in the religious rites of ancient cultures and contributed to the development of many civilisations.
The most common method of extracting essential oils today is by steam distillation, but this technique had not been discovered in the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Instead, they extracted plant essence through enfleurage and maceration. Though the process the Egyptians used were simplified compared to today’s, they still produced oils of good enough quality to make embalming fluids.
The Egyptians perfected the art of mummification and it is for this that their civilisation is most often remembered. And it could be said that their cultural obsession with the afterlife led to inadvertent scientific progress. Egyptian embalmers were expert at removing organs intact and without damaging the body and their aromatic formulas perfectly preserved human tissue and flesh.
Later, the Greeks would continue to develop medicine based upon Egyptians wirings of the human body and medicinal plants. Cedarwood oil was used to embalm the dead in Egypt.