I have always been interested in history and ancient skincare materials and healing methods We are always looking for the latest technology and ingredients, but forget that there is some magic in the ancient cultures and traditions. When it comes to skincare I am somewhat obsessed about the ancient Egyptians and the materials they used for the embalming process. Because the mummies have survived well preserved to the modern day says to me that they were on to something. Oils, spices and plant materials were widely used then are still available today. I would like to inspire you to try some of them and perhaps take a trip down to ancient Egyptian knowledge and culture.
There were several methods to the embalming process and quite often it depended on what materials the person could afford were then used. In this post I am sharing some of the materials that were traditionally used in the embalming process for ancient skincare by Egyptians. I know some do not want to think about death and bodies, but I would encourage you to read more and maybe I can inspire you to perhaps also look into your own county’s history. What were the traditional methods and materials for natural healing and health care?
CINNAMON AND CASSIA
As the the mummification process was as much spiritual practice as it was a medical, spices were often used. Cinnamon and cassia are the ones mainly mentioned in the research papers. Cinnamon was highly valued and also had a symbolic meaning, but also has many benefits and is well research today.
In aromatherapy cinnamon is well known for its natural painkilling properties and some people use it for headaches by rubbing a drop on the temples. It has a sweet scent and often reminds us about Christmas. It remains a widely used spice around the world and is used for cooking and baking. Read this research paper of the amazing benefits of cinnamon for more information.
Cassia and cinnamon are related and share many of the same benefits, although cinnamon is better known here in Europe. Cassia is mainly produced in China and can be toxic, so if you are interested in this oil make sure it is unadulterated and use with caution. Read more about the benefits of cassia oil
Frankincense has become a fashion essential oil. We all love it and talk about it, but Myrrh, along side of the Arabic gum was used in ancient skincare by Egyptians for the embalming process. Myrrh was highly valued and used in fragrances. It is still well known for its benefits for ageing skin, but also has psychological benefits being grounding and calming to the mind. Use in body products for its astringent properties, add to your skin and haircare oils and treatment products for its anti ageing benefits. Myrrh is also often used in mouth washes for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Check out this article for more information about myrrh.
Tree oils such as juniper, pine and cedrawood were used in ancient skincare because of their antibacterial properties and especially cedarwood is known to be durable and insect repellent. Both leaves and berries of the Juniper were used and it is still well known for its benefits for fluid retention and cellulite treatment. All of these tree essential oils are widely available and are fabulous for body and -face skincare products. They are also considered safe and also work well for aches and pains and for tired body. Add to your shower gels, lotions and oils for some tree power from the nature.
Beeswax was used on its own or mixed with other materials in the embalming. It was also used for the linen wrappings. It is still commonly used today and works well in body balms and butters as a binder. Make your simple treatment balms with base oil, beeswax and essential oils.
You might be surprised, but onions are one of the oldest vegetables groups and widely used around the world. They were used in the body cavities, eyes, ears and nostrils. Onions have many fantastic benefits and are highly antibacterial and well known as immune booster. Make sure you eat onions on a regular bases for healthy body. To read more about the amazing benefits of onions, check out this great article
Birch tar is traditionally used in Finland for skincare and haircare products. It’s also a tissue healer and used in animal care, for example for horse hooves and for dog scars. You can also treat wood products with tar giving them a protective finish. So it comes as a no surprise to me that ancient Egyptians have used tar in their embalming process as it is great for skincare.
Birch tar is easy to use, you can add it to your oils, lotions and balms. Use like an essential oil in small quantities. Tar has a strong smoky scent so quite often little goes a long way. I use Betula Pendula birch tar from Finland in my products. If you are in UK, excited about creating your own products and want a sample, do drop me an email and I’ll pop one in the post for you.
If you wish to read more about the embalming process and different methods, check out this great review on the materials used To have a quick list of the materials go here Get modern day inspiration about oils that are good for skincare from my post about oils for skincare
Hope you enjoyed this post and it inspired you to check out traditional healing methods and rituals. Theyare truly fascinating. Which natural methods are your favourites?