The Babylonians and Aromatherapy

Early Babylonian doctors made records of their formulas and prescriptions on tablets made from clay. They did not record the quantities which they used but they did give careful details of when the remedies should be prepared and taken. Merodach Baladan was the king of Babylon in 702 BC and was one of the Babylonian kinds who took a great interest in the planting and use of medicinal plants. In the gardens of Babylonian times it was possible to find garlic, fennel, saffron, thyme, caraway, coriander, juniper, myrrh and roses .. many of these names you will identify with the use of essential oils in today’s society.
In Babylonian texts like the laws of Hammurabi (1792-1750/43 BCE) it descibed the surgeon’s responsibilities and how much he should be paid. Pay was good, but penalties for mistakes harsh: “If a physician performs a major operation on a lord… and causes his death…. they shall cut off his hand”. Only wounds, fractures and abscesses were treated surgically. A Sumerian clay tablet (2150 BCE) describes wounds being washed in beer and hot water, poultices made from pine, prunes, wine dregs and lizard dung, and use of bandages (for a nose-bleed!). Other texts describe the symptoms and prognosis of epilepsy, bronchitis and scurvy. A list of 230 medicines using plant, animal and mineral ingredients was found in an Assyrian pharmacy and records of distillation of cedar oil prove that this was an earlier invention than previously thought.