"How Fragrant Earth Began" from Aromatherapy for Everyone by Jan Kuśmirek
"When the History of Aromatherapy in Europe comes to be written, the name of Fragrant Earth and one of its founders Jan Kuśmirek will be found to have been a huge influence in the development of both the therapy and its commercialization.
"In the late 1970’s there was no Aromatherapy as we know it now in the 21st century. Let us forget all the ‘web’ folklore and repetitive misinformation. Very few people were aware of Aromatherapy and those that did could trace their heritage back to one person namely Marguerite Maury.
"An Austrian by birth and living in Vienna, she was heavily influenced by the culture of Central and Eastern Europe. Her family for example were familiar with Gustav Klimt and admirers of Alfonse Mucha. It is our belief that these early years translated these art forms into her appreciation for fragrance. Her first husband was killed in the First World War and she lost both her father and young son. After these tragedies and eventually training as a surgical assistant she moved to France where she obtained a copy of Les Grandes Possibilitiés par les Matières Odoriferantes, by Dr. Chabenes (published in 1835). This work helped promote the use of essential oils in the treatment of casualties in the Crimean war. It changed Marguerite’s life and stimulated her toward understanding essential oils as healing materials.
"She married again but this time to a French homoeopath a certain Dr Maury. Both explored many alternative methods of healing. In 1961 the seminal work she had written, ‘The Secret of Life and Youth’ was published. By that time she had developed the combined use of essential oils and massage we have come to call the Aromatherapy of today. She lectured and gave seminars on the subject throughout Western Europe opening aromatherapy clinics in Paris, Switzerland and England. Most influential women in Aromatherapy in the sixties and early seventies can trace their heritage back to Marguerite Maury, she passed away in 1968.
"Aromatherapy became the province of the fashionable and wealthy being attached to the aesthetic and beauty industry especially so in France. French names and attitudes pervade those early years. Reputations were built on exclusivity and the rather French predilection for grandness. Still today there are echoes of this elitism and snobbishness. Caroline Colliard once a student of Marguerite Maury was much responsible for this aura of exclusivity in high class studios. Hers was the very first Aromatherapie Cosmetic Centre in Paris and she became associated with the French cosmetic house Decleor. This vein of Aromatherapy remains to this day in a few elegant salons and spas. But please remember this was not a popular therapy in France and France was not the sole source of information on the subject. Aromatic materials had long been traditionally used in Eastern and Central Europe and Central Asia as Marguerite Maury would have been well aware. .... "