The art of aromatherapy can be traced back to the great civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome where essential oils were valued for their many uses. Like us, the Egyptians were anxious to preserve youth or at least a youthful appearance as long as possible. Egyptian artwork invariably depicts shiny black hair. A wide variety of surviving formulas indicate that preventing baldness and graying hair, both of which can be perceived as signs of aging, was a serious concern. Because the imagery in Egyptian artwork is so consistent does not necessarily mean that everyone in Egypt possessed perfect raven-black hair, but it certainly does indicate something of their ideal standard of what it meant to be beautiful, of what "beautiful" should look like. The medical papyri of ancient Egypt includes several formulas to maintain black color and avoid gray hair. Ointments made from pressed juice of berries was used to darken the hair.
Since ancient times spice trade routes existed between Arabia, India, and the Far East. The value placed on spices was often greater than that given to gold or jewels, and ancient cities like Palmyra were founded on the wealth of spice merchants whose camel caravans and ships brought spices from India and China. Cargoes of spices were sent up the Persian Gulf and overland to Turkish ports, or across the Red Sea to Alexandria and from there to ports around the Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages, Venice was the principal European city dealing in spices. Spice merchants jealously guarded knowledge of the source of their spices and even blocked overland access to the East. Beginning in the 15th century, European voyages of exploration were often attempts to circumvent spice merchant middlemen and establish independent spice routes. Today many of the spices that once grew only in the Far East have been naturalized in other tropical countries. London and New York are now centers of the contemporary import trade.
The modern use of the "Pepperie" spice is isolated by extracting its essential oil, which contains the aroma-producing substances. This oil, (a mixture of the essential oil and the spice plant parts) is a modern use of ancient spice in the preparation of hair and scalp solutions.