Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Shirley Price Everyday Aromatherapy Guide

Everyday Aromatherapy

Using Essential oils safely and successfully


Shirley Price Aromatherapy  

 Shirley Price Aromatherapy College

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Everyday Guide

Welcome to Shirley Price Aromatherapy. We hope you will enjoy our Everyday Aromatherapy Guide. In this little guide you will find, I hope, the answer to many of your questions regarding essential oils and their wonderful aromas.  Today there is probably more interest in essential oils and vegetable plant oils for wellbeing, medicine and as beauty treatments than at any time in their history.  Production of essential oils continues to expand in response to ever rising prices creating some environmental issues affecting even the oldest of the aromas – Frankincense and Sandalwood. Suppliers of high quality essential oils take great care to ensure essential oils are sustainably gathered and farmed and where possible gathered or grown in accordance with Organic principles worldwide. 
What is the therapy in aromatherapy? Doctors and their patients naturally prefer the more potent and predictable clinical effects, if uncertain side effects, of internal use of synthetic chemicals.  This is particularly so in severe cases where the normal healing and coping mechanisms of the body have broken down or been overcome and need time to regain their normal force.  When I first started studying aromatherapy as practised by doctors in France I was puzzled.  Was there any point in these studies as those who practised and researched aromatherapy were medically qualified. 
I found there is much in the external use of essential oils.  Essential oils have many other uses than in hygiene and food and the treatment of illness or infection.  Above all they are important in maintaining wellbeing and improving mental and physical resilience.  Essential oils certainly help us feel safer in an uncertain world.  The oils and the therapist client relationship are powerful in banishing fear, anxiety and agitation. An hour spent in the company of a trained aromatherapist is an hour well spent.  Aromatherapy is a key tool in the toolchest of the care worker or holistic therapist and all interested in healing whether for self care or the care of others.
By their impact on the mind essential oils and the practicioners who use them can banish physical symptoms of emotional distress headaches, constipation, joint pain, heart attack like symptoms of depression as well as other common ailments and with them the mental distress which accompanies unexplained symptoms.  Aromatherapy has its believers and results.  I have also found there is the research evidence to justify that belief.
As my study and experience deepened I realised that aromatherapy practicioners were getting results with essential oils which synthetic chemicals could not particularly in the treatment of mental mood disorders or physical ailments which had their roots in the experiences, fears and anxieties of the mind – and without side effects.  Essential oils can be used to maintain mental health and treat mental disorder by supporting positive mood states and cognition.  We may well spend the last 14 days of our lives in a state of terminal illness but in our lives we spend some 30,000 days in a state of wellbeing.  This is surely what Marguerite Maury meant when she said the secret of life is not more years on our lives but more life in our years.
Aromatherapy can be enjoyed for the pure pleasure of the aromas.  Is there a happy pill which will make us better?  If there is it would certainly involve essential oils. This study has convinced me of the need for the universally acclaimed key principles like non violence.  The non violence of aromatherapy treatments lies at the core of their effectiveness. Treating a violent disorder or breakdown with violence physical or pharmaceutical rarely squares the account and can leave the body ravaged by autoaggressive disorders which a gentler approach avoids.
My understanding of the human mind has deepened as I have listen to eastern and western practicioners of holistic medicine.  In yin and yang is a great truth and one shared by all countries and cultures.  My own modest contribution has been to find that in negative mood states lie much of our motivation to live a full life and that there are functional positive mood states for each negative mood state which observers find  correct the distress suffered by an unbalanced mind.  I have reasoned that Positive Reasoned Human Values have a role to play in the recovery of cognition and pleasure in life. But more of that can be found elsewhere.
It is a great privilege for us at Sp to serve the 6000 alumni of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy College, the most demanding aroma community in the world.  Our aromatherapy college continues the journey begun by Shirley and Len Price the founders in 1974. Today as I present our findings around the world online and in person, and talk with our aromatherapy diploma students, alumni, tutors and practicioners  I am more convinced than ever of the wisdom of the old saying ‘sweet aromas sweet thoughts’.  There is much healing in that from the stresses of the modern world.
A book becomes out of date the moment it is published and new research comes forward.  To remain upto date and for the accompanying Shirley Price Aromatherapy  lecture notes, pictures and slides kindly see the online downloads. Shirley Price’s bestselling books on essential oils and aromatherapy massage are available for the Kindle in particular Aromatherapy for Health Professionals (2011) and the Aromatherapy Workbook which is an indispensible guide..
My own research interest is the use of aromatherapy oils for the treatment of mental disorders.  This is of particular value where psychtropic drugs are needed but inappropriate or are contraindicated.  It is a great privilege to be part of a complementary therapies teaching team improving the sensory training skills of mental health professionals worldwide.  I am grateful to Jan Benham and Jane Lund in particular.  The full list of those I have to thank is a lengthy one. 
The CNS comprises our highly developed conscious brain.  Where the sense of smell really comes into its own is the Sympathetic Nervous System. Nerves in the nose travel directly to this primitive brain which maintains our bodily functions and controls our reaction to stress – fight, flight or freeze.  Here in the amygdala in particular we process our memory of trauma and anxiety. In our subconscious lies much of our sense of who we are and what we want of life.
People search out legal highs and lows.  The use of plant alcohols to be found in essential oils also have great potential for reducing the alcoholism which is associated with onset of serious depression, anger and criminality and in dealing with trauma as well as improving the taste of water.  None of us can escape our genetic heritage which may predispose us to certain behaviours or suggestibility by others but controlled use of essential oils can help when we detect those behaviours are coming on and improve mental resiliance.  Self control in this way is immensely empowering and healing.
Stimulants are used to stimulate the Central Nervous System. Practice and research shows Some essential oils are CNS Stimulants (also referred to as psychostimulants) which are psychoactive chemicals which induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical function or both. Examples of these kinds of effects may include enhanced alertness, wakefulness.  Practice and research shows some essential oils (Orange, Grapefruit and Cypress) are CNS depressants or "downers", which decrease mental and/or physical function aiding for example in getting to sleep and staying asleep. 
The variable effects of medication confirm what we all know that individual psychosocial landscape is unique and of infinite worth.  I firmly believe everyday use of a few drops of essential oil can significantly impact our personal health and wellbeing in a perfectly harmless way which is why I am dedicated to this field of study, travelling the world to compare notes with Shirley Price practitioners and alumni and seeking out best practice wherever it may be found.  Everyone has a right to better wellbeing, better career satisfaction, social relationships, financial health, physical health and community health.
The spice oils may be the most famous but the herbaceous European oils have made their own distinct contribution to aromatherapy.  It is a remarkable thing that a single plant family, the Lamiaceae, should provide so many of our everyday Shirley Price essential oils as does the Citrus – the Rutaceae and that they should be harmless in everyday use.  Their names carry poetic force and our gratitude.  I have made something of a study of positive mood states and how to maintain them through the challenges of  life.  It is remarkable how useful these essential oils are in doing this.  Surely no accident.  We can live without them but there is no doubt that we can have better wellbeing and experience of life with a knowledge of the use of aromas from aromatic plants. 
I have been fortunate in my association with Shirley Price Aromatherapy.  Not only has this brought me into daily contact with over a hundred  essential oils it has also brought me into contact with thousands of people all over the globe who use them and rely on their purity and effectiveness both professionally giving treatments and in the home.  My training as a social scientist and my time in business and life has given me an open mind and this guide is one of the fruits of that study. 
An everyday essential oil is an aromatic, volatile substance extracted from a single botanical source by distillation. Other extraction methods are used too.  That essential oils influence mood is not in doubt.  Almost everyone who has not learned an aversion to grapefruit juice, and few have, would call it refreshing.  Not all essential oils are so straightforwardly pleasurable.  They need to be blended with other essential oils to be enjoyed.  As the research notes at the end of this guide show the essential oils have many useful properties to be explored.
Plants of course make essential oils for their own reasons to defend against predators and attract pollinators and dispersers of their fruit including ourselves.  As well as being the scent of flowering plants, woods and grasses essential oils are to be found in flavours for food and drink, in natural and environmental perfume, pharmacy and in aromatherapy.  Few leave home for work without a deodorising spray or dash of cologne or perfume.
It is unsurprising these plant oils are called essential – something of importance.  They certainly are that.  A drop of Melissa oil on a pyjama collar has been found to promptly calm patient agitation without pills or injections.  We now know essential oils do this in part through a direct impact on our brain chemistry and minds.  However they have wider visual and olfactory appeal.  Plants can form the most important of our memories and celebration of our existence and they can heal.  No doubt they can heal.
Essential oils, extracted from plants have antimicrobial properties and find common use as food preservatives as well as in skincare.  Essential oils are thought also to possess distinctive therapeutic properties, which may be utilised to improve wellbeing and in doing so maintain a positive outlook, good health and prevent disease. However if you are ill you should see a doctor.  Fortunately for most people the everyday challenge is maintaining wellbeing rather than experiencing  serious illness.  Common ailments and mental disorders can be every bit debilitating as serious illness.  We forget that at our peril.  Fortunately help is at hand in the form of essential oils.
Essential oils are applied in a variety of ways, for example:
• Through inhalations (this is not advisable for asthmatics) on a tissue or by placing drops of oil in a diffuser  – the most usual method in everyday aromatherapy
• By self massage or body treatment blended in a carrier oil
• Adding a few drops to warm bath water (diluted first in a little oil or milk)
• Blended into cosmetic creams/lotions for individual use

Now how can I explain this?  Essential oils are our hardware and we make use of their chemical intelligence.  However the software of aromatherapy is the skills and experience of thousands of aromatherapists.  Not only trained in aromatherapy but with a thorough understanding of human anatomy, individual  and psychosocial landscape, of hand and full body massage (a therapy in itself), of reflexology and the full gamut of complementary therapies.  Only with such an understanding can aromatherapists get that most important thing – results!


What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy Today
About essential oils.
The Essential Oils
About carriers
The Carriers
An aromatherapy treatment
What is professional aromatherapy?
Research update on essential oils
Safety - step by step to safety
Practice update - 9 case studies
Botanical skincare and haircare
Making natural perfumes
Family aromatherapy
Edible essential oils diluted in vegetable oil

Diet and exercise
Essential oil data
Essential oil chemistry and characteristics 
Aromatherapy Literature
Useful sources of Information

Aromatherapy today

Robert Tisserand and Gabriel Mojay have done as much as anyone to nurture the spirit of aromatherapy and its progress as an international profession .  Robert was responsible for the publication in English of Valnet and Gattefosses books which summarised French scientif and medical progress in aromatherapy, herbalism and the importance of diet and exercise to our wellbeing. Tisserands own Art of Aromatherapy and other books are international best sellers and his students experience his and Gabriel Mojays patient explanation of the science as well as the art of aromatherapy with great affection.  

Essential oils have been used to promote health and well-being since ancient times. A trading ship wrecked 5000 years ago in the Mediterranean was loaded with spices and tin from Asia.  Essential oils form part of an ancient and venerable trade.  The Egyptians made extensive use of aromatics.  Civilised peoples always have.  Aromatherapy really does go back to Egypt.  The use of steam is a modern invention but the alhambric is an ancient device to distill essential oil.  Even before water cooled coiled glass became available a sheeps fleece or screen of wool made an efficient condenser of essential oils thousands of years ago.

Medicine is concerned with serious life threatening illness.  A doctor rarely has to pick up an essential oil for this purpose given the progress of pharmacology.  However essential oils stand ready in the event of epidemic as they always have to defend us.  Essential oils are a harmless first line of defence for example against viral epidemic. The nightmare existential threat to humanity is not a large rock from space it is a tiny microbe which has learned to crack or manipulate our genetic defences. 

Modern Aromatherapy is the systematic use of essential oils in holistic treatments which seek to improve individual wellbeing both physical and emotional.  At Shirley Price Aromatherapy  we recognise the psychosocial nature of wellbeing – we see five kinds of wellbeing.  Career Wellbeing (doing daily what you enjoy), Social Wellbeing (loving relationships), Financial Wellbeing (managing money), Physical Wellbeing (good physical and emotional health) and your Community Wellbeing.  (Gallup).

Aromas for the mind attract increasing psychotherapeutic interest.  An epileptic experiences disgusting smells in a seizure.  Essential oils have been used to reduce the frequency and duration of seizures.  Our nose is not nearly as sensitive as the bloodhounds nose.  It is sensitive enough to alert us to the dangers of unpleasant smells. Essential oils are rarely experienced as unpleasant.  Knowing how to safely use the pleasant aroma of essential oils enables us to confidently improve our own, our families and friends wellbeing. 

In the 21st Century researchers with modern technological tools and a good understanding of the essential oils and their properties are finding new applications for aromas.  This is based on ancient wisdom and new discoveries.  The mapping of the genes involved in olfaction won a Nobel prize.  There are more Nobel prizes to be won and clinical results to be achieved as we understand the mental software and brain microcircuitry which goes with this genetic hardware.

In the 20th Century the French scientist Gattefosse coined the term Aromatherapy to describe the use of essential oils for their therapeutic value and his book is still in print. Faced with the doubt that perfumes might cause harm to health Gattefosse put his perfumery company’s resources at the disposal of doctors and medical researchers and soon an impressive body of evidence emerged cataloguing the therapeutic properties of essential oils.  At Shirley Price we continue this tradition making available essential oils and our experience to health professionals engaged in research particularly in the area of aromas for the mind for which the Company has always been noted..

Essential oils as we know them came into use in German pharmacies in the 15th Century.  Since the 1960’s, we have learned that synthesised drugs and antiseptics are not all they
were intended to be and that nature provides a solution that is often more suited to the
task. Essential oils use dwindled when the civilised world learned how to synthesise medicines and perfumes which we thought could take the place of the natural essential oil. One thing you learn about essential oils is how much has been forgotten! For example extensive trials of essential oils was made in France in the 1960s leading to their vaporisation in hospitals. Nowadays we read of
successful trials in hospitals in the UK in combating MRSA as though this is something
new.  Ancient shepherds realised juniper oil could heal cuts their sheep suffered in shearing. 

About Essential Oils

What are essential oils? What can they be used for? How can I use them at home? Are
essential oils safe? Why organic? These are just some of the questions that occur.

Essential oils are extracted from plants by various processes; normally by steam distilling
the plant matter extracting all the volatile constituents. Some plants generate more
essential oils than others. Eucalyptus leaves contain 10% by weight of essential oils
while 10,000 kg of Rose petals are required to generate just 1kg of Bulgarian Rose Otto.

Essential oils can be extracted from many types of plants and from different parts of the
plant. One oil may come from the leaves, for example eucalyptus, and another from the
roots, for example ginger, another from the flowers, the rose. Each has unique properties
which can be utilised very effectively by the human body to aid health and prevent

Most Essential oils have important antiseptic properties; many also fight fungal infections
such as athlete's foot or candida, and others even combat viruses such as warts or colds.
Plants which contain essential oils are among the most long lived on the planet.
Rootstock of Eucalyptus has been found to be 10,000 years old. The properties of
essential oils are many and varied; they can help many skin conditions and aid the
renewal of cells, which is one of the ways in which frankincense helps to prevent
scarring; they can be anti-spasmodic, which means they will help to prevent the spasms
that cause sickness and vomiting. Some essential oils are known for their menstruation-
regulating properties, others for detoxifying the system, thus being helpful in treating
cellulite and other toxic conditions.

Of particular importance in this list of useful properties is the fact that all essential oils
are normalising. An essential oil takes the body back to it’s ‘normal’ state; it never takes
it past this point to cause an opposite condition.

True essential oils are complete in themselves -no part of them has been extracted and
nothing has been added. Aromatherapists believe that this untouched wholeness is of
paramount importance and that even elements present in tiny proportions play a crucial
role. It is the ‘wholeness’ of the oil which gives it its normalising properties

Essential oil used in the food and perfume industries are usually ‘standardised’ by
removing some parts of the oil and sometimes adding other ingredients (even synthetics)
in order to achieve a uniform standard. Such oils should never be used in aromatherapy since only the COMPLETE, TRUE oil, taken straight from the still, has full therapeutic value.

Essential oils which are organic certified are to be preferred to pure essential oils for aromatherapy as this assists ensure the whole oil is used without pesticide residues and supports higher standards.   
These are links to Shirley Price Aromatherapy Certification
Soil Association Certificates | INCCC | INCCF | INCCD | INCD0 |

The Essential Oils

There are over a hundred essential oils available and used by professional aromatherapists.  Some essential oils need care in use and should never be sold over the counter except by an aromatherapist or herbalist who can advise on their use. The forty or so study  oils in this guide are those generally reckoned to be safe in everyday use subject to the safety cautions and contraindications noted. A simple patch test of a small quantity of diluted essential oil on the inner elbow is simply and easily done,  Essential oil labels list the haptens to which a rare allergic reaction can occur - usually when the oil has become oxidised after its best by date. 
The therapeutic effect of essential oils oils was explained by Shirley Price in Practical
Aromatherapy first published in 1982 and in greater depth in the textbooks Aromatherapy for
Health Professionals and the Aromatherapy Workbook, both available from Amazon in a Kindle edition.

The essential oils students overview 2013

BASIL (Ocimum basilicum)/Lamiaceae

Basil is found in many of the warm, temperate climates of the world. This annual herb grows up
to 60cm in height, has dark leaves and whorls of pink flowers which give off a powerful aroma.
The European sweet basil is produced mainly in France and Italy.

The essential oil, which is distilled from the whole plant, is virtually colourless and has a
refreshing sweet aroma.  Top note.

Used in inhalation, baths and massage, basil is particularly effective for depression, nervous
insomnia and mental strain. In baths and massage, basil can relieve cramps and digestive
disorders emanating from nervous tension; it can also be helpful in regulating scanty periods.

Inhalation of basil essential oil stimulates the brain and is most beneficial during long periods of
study. Helpful in emotions such as fear, despair and lethargy.

CAUTION: Care should be taken during early pregnancy as Basil can be a powerful oil depending
in variety of plant.

BENZOIN ABSOLUTE OIL (Styrax tonkinensis)/Styraceae

Benzoin is a gum derived from styrax trees of two botanical and geographic origins:
- Sumatra Benzoin comes from the Styrax benzoin tree and is widely used in the production of Indonesian cigarettes;
- Siam Benzoin comes exclusively from the Styrax tonkinensis tree in Laos.  The best qualities have a soft, vanilla-like aroma.
In perfumery, benzoin is used as a fixative slowing the dispersion of  essential oil into the air.

Benzoin is primarily an antiseptic and a stimulant, but is also used as an expectorant, clearing the
respiratory tract of surplus mucus and so improves breathing. Helpful against urinary infections
like cystitis.  Benzoin also relieves nervous tension and stress. It is excellent, when used in a
carrier lotion, at relieving chapped, cracked skin.

BERGAMOT (Citrus bergamia -per)/Rutaceae

Bergamots are inedible bitter citrus fruits grown for their essential oil. The trees were first discovered on the Canary Islands by Christopher Columbus, who introduced them to Italy, which is still the chief area of production. The oil, obtained by expressing the fruit rinds, is a yellow-green colour and has a refreshing aroma.  Top note.   Bergamot is used to flavour Earl Grey Tea.  Bergamot is used in some half of womens perfumes and is an ingredient in the original Eau de Cologne.

Bergamot oil is extremely useful in the treatment of digestive problems such as colic, gastric
spasms and sluggish digestion. Emotionally, bergamot calms agitation, lifts despondency and
balances mood swings.

CAUTION: Because bergamot is a photosensitiser it should never be used on the skin before
going into strong sunlight, since pigmentation can occur. A bergapten free Bergamot oil is available and is the oil used in perfumery.

BLACK PEPPER (Piper nigrum)/Piperaceae

Stimulating, toning and warming. Obtained from the dried peppercorns, this oil is highly beneficial when used in massage to ease aching muscles and encourage suppleness after strenuous exercise. Black Pepper essential oil has a deep penetrating warmth that invigorates and stimulates both body and mind.

The pepper plant is a creeping vine which is found mainly in Vietnam, india and Ceylon. Known as the king of spices with its excellent qualities and rich flavour, black pepper is probably the most used spice on earth.  The essential oil is distilled from unripe berries which have been picked and left to dry in the sun (where they turn black). It has a warm, spicy odour with a characteristic undertone.

A very important stimulant in the treatment of certain digestive disorders, such as painful
defaecation, constipation, loss of appetite, black pepper essential oil is also effective against colic,
food poisoning and indigestion. Its analgesic qualities make is effective against toothache, and
muscular complaints. It helps colds and can be used as a sexual tonic.

Research shows a beneficial effect in hypertension and increased uptake of selenium and curcumin.  Black pepper also shows an increased swallowing response.

CEDARWOOD (Cedrus atlantica)/Pinaceae

The trees from which cederwood essential oil is extracted are found across the globe -depending
on which particular species is used. Cedrus atlantica grows abundantly in Northern Africa and
particularly in Morocco. The oil, which has a sweet, woody odour is obtained by steam

It has a variety of uses, especially in the treatment of skin-related complaints such as acne,
dandruff, alopecia and over-production of oil from sebaceous glands. Respiratory problems like
bronchitis, catarrh and coughs can all be helped by the used of cederwood essential oil in
preparations. It is said to help prevent nightmares.

Caution: Although Cedrus atlantica contains a ketone, research does not show it to be toxic (as is
cedar LEAF oil, derived from Thuja occidentalis). Nevertheless, it may be prudent to use it with

CHAMOMILE GERMAN (Chamomilla recutita)/Asteraceae

True chamomile, is a hardy, self-seeding annual herb indigenous to Europe and Western Asia.
The plant more commonly referred to by the name ‘chamomile’ is Roman chamomile
(Chamaemelum nobile).

The flower heads of Chamomilla recutita render a dark blue essential oil under steam distillation.
It has a fatty, sweet smell and contains, among other things, an important component known as

German chamomile is principally anti-inflammatory. It is helpful in the treatment of digestive
ailments such as indigestion and gastric ulcers, as well as being indicated for premenstrual
syndrome on account of its hormonal properties. Acne, broken veins, inflammation and wounds
can all be helped be the careful use of this oil and a compress will work wonders on irritated or
broken skin.

CHAMOMILE ROMAN (Chamaemelum nobile)/Asteraceae

Distilled from double headed flowers it has a light, refreshing aroma. Roman chamomile is both
soothing and calming and, with its low toxicity, is very suitable to use on children and babies.

Good for sensitive, dry skin, its anti-inflammatory action soothes irritated skin, eczema, acne,
nappy rash and burns. In compresses, baths, application or massage, it helps stomach disorders
and restores appetites. Also beneficial for muscular cramps and the inflammation in rheumatism
and arthritis. It helps relieve menstrual problems, premenstrual stress and menopausal symptoms.

Roman chamomile is beneficial to frustration, panic, grief and forgetfulness.

CLARY-SAGE (Salvia sclarea)/Lamiaceae

Salvia means health. Schlarea means clear. Clary is short for clear eye. This beautiful plant is to
be found growing high up in the Alps. The oil, which has a strong, distinct aroma, is distilled
from the whole of the impressive flowering stem which grows up to 1.5 metres in height. It is an
excellent nerve tonic and powerful relaxant.

Clary is helpful for haemorrhoids and varicose veins when used in a carrier. Soothing and
regenerative for the skin, it helps to combat cellular ageing and preserve moisture in dry, mature
skin by compresses or application.

When used in inhalations, vaporisers, compresses, baths or massage clary sage essential oil has a
calming effect, and can help reduce high blood pressure.

Uplifting for depression and excellent for regulating hormones it is consequently most useful for
women’s problems such as premenstrual syndrome, irregular periods, infertility and associated

Emotionally, clary sage soothes excitability, fear and grief. It lifts despair and helps to prevent

CAUTION: Continuous inhalation may cause sleepiness and its use is recommended at the end of
the day. Do not take alcohol after a treatment as the effects of the alcohol will be enhanced. NB
This plant should never be confused with sage (Salvia officinalis) which has different properties.

CYPRESS (Cupressus sempervirens)/Cupressaceae

Cypress oil is distilled from the leaves, twigs and cones of the Cyprus tree and has a woody, clear
and dry fragrance.

In application to the skin, it is astringent and soothing, helping to regulate production of sebum
and reduce perspiration, including the feet. Effective in the treatment of varicose veins and
haemorrhoids, it can help relieve menopausal spotting and can help staunch excessive blood
losses, especially after childbirth.

Cypress essential oil is calming as well as being helpful to nervous debility, soothing attacks of
diarrhoea when used in baths or application. Its antispasmodic properties are helpful against

Cypress is helpful against frustration, irritability and indecision. It is reputed to clear the mind of
grief and it certainly induces sleep.

EUCALYPTUS -Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus)/Myrtaceae

Extracted from the blue gum tree, originally a native of Australia and Tasmania, it is now grown
in many sub-tropical climates including Spain, Portugal and China. Although occurring
throughout the whole tree, the essential oil is mainly distilled from the leaves.

Eucalyptus globulus is a strong, natural antiseptic and is effective against a wide range of bacterial
infections. Its decongestant qualities make it ideal for relieving congestive headaches. Excellent
for clearing the head, it is universally used for colds, sinusitis and bronchial problems in gargles,
inhalations, vaporisers, baths and massage.

In baths, application or massage, relief can also be obtained in many circulatory disorders by
cleansing, stimulating and strengthening the kidneys and it is warming to arthritic pain, for which
relief can also be achieved by the use of a compress. It is a good insect repellent.

CAUTION: Due to the strength of its cineole content it should not be inhaled on its own by small

EUCALYPTUS -Gully Gum (Eucalyptus smithii)/Myrtaceae

Also a native of Australia, this variety of eucalyptus is much gentler than E.globulus, yet most
beneficial in action. Some of its effects are similar to those of E.globulus, being analgesic to
muscular pain and effective against coughs, colds, asthma and bronchitis because of its
decongestant qualities. Unlike E.globulus, it can be used very safely on children.

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus staigeriana)/Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus staigeriana essential oil has antiseptic, stimulating and cleansing properties and is beneficial for everyday aches and pains, for muscles and also for use in inhalations to help clear the head, especially during the the cold and flu season when it can be vaporized to stop the spread of germs. Eucalyptus staigeriana essential oil is more gentle than the globulus type and can be used with children.

FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare)/Umbelliferae

Fennel sweet (dulce) is a useful appetite suppressant, decongestant, antiinflammatory and diuretic.  It is recommended for cellulite, dissolves boils and treats swellings, fluid retention, oedema and wrinkles.  Avoid in case of pregnancy and epilepsy. 

The high anethole content in the Fennel sweet (dulce) variety means care must be taken in case of pregnancy or epilepsy.  Avoid Fennel Vugaris which has a low anethole but high (60%) estragole content.

FIR (Abies alba)/

Fir needle oil is steam distilled from the needles of Siberian fir trees.  The aroma brings memories of Christmas for many as the fir tree is traditionally decorated for Christmas.  The association with happy youthful memories means the aroma can be found comforting.

FRANKINCENSE (Boswellia thurifera, B. carteri)/Burseraceae

This small tree has grown wild in the red sea area and north east Africa since Biblical times. The
essential oil, which is sometimes called olibanum, is obtained by the distillation of the resin; its
sweet, slightly spicy aroma has a calming effect conducive to concentration and meditation.

When used in baths or massage it helps dry skin and mature complexions and is extremely
effective in the treatment of wounds and subsequent scars. It is helpful against coughs, laryngitis,
asthma and bronchitis and is an immunostimulant, also relieving depression. A most useful oil
emotionally, frankincense soothes anger, irritability and frustration, and relieves grief and

GERANIUM (Pelargonium graveolens)/Geranaceae

Geraniums are grown commercially in France, Egypt, Morocco, China and the Reunion Islands the
latter being known as geranium Bourbon. Distilled from the leaves the oil has a rich, sweet

Geranium oil reduces inflammation in arthritis and is an excellent antiseptic for acne and dry
eczema. Its astringent properties are effective in the control of herpes, mouth ulcers, diarrhoea
and gastroenteritis, as well as varicose veins and haemorrhoids.

Circulation of the lymph is improved by the use of geranium oil, assisting in the elimination of
waste products, therefore it also helps in the relief of fluid retention and cellulite.

Its antispasmodic action is helpful for cramp and its healing action on burns and wounds is well
known. It has been found to be of use in calming overaggressive sporting teenagers.

Used in inhalations, vaporisers, baths, application and massage it alleviates stress and anxiety,
and emotionally, it lifts the spirits from despair and lethargy.

GINGER (Zingiber officinale)/Zingiberaceae

The ginger plant is indigenous to the West Indies and the essential oil is won by steam distilling
the dried and crushed rhizomes. It has a clear, neutral colour and an aroma similar to that of the
spice but without the ‘hotness’.

The main therapeutic use of ginger essential oil is with respect to the digestive tract and its
attendant problems and conditions. It is stomachic, carminative, antiseptic and stimulating, and
acts as a tonic in the treatment of fatigue and impotence.

Its analgesic and warming properties are also effective in cases of muscular pain, sciatica and

GRAPEFRUIT (Citrus paradisi)/Rutaceae

Originating in tropical Asia and the West Indies, the grapefruit tree is now cultivated mainly in
Northern and South America. The yellow oil is obtained by cold expression of the peel and has a sweet, citrus aroma.

Grapefruit is a perfectly safe oil due to its non-toxic and non-irritating properties. It is effective in
caring for oily skin and acne and helpful in the relief of anxiety, stress, tension and associated headaches, due to its uplifting properties. Circulatory problems such as muscle fatigue, obesity, cellulite and water retention can be helped by regular use of this oil in baths or massages.
Grapefruit oils can be contaminated with pesticides so it is best to use organic oils.
Research shows a CNS depressive effect reducing anxiety. The scent of grapefruit oil, and particularly its primary component limonene, affects autonomic nerves, enhances lipolysis through a histaminergic response, and reduces appetite and body weight.

Grapefruit oils can be contaminated with pesticides and it is best to use organic oils. Research has shown Grapefruit may prolong the effectiveness of medications by slowing their elimination from the body.  If on medication it is best to check before massage.  There is no such effect with inhalation.

JASMINE ABSOLUTE (Jasminum grandiflorum)/Oleaceae

Jasmine oil derived from India has a sweet aroma.  Egyptian Jasmine has an earthier fragrance.    It is a key birthing oil and has been found to reduce the likelihood of post birth depression or “baby blues” when the mother can be overwhelmed by the tasks and responsibilities of motherhood.
The jasmine bush is widely cultivated in Spain, Northern Africa, India and Southern France.  Jasmine oil is not an essential oil, but an absolute, extracted from the small, white flowers by using a solvent. The genuine oil has a rich, sweet, floral odour with a delightful herbaceous undertone.

Jasmine is valuable in the treatment of nervous disorders such as apathy, depression and nerve debility as it is both sedative and uplifting.
Use only high quality jasmine; poor qualities can affect  sensitive skin due to the chemicals added during production

Research shows the stimulating/activating effect of jasmine oil and provides evidence for its use in aromatherapy for the relief of depression and uplifting mood in humans.

JUNIPERBERRY (Juniperis communis)/Cupressaceae

The juniper is an evergreen tree grown throughout the Mediterranean. The oil is distilled from the
ripe berries which are dried immediately after picking (juniperberry oil). Lesser quality oil is
produced by adding berries used during the making of gin or by adding the twigs or leaves
(juniper oil). The essential oil has a sweet fresh aroma, similar to cypress but sharper.

Juniper oil is neurotonic, helpful in overcoming debility and mental fatigue. It is a very beneficial
oil for the urinary system, being a stimulant to the kidneys and therefore an excellent diuretic,
helping the excretion of uric acid in gout and rheumatism. High blood pressure problems can also
be alleviated, due in part to diuretic properties or the oil and in part its calming effect.
Juniperberry oil is helpful for period pains and invaluable when breasts are swollen during

Emotionally, it helps to reduce frustration, guilt and jealousy.

CAUTION: Infrequent use at low concentration (2 drops in 20ml) is advised during the first five
months of pregnancy and in cases of kidney disease, to ensure that the kidneys do not
become over stimulated.

LAVANDER (Lavandula officinalis)/Lamiaceae

This plant is a native of southern Europe and the Mediterranean countries, though it’s a hybrid
relation, lavandin, is more extensively grown, yielding more oil per acre and being cheaper to
produce. Much lavender available on the market is in fact lavandin or cloned lavender like Lavender Mailette, which has slightly different therapeutic properties.   The Lavender in the French Pharmacopia for therapeutic use is Lavender Angustifolia Miller known as population lavender.

True lavender oil, which is obtained by steam distillation of the flowering tops of the plant, is
non-toxic and has a full flowery aroma. The Bulgarian grown lavender has a sweet smell.  The aroma of lavandin is usually more camphoraceous. Shirley Price Aromatherapy’s Tuscan lavender has a refreshing topnote.

Known for its soothing and uplifting properties, lavender alleviates stress and depression and is
helpful for easing headaches and insomnia as well as lowering blood pressure. As an antiseptic, it
is effective in the treatment of colds, flu, sinusitis and respiratory problems in general.   A relaxing oil Lavender can promote sleep and relaxation.

Used in masks, compresses, baths or application, lavender promotes healthy skin, heals wounds
and is effective in the treatment of acne, eczema, dandruff, nappy rash and athlete’s foot. It
soothes burns and insect bites and helps prevent scarring. Can be used safely on young children.

Used in baths, application or massage it gives relief from muscular aches and pains and
rheumatism. Essential oil of lavender has a calming and balancing effect, promotes menstrual regularity, helps pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms and alleviates thrush.

There is a story that the French scientist Gattefose who coined the term
aromatherapy and put the study of the therapeutic properties of essential oils
on a scientific basis was alerted to the therapeutic properties of Lavender by a
laboratory accident.  He is said to have plunged his burned hand into a vat of
lavender oil which happened to be nearby.  He noticed immediately the
analgesic properties of lavender as the pain was reduced and the wound
healed without the usual scarring.  Tisserand reports that Gattefosse in fact
used lavender oil to heal himself of gas gangrene which infected his burnt
hand.  A very impressive treatment as gangrene can be fatal.  Both Gattefosse
and Valnet reported good results using lavender to treat combat wounds.

LEMON (Citrus limon)/Rutaceae

The lemon tree is a native of the East but is now cultivated extensively in Mediterranean
countries and the Americas. The essential oil, extracted by cold expression of the peel, is pale
yellow in colour.

One of the most useful essential oils, it is most effective in the treatment of digestive disorders as
it regulates stomach acidity. Regular use of lemon in baths or massage helps to control acne,
greasy skin and herpes. It is also effective in the treatment of verrucas, corns and warts.

Lemon oil is a strong, non-toxic antiseptic for colds, coughs, flu and sore throats when used in
baths, gargles or massage. It can bring relief to those suffering with arthritis or rheumatism on
account of its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to lower high blood pressure and stimulate
poor circulation. Emotionally, lemon oil relieves guilt and resentment.

CAUTION: May cause dermal irritation on very sensitive skins, especially if exposed to sunlight,
as it is a weak photosensitiser.


East indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus),  is native to India, Sri Lanka  while the West Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to maritime south east asia.

Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grows to about 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) and has red base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellant in insect sprays and candles, and also in aromatherapy.. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol, citronellol are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, in tea and as a flavoring.

PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martini)/Poaceae  is a species of grass in the lemon grass genus best known by the common name palmarosa. Other common names include Indian geranium and rosha or rosha grass.   Balancing, toning and moisturising. Madagascan Palmarosa essential oil has more floral and spicy overtones than the Indian variety. Its unique fragrance is equally loved by both men and women.


Refreshing, rejuvenating, clarifying

MANDARIN (Citrus reticulata)/Rutaceae

Originating in China, this evergreen tree grows up to six metres high, bearing shiny, waxy leaves,
fragrant flowers and fleshy fruit. Mandarin oil is obtained by cold expression of the peel; it is pale
orange in colour with a very sweet, citrus aroma.

Mandarin has excellent calming properties, being particularly good for insomnia and excitability,
when used in application, baths or massage. It is also a good digestive oil for stomach pains,
indigestion and constipation and has a stimulating effect on the stomach and liver.

Due to its gentle action it is ideal for use on children and pregnant women. Fluid retention,
obesity and fatigue can all benefit from the use of mandarin oil, and like lemon oil can relieve
guilt and resentment.

MARJORAM, SPANISH (Thymus mastichina)/Lamiaceae

A variety of thyme and not in fact true marjoram, this plant yields an essential oil which has a
sharper aroma then true marjoram oil and different properties.

Used in inhalations, vaporisers, compresses, baths, applications and massage, Spanish marjoram
helps to alleviate bronchitis, asthma and respiratory problems in general, due to its anti-catarrhal

CAUTION: Take care when buying marjoram oil to look at the botanical name, to ensure getting
the one whose effects you need.

MARJORAM, SWEET (Origanum majorana)/Lamiaceae

A native of Europe and central Asia, this plant yields a sweet smelling essential oil under
distillation of the leaves and flowering heads. The oil’s warm and soothing properties were well
known to the ancient Egyptians, who used it for healing and overcoming grief.

Sweet marjoram is calming and comforting to the mind, helpful in the treatment of tension,
anxiety, irritability and hysteria. It is effective in alleviating headaches, reducing insomnia and
lowering blood pressure.

The warming, analgesic and antispasmodic properties of sweet marjoram are effective in reducing
menstrual pains, and alleviating arthritis and rheumatism. It also regularises thyroid activity.

CAUTION:  The main chemical constituents of Oregano, (origanum vulgare) include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, ocimene and caryophyllene and  differs from Origanum majorana and Thymus
Mastichina (known as Marjoram Spanish).

MELISSA (Melissa officinalis)/Lamiaceae

Originating in southern Europe, but quite common in Britain, Melissa is a small perennial herb.
The oil is distilled from the leaves before the plant flowers and has a fresh, sweet, lemon
fragrance. Pure Melissa oil is rare and costly, consequently it is most frequently available in a
mix, giving the effects attributed to the lemon-smelling oils from which the mix is made, not of
true Melissa.

True Melissa eases digestive disorders such as indigestion and nausea, it is used is compresses or
inhalation. It helps relieve anxiety, headaches, tension and insomnia; it also lowers high blood
pressure and relieves palpitations.

An excellent oil for women, baths, application and massage will ease painful periods and PMS
and by its hormonal action it regulates the menstrual cycle, which can assist conception. True
Melissa can also relieve eczema and other skin problems by its anti-inflammatory action.

It is soothing and uplifting to the mind, only low concentrations being needed to reduce
irritability or lift despair and lethargy.

MYRRH (Commiphora myrrha)/Burseraeae

Myrrh essential oil, obtained by steam distillation of the crude resin, is pale yellow and has a
warm, musky balsamic aroma. Soothing, healing and anti-inflammatory, it helps mature
complexions and numerous skin problems such as athlete’s foot, eczema, ringworm and nappy
rash, to name but a few.

When used in inhalation, baths or massage, myrrh is effective for respiratory disorders, giving
relief to asthma, bronchitis and colds. In gargles it soothes mouth ulcers and sore throats.

NEROLI (Citrus aurantium amara – flos)/Rutaceae

The bitter orange tree is grown mainly in Northern Africa and Spain. It bears small, white, star-shaped flowers at the leaf axils.
Neroli is the name given to the essential oil of the bitter orange flowers, which are hand picked just as they are beginning to open. It is obtained by steam  distillation and has a unique bitter/sweet odour with a spicy undertone (‘Orange blossom’ oil is an absolute, obtained in the same way as rose absolute). Neroli oil is used extensively in the manufacture of colognes and toilet waters.

 Neroli oil is extremely helpful in the treatment of many types of skin problems such as varicose veins, broken capillaries and irritated patches.
The essential oil has particular therapeutic benefit in nerve related disorders such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia and excitability.

ORANGE BITTER (Citrus aurantium var amara)/Rutaceae

Both the sweet orange tree and the taller, bitter orange tree originate in China. The former is
grown extensively in America and also many Mediterranean countries.

The essential oil is obtained by cold expression of the ripe outer peel. The sweet oil has a fresh,
fruity aroma while the bitter oil has a more delicate, dry and floral characteristics. Both oils are

Strengthening, stimulating and enlivening..  Used in gargles, mouthwashes, compresses and massage, these oils are excellent digestive stimulants, improving the appetite, helping constipation, dyspepsia, flatulence and mouth ulcers.

Bronchitis, asthma and hay fever can be helped by inhalation, baths or application, as can dull and
oily skins. Both are good oils to combat insomnia and relieve nervous tension be regular use in
inhalations and baths and by massage on tense muscles. Bitter orange oil is useful in relieving
frustration, irritability and nightmares.

Research focuses on odour uses.
Orange oil shows a CNS Depressive effect reducing anxiety

Orange Sweet oil (Citrus sinensis)/Rutaceae. 

Orange oil shows a CNS Depressive effect reducing anxiety.  Research focuses on odour uses.

CAUTION: Neither orange oil should be used on very sensitive skins immediately before being
exposed to strong sunlight, as they are weak photosensitisers.

PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martini) is a species of grass in the lemon grass genus best known by the common name palmarosa. Other common names include Indian geranium and rosha or rosha grass.

PATCHOULI (Pogostemon patchouli)/Lamiaceae

Patchouli is a small, leafy shrub which grows mainly in the Far East – Indonesia, China – and on
the island of Madagascar. The essential oil is obtained be steam distillation of the young leaves,
which are first dried. It is a dark, viscous oil with a strong balsamic odour and spicy undertones. A ‘base note’ in perfumes, mixed with Almond oil it makes an attractive perfume on its own.

Patchouli oil is particularly helpful as an immunostimulant, when it is a valuable tonic used in
massage, inhalation and baths. It is also effective in the treatment of damaged skin, especially
cracks, sores, wounds and scars. It is also helpful against haemorrhoids and varicose veins and its anti-inflammatory action calms
inflamed skin and eczema.

Emotionally, patchouli balances mood swings, reduces irritability and lifts despair and


PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita)/Labiatae

A product of northern temperate climates, the best peppermint plants grown elsewhere in the
world originated in Mitcham, England, and are known as Mitcham peppermint. The essential oil
is distilled from the whole plant and its sharp, refreshing aroma is easily recognised.

Used in gargles, compresses or application, it is highly effective for treating sickness and nausea;
it also relieves acidity, heartburn, diarrhoea, indigestion and flatulence. Respiratory problems
such as coughs and colds, sinusitis, throat infection, asthma and bronchitis can be relieved
effectively by the use of peppermint in inhalations, baths or application as can congestive

Its cooling and cleansing properties help soothe itchy skin and inflammation when well diluted,
which makes it helpful in the treatment of varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Essential oil of
peppermint used in baths, application or massage, encourages menstrual regularity; and during
the menopause, relief can be obtained from hot flushes.

CAUTION: Because of its powerful aroma and effects, the recommended dilution must be kept
to, especially during pregnancy (see paragraph 5, page 39). Keep eyes closed when inhaling (not
recommended for small children). De-terpenated oil is often sold as whole peppermint oil; this is
not suitable for aromatherapy.

PETITGRAIN (Citrus auantium amara – fol)/Rutaceae

Petitgrain is the name given to the essential oil won by steam distillation of the leaves of the bitter
orange tree. Such trees are cultivated on a large scale in Italy, Paraguay, Brazil and Northern
Africa. When the leaves are distilled with flowers, the oil is named ‘Petitgrain over flowers’,
whose wonderful aroma can approach that of neroli oil. The benefits of this special oil are twofold
– see neroli.

Therapeutically, petitgrain is a particularly good relaxant, being calming to the nervous system.
Its anti-inflammatory properties make it useful against acne and oedema and it is also

Emotionally, it is indicated for panic, irritability and resentment and is helpful against

PINE NEEDLE (Pinus sylvestris)/Pinaceae

Also known as Scots Pine, this hardy tree can be found growing all over Europe and Russia,
especially in the colder upland regions such as Scandinavia and the Baltic States. The essential oil
is distilled from the needles, twigs and cones. It has a fresh, resin-like odour and is pale yellow in

Because of its inherent antiseptic qualities, pine needle essential oil is an excellent air antiseptic
and can be used with good effect in cases of infection, particularly those of the respiratory tract
such as bronchitis, asthma and sinusitis. It is also helpful against influenza.

Urinary tract infections like cystitis and renal infections can be relieved by the used of pine
needle oil and it is also indicated for general debility and fatigue. Its anti-inflammatory action
makes it a useful oil for arthritis, gout and rheumatism.

ROSE OTTO (Rosa damescena)/Rosaceae

Rose otto is obtained from the petals of the rose by hydro distillation, requiring several kilos of
petals to yield a few ml of oil. It is the essential oil of rose, also known as ‘attar of roses’, which
should be used in aromatherapy, rather then the absolute, which is not true a true essential oil.

Therapeutically, rose otto is a safe all-rounder. Because of its antiseptic properties, it is effective
in healing skin disorders such as cuts, wounds and other skin problems.

Rose otto is valuable against debility and depression. It is especially indicated in woman’s
problems, including irregular periods, PMS, womb impurities and sterility. Emotionally, rose
otto is helpful against where anger, jealousy or guilt are affecting the health.

Because of its low toxicity and strong antiseptic qualities, rose otto is ideal to use on children.
(see also rose absolute)

Rose Absolute is obtained by solvent extraction.  It is cheaper than Rose Otto.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)/Lamiaceae

A native of the Mediterranean region, this romantic herb yields its oil from the flowering tops
under steam distillation.

Stimulating and decongesting, rosemary oil promotes blood circulation, particularly to the brain,
so clearing the mind, relieving tension and giving a feeling of well being. Its antiseptic properties
relieve coughs, colds and flu. These qualities make it beneficial to the skin and help to prevent
dandruff and hair loss. Its use in compresses, application or massage is particularly effective for
indigestion, flatulence and constipation.

Rosemary can be effective in regulating the menstrual cycle; its hormonal effects are conducive
to conception and helpful before the menopause. Its gentle analgesic properties relieve general
aches and pains, sprains and arthritis when used in baths, application or massage.
CAUTION: Avoid in pregnancy.  Avoid using if you suffer from high blood pressure.

SANDALWOOD (Santalum album)/Santalaceae

The sandalwood tree is a native of India but grown also successfullyand sustainably in New Caledonia and Australia.

Sandalwood essential oil is distilled from the wood, mainly from the heartwood and roots but also
from off cuts and chips, after the best wood is used for furniture making. Its sweet, woody aroma
is most pleasant and therapeutic. Being antiseptic, calming and soothing, it relieves sore throats,
dry coughs and chronic bronchitis.

Used in compresses, application or massage, sandalwood is beneficial for dry, mature or wrinkled
skin. It therefore helps in the treatment of dandruff and eczema, relieving many allergenic skin

Important in the treatment of genitor-urinary systems, essential oil of sandalwood helps in the
treatment of infections, including cystitis.

Sandalwood is effective for digestive disorders such as heartburn and nausea, especially morning
sickness. It is cardiotonic, assisting in circulatory problems such as haemorrhoids and varicose
veins, which are soothed by compresses or application in a carrier (see page 35). It is also a
sexual tonic.

An emotionally balancing oil, sandalwood calms agitation and panic, lifts despair and controls
mood swings.

SPIKENARD (Nardostachys jatamansi)/Valerianacea

Closely related to valerian, this plant is often called ‘false’ valerian. It is one of the oils mentioned
in the Bible, both in Old and New Testaments. The most important therapeutic use of spikenard
essential oil is a sedative, (valerian was a blue print for vallium) and it can be used to treat a
variety of nervous disorders.

Spikenard is antispasmodic against digestive problems, such as convulsions and intestinal colic.
Decongesting to the circulation, it is helpful in reducing varicose veins and haemorrhoids.

TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia)/Myrtaceae

Originating in Australia, the tea tree has been used for its oil for centuries by the aborigines – the
early settlers are reputed to have used he leaves to make ‘tea’. The essential oil is extracted by
steam distillation.

The Tree is a powerful antiseptic, with the advantage of being non-toxic, and its aroma is an
effective insect repellent.

When used in gargles, mouthwashes, inhalations or vaporisers, it is a most effective bactericide,
alleviating intestinal infections and bronchitis. Tea tree also gives relief to mouth ulcers, calms
diarrhoea and relieves gastroenteritis.

It is cooling and antifungal properties are effective against athlete’s foot and nail bed infections.
Relieves boils and rashes, soothes sunburn and encourages healing of open wounds. Used in sitz
baths, douches, baths or application, essential oil of tea tree helps to clear vaginal thrush.

Tea tree oil and Eucalyptus should not be used on pets as cat and dog livers are not adapted to
eliminate the terpenes they contain and toxicosis can result

THYME, SWEET (Thymus vulgaris)/Lamiaceae

This herb, cultivated throughout Europe, is a small, creeping plant with delicate flowers and
leaves which yield essential oil under steam distillation. Unlike red thyme, sweet thyme essential
oil contains a high percentage of alcohols and is very pale in colour with a sweet aroma.

Sweet thyme is a good general stimulant, lifting depression, and is a powerful antiseptic with a
long list of indications, among them asthma, rheumatism, insomnia, flatulence, hypotension,
colds and flu and hair loss.

It is gentle in action, making it safe to use on children.

Sweet thyme is of great importance in balancing emotions, from anger to grief and jealousy; very
powerful for coping with mood swings.

SPIKENARD (Nardostachys jatamansi)/Valerianacea

Closely related to valerian, this plant is often called ‘false’ valerian. It is one of the oils mentioned
in the Bible, both in Old and New Testaments. The most important therapeutic use of spikenard
essential oil is a sedative, (valerian was a blue print for vallium) and it can be used to treat a
variety of nervous disorders.

Spikenard is antispasmodic against digestive problems, such as convulsions and intestinal colic.
Decongesting to the circulation, it is helpful in reducing varicose veins and haemorrhoids.

VETIVER (Vetiveria zizanioides)/Poaceae

This perennial grass is native to tropical Asia. It is now cultivated in Indonesia, Brazil, Angola
and the Far East. The clear, yellow essential oil is extracted from the dried root by steam

Vetiver has excellent antiseptic and tonic properties, being useful as an immunostimulant and in
the treatment of acne and other skin infections. It is also helpful for irregular periods and is a
tonic to both the liver and pancreas.

YLANG YLANG (Cananga odorata)/Anonceae

About Carriers

Anything that ‘carries’ an essential oil into the body is known in aromatherapy as a carrier. The
carrier in inhalation is air; in the bath it is the water; in massage it is the vegetable oil. If essential
oils are added to a lotion or cream for self-application, then each of these is acting as a carrier.
Vegetable oils, macerated oil and white lotion are the most common carriers for application to the

Aromatherapy carrier oils, unlike those used in cooking, have not been heated, refined, bleached
or re-coloured, all of which destroy the natural properties. These cold pressed, unrefined oils are
best, as they retain all their natural, vital and beneficial properties which, although not as
powerful as those of the essential oils, are still desirable in a treatment. A whole body massage
will require about 10-15ml of carrier oil and only 4-6 drops of essential oil.

A non-greasy lotion is invaluable for self-application, where an oil may be unnecessarily greasy.
A lotion is absorbed immediately, leaving grease-free, smooth skin.

It is vital that the carrier is of an equally high quality as the essential oils which you use, as it
makes up at least 95% of the mix and can dramatically affect the quality of the blend.

The Carrier Oils

Sweet almond oil is one of the most useful carrier oils and is excellent for the protection of the
skin, being emollient, nourishing and softening.

These oils are similar to each other and are rich in vitamins. Natural moisturisers, they are
excellent for feeding the skin, and are immediately absorbed.

A rich oil, invaluable o add to a base vegetable oil at 10-25%. It has healing properties, and is rich
in lecithin and vitamins A, B and D. Avocado oil is expressed from the dried fruits, which gives it its natural deep green colour. In cold weather, it may sometimes appear cloudy, indicating that the
oil has not been refined and is therefore of good quality.

A highly beneficial oil, pressed from the seeds, evening primrose is useful for dry, scaly skin.
Rich in vitamins E and F and in GLA (gamma linoleic acid), this excellent natural moisturiser has
a regenerative effect, helping to maintain the natural softness and suppleness of youthful skin.


The oil has a lovely light texture leaving the skin satin smooth. It is a good base for bruises and
skin problems.
Mostly available as a refined oil, grapeseed is very fine, light, odourless and colourless. It

penetrates the skin, leaving a smooth sating finish.
A very rich oil, good for dry skin. It contains proteins, vitamins and minerals and is often added

to other carrier oils (from 10-25%) because of the natural preservative powers due to its vitamin E

A synergistic blend of grapeseed, avocado and wheatgerm, which penetrates the skin easily. The
added wheatgerm helps the keeping qualities whilst the avocado enriches the mix.

CALENDULA (Macerated in sunflower oil)
A vegetable oil, usually sunflower oil, is used to absorb the healing properties from flowers. The
resulting oil has a very beneficial effect on the skin, relieving eczema and protecting against
chapping and cracking.

HYPERICUM (Macerated in olive oil)
(Also known as St Johns Wort)
The flowering tops from the plant are macerated in olive oil, producing a highly beneficial deep

red oil. The colour comes from the buds which stain the fingers red if pressed between them.
Hypericum oil is excellent for use on the skin as it is soothing and antiseptic, and healing to burns
and bruises.

JOJOBA (Liquid wax)

Jojoba is obtained from the jojoba nut and is a very beneficial oil for all types of skin conditions,
especially oily and problem skins. It lubricates and protects without blocking pores. Being a wax,
it has an extremely long shelf life.

LIME BLOSSOM OIL (Macerated in sunflower oil)

The flowers of the lime blossom are used to make relaxing tea. The oil is also relaxing, aiding
sleep. It is effective in fighting mature skin and wrinkles.

MELISSA (Macerated in sunflower oil)

The second cutting of Melissa is used to make this oil which is useful in the treatment of
headaches and dry, mature skin. With the addition of the appropriate essential oils its benefits are
increased, especially for ‘heavy legs’ and cellulite.


A unique product based entirely on natural vegetable products, this lotion has been especially
formulated for aromatherapy as a perfect carrier for essential oils. Easily absorbed, this fine light
lotion is ideal when a carrier oil is though to be too greasy or inconvenient. It is absorbed readily
into the skin, leaving a completely non-greasy, smooth feeling. The lotion has excellent keeping
qualities and can be enriched by the addition of up to 25% of calendula or another carrier oil
thought to be beneficial.

How does aromatherapy work?

Aromatherapy works in two ways:


Essential oils vaporise readily and can therefore enter the body via the air through the
nose and bronchial passages. Adding a few drops of essential oil to a tissue, a bowl of hot
water, or to a warm bath, releases the vapour, which is then inhaled. During massage
there is also a degree of inhalation as the oils vaporise due to body heat.

An aroma can have an immediate effect on the mind and the body. Tiny hair-like
extensions of the brain at the top of the nose detect all aromas, which are rapidly
interpreted by the brain. The faster the stimuli can reach the brain, the faster the effect
will take place. Just 20 molecules can stimulate the limbic brain. Less is more!


Essential oils are absorbed through the skin directly to the bloodstream via carriers such
as water (baths, compresses), vegetable oils, lotions and creams (application and
massage). Compresses are the most effective way to absorb essential oils.

Traditionally in the UK essential oils have been used hand-in-hand with massage,
which utilises another important sense – that of touch. People who are not well, or are
stressed, benefit simply by the touch of another human being. Old people and people
suffering from diseases such as cancer can benefit enormously from the power of touch;
in fact we all can. Touch in itself brings us closer to others and immediately helps us to
de-stress, making an aromatherapy treatment a double benefit to a person’s health.

Although the effects of using a single essential oil are beneficial to the health, the
synergistic effect of using 2-4 essential oils adds considerably to the improvement shown;
it also ensures that an oil needing care in use is not over used, as it is proportion will
automatically be substantially reduced. Safety first. To avoid irritation or toxicosis the
total number of drops used should not exceed those given below.

Helping Common Health Problems

Using two or three oils together usually increases the benefits received.

The vast majority of essential oils are uses in food, flavouring, perfumes and in the home
first aid kit to treat common ailments using the esthetic and antimicrobial, antiviral and
antifungal properties of essential oils. Research has confirmed using three essential oils
together results in a synergy which makes the mix more effective. Here are some recipes
for home use

All pure essential oils are ready for use in the following ways:

Inhalation and vaporisation

Essential oils are a first line of defence against a viral epidemic, to repel insects, for
coughs and congestion and for meditation. It is particularly pleasing to create a festive
mood by diffusing oils at Noel. Families sometimes find it difficult to express their
feelings and essential oils can help.

A few drops (6-8) on a paper tissue or in a basin of warm water (not asthmatics).

Room Freshener

Put 10-12 drops (with water) onto a small bowl in a warm place, i.e. radiator shelf or on a
paper kitchen towel on the radiator itself. As an attractive alternative and for use in the
summer months, use and efficient oil burner.

An anti infectious blend – Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Teatree
An insect repellent – Cedarwood, Citronella, Basil (1 drop)
For meditation – Frankincense, Cypress, Juniper
For coughs and congestion – Benzoin, Pine, Eucalyptus

Add 5-10 drops of oil to the water when the bath is full. No more than 5 drops for
children under 12. 1 drop of lavender for babies. Always check the specific safety data
in this guide or online before using a new oil.

A stimulating morning bath – Rosemary, Juniper,
A relaxing evening bath – Chamomile, Lavender, Rose
A sensual bath – Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Jasmine
A bath for aches and pains – Lavender, Rosemary,

Gargle or Mouthwash

Use 2-3 drops in half a cupful of warm water; stir well before each gargle.

Foot and Hand Baths

4-5 drops in half a cupful of warm water; steep for 10 minutes. Follow with application

Massage or Skin Oil Application

15 drops in 50ml carrier oil like sweet almond oil or grapeseed or white lotion to be
massaged into the affected area. (For single applications use 2-3 drops in one teaspoon
carrier oil or white lotion.)

An oil for muscular tension – Marjoram, Rosemary,
Blackpepper (1 drop),
An oil for cellulitis – Fennel, Geranium, Juniper
An oil for nervous anxiety – Lavender, Neroli, Clary Sage
A rejuvenating facial oil – Rose, Neroli, Frankincense

Massage can be applied to the whole body or to specific parts eg the shoulders for
muscular tension resulting from poor posture or driving, the stomach for indigestion.

A light touch called the ‘M’ technique for hospital and hospice care has been developed
by Jane Buckle involving 5 minutes touch to the hands and feet.


Pour just enough hot water (or cold, depending on the problem) into a bowl to be soaked
up in the size of cotton compress chosen (experience and practice will soon make it easy
to determine the quantity necessary) and add 4-8 drops of essential oil. Squeeze slightly,
apply and cover with clingfilm, then a warm scarf (or ice pack). Leave for two hours. A
compress is of great use in clinical aromatherapy as 75% of the essential oil is absorbed
by the skin compared to 4% absorbtion in a massage blend.

Neat Application

Neat application to the skin should be avoided but it is safe to use Lavender (just a drop)
on wounds, bruises and scars. Some people (about 1% of us) are sensitive to essential
oils and should avoid them. Check the oil label to which haptens you might be sensitive.
Avoid oils which can cause irritation and patch test for irritation by a putting a diluted
drop on the inside of the elbow. In the rare case that irritation occurs wash with warm
water immediately. For coldsores, burns and wounds use from fingertips once or twice
only, followed by application (above) at regular intervals. Take care not to over apply tea
tree to fungal infections of the foot and toenails however tempting it may be. Tea tree
and Eucalyptus should never be applied to cats and dogs as their livers are not adapted to
plant material.


1 teabag. 1½ pints boiling water. 2-3 drops essential oils, stir well. Remove teabag. Drink
1 cup 3 times daily and/or at bedtime.

Today the sense of smell or touch is so undervalued that those who encounter
aromatherapy for the first time get a sense of great enthusiasm as they reconnect to their
environment. In personal use aromatherapy can help

1. Relieve stress
2. Treat minor first aid cases like warts, burns and stings
3. Treat and normalise different skin types like oily, eczema or acne skin
4. Relieve the symptoms of hayfever and sinusitis
5. As everyday cosmetics
6. To help prevent and treat common ailments
7. For sports injuries and to support exercise programs
8. As a preventative measure to ward off infections and maintain health and vitality
in body and mind
9. To create a fragrant and hygienic environment
10. A personal perfumes enabling you to create your own signature perfume or to
match your mood

I use the word can because nothing is certain. Essential oils vary from field to field and
season to season and our bodies have individual reactions to their constituents. This
variation is the secret of their power and success but it means they are not medicine.

To gain the benefit of aromatherapy certain cautions should be borne in mind:

1. Avoid Rosemary if you have high blood pressure as this stimulating oil raises
blood pressure
2. Avoid Citrus oils if you are sensitive to them. Do not go out into sunlight or use a
sunbed for 2 hours after applying citrus oil to the skin
3. Do not use essential oils at home to treat medical or psychological problems
which require medical attention or an appointment with an aromatherapist.
4. Undiluted essential oils should never be used neat on the skin (unless in an
emergency for such things as burns, bruises, wounds etc.).
5.  Do not take essential oils internally unless under the supervision of a suitably
medically qualified person.
6. Do not use essential oils on young babies under one, although a baby massage
with carrier oil or a drop in the bath of lavender is safe.
7. Keep essential oils away from children and out of eyes. If essential oil gets in the
eyes flush with milk which will dissolve the oil.
8. Check for contra-indications to any oils for specific conditions such as pregnancy,
sun-bathing or any major health problem you may have, and if your choice is
contra indicated; do not use essential oils on a regular basis or in a concentration
of more than 2%.
9. Store in dark bottles away from light and heat. Discard after the manufacturers
sell by date as the contents will have oxidised.
10. Buy essential oils from a reputable supplier such as members of the
Aromatherapy Trades Council and Soil Association.

NB: Most contra-indications are based on the over use of concentrated oils on a regular
basis on the skin or by ingestion. When used as recommended in most aromatherapy
books (i.e. in a controlled manner) the amounts used do not constitute a hazard. Aspirins,
carrots and vitamins, if consumed in large quantities, are also contra-indicated for good


Mix your own perfume in a little bottle and put 6 drops:

onto a small cotton wool ball attached to your underclothes,

in a teaspoonful of carrier lotion to apply to the skin. Jojoba or Evening Primrose
oil or Argan make ideal carriers for your favourite perfume mix. Dab the mix on
the wrists, neck and behind the ears

Refreshing scents – Geranium, Bergamot, Juniper,

Relaxing scents – Lavender, Cedarwood, Neroli, Rose

Aphrodisiac scents – Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Sandalwood,

Anaphrodisiac scent – Sweet marjoram

An Aromatherapy Treatment

In a typical aromatherapy session, the aromatherapist will ask questions about previous
medical history, general health, nutrition and exercise as well as a person’s lifestyle. This
will help the practitioner decide which essential oils are safe and the most appropriate for
the individual. The ultimate experience of the combined effects of smell and touch is the
professional aromatherapy treatment, which is unsurpassed in the field of complementary
medicine for relieving stress.

What more could you ask of a health giving treatment than one which releases the most
wonderful aromas, at the same time relaxing and healing the body! The aromatherapist
will select two or more essential oils to help you emotional and physical state as well as
your symptoms, and will offer appropriate advice for home treatment. After selecting
and blending appropriate essential oils, the aromatherapist may apply the oils in
combination with massage or suggest other methods if massage is unsuitable. A
specialised massage technique which relieves tension, drains lymph fluid and improves
circulation, will help to rejuvenate the body, removing aches and pains and generally
promoting balanced, good health. Most aromatherapists then carry out a facial treatment
to help general congestion and problems such as acne, blackheads, or excessive dryness.

Regular 4-6 weekly treatments (together with self-help home treatment using oils mixed
specially for you by you or your aromatherapist) will keep your mind relaxed and your
body healthy and in good condition.Aromatherapy treatments are effective against stress,
depression, arthritis, asthma, period problems, cellulite and many more conditions.

Localised and chronic conditions like sinusitis, bronchitis, leg cramps etc., can be
alleviated by local massage from an aromatherapist, and/or advised home treatment using
specially selected oils. Minor problems respond well to aromatherapy used at home
together with a reliable book. HOWEVER, if you have an acute or serious problem, SEE

Aromatherapy is thought to produce both psychological and physiological effects and is
mostly used for stress and stress related conditions. Aromatherapy is used in a variety of
healthcare settings, including hospitals and hospices.

Choosing a practitioner

It is important to choose a qualified practitioner who has undertaken all the necessary
training to understand the theory and practice of aromatherapy.

What is Professional Aromatherapy?

The Shirley Price Aromatherapy College trains students at the factory in Hinckley for professional aromatherapy.  There are over 6000 alumni of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma.  The Shirley Price International College of Aromatherapy with satellite schools overseas is dedicated to excellence in professional aromatherapy.  A professional aromatherapist undertakes 250 hours of classroom study from a qualified tutor and 450 hours of self directed study,  undertakes an anatomy and physiology qualification, submits case studies of treatments and has passed an independent practical and theoretical examination. 
Overall Aim of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma course.

The accredited course seeks to provide education and training opportunities in developing a proficient professional aromatherapist who has the ability to work within both the field of complementary and contemporary health care settings. The course will provide the student aromatherapist with the opportunity for self development and facilitate an awareness of the importance of evidence based practice within the field of Aromatherapy.

General Learning Outcomes of the course.
Knowledge and Understanding (theory) Outcomes. • Develop a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the principles of Aromatherapy from a historical and philosophical perspective. • Explore and develop an in depth understanding of the art and science of using aromatic materials safely, in a range of therapeutic treatments. • Examine the concept of health, illness, a range of medical conditions and the factors which may impact upon Aromatherapy as a therapeutic intervention. • Develop an in depth understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body in relation to a range of body work techniques in Aromatherapy. • Identify and evaluate the necessary skills to assess individual needs and the implementation of appropriate treatment, based on sound research-based evidence. • Recognise and critically appraise the importance of personal and professional development and the need for life long learning in a critical and systematic way. • Explore and discuss the socio-economic and political factors from a national and local perspective. Practice/Ability Outcomes. • Apply a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of Aromatherapy in assessing the needs of the individual. • Demonstrate and justify the use of a variety of therapeutic skills within a chosen practice setting. • Create a safe and appropriate working environment, taking into account the socio-economic and political influences which may impact on professional practice. • Utilise reflective practice and the use of personal and professional development within the boundaries of client management. •

Demonstrate and utilise knowledge of an evidence base to support decisions for chosen Aromatherapy treatment plans.  Course Components. Aromatherapy Syllabus. (120 hours) Therapeutic Massage Syllabus. (60hours) Anatomy and Physiology Syllabus.(50 hours) Case Studies. In addition theory/class contact hours at least 4 hourly treatment sessions on 10 clients is required, totalling no less than 60 hours.

Massage Practice. At least 5 full body massages on 10 clients is also required. Both case studies and massage practice should be recorded in a practice portfolio which will be part of the practical examination.


Here I have picked out some useful research articles.  As you know from my talks I see great potential in the lactones and in the 5 carbon ring components found in essential oils.  Here I give you some feel for the latest in aromatherapy practice and research.
While we are against animal testing of cosmetics that does not extend to tests for therapeutic benefit and in particular on the effects of the aromas on the mind.
How can aromatherapy help?  in particular aromatherapy can help by clearly communicating to research scientists
1.  What oils clinical practice indicates should be the oils to study;
2.  an understanding of the nature of essential oils in particular that they represent of mix of over 100 small chemicals;
3.  the need to analyse the essential oil studied as composition varies widely;
4.  the need to source essential oil that is fresh season so unoxidised and of the highest quality;
5.  the need to study unadulterated essential oils, synthetic ingredients are commonly added to essential oils not grown specifically for aromatherapy and pharmacy to 'standardise' them for the needs of the flavour and fragrance trade;
6.  'Nature identical' essential oils are not the essential oils used in aromatherapy;
7.  the limited applicability of the 'principal constituent' which is the basis of pharmacology research as the active properties particularly in the aromas for the mind may depend on constituents present in tiny quantities and their interaction with other constituents.

The neuroscience is somewhat differant the perfumer aims for a dopamine release, for action, something of an addiction. The aromatherapist aims for CNS stimulation or depression. For freedom from addiction and the assertion of the context particularly in the treatment of depression or mental disorder. This is a useful article. Phytother Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):884-91. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3665. Epub 2011 Nov 15. 
Evaluation of the effects of plant-derived essential oils on central nervous system function using discrete shuttle-type conditioned avoidance response in mice. Essential oils of peppermint and chamomile exhibited CNS stimulant-like effects......EOs of orange, grapefruit, and cypress exhibited CNS depressant-like effects. Essential oils of eucalyptus and rose ..... they may exhibit some CNS acting effects. So this guides the perfume maker towards oils like Jasmine, Mandarin, Pepper and Vanilla and oils indicated for dopamine release and decrease of social anxiety also like Lemon and I am guessing Bergamot and Ylang.

You can reach for the gardenia and neroli. Perfume is interesting in that the aroma need not necessarily be particularly pleasant to move to action. The amygdala is wired for unpleasant aromas and essential oils dont upset it and move it without a little help. Aromatherapists observe that there are some funky constituents in some of the essential oils.

Synthetic and exotic perfumery ingredients take us into 'negative' values and mood states which are nonetheless motivational to action, while the essential oils tend to take us in 'positive' if less motivational mood states. Hence the need for perfumers to have both at their disposal. Negative and Positive are of course two sides of the same coin and you cant have one without the other unless you really seek a monk or nuns contemplation of the mind. Still there are some essential oils which can give a smokier (per fume as in through the smoke in the latin) and more alarming base to a natural perfume. Vetiver and Cistus for example as well as smokier sweeter scents like that from burnt frankincense resin. So its still possible to create a perfume. However the rub is that it will be for one batch only. The robot machines which faithfully replicate the formula of commercial perfumes are no use as each batch of essential oil varies in composition. The interesting thing about natural perfumes is that they let us add dimensions to the sensation for example the addition of 'warming' or digestive oils like ginger to a standard blend of basil, bergamot and ylang. This is particularly helpful for male fragrances.

Research update

Heres is a 2012 update on the oils Basil to Eucalyptus, Research shows

Basil (contains R - - Linalool 90%) reduces stress levels.
Benzoin (contains Benzoic acid 40%)  to have skin anti aging antioxidative properties.
Bergamot oil (contains limonene 50%, linalyl acetate 25%)  and diazepam exhibited anxiolytic-like behaviours and attenuated HPA axis activity by reducing the corticosterone response to stress.
Black pepper shows a beneficial effect in hypertension and increased uptake of selenium and curcumin.  Black pepper also shows an increased swallowing response. 
Chamomile has a beneficial effect in skincare, chamomile has a stimulant effect on the CNS
Research shows chamomile may provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity that occurs in addition to its previously observed anxiolytic activity.
Aromatic oil massage with clary sage provided relief for outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea and reduced the duration of menstrual pain.
 Cypress shows a CNS depressant effect reducing anxiety. 
 Eucalyptus has some effect on the CNS but is not a CNS stimulant or a CNS depressant.  Research shows besides antimicrobial effects eucalyptus oil has an analgesic (pain relieving) effect. 
Make sure you include this important research paper in your studies.  We are going to hear a lot more from this kind of research on the use of aromas for the mind to relieve fear and anxiety experienced in trauma.
Phytother Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):884-91. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3665. Epub 2011 Nov 15.
Evaluation of the effects of plant-derived essential oils on central nervous system function using discrete shuttle-type conditioned avoidance response in mice.
Umezu T.
Biological Imaging and Analysis Section, Center for Environmental Measurement and Analysis, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan.
Although plant-derived essential oils (EOs) have been used to treat various mental disorders, their central nervous system (CNS) acting effects have not been clarified. The present study compared the effects of 20 kinds of EOs with the effects of already-known CNS acting drugs to examine whether the EOs exhibited CNS stimulant-like effects, CNS depressant-like effects, or neither. All agents were tested using a discrete shuttle-type conditioned avoidance task in mice. Essential oils of peppermint and chamomile exhibited CNS stimulant-like effects; that is, they increased the response rate (number of shuttlings/min) of the avoidance response. Linden also increased the response rate, however, the effect was not dose-dependent. In contrast, EOs of orange, grapefruit, and cypress exhibited CNS depressant-like effects; that is, they decreased the response rate of the avoidance response. Essential oils of eucalyptus and rose decreased the avoidance rate (number of avoidance responses/number of avoidance trials) without affecting the response rate, indicating that they may exhibit some CNS acting effects. Essential oils of 12 other plants, including juniper, patchouli, geranium, jasmine, clary sage, neroli, lavender, lemon, ylang-ylang, niaouli, vetivert and frankincense had no effect on the avoidance response in mice.

Research F-P 

Research shows
aroma hand massage with a blend containing frankincense had a positive effect on pain and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer;
 the stimulating/activating effect of jasmine oil and provides evidence for its use in aromatherapy for the relief of depression and uplifting mood in humans;
the relaxing effect of a mixture of lavender and bergamot oils. This synergistic blend provides evidence for its use in medicine for treating depression or anxiety in humans.
The use of antibiotics has resulted in fewer combat amputations and the traditional use of lavender oil in dressing wounds and burns has fallen into disuse. However research into the uses of lavender into generalised anxiety disorder and its other medically recognised therapeutic properties continues unabated.  Lavender oil is prescribed in capsules for a variety of disorders.
Lemon oil lowers systolic blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity.
Mandarin (and limonene  its principal constituent) to have antiproliferative activiity against lung and liver cancer cells.
partially confirmed the anti-agitation effects of melissa oil dropped onto a patients pjama collar.  There is a difficulty in methodology as agitation is difficult to structure into double blind placebo trials. The latest conclusion is that “When assessed using a rigorous design which ensures blinding of treatment arms, there is no evidence that melissa aromatherapy is superior to placebo or donepezil, in the treatment of agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease. However, the sizeable improvement in the placebo group emphasizes the potential non-specific benefits of touch and interaction in the treatment of agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease.”
Research is lacking but myrhh resin is commonly burnt in birthing in the middle east.  Myrhh oil and other essential oils may prove to have a role in the emerging psychotherapies for trauma.
Research does not confirm neroli has an anxiety reducing effect.  Neroli clearly is a pleasurable fragrance.  However neroli has neither a CNS stimulating or depressant effect.  This is perhaps a case pending research that aromatherapy has to assume the claimed properties for neroli are incorrect.
Research on patchouli and other oils shows short term exposure of relaxing/stimulating essential oils do not result in an effect on immune response.  This is perhaps a case where aromatherapy could have guided researchers to test oils known for their immunostimulant effect.
Research on orange bitter oil and sweet orange oil  focuses on odour uses. Orange oil shows a CNS Depressive effect reducing anxiety
Research on petitgrain essential oil is focussed on its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. 
Research focuses on the antioxidant and preservative qualities of pine essential oil with a variety of pine oils studied.

Research R-Y 

Research shows
inhalation of rose oil can reduce stress induced disruption of the skin barrier.
the improved anti aging cognitive effects of using rosemary oil
the chemopreventative qualities of sandalwood.  Antiviral properties are currently being studied.
Research has focussed on the antifunghal and general antimicrobial activity of tea tree oil.
Research has focussed on the antimicrobial properties of thyme oils properties of thyme oils in particular on their effectiveness against antibiotic resistant organisms like MRSA (superbugs).  There has been a renaissance of research interest in essential oils not only through concern over side effects of long term use of pharmaceuticals but the development of antibiotic resistant microbial strains.
Research shows that ylang-ylang oil may be characterized by the concept of "harmonization" rather than relaxation/sedation. Compared to an odorless placebo, ylang-ylang oil caused significant decreases in blood pressure and pulse rate as well as significant increases of subjective attentiveness and alertness.


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 poisonous 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 refrigerator.

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 internally. 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 measure.

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
it. Seek medical advice, taking the appropriate labelled bottle with you.

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 oil.  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:
Camphor Cinnamomum camphorus
Cassia Cinnamomum cassia
Cinnamon (Bark) Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Fennel (Bitter) Foeniculum vulgare
Origanum Origanum vulgare
Origanum (Spanish) Thymus capitatus
Sage Salvia officinalis
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 massage 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 list  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
imminent) toxic (used with care only over short periods) - is vital, but let’s not forget that the client comes into the equation too!

Before a client is treated a full case history must be taken 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 you 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
allergies. 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 toxic.

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 pregnancy.

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 there is any history of miscarriage.

Chamomile (German) Matricaria chamomilla
Chamomile (Roman) Anthemis nobilis
Lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Rose Rosa centifolia/damascena

Pregnacy is a red flag where most essential oils are concerned.  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 treatment.

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, an aromatherapist will refer the client to their doctor.


Aromatherapy practice update

Saloni Molhatra RN BSN HNB-BC CCAP

The Benefits of Clinical Aromatherapy in Hospice, Palliative, and End-of-Life Care – 9 Case studies

Saloni Malhotra RN BSN HNB-BC CCAP
 A paper prepared for the Robert Tisserand Weekend Seminar entitled Aromatherapy Research and the synergy of essential oil constituents held May 12,13 2012 Imperial College London.
I work as a RN Case Manager and Holistic Nurse Consultant and Educator for Compassionate Care Hospice (CCH) in Boston, Massachusetts. When I joined CCH in June 2008, the company was just opening its Boston office and was very receptive to using a holistic approach. At CCH we are utilizing reiki, guided imagery, music therapy, massage, art therapy, pet therapy, aromatherapy, and reflexology. In the previous three hospices I have worked for, some nurses did reiki, volunteers did massage, brought pets for visits, or played music, but an applied holistic approach care-planned is still virtually unheard of. Some hospices have a few lavender-bergamot blends made and use them for dementia patients, but have never used clinical aromatherapy to manage symptoms, where every blend is custom made with a look at the patient’s diagnosis, medication list, and allergies. This is what makes my job so unique and rewarding when I bear witness to the difference it makes in the life of my patients.
For the purpose of this paper I will be focusing and sharing with you what a blessing the use of clinical aromatherapy has been to our patients in improving their quality of life, often with astounding results. First a little bit about my journey and how I arrived to this point.
Nursing is my second career; my previous degrees were in English literature and Mass Communication. Since both degrees were from India, I really could not proceed very far with them in the United States, and my aptitude test indicated I would do well in nursing. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 1992 and took a circuitous route that involved hospital, rehab, and long-term care until I arrived at hospice and found my niche, as long as I got to do holistic. Having been born and raised in India until I was 22, my roots and upbringing kept me anchored to homeopathic, ayurvedic, herbal, and kitchen remedies. I also knew reflexology, some acupressure, massage, and meditation.
After getting my feet wet and adjusting to working in a hospital, I was restless and desired for something more from my nursing practice. I wanted to be able to bring more to my patients than I was able to provide. In 1994 and 1995, I learned reiki and found that piece. In 1996, I learned to teach reiki and found the more I taught, the more learning pathways appeared. At present, I am certified in 23 different modalities. I am also a registered aesthetician. Clinical Aromatherapy application is marvelous in both my practices.
I studied Dr. Jane Buckle’s Clinical Aromatherapy for Health Professionals program. It was taught by Kathleen Duffy in four modules. We studied chemistry, 33 essential oils considered safe for clinical use, and did a case study for each of the 33 oils, to cultivate a relationship between essential oils and carrier oils. It concluded with a research paper that had to be presented and defended and, of course, the written exam.
All this took a lot of time, effort, and money. The rewards from the study and applications have far exceeded my wildest expectations. They have elevated my nursing practice and improved the quality of care that I (and our hospice team) deliver to our patients. Clinical Aromatherapy is a passion I love to share with others.
Quality of Life and Death/Dying
In USA, Medicare has a specific criterion for hospice eligibility for each diagnosis. Every hospice has a team that encompasses a registered nurse, a social worker, a chaplain, and a home health aide to provide patient care. Volunteers are provided when accepted. The main goal for the team is to help the patient live and die in comfort and with dignity, while having their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs met. I have often found the LIVE part often gets overlooked and all the focus is on dying. Time is of the essence for everybody, but especially when you are on hospice. A hospice team often has a very small window of opportunity to meet a patients living and dying needs. A patient’s needs encompass the patient’s caregivers and whomever they call family. Our hospice team collectively does the live and dies exceptionally well holistically.
I will present 9 different patients and how they LIVED well and DIED well, and how Clinical Aromatherapy remedies assisted them to do so.
Patient privacy is being maintained, so all names have been changed. The diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes/results are factual.
Marlene P
Marlene was an attractive 56 year young woman, who had a diagnosis of stomach cancer with metastasis.
When I met Marlene for the first time it was for an informational, after her doctor’s office recommended hospice. The faxed paperwork indicated that Marlene had abdominal surgery to remove her stomach and the goal was to put a j-tube in, but when they opened her up, the cancer had spread all over the abdominal cavity. Given the fact that she had a history of juvenile diabetes, she was not a candidate for chemotherapy and/or radiation.
During our informational, Marlene was angry, weepy, and had a laundry list of complaints. Her doctor’s assistant had wished me, “Good Luck, she is the most temperamental patient we have. A real drama queen!” My intention when I saw her was to set aside that comment and be open to assist her to the best of my capability. She showed me her stomach incision: two centimeters looked infected, red, warm, swollen, and draining. She had severe nausea, her blood sugars were all over the place, she had not moved her bowels in five days, she hated taking medications, and she was in excruciating pain. She did not like taking “all these stupid pain pills that make me a space cadet.”
Marlene used half a box of tissues during our two hour informational. I knew she was anxious because she shred the tissues she used. She screamed, “Look at me! Just look at me! I was a perfect 140 pounds three months ago and now I am down to 103 pounds. I have no boobs left, look at my stomach I’ll never wear a bikini again. I am not ready to die.”
Marlene had questions about the holistic aspect of our hospice, which I answered while doing reiki per her request. She concluded our session by stating, “I think I will call Dana Farber for a second opinion about my cancer.” I left, wishing her well.
The next morning she called to request hospice because, “Whatever you did, I pooped after you left and my pain was less, I felt better and lighter.”
Marlene admitted herself to hospice. She was alone for both the informational and the admission. That in itself was unprecedented in my experience to date. Most patients have a significant other, children, siblings, a friend, or a health care proxy (HCP) with them; supporting them during the admission process. Marlene was estranged from everybody; she lived alone. Her daughters were estranged, as well as her significant other, an 80 year old wealthy man, who was with a younger woman so,  “She can care for me. I am too old to take care of somebody who is dying.”
Marlene’s diverse needs presented a huge challenge to the team. My first visit post admission, I honored her request for no additional pills by bringing her a ginger essential oil sniffer to manage her nausea and vomiting. She used it (with refills) throughout her six months on hospice. She never needed any anti-emetic. She went on to eat with a preference for pepperoni pizza and macaroni and cheese. We did get her weight up to 117 pounds.
I used a blend of Tea-Tree and Myrrh in Aloe Vera for the infected incision and applied it two times daily until it healed. By then, Marlene was complaining about abdominal cramps and deep muscle pain. I used a 10% blend of Lemongrass and Clary Sage in Jojoba Oil. I ended up adding Sweet Marjoram because of its ability to increase peristalsis. She was on Dilaudid, a narcotic for pain management, refusing to be on a bowel regimen, but agreed to drinking 6 ounces of apple cider daily and eating applesauce three times a day to keep the bowels moving. By no means idyllic but it did the job. I want to add here that Marlene decided she wanted to rent a cottage at Hampton Beach one last time. We had to contract with another hospice in New Hampshire to visit her two times during that week, to meet her needs while she was there. She ended up extending her stay for two weeks. It was reported that she opened the cottage door for the New Hampshire Hospice nurse wearing a red bikini. The essential oils had healed her so well, there was no scarring. No conventional medical treatment would have allowed such healing, especially to somebody with low protein and albumin and metastasized with cancer. Wound healing protocols here also call for Zinc and Vitamin C. Her diet was not particularly good quality or protein rich.
Marlene’s anxiety was managed with flute music and a blend of LavenderBergamot, and Angelica. Angelica was used for its hug-around-the-heart benefit. After using a combination of guided-imagery/visualization, music, and aromatherapy, I invited her to visualize her perfect passing. We did this 6 times. Marlene passed exactly as we visualized. She stayed continent until 2 days before she passed, on very few medications, and she reconciled with her brother. He and her nieces were present, the flute music was playing, the scent of aromatherapy permeated the air, and she was in her own bed, with her hair looking perfect. Needless to say, Mother Nature’s bounty played a major role in helping her live well.
Peter P
Peter was a 72 year young engineer, a much loved husband, and a father of two children. He came to us with a diagnosis of Lung Cancer with metastasis to the brain. Peter was also status post surgery for removal of a brain tumor. His persistent headaches had prompted him to seek medical attention when they got really severe and unresponsive to Acetaminophen. By the time he was diagnosed, his cancer had metastasized to the point that it was difficult to pinpoint the originating site. He declined further treatment opting to enjoy the time he had left with his family.
His hospital discharge papers and prognosis gave him two weeks to live. His symptoms to manage were nausea, Charlie-Horses/severe leg cramps, and bilateral heels which had multiple cracks that were like fissures. The cracks were so deep you could have slid a dime halfway, and they were very painful.
Peter was admitted to our hospice at the end of November. He verbalized, “I just have two wishes, I want to live to see my only grandchild’s first Christmas, and I want to be able to walk up and down my living room holding and carrying him so that my daughter and son-in-law can sleep-in during the mornings when they come on Fridays from New Jersey.” Peter’s problem was the fissures in the heels, which made walking painful and difficult.
The only treatment I knew that could help his heels heal fast and also help with the Charlie-Horses/leg cramps was holistic - using essential oils. I explained this to Peter and his wife; I also made sure they understood that essential oils stained. They were open to Peter wearing sweatpants and doing a twice daily application of the blend I made. I used Almond oil with a 7% titration of German and Roman chamomile. I selected German chamomile because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and Roman chamomile for its anti-spasmodic effect. The heels healed within 9 days; all fissures in both heels closed. Peter slept well all night without Charlie-horses, except for one night when he slept at his son’s house and forgot the essential oil blend at home. We used a ginger sniffer for the nausea throughout and visualization of him being present for his grandson’s Christmas. Peter passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family. He was on hospice for two months, without morphine or oxygen until his last week. Essential oil use gave his life the quality he desired. He had 5 weekends and Christmas morning of walking his grandson, until he was too weak.
Jim C
Jim came to us with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer with metastasis to the brain. His symptoms to manage were severe pain, constipation, and depression. He was 87 years old. Jim also had the the worst case of psoriasis and eczema I had ever seen. Except for the soles of his feet and a very concave stomach, he pretty much had skin that was red, dry, flaky, peeling, blotchy, and itchy, as evidenced by numerous scratch marks on both arms and legs. I asked his sister, his health care proxy, if I could use some essential oils to treat his psoriasis. She replied, “Oh nothing works on him. Trust me we have tried everything over the years. Jim has had it since he was fifteen.” Jim had never been on a date, never socialized; he worked as a draftsman and lived with his mother until her death. He was a recluse and a well known local artist, whose work was bought by galleries and donated to libraries. Jim lived in an apartment in an affluent assisted living facility. He also had private twenty-four hour care. I was informed he never left his apartment.
On admission, we do a complete assessment. After spending two hours with him, I had no clue to his eye color, or whether his sclera was white or slightly jaundiced. Jim closed his eyes and would not make any eye contact. Jim was a man of few words, he hardly spoke and when he did his words were mumbled, so I had to ask him to repeat his answers. Of course, we treated him around-the-clock medically for severe pain and titrated bowel medication to prevent constipation both with medications and diet. I was obsessed with treating his psoriasis and eczema, so I could get him comfortable.
Jim’s sister had agreed to the use of an essential oil blend, provided she did not have to pay for another useless treatment. In his care plan, I identified Jim as also having social pain related to social isolation. There is no drug to ease social pain. I went home and pulled out my essential oils and Jim’s medication list to see what would be suitable. Over the years I have learned not just to use my book and studied learning, but also to trust my intuition. While mulling German ChamomileHelichrysumFrankincenseMyrrhMandarin Red, I rejected them for Jim and chose a 5% titration each of Lavandula Augustifolia and Bergamot. My intention while I made Jim’s blend was to treat his skin and his depression. I instructed the private care giver to apply the essential oil using the less is more effective principle twice daily.
Jim was seen daily until we had his physical pain and symptoms managed. The private caregiver was instructed to call the hospice number 24/7 with any changes, questions, or concerns. I had last seen Jim on Thursday; I stopped on Sunday to follow up on some medication concerns.  Jim was not in his apartment. It really threw me off. All sorts of questions flew through my mind. Had he passed? Had the nurses at the assisted living facility sent him back to the hospital? I raced downstairs and asked the receptionist about him. She smiled at me and asked, “Are you Saloni?”
After my puzzled nod she gave me a hug and walked me towards the dining room.
I recognized the private caregiver, but I did not recognize Jim. This was not the Jim I had last seen on Thursday. His skin was clear, he was eating in the dining room, looking around, and smiling at people! I did a double take, and stopped five feet from the table and just stared, quite speechless. The private caregiver rushed to hug me exclaiming, “You are an angel. You made a miracle; he has no more skin problems. IT IS ALLGONE!” It had been 8 days since the essential oil was started.
I bent down and cupped Jim’s chin and said, “Jim you look absolutely amazing.” He cupped his hand over mine on his chin, made eye contact, his blue-grey eyes shining and smiling and whispered, “Thank you.”  It was the sweetest gift I have ever received and one I will always cherish. A true miracle brought forth by clinical aromatherapy and some intuition. Jim’s social pain was history. His sister was ecstatic.
Jim was on service for three months. He was at activities, in the dining room, and at music performances. He lived and died well!
Ralph S
Ralph spent 19 months in the hospital with a whopping staph infection and bilateral necrotic heels and feet. Ralph had a left sided Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) several years ago and was bed and wheel chair bound. He was told he needed bilateral above the knee amputation (AKA) secondary to severe peripheral neuropathy and gangrene in multiple toes. Ralph agreed to get his right small toe and three middle left toes amputated but refused the Bilateral AKA. He was on multiple IV antibiotics and lost 70 pounds in the hospital. He begged his family to take him home. He got discharged to home with Clostridium-Diffecele, and multiple diabetic foot ulcers to the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) for home care. After six months on VNA services, he was discharged to hospice as his feet, skin, and neuropathic pain got progressively worse. I met him and his drawer full of wound products during his post admission visit. After seeing the condition of both feet and legs, and talking to Ralph about his pain, I spoke with his daughter, his Health Care Proxy, and explained I used to be a wound nurse. I told her the products filled in the drawer were all good, but not what I desired to use for Ralph. With her approval and his physicians, I tried some holistic interventions that our hospice supplied. I started Ralph on a Tamanu oil leg and foot application. I picked Tamanu oil for its natural analgesic properties. I put Tamanu oil on a non-adhering pad and placed it against his heels and wrapped it in place.
Tamanu has been effective with burn patients and known to help with neuropathy. This was my intuition at work. Ralph’s feet were in such deplorable condition, they could not possibly get worse. His doctor, when he agreed to the treatment told me, “You will be calling me for Antibiotics all the time, just like the VNA nurses.”
Ralph has been on our hospice service since of July 2010. I have yet to call the physician for any antibiotics or medications! Ralphs toes continue to turn gray but bilateral necrotic heels have almost healed. When we first started the Tamanu oil there was drainage, and dressings were changed daily. Once the drainage stopped, the dressing was changed less frequency to two times each week.
Ralph is very prone to fungal infections of the groin, axilla, and abdomen. I have treated him with a 5% titration in Jojoba oil with Lemongrassand Palma Rosa, both selected for their anti-fungal properties. The mixture was applied once daily to the affected areas, and cleared in a week. We have done this 8 times since Ralph’s admission.
In October 2011, with a particularly bad snow storm with severe wind gusts and fallen trees, Ralph’s town lost power for 30 hours. His alternating pressure mattress deflated. When I saw him the next day he had progressed to a stage two wound. I used Tamanu oil again with a Tegaderm non-adhering island dressing that was changed every other day. The area healed within a week. Amazing Tamanu to Ralphs rescue!
Soon after we had the stage two healed, the home health aide left me a note to check the left side of Ralph’s neck. Ralph had always had a small pea size node near his left carotid artery. This node was now the size of a golf ball. I gently palpated the area and asked him if it hurt. It did not. I informed him since I did not know what it was, I would call his doctor and he could get it checked out. I spoke with Ralph’s daughter, who promised to get back to me after speaking with her four brothers, and getting their opinion. I did do reiki while I examined him and checked to see if the shape seemed regular or irregular. It was regular! Ralph expressed his desire to never have to go to a hospital again!
By my next visit three days later, his daughter had not yet called. Nature took the decision out of our hands the golf ball was oozing clear white drainage. I cleaned it with a normal saline gel, dried it, and applied an absorbent island dressing. I spoke with my boss about the necessity for daily visits secondary to the draining abscess’ proximity to the left carotid artery. The doctor and daughter were apprised about the change in condition.
The next day I used a 3% blend of Myrrh and Frankincense in an Aloe Vera gel. I picked Myrrh for its anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, good for wound qualities, and Frankincense for its analgesic, cicatrizing, immuno-stimulant properties. I applied the blend on an absorbent island dressing and to Ralph. For the next two days it drained copiously. Day 3 it trickled, day 4 it had scabbed and was less than half the size. I continued with the treatment and some reiki. Day 7, it was draining copiously again, it followed the same trickle scab, smaller course, and I continued the daily treatment. Day 14, I pulled the island dressing off and out popped a teardrop size white cyst intact. That was quite a wow moment for both Ralph and me. Two days later with continued treatment the skin healed perfectly. Now you cannot even tell he had a gaping hole on the side of his neck, right by his carotid.
Karen H
Karen was discharged to hospice services after surgery for throat cancer/laryngeal cancer. She had a tracheotomy and a J-tube for tube feeding. Prior to admission, she had been in and out of hospitals five times in the three months, with bilateral pneumonias and a number of pulmonary infections treated with IV antibiotics. Karen and her family were open to using a holistic respiratory spray twice daily. I made her the following respiratory spray in a 5% titration.
A little background history lifted from my research project is necessary understand my respiratory spray: My research project for the clinical aromatherapy program was titled, “The Effectiveness of Lavandula Angustifolia, Rosemarinus officinalis, Eucalyptus globulus & Cymbopogon martini var.motia on Preventing Upper Respiratory Infections (URI’S) in High Risk Healthcare Professionals”
The idea for this study first germinated while reading Dr. Jane Buckles Book, Clinical Aromatherapy-Essential Oils in Practice. I was in awe reading that hat, boot, and luggage makers did not get sick during the Black plague because of the use of essential oils. I tested this by making a respiratory spray and involving my co-workers. The spray was used by each participant twice daily while in their car, to be breathed in a contained space. The control group had rose-essence used in middle-eastern cooking. For my project, I played around with a whole list of essential oils that prevent infection and tested various small blends in 2 ounce spritzer bottles. The internet is a veritable storehouse of information. Dr. Buckle recommends Bob Harris’ database site published research articles. Information can be found either by Essential Oil or by disease. Just typing the words aromatherapy and bronchitis yielded 15 Essential oils that help with Bronchitis. You can also read research blogs. After sifting through too much information I finally picked the following 4 oils for the experimental group in the study. Lavandula Angustifolia, Rosemarinus officinalis, Eucalyptus globulus and Palma Rosa, Cymbopogon martini var.motia.
The first oil picked is probably the most recognized Essential Oil on the planet- Lavandula Angustifolia (True Lavender). It is also one of the safest essential oils. True Lavender was picked for its anti-septic, anti-venous, anti-viral, anti-biotic-effective against MRSA (Nelson R.), Typhoid, diphtheria, tuberculosis (Valet’s) & 75% against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Lorrondo et al). T. Lavender is also Fungi static (Perrucci et al), it may prevent fungal infections. True Lavender has anti-spasmodic qualities that would be beneficial for asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, and allergies. Since all the participants in the study were women aged 27 years old to 54 years old who worked in hospice, the PMS, calming, anti-depression-possibly as effective as Diazepam (Tissarand.R) were also deemed benefits from True Lavender.
The second oil Rosemarinus officinalis was selected for its anti-bacterial properties, because various studies indicate it is effective undiluted against 90-100% of some gram positive organisms as compared to gram negative organisms (Hethely et al). Rosemary Essential oil was tested to show good inhibition against Candida, Cryptococuss, and Mycobacterium. The relatively high anti-fungal activity of Rosemary could make it a potential in the use for AIDS patients with cryptococcal meningitis and pneumonia, and for a topical application to skin conditions and for diarrhea caused by Candida Albicans (Soliman et al). Rosemary was also selected because of its anti-inflammatory properties and because it increases alertness. All Hospice staff is on the road driving from patient to patient, using cell phones and juggling information, this was considered a fabulous added benefit.
The third oil Cymbopogon martini var.motia or Palma Rosa is a cosmetic industry favorite, particularly in “rose” soap. It has been found to be strongly anti-infectious, anti-fungal, especially Cryptococcus neoformans (Viollon et al), anti-bacterial-Staph aureus, E.coli, Klebsiella, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio (Pattnaik et al) anti-viral-the best antiviral (Maury.M), and an immune moderator working on Immunoglobulin A (IgA).Palma Rosa is considered by many the best oil to put into the air.
The fourth Essential Oil has been in use for a long time, Eucalyptus globulus, it is used in many proprietary brands like Vicks Vapor rub (most famous). Hmaamouch et al studied the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of Eucalyptus essential oil and found that Eucalyptus inhibited the growth of 6 gram positive bacteria including MRSA and Staph aureus, its actions were comparable to orthodox antibiotics. It was found to be more effective against bronchial inspiration strains than any other essential oil. As a anti-viral, Eucalyptus had a concentration dependant antiviral effect when in contact with viruses prior to or during absorption (Schnitzer et al) Eucalyptus was also picked for its anti-inflammatory & analgesic properties. Eucalyptus was the most medicinal smelling of all the essential oils picked.
Dr. Jane Buckle replicated my study and cited it in the keynote address/PowerPoint presentation in Minneapolis this year.
Back to Karen, when she was admitted she needed to be suctioned very frequently, with thick copious secretions, clear because of recently finishing IV antibiotics. She was on hospice with a diagnosis of End Stage Pulmonary Disease-status post cancer. She also had malabsorbtion issues with her tube-feeding, was deemed a high risk for aspiration pneumonia, constipation, and skin issues. She also had some episodes of nausea and vomiting.
Karen had expressed a desire never to see the inside of a hospital again. Karen’s family of four sons and two daughters plus her alcoholic husband were divided on this issue. So, my primary goal was to make sure Karen’s needs were met. For seven months the respiratory spray kept her from having any respiratory infection. Guess what? None of the other occupants in the house got one either while the spray was used, six of those months were winter months!
Karen’s care involved frequent education and family meetings. Her skin broke down when she became incontinent. Tamanu oil healed it in no time at all. I know the power of essential oils kept her antibiotic free and aspiration free. She died with her skin intact despite being bed bound for the last 10 days.
Sherry H
Sherry came to us with a diagnosis of End Stage CVA. She had her first stroke before she was forty. She had a history of multiple strokes, and was completely bedridden, unable to move anything except her right hand that too, with limited range of motion. She is totally dependant for all activities of daily living. On admission, she had a stage three on her coccyx. She also had a caregiver, her husband, who is in very poor health, and not capable of expending energy to turn and reposition her every 2 to 3 hours. Sherry needs to be disimpacted two times a week, and has a Foley catheter, so incontinence had never been a factor in her skin breakdown, just poor circulation. Tamanu oil with a Duoderm dressing, changed two times a week healed the stage three, so well there were no tell-tale signs of there ever having a skin breakdown.
Sherry also had a long history of urinary tract infections. A peri spray of LavenderJuniper, and Tea-tree, to clean her catheter at insertion site/peri area kept her free of a UTI while in my care.
She is currently transitioning to active after almost a year on hospice. There is no magic wand to have given her any more quality of life than to keep her husband supported and her comfortable, and away from any unnecessary antibiotics.
Paul G
Paul was a 92 year old very sharp, dapper, and well traveled widower, admitted with Colon cancer with metastasis. His symptoms were severe nausea, unrelieved by any anti-emetic: severe weight-loss, and weakness resulting in multiple falls. He also had a long standing history of constipation. Needless to say he was hardly eating, drinking, or retaining even if he did. Paul was very realistic that his prognosis was poor. Paul verbalized craving beef broth, eggs, and applesauce. Paul denied pain except for the occasional twinge, and the only thing that brought him anxiety was vomiting, or not being able to move his bowels every second or third day. It was a challenge to get him to take any bowel medications. Paul was skeptical, but he agreed to a ginger sniffer and an oil to rub on his stomach.
I took Paul a ginger sniffer the next day. He reluctantly held it to his nose and inhaled; He announced, “The real test will be if I can keep broth down.” He never vomited after he got the ginger sniffer. Paul lost it once, it fell from his pocket into the toilet bowel, and he raved and ranted at the aide for not letting him fish it out of the toilet. He was extremely panic stricken without the sniffer, and effusive with his words of gratitude when he had another one delivered within two hours. An oil blend of Sweet Marjoram for its ability to strengthen peristalsis and Lemongrass to help with organ pain was used to massage his abdomen twice daily. Paul passed after six weeks of beef broth, scrambled eggs, and lots of applesauce, thanks to a ginger sniffer. He was out of it for the last two days, but the assisted living staff and private care givers had noted his attachment to the sniffer, and anxiety if you removed it from his hands while he was actively dying. Paul died holding his ginger sniffer. I asked the funeral home to leave it in his hand. Paul was very extremely bowel fixated, and I had a challenge on my hands, because of his non-compliance with medication recommendations. The massage oil, reiki, and enemas every three days kept Paul on an even keel moving his bowels until the day before he passed. The assisted living nurses were absolutely amazed at what essential oils had achieved.
Bob T
Bob came to us because he had chronic kidney failure, an explored mass on his liver. His appetite had decreased and he was refusing to eat. Bob was also an insulin dependent diabetic with stage four diabetic foot ulcers. He had an ongoing picking disorder. His skin was a mess of scabs in various stages, bleeding, scratch marks, flaky, raw, red, and peeling. After three years of trying every pharmaceutical treatment the staff had ruled in that nothing worked. Bob’s niece, his HCP, and the nurse practitioner agreed to have the hospice aide use a blend of Lavender,Bergamot and Myrrh. I have mentioned reasons for using Lavender and Bergamot before, Myrrh was used for its anti-inflammatory properties, and being great for dry skin. The staff was in awe with the results. He passed with his skin on the rest of his body (barring diabetic foot ulcers) intact. 
Susan K
Susan was 91 years young with a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer with metastasis, status post chemotherapy. She had severe nausea and weight loss. She was also in deep denial of end of life on the horizon. Susan would deny pain, deny diarrhea (a side effect of Tarveva), deny loss of appetite, and deny that she was sick. She disliked the way she looked with her hair loss but refused to wear a wig. As a nurse, a patient who wears a mask of contentment and smiles at you while (FLACC, a scale assessing pain by looking at the face, legs, arms, crying, and consoling, with two points for each) I was scoring Susan a 5 for pain. A patient denying pain can be more challenging than a patient who is temperamental or belligerent. Why? Because, pain is subjective, we cannot tell the patient we know that they are lying. That pain is etched into their face and reflected in their movements. All we can do is ask the same question three different ways: Does anything hurt? Are you uncomfortable? Are you in pain?
When a patient wears a social mask and a smile and treats the nurse like she is a social obligation, there is no initiating a plan to make things comfortable for the patient. The patient continues to suffer by their denial. No hospice issues a magic wand to its nurses. It all starts with the nurses intention to assist a patient live and die comfortably by doing their best to manage their care. I felt like a failure when visit after visit, was spent only supporting the patient’s daughter, as mom continued to decline and deny her pain. I intuitively changed strategy and met the patient on as a social visit, discussing a common interest in art, attempting to foster a relationship that evolved from friendship and mutual interests.
My break arrived when the patient’s daughter asked me to check the area under her mother’s breasts. Susan had a fungal infection, and I offered to treat it with an essential oil, but did not like fragrances. She was very skeptical about the effectiveness, but upon her daughter’s encouragement, she agreed to try it if the smell did not bother her. I made a 5% titration of European basil and Fennel both for their anti-fungal properties and because they were familiar as herbs used in cooking. The rash was history after four days. This gave me a rung up into building some trust. Once the trust came, the pain got managed.

A spiritual synergistic blend of Frankincense, Myrrh, Rose, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang, was used to help her pass, as she struggled to let go. She smiled and squeezed my hand, as her daughter said, “Mom, Saloni says its time to go.” She half smiled and said, “I know.” Susan squeezed my hand again. I told her daughter, “This is her goodbye. She is ready to go.”
Her daughter said, “She has been trying to go for over a week.”  Susan went early the next morning. Susan was not the first person who was struggling to die that this spiritual blend helped let go. Susan’s case was just the most challenging and memorable because I had to work outside my comfort level to foster an outside relationship in order to meet her needs. I could not have done it if I was not passionately enamored with further discovery with essential oils and their clinical applications.

Parting Notes   

In three and a half years, I have had the opportunity to use many holistic remedies and interventions. Hundreds of patients in our hospice have benefited with the use of clinical aromatherapy, and lived well and died well because it enhanced their care. I know I have barely scratched the surface in terms of the use of essential oils in my practice. I dislike using the word conclusion, because it seems so final. I am happy to answer any questions, or dialogue to expand my own knowledge and encourage others to explore and learn about aromatherapy or hospice. I can be reached @ 
Saloni Molhatra 

Botanical skincare and haircare
A selection of botanical skincare made with essential oils can be found at  For healthier looking skin and for skin prone to eczema, acne and breakouts a skincare routine of cleanse, tone and moisturise is necessary as well as treatments beneficial for specific skin conditions. 

 Aromadermatology is a study in itself with important contributions from Eve Taylor OBE.

J. Bensoulilah, P Buck with forwards by Robert Tisserand and Angela Avis.   Aromadermatology

 Which Shirley Price botanical skincare product is right for you?






 Making natural perfumes

Lets get in the mood with this review of Afteliers Ancient Resins

An aromatherapy oil is certainly a natural perfume with its rules based on reason combining for example jasmine with ylang for the benzyl benzoate in both. Yet we do not work in perfumery. The therapeutic effect lies not in the headline ingredients but in all the constituents and effects of the whole fresh oil, their synergies with one another and with the other oils and in the client therapist relationship. 
Much more mysterious than perfumery with its strict ratios and formulas. Aromatherapy oils are blended not by robots but people as unique as the people using the oil and leaving the imprint of their own character on the oils and their clients. Of course we associate the visual and auditory experience of the aromatherapy oil and therapist in our memory.

Perhaps we should call where we work an aromatherapy. Another use for the term! 
Perfumery is rather different. If we were to call where we work a perfumery then the emphasis would be on creating a desirable gift and our tools would be largely synthetic. We would sell not only our creations but greeting cards, jewellery and decorative glass. Very nice too! To make a natural perfume of essential oils is simple. To make a good one hard and to make a perfume as we understand the term today - a confidence giving gift to be enjoyed for life - virtually impossible. No reason we shouldnt try. 
Perhaps a good starting point is to reflect on the positive values and principles commonly accepted by everyone whether by virtue of reason or divinity rather than emotions. The emotions we feel are rarely stirred by essential oils. This is a useful classification of the emotions invoked by EOs like Jasmine, Mandarin, Pepper and Vanilla used by researchers. 
‘‘Happiness – Well-being – Pleasantly surprised” for the ‘‘Pleasant 
feeling” dimension. 
_ ‘‘Romantic – Desire – In love” for the ‘‘Sensuality” dimension. 
_ ‘‘Relaxed – Serene – Reassured” for the ‘‘Relaxation” dimension. 
_ ‘‘Nostalgic – Amusement – Mouthwatering” for the ‘‘Sensory 
pleasure” dimension. 
_ ‘‘Energetic – Invigorated – Clean” for the ‘‘Refreshment” 

The neuroscience is somewhat differant the perfumer aims for a dopamine release, for action, something of an addiction. The aromatherapist aims for CNS stimulation or depression. For freedom from addiction and the assertion of the context particularly in the treatment of depression or mental disorder.

This is a useful article. Phytother Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):884-91. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3665. Epub 2011 Nov 15. Evaluation of the effects of plant-derived essential oils on central nervous system function using discrete shuttle-type conditioned avoidance response in mice. Essential oils of peppermint and chamomile exhibited CNS stimulant-like effects......EOs of orange, grapefruit, and cypress exhibited CNS depressant-like effects. Essential oils of eucalyptus and rose ..... they may exhibit some CNS acting effects. So this guides the perfume maker towards oils like Jasmine, Mandarin, Pepper and Vanilla and oils indicated for dopamine release and decrease of social anxiety also like Lemon and I am guessing Bergamot and Ylang.

You can reach for the gardenia and neroli. Perfume is interesting in that the aroma need not necessarily be particularly pleasant to move to action. The amygdala is wired for unpleasant aromas and essential oils dont upset it and move it without a little help. Aromatherapists observe that there are some funky constituents in some of the essential oils.

Synthetic and exotic perfumery ingredients take us into 'negative' values and mood states which are nonetheless motivational to action, while the essential oils tend to take us in 'positive' if less motivational mood states. Hence the need for perfumers to have both at their disposal. Negative and Positive are of course two sides of the same coin and you cant have one without the other unless you really seek a monk or nuns contemplation of the mind. Still there are some essential oils which can give a smokier (per fume as in through the smoke in the latin) and more alarming base to a natural perfume. Vetiver and Cistus for example as well as smokier sweeter scents like that from burnt frankincense resin. So its still possible to create a perfume. However the rub is that it will be for one batch only. The robot machines which faithfully replicate the formula of commercial perfumes are no use as each batch of essential oil varies in composition. The interesting thing about natural perfumes is that they let us add dimensions to the sensation for example the addition of 'warming' or digestive oils like ginger to a standard blend of basil, bergamot and ylang. This is particularly helpful for male fragrances.

Family aromatherapy

As we can see essential oils must be used with great caution in pregnancy if at all though they are very useful in birthing.  Care must be taken in their use by breastfeeding mothers.  Of course inhalation should not present a problem however diffusing essential oils in the babies nursery is not a good idea.  I am not suggesting that essential oils should only be reserved for specific care purposes for a very restricted period of time.  95% of essential oils are not used in this way.  However we should never lose sight of the potency of essential oils and the need to enjoy them in diluted form – either diffused in the air or diluted in vegetable oil.

Home care with essential oils extends from fragrancing a liquid soap to self care for common ailments to home prepared food and drink.  As with all essential oils uses their dilution is of the first importance in reaping the benefits they offer to our wellbeing in the home.

Edible essential oils diluted in vegetable oil

Essential oils find considerable use in food and drink though of course in highly diluted form.  Essential oils form less than 0.01% of grapefruit juice for example.  In a glass of 100ml at 20 drops that is 2000 drops of juice.  So as we can see a maximum of two drops of essential oil is safe and that is more than enough to impart flavour to the juice or glass of water.
The use of essential oil in vegetable oil in bakery is commonplace.  The oils are diluted in almond oil, rapeseed oil or flaxseed oil.  The vegetable oil is itself nutritious so essential oils can be safely enjoyed.

Diet, exercise and wellbeing

The foundations of good health are diet and regular exercise.  A walk each day of 20 minutes will transform your health for the better and most of us can incorporate this on our way to work – a walk around the block before getting into the car or bus.  Often a change of diet can work wonders too.  Processed food in the form of meat, dairy and white bread is convenient but potentially detrimental to our health.  In China there is very little breast cancer and there is very little in the way of dairy products.  Worth bearing in mind.  Our taste for high gluten white bread carries with it the possibility of gluten intolerance so it makes sense to try Spelt bread which is low in gluten particularly if you are feeling unwell.  Some supplements make sense particularly if you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet for example B complex vitamins.  

Essential oil data

Essential oil chemistry and characteristics

Aromatherapy Literature

A students quick overview of the aromatherapy literiture can be had by browsing the following list

Shirley Price Aromatherapy at Amazon
Aromatherapy DVD

Gattefosse's Aromatherapy  Gattefosse  Click to look inside
The Practice of Aromatherapy  Valnet  Click to look inside
A number of essential oil profiles are available on this link.  Valnet's is an important study book.
Skin, Haircare Guide Keller  Click to look inside

The Complete Guide Battaglia
The Art of Aromatherapy  Tisserand  Click to look inside
Aromatherapy for Healing the spirit Mojay Click to look inside
Clinical aromatherapy Jane Buckle Click to look inside

Aromatherapy for Health Professionals Price Click to look inside
Carrier Oils  Price Click to look inside
Aromatherapy Workbook Price Click to look inside (£7.99 for the Kindle Edition)
Aromatherapy for Common Ailments Price Click to look inside
Hydrolats Price Click to look inside

 The Fragrant Pharmacy  Worwood  Click to look inside
The Fragrant Mind  Worwood  Click to look inside
Encyclopedia of Essential oils Lawless Click to look inside
Aromatherapy an A-Z  Davis Click to look inside
Subtle Aromatherapy Davis  Click to look inside
Complete Guide Kelville, Green Click to look inside
Essential oils Dodt Click to look inside
The Creamy Craft of Cosmetic Making Benham  Author page

 Becoming an aromatherapist Harris Click to look inside
 Shiatsu Jarmey, Mojay Click to look inside
Aromatherapy massage Maxwell-Hudson
Hydrosols Catty Click to look inside
 Essence and alchemy Aftel Click to look inside

Essential oils Rhind Click to look inside
Aromatherapy Bible Farrer-Halls Click to look inside
Reflexology Bible Keet Click to look inside
Aromatherapy Tutor Hoare Click to look inside
Complete Book Worwood Click to look inside
Formulas for Aromatherapy Mixing Schiller
Aromatherapy Lawless Click to look inside
Skincare Products Hornsey Click to look inside
Perfume Hornsey Click to look inside
Soapmakers companion Cavitch Click to look inside
Natural liquid soaps Failor Click to look inside
Aromatherapy Workbook Lavabre Click to look inside
Aromatherapy for animals Bell Click to look inside 

Medical Aromatherapy Schnaubelt Click to look inside
The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils  Schnaubelt Click to look inside

Chemistry of aromatherapeutic oils  Bowles Click to look inside

Your nose knows Millen Click to look inside

Useful sources of information

There are a great many useful books on aromatherapy of interest to both students of aromatherapy and practitioners. Books can be readily obtained at Many students of the Shirley Price aromatherapy diploma are authors, practicioners, tutors and researchers in their own right. It is particularly delightful when alumni return to the Shirley Price Aromatherapy College as tutors of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma.

Two important books for students are The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (Battaglia 2003) and Clinical Aromatherapy (Buckle 2003)
Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price

This excellent book extends the knowledge gained from the most basic aromatherapy guides. It includes  information on plant families and explains what effect the natural chemical constituents have on the body and mind. Safety in use is also discussed.

Aromatherapy for Health Professionals by Shirley Price and Len Price

This textbook of aromatherapy is aimed specifically at the health professional working in the community or hospital. It covers both theoretical and practical aspects of aromatherapy

SPICA, the Shirley Price International College of Aromatherapy maintains a register of
over 6000 holders of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy Diploma who work in
complementary therapy, beauty spas and sports. SPICA is dedicated to aromatherapy
research, authorship, education and cultural exchange worldwide. International

Seminars are open to all qualified aromatherapists and students. SP is not aligned to
any particular national register or body of active and insured practicioners. International activities are supported by Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd and its qualified distributors in 40 countries worldwide.


The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), which is supported by the Department of Health and the Aromatherapy Council, can help when choosing a practitioner. We ensure that all
aromatherapists on our register have trained to the national standards of practice in aromatherapy and the Aromatherapy Council Core Curriculum. The CNHC has established a voluntary register for
complementary healthcare practitioners who all meet the required levels of competence and practice.

Further information and registered practitioners can be found on the CNHC website

Federation of Holistic Therapists

The Federation of Holistic Therapists is the largest and leading professional association for therapists in the UK and Ireland. With thousands of members offering a braod range of specialisms –from sports and
remedial therapies to complementary healthcare and holistic beauty treatments

Aromatherapy Council

The Aromatherapy Council has evolved to become the Lead Body for the UK aromatherapy profession and the ‘Voice of Aromatherapy’ and supports the work of the UK regulator for complementary therapies, the CNHC. It is responsible for reviewing and updating the Aromatherapy Core Curriculum which, along with the National Occupational Standard for Aromatherapy form the standard for aromatherapy regulation with the CNHC.

Members of the Aromatherapy Council

Aromatherapy and Allied Practicioners Association – AAPA
Association of Physical and Natural Therapists – APNT
British Register of Complementary Practicioners – BRCP
Complementary Therapists Association -CthA
International Federation of Aromatherapists – IFA
International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists – IFPA
International Holistic Aromatherapy Foundation – IHAF

Shirley Price Aromatherapy has had a 37 year association with IFPA.

International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists
82 Ashby Road
LE10 1SN

T: 01455 637987
Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Products

Aromatherapy Trades Council
PO Box 219
Market Rasen

T: 01673 844672
Shirley Price Aromatherapy Ltd
The Old Factory
8 Hawley Road

T: 01455 615466 F: 01455 615054

Shirley Price International College of Aromatherapy

Rosie Brandrick, Secretary
8 Hawley Road

T: 01455 615466
Other training providers can be found on

Aromatherapy Journals

Aromatherapy Today is an International Aromatherapy Journal for those who are passionate about Aromatherapy. It is a journal of depth and diversity with information relevant and interesting for both professional Aromatherapists and anyone with an interest in Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine.

For the past 17 years Aromatherapy Today has been informing Aromatherapists, Nurses, Health Care Workers and Natural Therapists of all modalities with detailed essential oil profiles, up to date research, special events in the aromatics industry and ongoing articles
by leading Aromatherapists from Australia and Overseas.

Our Objective
We aim to make Aromatherapy Today a progressive journal that moves with the times and provides our readers with the latest information and research being undertaken in the aromatics industry globally.

More aromatherapy journals

Shirley Price trained Aromatherapy tutors and authors

Jan Benham, Canada, UK, Netherlands
Christine Courtney, Eire
Sarah Gelzer, Switzerland
Hans and Katri Nordblom, USA
Joon Wong, South Asia
Eliane Zimmermann, Eire

The Author

Ian Brealey is a social scientist and professional company director dealing with a number of business sectors from healthcare to minerals to property development. Ian's Human Values Model finds application for psychosocial wellbeing, self care and results in all organisations.  More details can be found on

His team at Shirley Price Aromatherapy ship some 10,000 aroma items a month to 40 countries worldwide.  Sp provides aromatherapy diploma training for health professionals. Ian's course Aromas for the Mind is a collaboration with Jan Benham and Jane Lund.  The weeklong classroom course is held in a variety of organizations from commercial firms to hospitals.The 6000 alumni of the Shirley price Aromatherapy Diploma include authors and educators with aromatherapy colleges and practices worldwide.
"In truth any book on aromatherapy long or short has many authors as the aromatherapy profession is open, highly social and progressive.  I am indebted to aromatherapy thought leaders, the tutors and students of the Shirley Price Aromatherapy College and its branches worldwide which together make up the Shirley Price International College of Aromatherapy."

1 comment:

  1. Desire to get essential oil! It’s useful for alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can help to boost your mood and relieve feelings of sadness as well as enhance mental performance and feelings of happiness.