Homepage Image: Mount Kinabalu at Sunrise. Mount Kinabalu, 4095m high, towers over the the state of Sabah in western Borneo. Typically its peak is shrouded in clouds during the daytime and only visible in the early morning hours.

(1) Of course modern aromatherapy also works with oils originating from the East. Familiarity with Eastern aromatics has its roots in the East West trade of the early Middle Ages. Hildegard v. Bingen testifies to that in writing about the healing qualities of Clove, Nutmeg and Ginger in her 12th Century treatise “Physica.”

(2) Asian aromatics having been brought westward first by networks of Arab, South Asian and Venetian traders also became culinary staples in the Rome of Antiquity and the early Middle Ages and hence in present times. The early trade in these aromatics flowed through the Indian ocean into the Mediterranean largely conducted by Arab, South Asian and Venetian intermediaries. The enormous profits the Venetians realized in the spice trade must have been a big factor in the ensuing colonial activities, first of the Portuguese with the Dutch, Spanish, British and French following suit.

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