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Hippocrates – 1st Father Of Medicine And His Radical Pioneering Role In Aromatherapy

Born in Kos, Greece in 460 B.C, Hippocrates is undoubtedly regarded as the father of all medicine. This prolific ancient physician was born in a lineage of physicians, his father and grandfather were all in the trade of treating the sick. This young man was inspired early on and his passion for medicine gained momentum when he traveled throughout Greece to explore medicine while getting hands-on experience.

A Scientific Approach to Medicine

Hippocrates is credited to have pioneered scientific investigations when it came to illnesses. He challenged the belief in divine forces when it came to sickness and instead, he tried to study other factors like environmental causes and remedies. He used logic to dismantle the idea that plants and nature worked as medicine only because of their supernatural powers. He went ahead to study and document cases in a bid to uncover the secrets of nature and herbs when it came to healing.

The Hippocratic Corpus, a collection of around 60 works on medical topics, is attributed to Hippocrates and his students. This compilation contains one of the first references to aromatherapy in the history books. The text reads: “Aromatics can be used for simple amusement or as cures when mixed into suitable ointments and rubbed on the body.”


“Aromatics can be used for simple amusement or as cures when mixed into suitable ointments and rubbed on the body.”

Hippocrates and Aromatherapy

While there is no clear evidence that Hippocrates developed aromatherapy or that he was the first to use essential oils for healing, his pioneering role in studying and documenting the effects of plants and nature on the human body means he played an important part in laying the foundation for what we know today as aromatherapy.

Hippocrates used aromatherapy as a tool to treat his patients. The practice was not only limited to inhaling the fumes of burning oils, but also involved using essential oils in massage, compresses and baths. In fact, one of the most popular methods for using essential oils that is still used today, namely diffusers, can be traced back to Hippocrates. He would often hang pots of essential oils near the head of his patients in order to help them breathe in the therapeutic vapors.

Hippocrates was not only a great doctor, but also a gifted teacher. He trained many students who went on to have successful careers in medicine. More than 1,500 herbal remedies have been attributed to him and his school of thought helped shape Western medicine as we know it today.

While aromatherapy may not be as widely accepted by the medical establishment as it was in Hippocrates’ time, there is no denying the fact that this ancient practice has stood the test of time and continues to be used by millions of people. Some of the top herbal remedies developed by Hippocrates are still used today, proving that there is definitely something to be said for the power of plants!

Hippocrates’ Philosophy

adding a few drops of chosen oil into the diffuser

Hippocrates is still quote-worthy, hundreds of years after he passed away. He is best remembered for saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, a saying that is as relevant today as it was back then. This famous physician’s words ring true for many people who choose to use essential oils and other natural remedies to support their health and well-being.

Whether Hippocrates was the first to use aromatherapy or not, there is no doubt that he was a pioneer in the field of medicine. His philosophy of using food as medicine is something that we can all learn from and his legacy continues to inspire people all over the world. He laid a firm foundation for the statutes of medicine that are used today.

Another excellent quote from him is ” The way to health is an aromatic bath and a scented massage every day.” This quote speaks to the power of aromatherapy in promoting relaxation and well-being. It is no wonder that so many people continue to turn to this ancient practice for relief from stress, anxiety and other ailments.

Revolutionary Ideals

Hippocrates was way ahead of his time and his beliefs and practices got him in trouble. By challenging the role of gods and mystical beliefs in regard to health and wellness, he was thrown in prison for his views. It is believed that he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. After being released, he was forced to leave his homeland of Greece.

Despite the obstacles he faced, Hippocrates continued to spread his message and beliefs. He even wrote a famous medical oath, Hippocrattic Oath that is still used by doctors today. This oath contains the phrase “to do no harm”, something that is at the heart of Hippocratic medicine.

The legacy of Hippocrates is one of a true visionary who was ahead of his time. His ideals and practices are still relevant today and continue to inspire people. Aromatherapy is just one example of how his work has stood the test of time and continues to be used by millions.

Diffusing Elegance Nebulizing Diffuser with Essential Oils from Organic Aromas

A Lineage of Medicine

Hippocrates together with his wife had two sons and a daughter. Their two sons and son in law also became physicians, cementing a strong family affair with healing and medicine. Hippocrates died at the age of 84, a ripe old age during his time. Some records suggest that he was more than 90 years old when he died in the ancient town of Larissa. His love for aromatic baths and scented massages was passed down to his sons who in turn continued with the tradition.

Hippocrates’ great-grandson, Herodicus was also a skilled physician who is said to have cured the Olympic runner, Philip of Macedonia of an illness that had baffled other doctors. This strong lineage of medicine men and women is a testament to Hippocrates’ beliefs and practices.


Even though he is no longer with us, the legacy of Hippocrates lives on through his teachings and the work of his descendants. His philosophy of using food as medicine is something that we can all learn from and his legacy continues to inspire.

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  1. Oh WOW!! I can’t believe I never considered giving credit to Hippocrates, who is truly responsible for the “Do No Harm” oath’s moniker. So awesome! Thank you for sharing! I couldn’t agree more with a perfumed bath and massage being vital to good health!!

  2. I’m a big aromatherapy fan! I’ve always got an oil diffuser just diffusing away in my room, feels very zen. Also handy that it keeps the spider’s and little creatures of the house away! x

  3. Aromatherapy is one of the few good treatments from back during those times that I’ve heard. Usually people back then would use crazy treatments that did more harm than good. Very interesting read.

  4. Oh WOW!! I can’t believe I never thought to attribute the “Do No Harm” oath to the man it’s actually named after, Hippocrates!! So cool!! Thx for sharing this!! I couldn’t agree more about a scented bath and massage being key to good health!!

  5. He had ideas, tested them out and stood firm on his knowledge. Even though it cost him, time has proven him right. Hippocrates was a courageous doctor. We need more people like him today.

  6. Love all of this information on how Hippocrates lives on through his teachings and his philosophy of using food as medicine is something that we can all learn from and his legacy continues to inspire

  7. very interesting article. Hippocrates sounds like a very wise man and wasn’t afraid to challenge people’s way of thinking. very educational and a good read. definitely wouldn’t have known this much about him without reading this piece!

  8. This is an interesting and well written article. I like being informed about all things science. I didn’t have a clue that Hippocrates had an interest in aromatherapy!

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