The Fragrant Road - China

The Fragrant Road - China



Read how Wei Qui, Yin and Yuan play a vital role in wellbeing, and how the ancient Chinese assigned the role of each to the body's wellbeing 

Faraway Echoes in a Scented Landscape

In 2697 BC, during the mythical reign of Huangdi, one of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors, the first known record of aromatherapy in ancient China was published under the name, “The Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor”.

Recording more than 300 types of plants and their medicinal properties, the techniques of acupuncture, spiritual wellness and lifestyle  guides are used to this day for reference.

Totalling 162 chapters split into two parts, it is still the ‘magnum opus’ of the art of Chinese medicine.


Spiritualism and a ‘Father’ of Aromatherapy

The Neolithic Chinese believed in cultural heroes, like The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors.

Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor, a member of the Five Emperors, was one of the most prominent high deities prior to the rise of Taoism. He was most known for being the centre of the universe and the namesake of The Inner Canon.

His philosophical and religious beliefs were imbued with stoicism and control over the emotions, positively channelling them into productive activities that would yield the most fulfilling outcomes.

The Ancient Chinese also believed in the entity, Shen Nong, one of the Three Sovereigns.

Dubbed the Divine Farmer, he was the first acknowledged example of a herbalist. One could call him one of the spiritual ‘fathers’ of aromatherapy, along with his Egyptian counterpart, Nefertem.


Medicinal Value – Mind, Body, and Emotion

The portents of Chinese medicine and aromatherapy claim to treat all aspects of the person as a whole entity: mind, body and spirit. Sandalwood was used to treat cholera and it was believed that tea could cure as many as seventy ailments.

Other treatments in traditional medicine include aromatic herbs to clean the digestive system, essential oils to restore the shen (spirit) and the use of mint for cognition. 


Wondrous Remedies to Uplift and Heal

In Chinese medicine, the aromatherapy experience is broken down into Wei Qui (head notes that concern the immune system), Ying (heart notes, which rule over digestion and blood) and Yuan (base notes that rule predisposed tendencies). It’s interesting to note how, today, we take from this system of belief to create fragrant blends to treat the emotions, the body’s wellbeing and the mental challenges we experience every day.

Mandarin, peppermint and orange were used as top notes, neroli, ylang-ylang, rosemary and lavender filled out the middle notes and the base notes could be made up of vetiver, sandalwood and myrrh.

States of relaxation could be brought about using Frankincense, while floral oils and sage could bring about a greater appreciation for beauty.

Aromas like vetiver and sandalwood were used to create an environment ideal for concentration and study, while punchy scents like citrus blends could change the state of mind quickly.


A Ode to Wisdom

There is much to be learnt from the ancients. Principles that held true then, hold true, today.

The O&G team looks at the properties of scent and their combinations before we take to work, blending and experimenting with compounds. This is why we include a section in our descriptions that gives you a good idea of how the candle of your choice will make you feel, and how it influences the atmosphere in your space.

Previous Article Next Article

Leave a comment