Since ancient times people have used plants and herbs for beautifying and healing. Women gathered flowers and roots which they used to prepare various hair balms, skin ointments as well as herbal mixtures for healing wounds, face oils and other products.
The civilization of ancient Egypt excelled in their breakthrough discoveries in this realm. Universally known are Egyptian aromatic oils, paints for providing color and definition to the beauty of their eyes and brows, lipstick for the lips, the green eyeshades, hair, face and body balms, as well as many other substances Egyptian women used to keep their beauty, appeal and youthfulness.
Our ancestors discovered the secrets of many plant and herb products they used for care of the dead – the art of embalming. This is evidenced by the Egyptian mummies some of which have preserved the color of their hair dyes and the scent of their perfumes for centuries!
Widespread in ancient Mesopotamia were the aromatic oils and balms obtained from plants, while Persia was known for its herb extracts prepared even for artificial nevi, then considered a symbol of beauty and even now called beauty-spots.
Rose flowers and rose oil were especially valued. Nowadays these same plant products are still produced in Bulgaria and they are renowned worldwide for their outstanding quality, despite their high production costs. Bulgaria presently produces 70% of the rose oil in the world.
Beauty products extracted from plants were and still are so popular that the ancient Greeks even created legends about them. One of the legends tells the story of the famous courtesan Aspasia who had an ugly scar on her cheek since she was a child. Aspasia visited many physicians and ‘healers” but no one could help her. Then the goddess Aphrodite took pity on Aspasia and sent her a miracle dream in which a dove told Aspasia to gather the rose blossoms from the statue of Aphrodite and to prepare a balm from them which she should then use to anoint her scar. Aspasia followed the advice and the scar completely disappeared from her face whereby she turned into the most beautiful woman of her time, desired by aristocrats, kings and even by gods!
The Medical approach to Phytocosmetics
Initially, phytocomsetics (cosmetics with natural ingredients from plants) was looked upon with ridicule and neglect but over time all arguments made by its critics proved wrong.
In the beginning of the first millennium ancient researchers took interest in the possible causes for plants beneficial effects – they sought to establish the scientific reason for the specific effects of plants, water, minerals and animal products.
Some of these scientists’ studies survived their time and reached later generations to share their variety of phytocosmetic methods. As a result, the importance of factors like sunlight, hygiene and bathing, the use of plant and herbal balms, medical plants oil massage and other techniques for good health, beauty, elastic skin of the face and the body came to be appreciated.
Over time, phytocosmetics started utilizing the achievements of botany (also known as the plant science), physiology, hygiene, biochemistry, pharmacology and other sciences.
Nowadays, when we have so much knowledge about plants, we can easily prepare the desired essential oils, balms and cosmetic products or we can buy them from the drug store next door.
With the help of contemporary essential oils we are able to prepare advanced natural substances for cleansing and toning the skin, for protection against atmospheric influences, for slowing down wrinkle formation; we can stimulate the growth of our hair or nurture it, or we can improve its shine; free our skin from warts, freckles and comedones.
Not one or two companies around the world utilize the gifts of nature for their commercial purposes, developing perfumes, creams, masks and emulsions, hair and body shampoos. The abundancy and variety of plant-based cosmetic, health and beauty products is limitless.
- Phytocosmetics is a science with long history. It gives us information about the healing and health effects of many plants and herbs and it gives us the recipes how we can use their properties for improving our health!
- The ancient people of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece knew and used the plants of their land for many cosmetic procedures.
- Phytocosmetics have grown into a separate scientific branch after numerous developments and discoveries in biology, chemistry, physiology and botany.
- On this site you are going to find many articles of advice, tips and ideas on how to make your hair, body and skin more beautiful.
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