Friday, 31 December 2010

No. 55 Grapefruit Oil

Grapefruit oil has a bright, crisp, citrus aroma that has an uplifting influence.

Several studies have indicated that the aroma of grapefruit oil has a stimulating effect on the sympathetic nervous system that is uplifiting, and may help reduce appetite and cravings. 

Shirley Price grapefruit essential oil 

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44 oils for 46 conditions  For students
and practicioners alike we recommend
this online training manual from ETS

Did you know you can download this Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Reference manual for just just
Buy now

PubMedPubMed is a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes
over 19 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals
Contains 10,350 articles relating to essential oils
The Shirley Price online catalog is linked to individual searches for ease of
student reference
, for example,  Grapefruit Essential Oil (35 articles)
WikipediaA free encyclopedia built collaboratively using wiki software
The Shirley Price online catalog is linked to individual searches for ease of
student reference
, for example,  Grapefruit Essential Oil

Friday, 24 December 2010

Thank you so much for your business in 2010. We hope you enjoy using our products as much as we enjoy making them! Looking forward to the new year and changes it will bring. Thanks again!

from the staff and tutors of Shirley Price Aromatherapy

while we are away the oils are available with free next day delivery to 10 EU countries from Amazon

1010        Basil (Ocimum basilicum)1020        Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)1015        Benzoin (Styrax benzoin)1041C     Carrotseed (Daucus carota)1045        Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)1050C     Chamomile German (Matricaria recutica)1055C     Chamomile Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) 3ml1056        Chamomile Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) 10ml1070        Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)1080        Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)1085        Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)1095        Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)1100        Eucalyptus smithii (Eucalyptus smithii)1115        Fennel, sweet (Foeniculum vulgare)1140        Frankincense ( Boswellia carteri)1145        Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)1150        Ginger (Zingiber officinale)1155        Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)11170C    Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum officinalis)1175        Juniper (Juniperus communis)1180        Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)1183        Lavandin (Lavendula burnati) France
1184        Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) Tuscany
1185        Lavender Organic (Lavandula angustifolia)  France
1186C      Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) UK
1188        Lavender High Altitude AOC1189        Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Bulgaria1190        Lavander fine wild (Lavandula angustifolia) France1195        Lemon (Citrus limon)1200        Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)1202        Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)1205        Mandarin (Citrus retiulata)1210        Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum majorana)1216        Melissa (Melissa officinalis)1225C     Myrhh (Commiphora myrrha)1235C     Neroli (Citrus aurantium var amara)1240        Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora)1255        Orange, Sweet (Citrus aurantium var. sinensis)1260        Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)1265        Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli)1270        Pepper Black (Piper nigrum)1275        Peppermint (Mentha x pipertia)1280        Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara)1290        Pine (Pinus sylvestris)1315        Rosemary  Morocco (Rosmarinus officinalis)1311        Rose otto (Rosa damascena)1330        Sandalwood New caledonia (Santalum album)1340        Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)1350        Thyme, Sweet (Thymus vulgaris ct linalool)1355         Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides)1365        Ylang ylang complete (Cananga odorate)

 Complete Guide to Aromatherapy8005        Aromastream vaporisers UK wiring8005E      Aromastream vaporisers EU wiring8006        Filter replacement (for Aromastream Vaporiser)8008        Aromastone - Blue8009        Aromastone-Oatmeal/White  8011        Breathe Easy8012        Mini Vaporiser8014        Pyramid Ioniser White8014B      Pyramid Ioniser Black8015        Delta Ionizer White
8015B      Delta Ioniser Black
8016        ZENBOW night light, 5 in 1 diffuser, BLUE8018-A     BLISS night light, 5 in 1 diffuser, AMBER


Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Essential oils and conditions encountered during pregnancy

Essential oils have many traditional uses all over the world in pregnancy.  Inhalations of certain essential oils can provoke a limbic response and change of mood with just a few molecules so do not present a risk of hormonal imbalance and harm.  Essential oils should be used with caution at all times but particularly during pregnancy.  It is best to seek informed professional advice.  The following conditions and oils can be discussed with your nurse/midwife or a professional aromatherapist.  Always follow their advice.  If you are receiving medication of any kind or using homeopathic remedies seek your doctors advice before using essential oils.
Morning sickness/nausea: Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell and this can contribute to the feeling of sickness, especially during cooking, or being in the company of a smoker. Petitgrain and sweet orange essential oils, when used in a vaporiser or on a tissue, can relieve nausea, or better still, prevent it.  If a handkerchief or cotton wool ball with four drops petitgrain and two of sweet orange (with one drop of sandalwood to hold the aroma), is attached to a pillow at night, the smell will linger until morning, thus lessening the possibility of morning sickness.  As an alternative, put these oils with water into a vaporiser and leave it in the bedroom overnight, or add 4 - 7 drops in total of rosewood and petitgrain to the morning bath water.  A low fat, sensible diet also helps.

Emotional imbalance: There are many conflicting emotions during pregnancy that can be both confusing and upsetting for the mother, such as volatility of mood and slower brain reactions.

State of mind can have an effect on the baby and by caring for the total self while pregnant we can nurture the growing child effectively in the womb, helping to produce calm and healthy children, through the mother, even from this early stage.

Geranium and mandarin are good "balancers" of mood and together make an effective aromatic treatment when inhaled, or added to the bath.  Rose otto and clary are also beneficial here.

Varicose veins and Haemorrhoids: The dedicated use of blended oil or lotion can relieve itching and reduce the possibility of varicose veins.  As a preventative, one application in the morning is sufficient.  The lotion or oil should be applied before the mother gets out of ned, from ankle to thigh, i.e. upwards.  The oils should then be left to take effect for 2 – 4 minutes before getting out of bed.  Suggested oils are cypress, lavender and lemon, all of which are also helpful for shrinking and preventing haemorrhoids. Essential oils in the bath and also applied in a lotion, can be a great help.  Sandalwood in the mixture soothes the irritation, both of haemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Stretch marks: Stretch marks can be prevented with the twice-daily use of an essential oil massage mix.  Applied twice a day from the fourth month onwards, mixed oil usually proves to be most effective.  Suggested oils are lavender, chamomile roman and frankincense.

It is important that a twice-daily routine is strictly adhered to, remembering to cover breasts, thighs and bottom, as well as the stomach.  Most people find it more comfortable to use a lotion mixture in the morning and the oil mixture at night.  It is necessary to use the oil mixture at least once a day, to benefit from the extra lubrication this gives.

Backache: To ease pain and general spinal stress throughout pregnancy, an aromatic bath is soothing and relaxing.  It can also ease the pain of ligament stretching in the groin area and help to prevent constipation, an unpleasant side effect of pregnancy, which is unhealthy for both mother and baby.  The "stretch mark" mix is useful for back pain and this is convenient for the mother - she does not have to think about two treatment mixes.  However, 2 drops of black pepper in 1 teaspoonful of stretch mark mix, make the oil or lotion more effective for backache.  Putting oils in the bath (4 - 7 drops in total in a carrier lotion or honey) is also helpful.

Constipation: The client should drink sufficient water and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, brown bread and fibre rich cereals to maintain a healthy routine.  Orange, chamomile roman and black pepper in reflex cream will help to regulate the bowels if applied twice daily to the large intestine and bowel reflex areas of the feet.

Heartburn: This can be relieved by taking deep breaths from a tissue with 1 or 2 drops each of sandalwood, petitgrain and chamomile roman.  The mother can use the heel of her hand to give pressure in a circular motion on the solar plexus area, breathing deeply as she does so.

Insomnia: As the child develops, the mother may experience difficulty in dropping off to sleep.  Inhalations using two drops each of sandalwood and ylang-ylang are useful aids to relaxation.  These oils can also be put in the bedroom vaporiser or a bath an hour before going to bed.

Preparation for Labour: Towards the end of pregnancy, i.e. during the last 6 weeks, oils can be used to prepare the uterus for labour.  Rose otto is excellent for this.  Adding three drops of rose otto to 3 tablespoons of the stretch mark mix helps the uterus to gain tone and strength.  You can also suggest a lotion containing rose otto and clary for the bath.

The therapist needs to make several preparations well in advance to be packed into the hospital bag:
a)      a white lotion containing cypress and lavender for use in the post natal baths and for applying to sanitary pads to relieve discomfort;
b)      a pure essential oil mix of lavender, neroli and clary for inhalation during labour;
c)   a relaxing blend of essential oils in a carrier oil for massage during labour.

Labour: Inhalation is an effective method of using essential oils while in labour, to help contraction pains.  During contractions the mother can put a few drops each of lavender and clary onto a cotton wool ball to hold in her hand and inhale when necessary (to replace the gas and air machine!)  A qualified aromatherapist could use oils like nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) and niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora) at this stage because of their uterotonic properties. 

Post natal: After birth, baths of cypress and lavender in white lotion are effective in reducing bruising and excess bleeding.  The same mixture can be applied to the sanitary pads as a compress to relieve postnatal bruising and discomfort, or added to bath water.

Breast-feeding: To help establish breast-feeding ensure that the new mother knows to ask the nurses around her to "fix" the baby to the breast for her as this will prevent the majority of sore nipples.  After two days, the milk should be more plentiful, but to encourage the process, fennel in a lotion can be massaged around the breast area immediately following each feed.  Applying cool compresses of geranium and cypress in a carrier can alleviate mastitis.

Keeping babies calm and relaxed: To keep babies calm, put one drop of a familiar (to the mother) oil  
on a tissue near the baby whilst feeding or in babies bath.  The baby will then associate the smell with love, warmth and comfort.  This makes it easier to leave the baby with a sitter - simply give them a tissue too.  This also works if babies and children are fretful in the night.  Use the same aroma on a tissue beside the cot/bed, or put two drops on their night clothes and it will calm and help them to go back to sleep.


making natural perfume - Mindy Green writes

Mindy Green

I agree with this.  Sp Jojoba as a base and top grade essential oils of frankincense from Somalia, neroli from Morocco, vetiver from France, rose from Bulgaria can all be acquired at less than the cost of a single designer perfume allowing you to blend your own perfumes to suit every occasion.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

No. 90 Thoughts on Sweet marjoram (origanum majorana)


Sweet Marjoram (Origanum Majorana) is well known as a culinary herb cultivated in gardens all over the world. Steam distillation of the herb Origanum Majorana, gives this strongly aromatic oil vaguely reminiscent of Nutmeg and Cardamom. Egypt is the prime source for this oil.

 Here is Liz Fulcher's profile of Sweet marjoram 


Try blending 1 drop of Sweet Majoram, 2 drops of Mandarin and 3 drops of Lavender in a teaspoon of Peach Kernel oil, and add to a warm bath before bedtime to help you sleep.

Blend 1 drop each of Sweet Marjoram, Rosemary and Cypress in 10ml of Sweet Almond oil and use as an after-sport massage oil.

In latin sweet marjoram is called "amaracus" and marjoram oinment is known as "amaracinum".  The ointment or culinery herb has monastic use for suppressing sexual desire.  With so much aromatherapy talk about inflaming sexual desire it is nice to have the opposite in the storage box and a remedy for the oversexed!

Sometimes the clue to ancient uses lies in the roots of the word.  The closest I can see is "amarus" meaning sad or ill natured.  Maybe for someone who has lost in love or suffered bereavement and can benefit from the sedative effects of sweet majoram.

It is important to differentiate between the various types of Marjoram, Thyme and Oregano as their names tend to get very confusing, even to experts. Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil makes up only a small proportion of the Marjoram oils produced, most of which tend to be Spanish Marjoram. Spanish Marjoram (Oregano) is a completely different species, Thymus Masticina, and the so-called Wild Marjoram is the common garden herb, Origanum Vulgare, cultivated all over the world.


Do not use during pregnancy.

Price p111 writes "true majoram has a significent content of therapeutic and hazard free alcohols and esters (around 40%) of each.  This with its low or non existent phenol content (0-0.5%) makes it a safe oil for general use." 


Continuing the 'ancients' theme.....did America's legal system and freedoms spring from Atlantis?  Now before you turn hastily away consider this. Though the greeks had their Courts our legal systems are based on the Roman model.  Where did this come from?  A Spaniard called Hercules perhaps.  Hercules was the first great admiral recorded by history.  Keeping trade routes clear of pirates (something for all our sophistication we are struggling to do off Somalia) Hercules brought war followed by civilisation and the rule of law to the peoples of the western mediterranean.  From under the ashes of Vesuvius emerged a port city called in Ancient times 'Herculaneum'.  This is where it is thought Hercules established his port when his fleet arrived to subdue the natives of the area.  This was long before Aeneas and the Trojans arrived to found Rome with the local Latins.

Modern Gibraltar was known in ancient times as the 'Pillars of Hercules' and the legend was of an Island in the Atlantic beyond the 'Pillars of Hercules' of great legal sophistication and prosperity lost to natural catastrophe.  There is no reason to doubt that whatever the hazards of Atlantic storms mediterranean peoples traded with the atlantic seaboard and peoples. Greek fleets travelled as far as the Indian Ocean in Alexander's time.  Modern archeologists point though to eastern mediterranean islands lost to volcanic eruption as the true source of the Atlantis story.  Theres an essay in there somewhere!

Ok I wandered off the point.  Ancient Language and Aromatherapy.  Consider then one of the fathers of Aromatherapy 'Paracelsus'.  Translated Paracelsus means equal to or greater than Celsus.  Celsus was a Roman and we have some fragments of his writings on maintaining health.  He records how the greeks swore by regular massage which they called 'rubbing'.  In ancient times male musculature was important whether to wield a spear or oar.  The ability to take to the sea was also important to evade pestilence or attack from an overwhelming neighbouring tribe.  The phrase was 'in mare in peliculum' or 'to the sea in times of danger'.  Clarity of thought was also important in keeping accounts and conducting business.  Massage would have been just as good and welcome stress relief then as now.

Maybe you'll look on remembering those Botanic latin names as a bit less daunting.  The latins werent a remote people they were us...then and they knew a thing or two.  Now a question.  How does origanum translate? Battaglia p229


Monday, 20 December 2010

the 5 'essential' essential oils from aromatherapy times

Lavender for everyday use is simply the most widely recommended oil for therapeutic benefits and for personal enjoyment. After a demanding day reach for the floral sweet smell that calms the nerves and relaxes the mind. This wonderful balancing oil will treat skin burns, soothe menstrual cramps and add to your overall sense of facing new challenges with anticipation and sensitivity. Can be used throughout the day to relieve stress and headaches.

Eucalyptus is commonly used in remedies to treat coughs and the common cold. Because it helps loosen phlegm many herbal practitioners recommend inhaling eucalyptus vapors to help treat bronchitis. Eucalyptus oil is rich in cineole (a potent antiseptic that kills bacteria responsible for bad breath). Also, its camphoraceous smell in combination with lemon is often used as an insect repellent.

Tea Tree essential oil more than any other antiseptic oil is expected to do the therapeutic heavy lifting in aromatherapy. It is the most used first-aid oil in the practice of alternative medicine. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and used in the treatment of poor oral hygiene. Every home medicine cabinet should have a bottle. Tea tree tends to be extroverted and concentrated so be a little shy and careful with its application.

The scent of orange reduces anxiety and lightly lowers high blood pressure. Diffuse orange to help ease symptoms of bronchitis, colds, the flu, and to soothe stress and depression. A clockwise abdominal massage of orange may ease constipation and water retention. Orange makes an excellent body moisturizer, and when added to the bath has a calming effect. Orange has excellent de-greasing and cleaning properties.

Peppermint essential oil, as a massage oil over the abdomen relaxes the muscles to help in the digestion of heavy meals and relieves flatulence, cramping, nausea and specific disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint oil relieves the itching of ringworm, blisters, poison oak and ivy and stimulates oil production in dry skin and hair. Many bacterial and viral infections are destroyed by it.

Essential oils should be diluted to only 1-5% in a carrier oil. (Carrier Oils - Jojoba oil, Almond, Coconut) only a couple of oils are ok to apply 'neat' or undiluted, such as Lavender Oil, Tea Tree.

Listed below are essential oils that are most problematic for certain conditions.

Pregnancy cedarwood, chamomile, lavender,

peppermint, rose and rosemary

Photosensitizing (reacts with sunlight)

angelica, bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit and mandarin

Epilepsy fennel (sweet), hyssop, rosemary and sage (all types)

Note: The information provided on this site is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professionals.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

Revision - Contra-indications to aromatherapy massage

Whilst unqualified do not practice on people who are seriously ill.  All practice should be carried out on people who are in reasonable health and who are comfortable being used as case studies.

Cuts, boils and bruises
Do not massage over cut or broken skin. This also applies to boils and pustules. Bruises of unknown origin are best avoided, as they could be indicative of undiagnosed illness.
Inflammation or swelling
Do not massage over an inflamed area if the inflammation is of unknown origin.
 If the inflammation is the result of an injury then use only very lightly effleurage to avoid hurting the client.
Recent surgery
Avoid massage around the operated area for 3 months because of delicate fibres.  
Recent fracture
Gentle massage can be applied after plaster is removed or when the bones have knitted. This will help to tone weak muscles and improve circulation.
While studying do not massage anyone as a case study who suffers from Epilepsy.
Avoid massage for at least 3 days after grand mal seizure.  Learn necessary procedures to deal with seizures should they occur.
High or low blood pressure
A person suffering from high blood pressure may find it uncomfortable to lie face down for too long.  Therefore the massage may need to be adjusted to suit their requirements.
Massage lowers blood pressure and so when treating people with low blood pressure it is very important to allow “recovery time” following the massage and NEVER allow them to get down from the massage table un-aided.
Inform the client of the duration of the massage to enable them to judge that their sugar levels are sufficiently high. 
Be prepared.  Have a full sugar mineral drink in the room to give to the client in the event of their sugar dropping,
Infectious & contagious disease
Avoid massage until the infection or disease has passed.
High fever
Massage is contra indicated for people with an abnormally high temperature.
Never massage a client who is intoxicated.
Varicose veins
Special care is needed when performing massage over the site of the varicose veins. 
Only gentle, upward strokes should be used.
Light, gentle almost superficial movements should be used if the client has advanced osteoporosis
Do NOT treat a person who is in the middle of an asthmatic attach with essential oils unless you are qualified and know what you are doing.
Regular massage and the use of appropriate essential will help to increase lung capacity and thus, hopefully, reduce the number and severity of attacks.
The quantity of essential oils should be less when treating someone with asthma

Varicose veins
Avoid massage below or over the area of varicosity as this may dislodge any thrombus present.
Cancer and heart conditions
Do not massage directly over cancer sites or areas receiving radiotherapy. Seek the Doctor’s permission if you have any doubts regarding the safety of the treatment.
Client on medication
Gentle effleurage must be used to control the rate at which toxins are eliminated.
Movements must be adapted according to the stage of pregnancy, taking care of the client’s position when lying prone or supine


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

At a glance - The essential oils for differant skin types

Shirley Price Aromatherapy is one of the worlds favourite skincare companies.  Founded by Shirley Price in 1974 the company has many fans of its products while the company's training college has trained over 6000 students for professional aromatherapy of which skincare is an important part.
Once ACNE and ECZEMA skin has been normalised with SHIRLEY PRICE active essential oil creams and the appearance of SCARS reduced with SHIRLEY PRICE scar care cream an ESSENTIA skincare program can be started.   SENSITIVE SKIN requires the minimum of active ingredients.  The skin's slightly acidic surface protects against injurious environment influences, dehydration, germs, bacteria with its so-called protective acid mantle.  The problem with mass produced skincare products is that they strip this protective shield. 

Keller in Germany published an important book showing how natural plant oils to which the body is well adapted can be used for day to day skincare as well as for cleansing irritated and damaged skin to keep the skin healthy. The development of this idea of a protective mantle with a slightly acid ph level of 5.5 is credited to Dr Heinz Maurer. 
12 scientific studies have confirmed the effectiveness of these ph 5.5 skincare products and like SHIRLEY PRICE products their effectiveness has also been confirmed by over 35 years of practice.  We are pleased to continue an association with this important scientifically proven research by offering SebaMed products including soap free soap and bodycare for SENSITIVE SKIN.  BABY SKIN too is very sensitive and requires the minimum of active ingredients.




bergamot, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, palmarosa, tea tree


geranium, jasmine, lavender, palmarosa, rose oil


cedarwood, cypress, lemon, orange, patchouli, vetiver


lavender, myrhh, neroli, frankincense and rose oil


chamomile, helichrysum, lavender, rose


lavender, sandalwood, cypress


The Body Slender in Fatland

"The Body Slender in Fatland" that was my essay theme today, dont ask me why I just woke up with that title. I must need a holiday! so which essential oils are of most use in controlling appetite? and (I hate to say it) helping have the sheer willpower to just skip meals when the pounds go on (unhealthy I know). Some celeb clients who depend on their physical appearance being right for the camera swear by inhaling Fennel, is that your or others experience? Is avocado of help?.. either the fruit itself (great in masks) or in a cream?
We have all had experiences with body weight, both our own and other peoples. 
A key part is replacing snacking with other ritual activities.  You can replace snacking with snacking on something else but it is better to tackle the snacking between meals and eliminate it.  For example by taking out a bottle of lavender oil and sniffing it or placing a couple of drops in a diffuser.  Soon the craving the be replaced in the memory with differant associations enabling you to control the calorie intake.  Sniff yourself slim?


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Essential Oil safety notes

Safety notes

General Safety Information: Do not take any oils internally without consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Do not apply undiluted essential oils onto the skin. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and give children only the gentlest oils at extremely low doses. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children. A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using an oil that you've never used before. It is prudent to use organic oils where as in citrus they are obtained by expression (crushing) of the epicarps. For example there is therefore no great merit in buying organically grown chamomile but we would recommend organic lemon, manadarin, orange or grapefruit oil.  Allergens are listed in accordance with EU Directive 2003-15. Aromatherapists have been using pure essential oils without synthetics added professionally (diluted with carrier oil) without contact dermatitis for several decades without ill effect.

Step by step to safe practice

Essential oils are highly concentrated, complex chemical
compounds and should always be treated with respect.
Just because they are ‘natural’ does not mean that they cannot do
any harm. The definition of Aromatherapy includes the phrase “the
controlled use of essential oils”. The word ‘controlled’ should
never be forgotten.

 An important safety issue, highlighting the importance of the
controlled use of essential oils, is that of quantity. Paracelsus is famous for coining the phrase 'all things are poisenous it depends on the dose".  Excessive consumption of water has killed.

As essential oils are so concentrated they are rarely used neat.
Under normal circumstances they are always diluted to 1-3% using
a carrier.
A total of 6 drops of oil per day, preferably of different types, is
considered safe.
For children and pregnant women (who should be treated only
by a qualified Aromatherapist) essential oils must be diluted even
further to 1-2%.

A Golden Rule to remember is that ‘Less Is Best’.
Another Golden Rule that helps to maintain the safety of
Aromatherapy is ‘Use Quality Oils’.
It is of great importance that the content of the oil is known. Oils
are sometimes adulterated (or stretched) in some way by adding
alcohol, another cheaper oil, or a synthetic product. These oils are
obviously more likely to produce skin irritations and are less likely
to successfully perform their expected action.
The first step to ensuring the quality of the oils is to purchase them
from a reputable supplier.

Oils purchased from a reputable supplier should be correctly
bottled in coloured glass with a dropper insert. The label should
be indelible and should give information such as the botanical
name, country of origin, supplier’s name and address and a batch
number. If the essential oil is diluted in a carrier the percentage of
the mix should be quoted, along with details of the carrier.

Another important safety benefit gained from buying oils from a
reputable supplier is that they will not supply hazardous oils, so
you gain even more peace of mind.

Once you have purchased the essential oils look after them! Due
to the chemistry of the oils, they should be stored in their coloured
glass bottles in a cool, dark place. This will help their shelf life. On
average a bottle of essential oil should be used within one year of
opening, or two years if stored in a refridgerator.

Essential oils must be treated with care. They are volatile and
flammable, so keep them away from naked flames and strong
sources of heat. They should also be kept away from homeopathic
remedies as some strong oils may negate them.

Essential oils will ‘rot’ plastics. For this reason care should be
taken when using them in the jacuzzi or in plastic baths. They
should not be allowed to come into contact with varnished wood,
plastic surfaces or any equipment with plastic workings such as
dishwashers and washing machines. Needless to say, contact with
any plastic-based contraceptive aids such as condoms and
diaphragms must be avoided.
Within the field of Aromatherapy essential oils should NOT be used
Tragically, children (typically between the ages of 1-3 years old)
have been killed as a result of drinking a whole bottle of essential
oil. As well as storing oils out of the reach of children, it is also
obviously preferable to use child resistant tops as a further safety

Should a child or an adult take more than 5ml of essential oil
internally, give them milk to drink (the fat dissolves the essential
oil) and seek medical assistance immediately. Take the
appropriate bottle to the medical practitioner, as the information on
the label may be useful in establishing a treatment.

Due to the potency of neat essential oils, harm can also be caused
if they are accidentally splashed into the eyes or onto the skin.
If essential oils make contact with the eyes wash the eyes out with
milk or with a vegetable oil.

Do not attempt to use water as the essential oil will not dissolve in

Seek medical advice, taking the appropriate labelled bottle with

It is also dangerous for undiluted essential oils to come into contact
with other mucous membranes such as the mouth, vagina or
rectum. In all cases seek medical advice immediately.
Should a severe dermal irritation occur as the result of neat
essential oil making contact with the skin, dilute it with vegetable

Wash the skin with unperfumed soap and water and then dry it.
Seek medical advice, taking along the appropriate bottle.

Some essential oils are so hazardous they should NEVER be
used in Aromatherapy massage. Here is a list of them:
Almond (Bitter) Prunus amygdalis, var. amara
Aniseed Pimpinella anisum
Arnica Arnica montana
Camphor Cinnamomum camphorus
Cassia Cinnamomum cassia
Cinnamon (Bark) Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Costus Saussurea lappa
Elecampane Inula helenium
Fennel (Bitter) Foeniculum vulgare
Origanum Origanum vulgare
Origanum (Spanish) Thymus capitatus
Pine (Dwarf) Pinus pumilio
Sage Salvia officinalis
Savory (Summer) Satureia hortensis
Savory (Winter) Satureia montana
Thuja (Cedarleaf) Thuja occidentalis
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium

Essential oils that don’t feature on the list of hazardous oils can be
used in Aromatherapy but this does not mean that they are
completely safe. Skin irritations and allergic reactions may
occur, but the risk can be minimised by never exceeding the 1-3%
dilution guideline and patch testing to identify if there is going to
be a problem before using the oil on a wider scale.

You must be aware, however, that some so called ‘safe’ oils are
more likely to irritate the skin than others, and so it is sometimes
necessary to be even more cautious. For example peppermint oil
can cause chemical burns, particularly on skin that has already
been traumatised.

Skin irritations are largely determined by the chemistry of the oil,
and so a knowledge of Chemistry has important safety benefits

Oils high in aldehydes, oxides, ketones and phenols are more
likely to cause a reaction. These oils should therefore be diluted to
as little as 0.1% (1 drop of oil in 50ml of carrier).
The method of extraction used may introduce other chemicals
into the oil and these may cause skin irritations.

Some oils may cause sensitisation. This is when oils can be used
infrequently without signs of intolerance but, with continued use,
reactions occur such as skin inflammation or rashes. It is therefore
important to regularly change the oils used or alternate them to
avoid the effects of extended exposure.

Here’s a list of oils that commonly irritate the skin or cause
sensitisation. They should all be diluted to 0.1% before use. Please
note that this is by no means a definitive list. Each person is an
individual who will react as such to any treatment.
Angelica Angelica archangelica
Black Pepper Piper nigrum
Cinnamon (Leaf) Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Citronella Cymbopogon nardus
Clove (all parts) Eugenia caryophyllata
Ginger Zingiber officinalis
Lemon Citrus limon
Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus/flexuosus
Lemon Verbena Lippia citriodora
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans
Orange (Sweet) Citrus sinensis
Peppermint Mentha piperita

There’s something else to worry about! Some essential oils can
increase the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light. These oils are
called photosensitisers.

Photosensitisation occurs when skin, treated with a
photosensitising oil, is exposed to ultraviolet light (e.g. sunlight,
rays from a sunbed or radiation). The effects range from
pigmentation of the skin to severe burns.
It is the chemistry of the oil that produces this effect.

Furocoumarins (a type of lactone) are responsible for increasing
the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. For example, oxypeucedanin and
bergapten are found in lemon oil. Bergapten is also found in
bergamot and was used in fake sun-tan preparations until cases of
skin reactions were reported.

This table lists some of the most common photosensitising oils
which should not be used before exposure to the sun or other
forms of ultraviolet light.

Angelica Angelica archangelica
Bergamot Citrus bergamia
Lemon Citrus limon
Lime Citrus medica var. amara
Orange (Sweet) Citrus sinensis

Another group of oils that you should be familiar with are those that
can cause toxicity or chronic toxicity if used, even in low
amounts, over a period of time.
These oils can cause tissue damage to the liver and kidneys, as
these organs are responsible for filtering out dangerous
substances. Continued use of these oils causes toxins to build up
in these organs and this can, in extreme cases, result in death.

This chart shows some oils with a risk of toxicity or chronic
toxicity. These oils should therefore be used with caution and
certainly not used for more than a few days at any one time.
Basil Occimum basilicum
Cedarwood Cedrus atlantica
Cinnamon (Leaf) Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Eucalyptus (Blue Gum) Eucalyptus globulus
Fennel (Sweet) Foeniculum vulgare
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
Lemon Citrus limon
Orange (Sweet) Citrus sinensis
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans
Thyme Thymus vulgaris

So far we have just considered the safety of the various oils.
Knowing which oils are:
 hazardous (never used)
 irritants (used in weaker dilutions)
 sensitisers (used in weaker dilutions and not used over
extended periods)photosensitisers (not used if exposure to ultraviolet light is
toxic (used with care only over short periods)
- is vital, but let’s not forget that the client comes into the equation
Before a client is treated a full case history must be taken (see
the ‘Professionalism’ section for details). Taking a case history has
enormous safety benefits as it highlights aspects of the client’s
condition that may impact on many of your decisions, such as
Should I treat this client?
If so, how?
What oils are appropriate?
The ‘aspects’ of the client’s condition that negatively affect your
decision (in other words prevent the treatment of a client, restrict
the appropriate methods of use or reduce the range of suitable
oils) are called contra-indications.
Let’s look at contra-indications that prevent the Aromatherapy
treatments first.

Contra-indications that PREVENT Aromatherapy Treatments
1. Currently Treated by Doctor
A client with any condition that is being treated by a doctor should
not receive an Aromatherapy treatment without first getting a letter
of consent from the doctor concerned. This obviously includes
cancer patients, sufferers of angina or other heart problems and
blood disorders.
2. Taking Medication
Clients taking medication, whether prescribed or not, should not be
treated without the doctor’s permission. The reactions of
essential oils with conventional medicines are not yet fully
understood. Theoretically, essential oils could compete with the
drug, inhibit its effect or produce a different effect.
3. Severe, Untreated Medical Problem
A client with any severe condition, who is not being treated by a
doctor, should be referred to their doctor for a letter of consent
before any treatment is started.
4. Unexplained Seats of Pain
Should a client have any unexplained pain, lumps or bumps, they
should be referred to their doctor before commencing any
treatment. It is not the function of an Aromatherapist to diagnose,
so before a diagnosis has been made there is nothing that can
safely be done.

Contra-indications that RESTRICT the Methods of Use
1. Hypersensitive Skin
It may be inappropriate to choose a method of use that involves
the essential oil coming into contact with the skin in cases of acute
skin disorders such as dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema and severe
This isn’t to say that no form of treatment can be given. For
example it may be appropriate to give the client some oil to use in
a burner or inhaler. These would not necessarily treat the skin
disorder, but may be of other benefit to the client.
2. Contagious Diseases
For obvious personal safety reasons, it is not advisable to use
massage (a contact treatment) on clients with contagious
diseases, e.g. mumps, herpes, measles, chicken pox and
ringworm. Contagious diseases therefore limit the treatment to the
non-contact methods of use such as burners, bath oils etc..
3. Steroid Users
Long term users of steroids tend to have very thin skin. If, with the
consent of their doctor, treatment is considered appropriate the
non-contact methods of use would be favourable.

The last group of contra-indications are those that reduce the
range of suitable oils. There are 3 main contra-indications in this
category: abnormal blood pressure, pregnancy and epilepsy.

Abnormal Blood Pressure
This is a difficult contra-indication to assess. Unless the client has
been tested by their doctor and advised of a blood pressure
problem it may go undetected.
If the client is receiving treatment for abnormal blood pressure then
the doctor’s consent must be obtained before any treatment

High or low blood pressure reduces the range of suitable oils as
some act to further increase the blood pressure and some act to
further decrease it.

Essential oils that raise blood pressure are termed
hypertensive. Clearly these shouldn’t be used if the client is
already suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension).
Hypertensive oils include rosemary, clary-sage, black pepper,
juniperberry, thyme and clove (bud).

The essential oils that lower blood pressure are called
hypotensive and obviously shouldn’t be used in cases where the
blood pressure is known to be low (hypotension). Hypotensive oils
include lavender, marjoram, melissa, ylang ylang and lemon.
Blood pressure can also be affected by hyssop. Hyssop is an
adaptogen (natural balancer) and is able to react in opposite
ways depending on the need of the body. So, when the blood
pressure is high, hyssop will act to reduce it. On the other hand,
when the blood pressure is low, hyssop will act to increase it.

Hyssop is contra-indicated to epilepsy and pregnancy and is also

Many Aromatherapists will not treat pregnant women. Others
argue that, as long as the oils contra-indicated to pregnancy are
avoided, Aromatherapy can be of great benefit to the expectant
mother as it can help to minimise the various discomforts of

Whenever essential oils are used on a pregnant woman, the
dilution must be reduced from the usual 1-3% to 1-2%, except for
the irritating/sensitising oils which must be diluted to 0.1%.
Remember that essential oils are absorbed into the blood and
transported around the body. In pregnant women, although the
maternal and foetal blood are never in direct contact, it is believed
that the essential oils can cross the placenta.

There are two groups of oils to be aware of, those contraindicated
to the first three months of pregnancy and those
contra-indicated to the whole of the pregnancy and any breast
feeding period that follows.

The oils to be avoided in the first three months are those with an
abortifacient tendency (induce abortion) and those which have an
emmenagogic action (induce menstrual flow). Theoretically these
oils could induce a miscarriage.

Here is a list of oils to be avoided during the first three months of
pregnancy. They can be used carefully in the remaining months
unless there is any history of miscarriage.
Chamomile (German) Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis nobilis
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Rose Rosa centifolia/damascena

These oils must be avoided for the entire pregnancy and for any
breast feeding period that may follow:

Basil Ocimum basilicum
Black Pepper Piper nigrum
Cedarwood Cedrus atlantica
Clary-Sage Salvia sclarea
Cypress Cupressus sempervirens
Fennel (Sweet) Foeniculum vulgare
Geranium Pelargonium graveoleus
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
Jasmine Jasminium officinalis
Juniperberry Juniperis communis
Marjoram Origanum majorana
Myrrh Commiphora myrrha
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans
Peppermint Mentha piperita
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
Tarragon Artemisia dranunculus
Thyme Thymus vulgaris

Some essential oils can instigate an epileptic type fit in those
that are susceptible. It is therefore important that a full case
history is taken to establish if the client suffers from epilepsy
before starting any treatment. (Note: although some oils are anticonvulsive,
it is not common for Aromatherapy to be used to
actually treat the epilepsy.)
Oils to be avoided in cases of epilepsy:
Fennel (Sweet) Foeniculum vulgare
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
Peppermint Mentha piperita
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
Thyme Thymus vulgaris

We’ve now covered all the contra-indications. As a summary, they
are all listed together here.
Contra-indications that Prevent Aromatherapy Treatments:
Currently treated by doctor (including cancer, angina, heart
problems, blood disorders)
Taking medication
Severe, untreated medical problemUnexplained seats of pain

Contra-indications that Restrict the Methods of Use
Hypersensitive skin, Contagious diseases Steroid use (if consent from doctor obtained)

Contra-indications to Reduce the Range of Suitable Oils:
Abnormal blood pressure (if consent from doctor obtained) Pregnancy Epilepsy

We began this section by looking at the essential oils themselves,
listing those that were hazardous, irritants, sensitising,
photosensitising and toxic. We then looked at how certain
conditions of the client will affect (and sometimes prevent) the

When deciding on the best treatment, look at the picture as a
whole. Consider both the properties of the oils and the condition
of the client. Once the inappropriate oils and methods of use have
been eliminated, select the oils and methods of use based on all
the information you have. Remember that it is not the role of an
Aromatherapist to diagnose so, if in doubt, refer the client to a

Lastly, the importance of safety cannot be overstated.