Janice Cox, of the Herb Companion, wrote an interesting article on the ancient use of herbs in the Mediterranean region for spa treatments to increase vitality, improve health and make one's skin more beautiful.
There is a group of herbs that are generally referred to as the "Mediterranean Herbs" which have shown over time multiple uses for living. Many people forget that historically herbs are defined as "beneficial weeds" and it is not a plant that is discovered that matters but more one finds beneficial uses of plants for cooking, health, cosmetics, crafting that brings the plant into the world of herbs. Most cultures have developed a method of using live plants for living. Generally the Mediterranean herbs are bay, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, parsley and basil.
Below are some excerpts from Janice's article about how certain Mediterranean herbs have been used historically.
Mediterranean Spa Treatments: The sunny region bordering the Mediterranean Sea has long been associated with health and beauty. In fact, many modern beauty treatments and products originated in ancient Greece and Rome. This region provides skin- and body-healthy ingredients, such as fresh herbs, oils and honey—all full of skin-beautifying and anti-aging nutrients.
Fresh Mediterranean herbs such as oregano and thyme have been used for centuries because they are strong antioxidants and also contain antibacterial properties. Pure honey has been used as a natural energizer and is also a natural humectant, attracting and locking in moisture. Natural oils such as olive and grapeseed are used to cleanse and moisturize skin and hair. Grapeseed oil is easily absorbed by the skin and is also loaded with resveratrol, the same antioxidant found in red wine. Other popular ingredients that can be used to keep your skin and hair clean and healthy are pine nuts, chickpeas, Greek-style yogurt and fresh tomatoes. Fresh thyme has been used by the Greeks as a cleanser since ancient times. Soldiers even bathed in thyme water to give themselves vigor and strength. They were onto something; thyme’s antiseptic properties make it a useful ingredient in skin cleaners, which is why we still use it for beauty products in modern times.