Yesterday, March 14, marked the release of a book that took the author over twenty-five years to research and write. Healing Civilizations: The Search for Therapeutic Essential Oils & Nutrients, by Dr. Nadim Shaath, is the culmination of his personal journey, traveling the globe in pursuit of ancient medicinal wisdom. A chemist and researcher, Dr. Shaath’s intention in writing this weighty tome is to shed light, backed by science and history, on the power of natural healing.
While some may view natural healing as “woo-woo” or New Age, Dr. Shaath’s extensive research and meticulous transcription of ancient documents and traditions shares remedies that utilize aromatherapy and essential oils for healing. In a world plagued with pollution, the result of a blatant disregard for the planet we live on, it’s no wonder we’re sick, obese, tired, and stressed. Instead of relying on more chemical concoctions, Dr. Shaath envisions a future fashioned with help from the past, a future where we replenish ourselves and the planet via natural, holistic methods.
As he says, “We need to revisit the art and science of natural healing. Healing Civilizations seeks to remedy the problem by using anecdotes from the past along with current advanced scientific breakthroughs to present knowledge that may help us all lead healthier and happier lives.” In order to fulfill this vision for the future, Dr. Shaath had to travel the world, accessing and transcribing wisdom handed down from the ages.
Part one of the book takes you on Shaath’s epic twenty-year journey, on which he and his travel companions visited Egypt, Jerusalem, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, India, China, Japan, and eventually the Americas. He traveled the routes taken by Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta, and Christopher Columbus to illustrate that the advances made in the distant past are still applicable—and used the world over—to the modern consumer.
Part two applies the lessons Dr. Shaath learned from the mists of antiquity to meet the needs of the present day and also the needs of the future. Though he’s a chemist and researcher, Dr. Shaath makes his findings exceedingly accessible for the layman. He also addresses timely topics and takes care to address the balance and distinction between modern and ancient practices. We can translate the wisdom of the ages and modernize it to brilliant effects.
Not to mention, the book showcases the photography of award-winning photojournalist Thomas Hartwell and illustrations of herbs and flowers by Rick Sargent. The book also features a unique template, describing the properties, scientific specifications, regulations, and vital characteristics of 50 essential oils and 20 therapeutic fixed oils. This instructive table can be used by seasoned practitioners and newcomers alike to understand the healing properties of the natural world.
As Dr. Shaath so succinctly puts it, “My contribution here is to present and, hopefully, thereby preserve and build on what we do know of ancient practices. To remain ignorant of the achievements of other cultures is to deny ourselves their contributions.”
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Dr. Nadim Shaath received his BS (Honors) in Chemistry from the University of Alexandria, Egypt, and his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Chemistry Faculty at the State University of New York at Purchase, where he became chairman. He served as the executive vice president and technical director of Felton Worldwide and then founded KATO Worldwide Ltd. in Mt. Vernon, New York, and Alpha Research & Development Ltd. in White Plains, New York, and is currently its president. Alpha R&D Ltd. is a research, sourcing, and product development company in the fields of essential oils and sunscreens. Dr. Shaath is a frequent speaker/moderator at many scientific meetings and is the author of numerous articles on essential oils, aromatherapy, and sunscreen journals and publications. He is the author and editor of four books on sunscreens and ultraviolet filters and writes a bimonthly column in the industry magazine Happi entitled “The Sunscreen Filter.”