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Aromatic Oils: Ancient Egypt

Aromatic oils have played a role in the life of people for thousands of years. Egyptians were some of the first people to use essential oils as a part of their lifestyles —-in bath and body treatments, perfumery, religious ceremonies & rituals, food prep and medical practices. The ancient Greeks adopted their use from the Egyptians. These statements can be verified by one’s study of the ancient and historical use of aromatic oils.

aromatic flowers

Komombo Temple

In essential oil production today, the majorityof aromatic oils are extracted by the distillation method. The enfleurage method is rarely used today due to the high cost and time consumed to produce. Whereas, in Kemet oils were extracted by the hot enfleurage method. This enfleurage method uses oils and fats;  plants are steeped in warm oils and fats to release the essence of plants. When the first batch of plants or flowers are spent, they are drained off and another batch of plants are added until the desired fragrance is obtained. The oils produced were not as concentrated as the essential oils produced by distillation today.

aromatic oils

Aromatic Oil Extractor

The Edfu Temple had many written prescriptions for the therapeutic use of aromatic oils and aromatic oil blends. It also had a birthing room, a topic to be discussed in another article.    Frankincense, cinnamon, myrrh and sandalwood oils were popular. Incense was also part of Egyptian lifestyle. henna, coriander, bitter almond and juniper were also popular oils. Kyphi oil and incense was used for religious rituals and as a remedy for various ailments. The recipe for the oil was taken from the walls of the temple of Horus at Edfu and the Philae Temple.

Kyphi oil blends and incense usually include the following oils:

  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense
  • Cinnamon
  • Juniper
  • Cedar

The lotus flower usually symbolized Upper Egypt in art. It is shown below with long stems intertwined with papyrus reefs to show the unified connection with Lower Egypt.

aromatic oils

Lotus Flowers

Abu Simbel  Temples also has walls of hieroglyphic writings which attest to the use of aromatic plants and oils during the period of ancient Kemet). These temples encompass love, family, worship and aromatics. another story for another post.


About Johnetta Miner NP

Johnetta is the CEO/Founder of Lifestyle Wellness Enterprise.
She is an Integrative, Holistic Healing and Women's Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. She assists business owners, healing arts practitioners and health professionals to attain optimal wellness in life and their business.