The what’s-old-is-new-again phenomenon is well established and growing across the natural products industry. In fact, it’s foundational to an industry in which ancient grains and age-old fermented foods can emerge as new trends, and botanicals— the very origin of medicine—can continue to grow as an alternative to medicine.
It’s no surprise, then, that the sleeper category of essential oils would emerge as a seemingly new category. They, too, have been around for thousands of years: for medicine, for preservation, and especially for fragrance. The outright practice of harnessing this rich, concentrated plant chemistry for therapeutic purposes—under the name aromatherapy—is roughly a century old. e aromatherapy label, by eliciting images of magical scratch-and-sni" -ism, may be part of essential oils’ slow launch into mainstream. Seeing a category wherein scent elicits moods that trigger biological responses—a psycho- emotional element not without merit—undersells the value proposition. The use of aroma oils therapeutically—not for their scent, but for their chemical attributes—may be the largest untapped branch of botanical therapeutics.