Friday, 31 August 2012

organic news

International Society for Horticultural Science

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Essentil oils - GC-MS

the usefulness of the GC-MS information on the composition of essential oils varies from product to product. Where the principal ingredient is an important and obvious part of the oils action then standards can be applied to the oil for example, tea tree, eucalyptus and lavender. Some oils take their actions from the more minor constituents, or have their action modified by the minor constituents, so standards are less helpful in the case of these oils. As all the oils oxidise GC-MS testing can assist the nose in telling whether the oil is out of date. But the nose is the best guide! 

Ian Brealey

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Everyday Uses of eucalyptus oil

Here are ten great everyday uses for pure essential oil of eucalyptus:

1. diluted on your throat to stop coughing.
2. in a glass of warm water and inhale the vapors to help with a stuffed nose, or congestion.
3.on your chest to help with asthma.
4. with some warm water inside a neti pot and use to clean your sinuses.
5. diffuse in your room to sanitize your room and to make it easier to breathe.
6. a great smelling and relaxing bath.
7. help with a headache.
8. on your back to reduce back pain.
9. Add a few drops to your shampoo for the smell and to better cleanse your hair.
10. underneath your nose to help with a sinus infection.

How do you use eucalyptus?

Essential Oil Chemistry

Chemistry is the physical science of matter, describing its reactions, composition, structure and properties.  Chemistry describes atoms and the properties of chemical bonds between atoms at atmospheric pressure and temperature and also at different temperatures and pressures.  

The use of steam distillation in particular is relevant to the chemistry of essential oils limiting their composition to compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen as heavier compounds are left behind.

The size of molecules is also limited to a molecular weight of about 440 by the distillation process.  Some essential oil constituents are really tiny.   Analysis of essential oils means we not only know whats in them - many essential oils have over 200 constituents but also how those constituents change over time as the constituents oxidise.  We know it is of importance to have pure essential oils as close to the date of original distillation as possible and have them analysed before embarking on their research.

These essential oils have particular properties and their physical and psychosocial (emotional) use is described as aromatherapy.

While some 400 essential oils can be derived by steam distillation and other processes from plant matter safety considerations limit the essential oils in daily professional and home use to about 60. 
 Two plant families predominate the lamiaceae and rutaceae which give us many of the 34 oils in most common use and which we study in the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma.

The safe 34 oils.  Essential oils are derived from the wood, roots, flowers, fruit, seeds and leaves of Basil, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile roman, chamomile german, clary sage, clove bud, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, jasmine, juniperberry, lavender, lemon, mandarin, marjoram, melissa, neroli, orange sweet, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint, petitgrain, rose otto, rosemary, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme (sweet), vetiver, ylang ylang.  General cautions in use apply to all chemicals.  It is important to read the suppliers label and take notice of these.

While one or two compounds predominate an essential oil can consist of up to 300 compounds and given their use in aromatherapy the minor compounds can be as importance as the major ones both in the essential oils effectiveness and avoiding adverse reactions with the skin. 

Life on earth consists of carbon chemistry and the unique ability of carbon to bond to itself in large chains or rings.  The study of this matter is known as organic chemistry which links physical science with biology or the study of life.  Organic chemistry includes the analysis and preparation of carbon based organic compounds - the hydrocarbons and their derivatives. 

Steam distillation limits the organic chemistry of essential oils to carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  However other heavier compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen can be found in biology or synthesised which include iron, magnesium, nitrogen, the halogens, phosphorous, silicon and sulphur.

Organic compounds form the basis of all processes of life on earth.  They are diverse in structure and number.  The range of application of organic compounds is enourmous.  The form the basis of or are constituents of many products including plastics, drugs, petrochemicals, food, explosives and paints.

In chemistry polarity refers to a separation of electrical charge. 

Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter.  There exist two types of electrical charges called positive and negative.  Positively charge substances are repelled from other positively charged substances are repelled from other positively-charged substances, but attracted to negatively-charged substances; negatively-charged substances are repelled from negative and attracted to positive. The proton has a charge of e, and the electron has a charge of −e. The study of charged particles, and how their interactions are mediated by photons is called quantum electrodynamics.

Molecular polarity is dependent on the difference in electronegativity between atoms in a compound and the asymmetry of the compound's structure. For example, a molecule of water  is polar because of the unequal sharing of its electrons between oxygen and hydrogen in which the former has larger electronegativity than the latter, resulting in a "bent" structure, whereas methane is considered nonpolar because the carbon shares the electrons with the hydrogen atoms almost uniformly. Polarity underlies a number of physical properties including surface tension, solubility, and melting- and boiling-points.

Ian Brealey

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Aromatherapy - what is it?

Shirley Price Aromatherapy College
Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd
Certified Organic Manufacturers and Handlers
Educators: Ian Brealey BSc FCA, Jan Benham FFHT MIFPA, Sue Jenkins BSc MIFPA
The Old Factory, 8 Hawley Road, Hinckley, LE10 0PR
T: 01455 615466  F: 01455 615054
W:, Online store, Therapists
W: International Educators and Product Advisors
W:  Alumni  F:  Alumni  Alumni facebook

What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy and its benefits put in context.  Aromatherapy is a natural holistic approach to therapy using essential oils.  Professional Aromatherapy seeks to foster relaxation and refreshment (home and spa use), to promote beauty and health (salon use), to maintain and enhance physical and mental homeostasis (self care) and to alleviate physical and mental disorders and to restore normal health (self care, professional aromatherapy, nursing, medical and surgical use of essential oils)

Aromatherapy Massage
Jan Benham demonstrates aromatherapy massage to students
Aromatherapy Massage
Tips for success
Aromatherapy video
Get inspired with Victoria Sprigg
Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma 
The Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma course in 2012-13
Professional Aromatherapy 
Whats it involve?  See a practitioner here.  See events and course summary.
Diary dates
Dates for the Aromatherapy Diploma, Skincare Diploma and Workshops
Learn aromatherapy - learn English
You may not be a confident speaker of english but after 6 months at Shirley Price Aromatherapy you will be!
Alumni events
Whats on
Keynote seminar
Aromatherapy - Therapeutic Applications
What are the therapeutic applications of aromatherapy?
The Essential Oils - Citrus oils
A good summary of the stimulating citrus oils
The Essential oils - Frankincense
Ever wondered how perfume (per fume 'through the smoke') got its name?
See this picture of franckincense being burned/
The Essential oils - Lavender
What does 40/42 mean?
History of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy may date back thousands of years but Robert Tisserand is a name you need to know.  His books The Art of Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Safety are on aromatherapists bookshelves.
Aromatherapy Safety Information
Learn more about the safety precautions that you need to take and always read the label.  Avoid essential oils in pregnancy as you would any medicine.  There are too many ingredients to an essential oil to list them on the label. The ingredients which may cause irritation in a small number of cases are listed on the label so do check them.
Guide to Diluting Essential Oils
The undiluted use of essential oils on the skin can be harmful and potentially cause irritation or sensitization. Its easy to learn the precautions that you need to know and learn how to easily dilute your essential oils prior to topical application.
Essential Oils That May Cause Dermal Irritation and Skin Sensitization
Some essential oils are more likely to cause dermal irritation or sensitization.  It is recommended that the public do not use essential oils outside the safe 60 without the guidance of a professional aromatherapist.  Always check the label to see if you are sensitive to the ingredients
How do I Perform an Essential Oil Skin Patch Test?
When using a new essential oil for the first time, perform a simple skin patch test on a small area of skin.  Just dab a spot of diluted oil on the sensitive skin of the inner elbow.  To perform a true patch test place a plaster over the spot which will prevent the essential oil diffusing.
Essential Oil Uses
Implementing essential oil use into one's lifestyle can be easy, therapeutically beneficial and will smell good! You can begin using essential oils right away.
Aromatherapy for BeginnersDOs and DON'Ts.
Aromatherapy in the news
Can aromatherapy cure my major illness or psychological problem? Is there any science behind aromatherapy? Why is aromatherapy gaining so much press and exposure now if it's been in practice for thousands of years?
Aromatherapy and Anosmia
Anosmia is the name for the loss of sense of smell. Holistic aromatherapy may benefit those with anosmia.
Aromatherapy and Chemistry
The simple A4 handout no aromatherapy student should be without
Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Science
Research conventions
Aromatherapy and Skincare
The questions to ask
Aromatherapy and Skincare
Masques to aromatic facial oils
Aromatherapy and Weight loss
Essential oils of use in a weight loss plan
Aromatherapy and hair care
Essential oils of use for hair care
A list of aromatherapy properties and terms
Ingredients in aromatherapy skincare
Essential oils and their carriers
The Periodic Table
Against animal testing
Home shoulder, back and neck massage
Research - Ginger oil for post operative nausea
Aromatherapy in China

Analysis of essential oils
Clinical trials
Cosmetic making
Essential oils and Prisons
Facial Massage
Aromatherapy and..loss of sexual desire in long term couples

American Herbal Products Association
Aroma Environment of Japan
Institute for Complementary Medicine 

Ammi Visnaga, used as a treatment for Asthma

Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons

Price, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals 2011
Price, Practical Aromatherapy 1983
Price, Carrier oils
Price, Hydrolats
Price, Aromatherapy Workbook

Rosie Brandrick, College Secretary

Gill Docherty, Customer Service

Ian Brealey, Sales

Aromatherapy - definition

Aromatherapy is a natural holistic approach to therapy using essential oils.  Professional Aromatherapy seeks to foster relaxation and refreshment (home and spa use), to promote beauty and health (salon use), to maintain and enhance physical and mental homeostasis (self care) and to alleviate physical and mental disorders and to restore normal health (self care, professional aromatherapy, nursing, medical and surgical use of essential oils)

Aromatherapy answers the central question of how a body may be rejuvenated when the natural mechanisms of the body are aged, aging or broken. All however can and do enjoy the aroma of the essential oils used in aromatherapy for their own sake through the sense of smell. Aromatherapy is a branch, one of the highest, of essential oil science and use. 

The most common uses of essential oils are as preservatives and to lend flavour to food and drink. Most essential oil produced is derived from the seeds, flower buds, bark and leaves of Spice trees. The most delightful oils are the floral oils of Rose, Neroli and Jasmine. Essential oils are generally reckoned to be stimulating or relaxing according to their components. Essential oils also have some measure of antiviral, antibiotic and antifungal use as a result of the natural chemicals they contain. As the body is well adapted to tolerating and metabolising most essential oil components they form for a safe and sustainable natural product which can be commonly found in health food shops, pharmacies and online. 

By the year 1600 some 60 essential oils were listed in european pharmacoepia. Few essential oils are today listed as synthetic and heavier products with more certain and replicable properties have taken their place. However a tradition of natural medicine sprang up in europe centred on the use of herbaceous plants of the Lamiaceae and the fruits of the Rutaceae families in particular which remains. Other plant families too yield an oil in sufficient abundance or of sufficient quality to obtain a marketable essential oil. Today 400 essential oils are described in the forthcoming 2013 edition of Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand. Safety and use are seen as inseparable considerations by aromatherapists. 

This herbal tradition was scientificifically investigated as far as essential oils went in the 1930s and termed 'aromatherapy'. Aromatherapy became and remains a distinct more convenient form of herbalism with applications in cosmetics, wellbeing, pharmacy and limited but precious medical applications. 

All essential oils are described by aromatherapists in energetic terms as having 'energy' or 'life force' a subtle quality which can be felt but not measured. This takes us firmly into the world of belief which some deny but which undoubtedly makes the world go around. 

Aromatherapy was quietly integrated into western cosmetic and medical practice and in the home as natural and environmental awareness expanded in the 1960s. As that awareness expanded into renewed spiritual enquiry in the 1980s then aromatherapy came fully of age with a better scientific and religious appreciation of the traditional use of essential oils for psychosocial wellbeing. 

Aromatherapy blends aim to deal with multiple conditions of mind, body and spirit. Aromatherapy oils are also combined with therapeutic touch in aromatherapy massage in areas from beauty treatment to remedial treatments. In an era where touch is ever more taboo the natural therapies salon offering therapeutic massage is an enduring part of main street. 

The practice of aromatherapy and reflexology are often combined in aromatherapy education. Reflexology is seen by some as a diagnostic tool enabling the gifted practitioner to detect imbalances in the bodies energetic signature. Therapists often acquire competance in a number of therapies. A course of aromatherapy training, with its anatomy and physiology, massage and aromatherapy components is seen as part of a firm foundation to develop the knowledge and skills required of a professional natural therapies practicioner."
The steam distillation process used to derive most essential oils limits the compounds derived to those containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and with a maximum molecular mass of some 400u.  

The oil can contain upto 300 differant hydrocarbon or oxygenated hydrocarbon components.  We can therefore say that an essential oil can be scientifically described a hydrophobic liquid containing volatile terpenoid organic compounds derived, principally by steam distillation of the flowers and leaves of the Lamiaceae family.  The Lamiaceae family provides all the most famous aromatherapy oils Lavender, Melissa, Patchouli, Rosemary, Thyme.  Steam distillation or expression of the fruit rinds of the Rutaceae family is also an important source of essential oil yielding oils of Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Mandarin and Tangerine.  Other essential oils, vegetable oils and natural extracts now are used in aromatherapy and natural skincare.

Besides aromatherapy essential oils find considerable use in flavour and fragrance.  Aromatherapists use the freshly distilled oil, with nothing added or taken away, for therapeutic effect.  Aromatherapists use their knowledge of the properties of essential oils to assist their clients with a wide range of conditions.  

Finally let me stress there is no evidence that Aromatherapy is an alternative to medicine or sugery.  Aromatherapy is much more wonderful than that.  

Aromatherapy does not give pain relief in labour.  However diluted jasmine oil applied during labour may well assist with delivery and reduce the possiblilty of post birthing problems.  Aromatherapy may or may not assist in the management of anxiety or dementure. There is evidence that melissa and rosemary oils may well assist in a clinical setting.   Medicine and Surgery have their jobs to do.  Aromatherapy has its job to do. They are quite differant specialities one addressing physical blockages while another, in the main, energetic or mental blockages.  Essential oils do find use in pharmaceutical preparations and are available over the counter or medically prescribed for particular conditions particularly of the gall bladder and intestines but that is medicine not aromatherapy.  

Essential oils too form medicine's last line of defence.  Their reputation was made in dealing with the feverish symptoms of malaria, ague, plague and other infections. These conditions thanks to public health measures and modern medicine are much reduced where before they were commonplace.  Essential oils remain potent against outbreaks of infection in a way that antibiotics cannot.

Aromatherapy may however be a support to medicine particularly to Primary Care for example in supporting the anxiety and depression which accompanies undiagnosed symptoms of illness and in Hospice Care where Aromatherapy may or may not be able to assist in the management of symptoms of cancer.  Remember if you are ill see your doctor!  

I stress the views expressed here are my own and not that of any organisation.

Ian Brealey

Ian Brealey

Frankincense gum
per fume - literally through smoke
Frankincense being burned
Analysis of Lavender oils - besides the principal components
linalool and linalyl actetate are 100 smaller constituents.


To me, there are several aromatherapies, which may or may not be linked - see I can't agree that aromatic medicine is not aromatherapy - it's just one aspect, perhaps the most important one. I would suggest that holistic aromatherapy has never been adequately defined though.

Where essential oils prevent disease from ever happening this is perhaps not "therapy", since therapy and medicine could imply that there is a problem, or disease to be tackled. Prevention is difficult to prove, but there is a very sound basis for believing that some major diseases can be prevented.

People like Marian Tavares and Saloni Malhotra have shown that essential oils can be extremely effective in managing end-of-life pain, infection, skin lesions, discomfort and anguish, with aromatherapy sometimes accomplishing what conventional medicine could not.

Essential oils can relieve anxiety in labor, can relieve pain in labor, and also surgical pain.

We are now witnessing the emergence of essential oil treatments for brain cancer, diabetes, asthma, and life-threatening infections.

So while some see aromatherapy as only complementary, I see it is often alternative as well.

Aromatherapy - Glossary of properties and terms

Aromatherapy Glossary

abortifacientAn agent capable of inducing abortion.
absoluteProducts obtained from a concrete, a pomade or a resinoid by extraction with ethanol at room temperature. The resulting ethanol solution is generally cooled and filtered to eliminate the waxes. The ethanol is then eliminated by distillation.
alterativeAn agent which cleanses the blood and corrects impure blood conditions.
anaerobicA type of organic respiration which does not require oxygen. Many bacteria are anaerobic.
anaestheticLoss of sensation, pain relieving
analgesicLoss of sensation - pain relieving.
anaphrodisiacDiminishing sexual desire.
anosmicComplete loss of sense of smell. May be temporary or permanent.
anthelminticA vermifuge, destroying or expelling intestinal worms.
anti-allergenicReduces sweating.
anti-arthriticAn agent which combats arthritis.
anti-emeticReduces the incidence and severity of vomiting.
anti-inflammatoryAlleviates inflammation.
anti-oxidantPrevents or delays oxidation
antibacterialHelps control bacteria
anticonvulsiveHelps arrest or control convulsions.
antidepressantUplifting, counteracting melancholy.
antimicrobialAn agent which resists or destroys pathogenic organisms.
antineuralgicReducing nerve pain
antiphlogisticReduces inflammation.
antipuriticRelieve itching
antipyreticfever reducing
antirheumaticRelieves rheumatism
antiseborrheicHelps control the products of sebum
antisepticHelps control infection.
antispasmodicPrevents and eases spasms and relieves cramps.
antisudorificReduced swelling.
antiviralControlling virus organisms
aperitifEncouraging appetite
aphrodisiacExciting sexual desire.
aromatic waterAqueous distillates, remaining from water or steam distillation after essential oils have been separated.
arrhythmiaIrregular or loss of rhythm of the heartbeat.
arteriosclerosisA loss of elasticity of the arteries.
astringentContracts, tightens and binds tissues.
astringentContracts, tightens and binds tissue
atherosclerosisAn accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the arteries.
bactericideAn agent that destroys bacteria.
balsamAn oily resinous substance exuded by a plant in response to injury to its tissues.
balsamicA soothing substance having the qualities of a balsam.
bechicEases coughs.
cardiacStimulating effect on the heart.
carminativeSettles the digestive system, expulsion of gas from the intestines.
cephalicStimulating and clearing the mind.
chemotypeVariation in chemical composition of an essential oil produced from two or more plants of the same species.
cholagogueIncreases production and flow of bile
cholereticAids excretion of bile by the liver, so that there is a greater flow of bile.
cicatrisantHelps formation of scar tissue.
colonoscopyExamination of the upper portion of the rectum with an elongated speculum.
concreteExtracts obtained with non-aqueous solvents from fresh, natural raw materials. A concrete consists mainly of waxy components of plant materials. Mainly prepared for the production of absolutes.
cordialA stimulant and tonic for the heart.
cytophylacticEncouraging growth of skin cells.
decongestantAn agent which relieves or reduces congestion.
demulcentSoothes, softens and allays irritation of mucus membranes.
deodorantDestroying odor.
depurativeHelps to purify the blood, detoxifying.
detoxicantNeutralizing toxic substances
diaphoreticPromotes perspiration.
digestiveA substance that aids the digestion of food.
disinfectantPrevents and combats the spread of germs.
diureticIncreases urine flow.
emeticInduces vomiting.
emmenagoguePromotes and regulates menstrual flow.
emollientSoothes and softens skin.
endocrineA gland without a duct.
essential oilA product obtained from natural raw materials by distillation or expression.
exocrineA gland, with a duct, which secretes directly onto the outside surface of an organism.
expectorantHelps to expel mucus from the respiratory system.
febrifugeCooling and reducing high body temperature.
functional groupThe smallest part of an organic molecule consisting of a singe atom or group of atoms that substitutes for a hydrogen atom and has a profound effect upon the properties of the molecule as a whole.
fungicideDestroying fungal infections
galactagogueIncreasing secretion of milk.
germicidalDestroys germs or micro-organisms.
haemostaticArrests bleeding haemorrhage.
hepaticStimulates and aids function of liver and gall bladder.
hepatotoxicityHaving a harmful or toxic effect on the liver.
hydratingTo supply water in order to restore or maintain fluid balance
hypertensiveIncreased blood pressure.
hypoglycaemiantLowers blood sugar levels.
hypotensiveLowers blood pressure.
hypoxiaDeficiency of oxygen.
insecticidalKilling insect pests
insecticideKills insects.
isomersCompounds that have the same molecular formula but different structures and hence different properties.
laxativeAiding bowl evacuation.
lichenificationCutaneous thickening and hardening from continued irritation.
menarcheOnset of menses.
mucolyticDissolves or breaks down mucus.
myelinA fatty material enveloping the majority of nerve cells.
nervineStrengthening or toning to the nerves and nervous system.
neurotoxicHaving a harmful or toxic effect on the nervous system.
occlusionsThe covering of the skin with an impermeable material which prevents evaporation of a volatile substance from the skin.
oxidationThe addition of oxygen to, or the removal of electrons or hydrogen from, an organic molecule.
parturientHelping delivery in childbirth.
pectoralHelpful for chest infections.
pheromoneA chemical messenger used as a signal between individuals.
polarA term used to describe a molecule which has a partial positive and negative charge. Polar molecules are generally water-soluble.
pomadePerfumed fat obtained as a result of enfleurage.
prophylacticHelping prevent disease.
rectificationThe process in which an essential oil is distilled a second time to remove unwanted constituents (also known as redistillation).
relaxantSoothing, causing relaxation, relieving strain or tension.
resinoidAn extract obtained from dried, natural, raw materials by use of non-aqueous solvents.
resolventDissolves boils and swelling
restorativeRestoring and reviving health
rubefacientWarming and increasing blood flow.
sedativeAn agent that reduces functional activity; calming.
soporificA substance which induces sleep.
spasmolyticSee antispasmodic.
spleneticA tonic to the spleen.
stimulantAn agent which increases the physiological functions of the body.
stomachicDigestive aid and tonic, improving appetite.
stypticArrests external bleeding.
sudorificIncreases perspiration.
terpeneless oilEssential oils from which the monoterpene hydrocarbons have been removed.
terpenoidEssential oil constituents based on the isoprene skeleton, but containing a functional group.
tinctureSolutions obtained by maceration of natural raw materials in ethanol. Such products are commonly used in herbal medicine.
tonicStrengthens and improves bodily performance.
uterineTonic to the uterus.
vaso-constrictorContraction of blood vessel walls
vasoconstrictorContraction of blood vessels walls.
vasodilatorDilation of blood vessels.
vermifugeExpulsion of worms.
vulneraryPrevents tissue degeneration and arrests bleeding in wounds.
viscosityA measure of the resistance to flow in a liquid. Water is "thin" having a lower viscosity. Vegetalbe Oil is "thick" having a higher viscosity.