Essential Oils: The ‘Plant Hormones’ according to René-Maurice Gattefossé

When I first delved into the world of essential oils, I stumbled upon a fascinating discovery. The term “aromatherapy” was first used by a French chemist named René-Maurice Gattefossé in the early 20th century. But what really intrigued me was his description of essential oils as “hormones végétales” or “plant hormones.”

Before you wonder if you are smearing plant hormones on your skin, let me clarify: essential oils are not hormones. What Gattefossé noted, however, was their ability to interact with the human body in ways that affect the hormonal system. For example, they can help balance hormone levels and reduce stress, which in turn can affect our own hormones.

It is fascinating how these natural compounds can have such a wide range of effects on the body. They can stimulate certain body responses similar to those triggered by hormones. This is one reason why aromatherapy and the use of essential oils have such a rich history and interest.

Gattefossé's findings reminded me how important it is to understand the deeper layers of our well-being practices. It's not just a matter of choosing an oil because it smells good, but also of understanding the science and history behind it.

So the next time you apply a drop of lavender oil to your wrists or put eucalyptus in your diffuser, think back to Gattefossé and his pioneering work. Thanks to his curiosity and research, we have a deeper understanding of the power of plants and their interaction with our bodies.

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