Monday, 28 February 2011


From portugal alhambrics which can offer a simple or steam distillation or production of floral waters.  For example Melissa water is an excellent health promoting water which has been used for centuries.

Only the addition of a condensor and simple tube is necessary to achieve and efficient distillation apparatus.

I have fond memories of deals done over the farmhouse table and sealed with shots of flaming grappa distilled on the farm alhambric.


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The people behind Shirley Price

heres our busy general office today, george from the clean room lab working with rosie in sales, next to gill in customer service, next to kelly in operations. It doesnt get any better than this.

The Shirley Price staff are quite camera shy like our farmer/distillers but at least you know some of those to thank for all those Sp oils.


Coca-Cola's 'secret ingredient revealed' - yes essential oils!

An American radio station has allegedly unveiled the recipe for one of Coca-Cola's key secret ingredients.…

Often duplicated but never replicated, the Coca-Cola recipe has been a well-kept secret for years.

Created by medicinal pharmacist John Pemberton in 1886, the exact measures of each ingredient that make up the world-famous soft drink have been closely guarded - until now.

American public radio show claims to have uncovered a list of ingredients and their exact quantities to mix the perfect Coca-Cola drink.

A photo from the 8th February 1979 editorion of American daily newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, shows a person holding open a book with a recipe, which is allegedly an exact copy of Pemberton’s.

The recipe is said to contain the precise amount of all the different oils needed to create Merchandise 7X, Coca-Cola’s secret ingredient.

Even though Merchandise 7X makes up only one percent of the drink’s formula, the key ingredient is believed to give one of the world’s most popular soft drink its unique taste.

The official recipe is allegedly guarded 24-hours a day in a vault in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here is the ‘secret recipe’:

* Fluid extract of Coca 3 drams USP
* Citric acid 3 oz
* Caffeine 1oz
* Sugar 30 (it is unclear from the markings what quantity is required)
* Water 2.5 gal
* Lime juice 2 pints 1 qrt
* Vanilla 1oz
* Caramel 1.5oz or more to colour
* 7X flavour (use 2oz of flavour to 5 gals syrup):
* Alcohol 8oz
* Orange oil 20 drops
* Lemon oil 30 drops
* Nutmeg oil 10 drops
* Coriander 5 drops
* Neroli 10 drops
* Cinnamon 10 drops

source: Yahoo


Monday, 14 February 2011

Shirley Price Aromatherapy background

Shirley Price is a trusted name in the field of aromatherapy training and supply of professional aromatherapy oils for academic study and professional use.  Shirley Price herself authored many bestselling aromatherapy books and remains active in the field of aromatherapy.  Please note Shirley Price founded Shirley Price Aromatherapy in 1974 and retired and sold Shirley Price Aromatherapy in 1997.  Since then the business has had two former owners and three differant principal tutors as businesses do.

Both owners and tutors have been committed to the highest standards of aromatherapy training and aromatherapy products and substantial private equity investment has been made in the Company.  The Company's staff continue to set the highest standards in complementary therapies, beauty and sports therapies.  Shirley Price Aromatherapy is an excellent place to work and attracts first class staff, distributors and correspondents.

Today there are four tutors who are members of IFPA, IFA and FHT involved in the UK and more worldwide, several alumni tutors are authors and university lecturers in their own right with their own businesses and colleges,  providing the famous Shirley Price accredited aromatherapy diploma training.  Over 1000 students have been trained since 1997, some 6000 in all.  The college alumni form an important part of the Shirley Price family.

Shirley Price Aromatherapy continues to produce natural products to its distributors orders.  The acquisition of Lothian Herbs Aromatherapy a well known supplier of essential oils to Lloyds Pharmacy took the Aromatherapy Products for retailers to a differant level.  The company through the ECRM network remains in touch with the worlds leading retailers bringing innovative new products to the market.  All products are barcoded, boxed and tested.  Aloe Vera products, herbal creams and gels and Bach Flower remedies, organic natural skincare certified by the Soil Association are important product ranges.  The NHS is an important customer.

Training aromatherapists and buying essential oils is a complex and a very personal business.  The French wholesalers are well thought of however Italy is also an important producing country as is Argentina, Madagascor, Morocco and China.  Where we can we take the whole output direct from the farm rather than wholesalers.  On the training side the school and correspondent colleges worldwide remain highly active.  On can be found details of Shirley Price Aromatherapy training in 40 countries worldwide.  Our dream of an open network of Aromatherapy Schools devoted to training excellence in all the worlds major cities moves a little closer each quarter with correspondent schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Switzerland, Netherlands, UK, Eire, USA and Canada.

Our core oil the Lavender in our massage blends, creams and gels comes from our  farmer in the Tuscan hills in Italy.  We supply Italian citrus oils which are organic and fresh season and excellent value.  Asia is an important market for the company's products.  Shirley Price Aromatherapy is a leading aromatherapy retailer in Beijing and Shanghai and staff and tutors support a number of educational initiatives.

Shirley Price herself remains very active and can be contacted at or at  Shirley Price in her comments on this web page sometimes refers to the brief administration of the company in 2006.  The administrator made an adverse report of this affair as the manager of the company took the company into administration without informing the owners.  The owners had to buy back their own company from the administrator!  Naturally the company's staff and customers were upset. All long ago.

The Shirley Price staff have  built on the foundations that Shirley and Len Price laid particularly in the area of publishing, educuation and professional trade bodies in particular in the 1974-1997 period and are very grateful for them.

Aromatherapy remains one of the most useful of the complementary therapies with its blend of ancient wisdom and modern scientific development and understanding.  Above all it is fun.  Students experience a six month rush of aroma enthusiam which for some like us lasts a lifetime!  Training is quickly, inexpensively and readily acquired.  Aromatherapy remains a core discipline in the complimentary, beauty and sports therapists toolchests.

best wishes



the blogs been a bit slow recently.  Jan and I both have trips and projects and deadlines on.  We'll be back on track in March

Around 130 B.C., a ship, identified as the Relitto del Pozzino, sank off Tuscany, Italy. Among the artifacts found on board in 1989 were glass cups, a pitcher and ceramics, all of which suggested that the ship was sailing from the eastern Mediterranean area.

Its cargo included a chest that contained various items related to the medical profession: a copper bleeding cup and 136 boxwood vials and tin containers.  Inside one of the tin vessels, archaeologists found several circular tablets, many still completely dry.

"The tablets were less than an inch in diameter and about a third to a half inch thick," said Robert Fleischer, an evolutionary geneticist with the Smithsonian's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics in Washington, D.C.

Using DNA sequencing, Fleischer has identified some of the plant components in the tablets: carrot, radish, parsley, celery, wild onion, cabbage, alfalfa, oak and hibiscus.

This tradition is alive and well.  Shirley Price organic lavender is grown only 20 miles from the museum in Tuscany which preserves the remains of this naval medical chest.

find out more about Natural History in Tuscany


Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Preserving medical traditions in the UK

In 2011

The Secretary of State for Health has made an announcement about regulation of herbal medicine practitioners. The issue of whether or not practitioners of acupuncture, herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine should be statutorily regulated has been debated since the House of Lords Select Committee report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2000.
The Health Professions Council (HPC) has now been asked to establish a statutory register for practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines. The proposal is, following creation of this register, to make use of a derogation in European medicines legislation (Article 5 (1) of Directive 2001/83/EC) that allows national arrangements to permit those designated as “authorised healthcare professionals” to commission unlicensed medicines to meet the special needs of their patients.
Accordingly, a scheme would be created enabling registered practitioners to commission unlicensed herbal medicines to meet the special needs of their individual patients. Safeguards for the public would be provided by a combination of professional regulation and linked medicines regulation, for example, to safeguard manufacturing standards.
If practitioner regulation is in place for the purposes of creating an Article 5(1) scheme this also opens the way to reform Section 12 (1) of the Medicines Act 1968. Under Section 12 (1), practitioners may prepare unlicensed herbal medicines on their own premises for use following consultation with individual patients. It is intended to move to the position that only registered practitioners would be able to operate under Section 12 (1) after regulation of practitioners is in place.
A formal consultation exercise will take place on specific legislative proposals for establishing the register and proposed reforms of medicines legislation later in 2011.
Further information is published on the Department of Health's website:
Department of Health press release: Proportionate health and social care worker regulation to protect the public


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Lavender - whats in a name?

Sp run an aromatherapy college and supply oils to our students who have their own colleges and businesses.  Lavender is a key oil to study and use.

The community pages are on, theres a form to fill in then we mail a password, the oils are in good shape. we buy cooperatively from dedicated organic growers so the more folk join in the better deal we can do for the farmers. its always nice to see the field the oil comes from!

We choose the Shirley Price Lavender Organic to be the finest available. Much depends on the dedication of the farmer/distiller.

Pictured is Shirley Price's high altitude organic lavender in February 2011. You can see the stalks still on which will be trimmed in March. Distilling only the flowering heads produces a superior lavender in terms of fragrance and chemistry but of course this means working by hand in the traditional way. Sp takes the product of the whole farm which enables us to ensure stability of price and supply of this key oil.

 A good time to visit the area is in the spring. wild orchids grow on some slopes. this is a pollution free area surrounded by oak forest as far as the eye can see. You can see the footprints of wild boar from the forest around the farm.

A further bonus for us is the farmer's wife is a botanist and a gifted botanic artist.  We use line drawings on our oil boxes both to inform but also as a highly effective anti fake device for our authorised resellers use. Text and colour can be mimicked but a drawing never!

Conventionally farmed lavender.  The normal conventional lavender Code 1185 we have also supplied as an organic oil last year but this year 1185 will be a conventional oil.  For the last couple of years we have been able to secure this at a good price.  Sadly all good things must come to an end and the 'ordinary' lavender organic is now the same price as the Lavender Fine which we call Lavender Organic.

Lavender Fine France refers to a nice oil made from the flowers of lavender, Officinalis is an oil made from the flowers and stalks in the traditional way.  In a way officinalis is preferred as this is the traditional oil accorded therapeutic properties by the Aromatherapy Congress of Grasse. 

French lavender angustifolia unfortunately after recent pests and droughts is now mostly of the mailette clone chosen for its fragrance.  We stock the Lavender Angustifolia Miller grown for aromatherapy by the Golgemma cooperative.

Lavender Mailette can still give good chemical profiles.
Here is link to the Mailette from the Biolandes Cooperative.

Confusingly Lavender Mailette is also called Lavender Fine and sold as High Altitude Lavender

To further confuse the matter given the problems with the French lavender (using cloned plants and drought) Ive chosen a italian altitude organic fine lavender oil to use in the blends and skincare with outstanding chemistry, holding qualities and aroma.

heres a nice link to Lavender distillation in the UK
Again in the case of english lavenders the issue arises as to whether this is Lavender Angustifolia Miller or a happy mixture of clones more akin to Lavender Spike suited to resist the rigours of the english climates and mildew.  So Perfectly suited to cosmetics but some caution about the use in aromatherapy.  Always ask.

Latest lavender research

Lavender Oil Kills Off Fungal Infections

Lavendula species are important medicinal plants.
A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology shows that a Lavender Oil could be used to combat antifungal-resistant infections.
Portuguese scientists have tested oil distilled from the Lavandula viridis L'Hér shrub against a range of pathogenic fungi. They discovered that it killed a number of skin-pathogenic strains, known as dermatophytes, as well as various species of Candida.
They found that these oils work by destroying fungal cells by damaging the cell membrane. Lead researcher Professor Salgueiro said, "Lavandula oil shows wide-spectrum antifungal activity and is highly potent. This is a good starting point for developing this oil for clinical use to manage fungal infections. What is now required is clinical trials to evaluate how our in vitro work translates in vivo.”


I am very happy for lavender experts to contribute to this note of the current state of play


Friday, 4 February 2011

Packaging week continues.

You choose.

Is Sp going black or white with this box, theres a printer error on the mockup I know, can you spot it? no Soil Association organic logo on these as these artificial tears for patients recovering from ops and for dry eye are irradiated so as to be sterile. The chamomile combats infection which goes with dry eye. Some companies use withhazel extract but we find chamomile effective.


Thursday, 3 February 2011

Labdanum (cistus ladaniferus, Spain)(cistus creticus ladaniferus, Crete)

Labdanum (cistus oil) is obtained as a gum by boiling the leaves of Rock Rose (Cistus) and then distilling to obtain the oil. The gum is combined as an incense of frankincense, myrhh and galbanum.  Cistus is a very useful oil.  Labdanum is used as a fixative in perfumery with the aroma seen as an alternative to ambergis a natural product obtained from whales collection of which is now banned. Blended with sage and lavender it is an effective treatment for bedsores (Mailhebiau). 

This oil is produced mainly in Spain. Here is an excellent photo guide to Labdanum from leading producer/wholesaler Biolandes who supply a number of Shirley Price oils.

There is a traditional area of production in Crete where the gum is collected by the traditional method of a hefty worker passing strips of material over the Cistus plants in the heat of the day when the gum exhudes naturally from the leaves. 

Goats again? Remember goats contribution to the production of Argan? Goats grazing on the Cistus plants get the gum on their beards. There was a trade at one time in these gummy goat beards.  Indeed the story goes that the artificial beards of the egyptian pharoahs were made of these goats beards which is perhaps a visible sign of the importance of aroma products in ancient Egypt court and religious life.


Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Shirley Price Moisture lotion for Oily and Moisture cream dry skin

The Shirley Price Moisture lotion (normal combination, oily skin - jojoba with essential oils including juniper and lemon to regulate the oil glands on oily skin) and for drier skin Moisture cream (normal, combination, dry skin - with the regenerative essential oils) on their way to a beauty college. In their Dieter Bakic containers they look very elegant and feel nice. Correspondent Colleges like to remove our labels and put the college label on.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011


In the Essentia skincare we combine all our plant oils.  We package in Dieter Bakic shaped bottles.  A good excuse to get out the Rose, Neroli and Jasmine and the hydrolats which we use instead of water.  Here's a job going through the lab today packed by my son George Brealey.

We also package the skincare like Cleansing Milk (extra deep clean for oily and problem skins) in Shirley Price green plastic (200ml tall boston).  Some oils are suitable to package in glass (100ml) in boxes of 12 items.  They look elegant with the grey carrier oil labels.