Aromatherapy – Alliance of International Aromatherapists Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:46:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Plantar Fibromatosis Treated with Aromatherapy (Case Study Report) Sun, 02 Oct 2016 15:56:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Article by Stefania Borrelli


NOTE FROM AUTHOR: Among the ingredients, I wrote “Sardinia Helichrysum” on purpose since it’s the one I generally use – having similar chemical components and imported from Italy (which is close to Corsica).


Client Background

Age: 51

General State of Physical Health: Good

General State of Emotional Health: Good


Description of the case: I report the case of a 52 year-old Italian female with no family history or cytogenetic abnormality who presented with a plantar fibromatosis, small nodular fibrotic thickening of the central plantar fascia, corresponding to the solar plexus point. It started with a tiny, pea-sized nodule in the middle of her arch. The woman presented then a painful swelling of her right sole. The swelling associated was tender to touch with a dull aching type of pain which prevented her from walking, even small distances, without pain.


A plantar fibromatosis is a benign nodule that grows on the bottom of the foot and usually appears in the second through sixth decade of life. It is usually slow growing and measures less than an inch in size. It comprises extra fibrotic or collagen tissue. This additional collagen is normally denoted as a fibroma. These tissue growths would also grow in size if the treatment is delayed.


Symptoms which are normal with plantar fibromatosis include:


  • Firm lump in the arch of the foot
  • Lump can cause pain
  • Pain is caused from the pressure of shoes


Treatment protocol and method:


I decided to utilize 2 products for acute issue: 1 roll-on oil blend (25% dilution) and another roll-on oil blend (10% dilution). I used essential oils for their properties as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory and detoxifying effect on the skin as well as for the muscular and skeletal system.


Roll-on oil blend #1:


In a 10 ml carrier oil blend – Arnica montana extract, Olea europaea (olive) Fruit Oil and Calendula officinalis (Calendula) oil – I added a 25% dilution of:


  • Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil – 10 drops
  • Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) seed oil – 5 drops
  • Matricaria Recutita (German Chamomile) oil – 10 drops
  • Helichrysum italicum (Sardinia Helichrysum) oil – 10 drops
  • Origanum vulgare (Origano) oil – 10 drops
  • Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense) oil – 5 drops


Roll-on oil blend #2:


In a 10ml carrier oil blend – Arnica montana extract, Olea europaea (olive) Fruit Oil and Calendula officinalis (Calendula) oil – I added a 10% dilution of:


  • Commiphora myrrha (Myrrh) Oil – 3 drops
  • Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea tree) seed oil – 5 drops
  • Helichrysum italicum (Sardinia Helichrysum) oil – 5 drops
  • Gualtheria Procumbens (Wintergreen) oil – 2 drops
  • Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil – 5 drops


Directions for using the products:


The first and second day she applied these oil blends daily, about every two – three hours, by alternating the oil blend. The third and fourth day, she applied the products 4-5 times a day. The fifth and sixth day only once-twice a day.


During and after the treatment she did not have any side effects, nor any allergic reaction or dermatitis on her foot.



General references on essential oils components, therapeutic benefits and safety:


  • Medical Aromatherapy – Kurt Schnaubelt
  • Aromatherapy for Health Professionals – Shirley Price, Len Price
  • Essential oil Safety – Tisserand , Young




Pictures were taken at different hours of the day after applying the oil blend. The day before the fibroma was a little bigger.


August 2016 – DAY 1 –


Plantar Fibromatosis Day




Plantar Fibromatosis Day 2




Plantar Fibromatosis Day 3




Plantar Fibromatosis Day 4




Plantar Fibromatosis Day 5


Stefania Borrelli

Stefania Borrelli is a member of AIA and Director (2014). Originally from Rome, Italy, Stefania Borrelli, a creative and enthusiast Italian aromatherapist, began her holistic journey in 1979 in her native country. Her studies in Aromatherapy started together with her love for botanics, at the age of 15. Her interest in Holistic therapies expanded in the study of Energy Healing, Ayurveda, Chinese, Medicine and Psychoneuroimmunology. In 2009 she founded JoyAmore, a business providing holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle by restoring balance through Aromatherapy. Her new business is – Pure & Natural Italian Lifestyle.

American Aromatherapy: The Struggle to Find the Middle Ground Sun, 02 Oct 2016 15:53:48 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Article written by Lora Cantele


Introduction-Aromatherapy in the U.S.

Essential oil use in the United States is on the rise at a great pace, however safe and responsible use have been pushed aside in favor of higher profits.  With the wide-spread use of inauthentic Aromatherapy, practitioners in the United States now find themselves in at odds with those new to Aromatherapy as well as each other. 


Controversy over issues such as the perceived differences between the British and French models of Aromatherapy, to dilute or not dilute, oral ingestion, free education or certification, and the rise of industry watchdogs have put our community and practices under additional scrutiny.


The Aromatherapy community in America has become divisive and there is a need for practitioners and Aromatherapy associations to join together to provide a unified front with regard to training, certifications, as well as safe and responsible use.  


This paper will highlight some of the major changes of Aromatherapy in the United States and the role social media plays in the ever-changing American landscape of essential oil use. In addition, it will report on the current use of Aromatherapy in clinical settings in the U.S.


In the U.S., Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use is growing rapidly, however it is relatively unregulated. According to Berland et al., (2001), many studies have been conducted into the information provided to the consumer/patient about health conditions on the internet. They conclude that “the coverage of health information is poor and inconsistent although accuracy is generally good.” However there is a lack an comprehension of the information as presented as a higher level of reading is required. Additionally, other studies (Li et al., 2001; Beredjikilian et al, 2000) have shown that a review of many websites for a variety of common health concerns were found to contain poor quality of information and could be classified more as advertising. Minor reviews of CAM websites imply that the “unconventional” information is inaccurate. It is important to review the content of many of CAM websites, as consumers have wide access to unregulated therapies and the website information tends to influence consumer behavior (Sagaran et al., 2002). While these studies may be older, in this author’s opinion, not much has changed. There is limited quality of evidence for Aromatherapy use in the U.S. (Forrester et al, 2014; Lillehei and Halcón, 2014; Mayden, 2012). Recent estimates of Aromatherapy use among the general population in the U.S. are inadequate, however according to Eisenberg (1998), 5.6% of 2,055 U.S. adults surveyed reported using Aromatherapy, either clinically or in some other way.


Enter the multi-level marketing companies (MLMs)

While the MLMs have been hugely successful in introducing Aromatherapy to the masses, they have been equally unsuccessful in providing quality education in the use of essential oils to their independent distributors and, in turn, the consumers they sell to. “Education” is provided predominantly via an essential oil desk reference or other book created by the parent company or one of their “expert” associates. These books are an optional purchase presented to the independent distributor. In addition, these books (upon closer review) have been shown to contain many factual errors. Many examples of these errors include chemical components being assigned to the incorrect functional group or chemical components listed in the monographs not typically found in the profile of a given essential oil. In his review of David Stewart’s1 book The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules, Robert Tisserand (2102) discusses many inaccuracies of a single passage on Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Stewart’s criticisms of the British and their “alleged” use of essential oils, and the overall “fact-to-error ratio” within Stewart’s book.


“Education” is also presented by way of corporate conferences which seem to do little to provide solid education as most of the information presented is through testimonials of other independent distributors and those in the upper circle that often support their statements with bad science. An example of this can be found in a video from such a conference in which one company’s “expert”  makes a statement that 10 ml of Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) essential oil is equivalent to taking one aspirin2.


1David Stewart possesses a PhD in Theoretical Seismology and is the co-founder of The Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education (CARE), providing instruction in the controversial Raindrop Technique and additional educational courses in Aromatherapy for the Young Living Essential Oil company.

2 Videos of several of these lectures can be viewed by searching “Laura Jacob” and “doTERRA” at


Many authentic practitioners of Aromatherapy are outraged by the recommendations for use using social media vehicles. Social memes that suggest methods such as drinking several drops of Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil in water and using neat Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) on a baby/child’s feet. In addition, many of the recipes shared in books by authentic Aromatherapists are often changed by a layperson who has no knowledge of the chemistry of such recipe nor the safety of the revised recipe and reproduced as a social meme. This gets published online through social media with a line that says “it worked for me” and many take on the advice due to the testimonial. There is little regard for not only the safety, but also for the education of the original creator of the recipe. Recently a colleague contacted me about a client of hers who was seeking a safer way to use essential oils with her children (three girls) all diagnosed with P.A.N.D.A.S. (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections). The girls were advised by an independent distributor from one of the larger MLMs to consume nearly 3 mls of essential oil internally and topically per day. Methods such as these that use copious amounts of essential oil keep the consumer coming back to buy more essential oils and more often. A great marketing tool if you don’t care much for the safety of your clients.


Among others, there are three frequent comments often touted by independent distributors relating to recommended methods, adverse reactions, and essential oil quality. The first is with regard to the “British” vs. “French” models of essential oil use. There is a perception that Aromatherapy is nothing more than beauty therapy in Britain. The use of essential oils is limited to topical application via massage and blended into skincare  and other personal care products. However the “French” method is considered far superior as it includes internal and undiluted use of essential oil. When looking at the perceived amount of oil used in these methods it appears that using the “French” model supports the independent distributor’s recommendations for using more essential oil in a given situation, hence the need for the client to purchase more frequently.

Adverse reactions are explained away as a “detoxification of viruses through the skin” or simply a “healing crisis.” Any doctor or nurse would tell you that burning and blistering of the skin is not a sign of detoxification, however these explanations seem to satisfy a consumer and the adverse event remains unreported to the parent company. In most cases, the client and the independent distributor are friends and a friend would not want to believe that another friend would intentionally suggest anything that would inflict harm. Let us not forget about liability. Too many times I have been accused of following the “British” method of topical application only for fear of the powerful healing ability of essential oils or that perhaps my oils are not pure enough. I am a Registered Aromatherapist trained at a Clinical level practicing in the U.S., but I restrict my use as my practitioner liability insurance does not cover me for any method of internal use. And finally to the issue of quality.


“Most of the problems associated with using essential oils are due to the fact that people are using food grade, organic, natural and other various ‘named’ oils that are of poor quality, adulterated and are just not for therapeutic use!”3 This statement and those like it are frequent among the independent distributors. Marketing materials boasting “Certified Natural Therapeutic Grade” imply a superior quality. Effective claims such as, “Our oils are so pure they are the only essential oils that can be ingested” are making their way onto the scene. Authentic Aromatherapists  well know that there is no independent body that certifies essential oils as therapeutic grade. However many companies making this claim are able to promote their own therapeutic grade standard because they certify their oils in-house to meet their standards of quality. In addition, the two major MLMs have their oils listed as “dietary supplements” with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In the U.S., essential oils are generally listed as “cosmetics.” By listing an essential oil as a “dietary supplement” it means that the manufacturer must provide the FDA a monograph and additional safety information about the essential oil, as well as comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and report any adverse event to the FDA. This may seem a little nonsensical as essential oils provide no nutritional value, however being listed as a “dietary supplement” allows for ingestion of the essential oil. So in reality, the oils can be consumed owing to its status at the FDA, not because they are any purer than another. This distinction is not known by the average consumer. In addition, despite having to be accountable for reporting adverse reactions, many adverse events are not reported to the FDA. Why? Because they are most often reported to the independent distributor who sold the oil to the consumer who explains it away as indicated above and the complaint never reaches the parent company who is responsible for reporting it.


3  Statement found at


AHPA guidelines to be revised?

Founded in 1982, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the oldest of the non-profit organizations that specializes in service to the herbal industry. It is the voice of the herbal products industry and the recognized leader in representing the botanical trade. With more than 300 members, AHPA’s membership represents the finest growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of botanical and herbal products. It is the only U.S. trade association that is focused primarily on herbs and botanicals and herbal products.4 Earlier this year I was asked to be a guest on the AHPA Botanical Personal Care Products Committee. I was taken aback by the suggestion that the committee consider developing guidelines and recommendations for the internal use of essential oils. It is believed that as the MLMs are listed with the FDA as dietary supplements and the companies are recommending ingestion of their oils, that it might be prudent to develop such guidelines. I was shocked. After some discussion it was decided that a special working group be created to investigate the pros and cons of the creation of the guidelines and recommendations for internal use. It can be argued that even though many essential oils are listed as GRAS, the maximum internal dose varies from oil to oil. Many qualified practitioners will consult Essential Oil Safety (Tisserand and Young, 2014) which lists dermal and internal maximum doses based on years of dedicated research, before prescribing any internal use. So there is no one-size-fits-all statement that can be placed on every oil on the market regarding internal use. In addition, there exists many considerations for the safety of ingesting essential oils including; dosage, duration, the client’s general health and constitution, and possible essential oil/drug interactions, that internal use of essential oils is highly individualized and not something that can be reduced and printed on a small label. For this reason I don’t believe there to be a need to develop these guidelines and recommendations. Additionally, the APHA guidelines and recommendations were created for the members of AHPA and the MLMs are not currently members. While there has been some discussion of the matter, the topic seems to have been put on hold. There is some interest in moving forward, however the committee chair has advised that the topic will be revisited at a later date.




Trade association vs. watchdog group

With the widespread messaging of the MLMs through social media, some have elected to move into action to counter their messaging. In November 2014, the American Essential Oil Trade Association (AEOTA) surfaced as a member-drive trade association. The AEOTA grew out of the Aromatherapy United group responsible for the FDA petition that resulted in the warning letters from the FDA to two of the leading MLMs. Their mission was two-fold: 1) To promote the safe and legal sale of essential oils and aromatherapy products in the U.S.A. and 2) To work to positively influence the regulatory environment affecting the essential oil and Aromatherapy product industry by demonstrating our member’s ability to self-regulate and focus on ethics, safety, and integrity. Their initial goals were not unlike those of the Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC) in the U.K. however the way they went about their business was different. Many essential oil suppliers refused to join the AEOTA as it meant signing an agreement that would make it necessary for the member to “sanitize” their website to comply with FDA regulations regarding marketing. This meant that claims of therapeutic benefits would no longer be displayed with regard to an essential oil or blend. As this would inhibit the marketing of the essential oils, many decided to continue as usual and hope to “fly under the radar.” Something that many Aromatherapists in the U.S. may have been doing for many years. Unfortunately, some the founding members of the AEOTA drew lots of attention to those selling essential oils when they submitted a petition against the MLMs and their marketing to the FDA. This petition led to the warning letters that were sent to two of the larger MLM companies5 6 with instructions to cease and desist their marketing claims. Some of these claims included the use of essential oils to cure the Ebola Virus, Cancer, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease. This was great for calling out the MLMs on their marketing practices, but it also put Aromatherapists on notice with regard to their own websites. Eventually the FDA started to crackdown on suppliers of carrier oils and base products, including a well-known supplier who listed the therapeutic uses of the carrier oils on their website.7






The AEOTA created four proposals for consideration by the FDA. The first was to examine how essential oils were sold legally in other countries and how over-the-counter (OTC) products containing essential oils (considered drugs in the U.S.) were able to be sold in other countries. From the information gathered, the goal was to amend the FDA OTC Monographs to include 14 essential oils, along with their medical claims to be allowed in the marketing of those essential oils. This proposal was dropped in February 2015 and the association amended the part of the AEOTA’s mission statement regarding influencing the regulatory environment to simply focus on ethics, integrity and safety.


The second proposal was to draft a bill to amend the current FDA regulations to create a new category allowing  “first aid” or “home remedy”-type uses of essential oils considered GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe), but did not constitute a “New Drug Application.” This measure was to decriminalize the implied medical claims.


“Civil disobedience” was the basis of the third proposal. In this proposal, the essential oil trade could formally decide to make the medical claims due to their belief that consumers should be informed on the uses of essential oils and how to use them safely.


In March 2015, the members of the AEOTA voted to adopted Aromatherapy United as a project with a focus on adverse reaction reporting. This activity is to demonstrate to the public that the essential oil community is making an effort to self-regulate and determine best practices by identifying the ways they cause harm when used improperly.


Despite being a trade organization, the AEOTA through their facebook page became more of “watch dog” group with much commentary and action surrounding the outrage at the social media marketing of the MLMs. It seemed that the association itself was using membership funds not for moving their agenda with the FDA forward, but rather to call out the MLMs and chastise the independent distributors publicly for their “unsafe” advice. The AEOTA should have concerned themselves with the marketing of their own members who pledged to abide by the FDA rules. Instead, it began trolling through the websites of Aromatherapists trained in Aromatic Medicine and those practitioners and educators were then publicly dragged through the mud for their beliefs, despite their advanced training. The environment on facebook within the aromatic community became very contentious. Eventually a separate facebook page was formed called Essential Oil Consumer Safety Advocates. This allowed the AEOTA to continue focusing on their FDA goals and took the witch hunt to another page. Despite this, the AEOTA facebook page has seen little activity since June 2015 and seems to have lost momentum with their goals.


With all the controversy over methods of use as recommended by independent distributors, social media saw a lot of discussion over internal/external and diluted/undiluted use of essential oils. Practitioners and educators trained in internal use were having to defend themselves online.

Practices involving undiluted use were called into question about their safety. While many got into heated debates publicly, others simply shared the guidelines of the American Aromatherapy organizations. Both the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) have clear safety guidelines and information on their websites. Both organizations concur that there is a time and a place for undiluted and internal use of essential oils, however they should only be employed by a practitioner trained at an appropriate level. The AIA further adds that an appropriate level of training includes: chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).8




Education and free information

The internet provides a means to get information on demand, but does that mean that we as educated practitioners are required to participate in the sharing of information and to correct the misinformation being provided from layperson to layperson? In reading the comments in a thread on one of the facebook groups I belong to, I was appalled at the statement of a layperson who said that she rightfully had the expectation that knowledgeable Aromatherapists are required to share their information for free on the internet. She further stated that anytime she asked an Aromatherapist for advice on social media she was put off that the Aromatherapist would advise her to make an appointment for a consultation. She indicated that Aromatherapists were only about making money and not ensuring the safety of others. I contacted her about her statements. Her position was that the advent of the internet makes free information readily accessible and she has every right as a consumer surfing for information to demand it for free. There is little regard for the several years of education and a financial investment it takes to become a professional practitioner.  Even less of interest, was the holistic approach I take with each client individually. Additionally, I am concerned that any advice I offer on social media could be widely shared and altered (but still credited to me) and someone could be harmed. My personal liability is at stake, as well as that of other practitioners who may engage in the sharing of information on social media. Is social media retarding the practice of the professional Aromatherapist? I think it might be. With so much free information online coupled with the accessibility of the essential oils, it is now possible for people to self-diagnose and self-prescribe.


Aromatherapy in clinical settings

Where does Aromatherapy fit within the American healthcare system? Many nurses are now becoming educated in Aromatherapy, however the training programs they undertake can differ greatly. There are wonderful schools available in the U.S. created by veterans of the aromatic community, such as R. J. Buckle and Associates (Dr. Jane Buckle) and the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy (Laraine Kyle Pounds and Valerie Cooksley). Both programs were developed by nurses for nurses and other healthcare providers. However, there are some nurses working in hospitals eager to use Aromatherapy that are not willing to do a full certification course and they tend to fall into one of two situations; they either find a short course (less than 30 hours) to learn some basics or they join an MLM group and utilize the marketing materials to get the product into the hospital system. I spoke with a colleague in Minnesota who has recognized this is happening. She reports that there are nurses who will use Aromatherapy with or without the training, so she has developed a short course with some of the basic oils currently approved for use in hospitals in America. In addition, she has developed a product that she is selling to the hospitals and other clinical sites such as hospices and nursing homes, to allow nurses to use Aromatherapy in a controlled and safe way.


For those that bring the MLM oils and protocols into the hospitals, there are as many authentic practitioners fighting to keep them out. Armed with the White Paper (Barber and Gagnon-Warr, 2001), injury reports (Aromatherapy United, 2014), paper on the safety and ethics of undiluted oils (Burfield and Sheppard-Hanger, 2005), and pages of research on the safety of some of the oils used in techniques like Raindrop Treatments, Aromatherapists (with the support of organizations like AIA9 and NAHA10) will  contact nurse managers to enlighten them about such practices and offer safe alternatives.





The impact of social media is being felt by practitioners reaching out to hospitals and clinical settings as well. With essential oil use becoming more wide-spread among laypeople and all the talk about safe and unsafe essential oils through social media sites, some hospital staff are scratching their heads about safety. We hear professional Aromatherapists advising against using specific oils and methods, presented in a black and white way—perhaps doing ourselves a disservice. The educated Aromatherapist formulates for safety, taking into consideration dosage, duration, selection of oils for efficacy as well as how they interact with other oils in the blend, and the most appropriate method in which to use. When seeing advice online suggesting a “one-size-fits-all treatment,” we tend to jump in to counter the advice by simply advocating against it and not by using the opportunity as a teachable moment to illustrate the effectiveness of essential oils in a safe and responsible manner. So our response (our message) becomes black and white. We must remain as objective, scientific and as non-emotional as possible.  If you present yourself as antagonistic, it will be a barrier to productive dialog. As we grow more accustomed to making blanket statements about safety and not discussing the why’s and the how’s of when, and when not to use essential oils, others don’t learn and they start to formulate their own thoughts and reservations about essential oil use. Subscribing to the continued “fear mongering” in the “us versus them” being played out in social media in turn hurts us as practitioners. This is the message we are currently sending. Some staff at hospitals and other facilities will not consider the use of essential oils and blends unless there is “zero risk.” Aromatherapists are being held to a higher standard than those in the hospital; for example, most hospital cleaning products are not evaluated the same way essential oils are. On the flip side, there are other hospitals that are allowing the MLMs in (through the nurses), along with their methods of use. Rather than condemn, we should become more inquisitive. We should ask why someone would use essential oils in a specific way and then share with them a better and safe alternative.


Hospitals and other facilities doing it right

Aromatherapy has gained wide acceptance in conventional medical care in some regions of the country. Aromatherapy in nursing is relatively new in the U.S., although some applications have been part of nursing practice for several decades (e.g. inhaled Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) for urinary retention) (Lillehei et al., 2015).


According to Lillehei et al. (2015), “In conventional health care systems, Aromatherapy is most frequently provided as an independent nursing intervention. Aromatherapy is generally among the least intensive options used in patient care for symptom management.” Essential oils are used mainly to improve well-being  and for symptom management. The most common symptoms addressed include anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, and sleep disturbances although there is growing research on the use of Aromatherapy with cancer, dementia, palliative care, and maternity care.


Many hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice programs are now incorporating protocols using essential oils. The most common among them are Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), and Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis). “Protocols are designed to be responsive to the needs of individual patients within the institutional context in order to provide safe, appropriate, and consistent yet tailored interventions. Policy and protocols address who can administer essential oils, desired therapeutic action, application methods, and storage and safety. There is often a choice of application methods and essential oils for symptom management” (Lillehei et al., 2015).  According to Halcón (2013), in each case the nurse selects the essential oil and application using knowledge and practice parameters and based on the intended therapeutic effect, the preferences and state of the patient, the timing of the intervention, and the chemical properties of the essential oil. As with any treatment given in this setting, information regarding the essential oil used, the protocol followed, patient reported outcome(s), and any adverse reactions are documented and should be made available for audit.  


How Aromatherapy is used in a clinical setting

Application methods used in nursing practice generally includes application by inhalation (e.g.1-2 drops on a cotton ball or 5 to10 drops in a diffuser) or topically (e.g. diluted to 1-5% concentration in a carrier). Essential oils topically applied have the advantage of incorporating touch and allowing absorption both through the skin, olfactory system, and lungs (Tisserand and Young, 2014). In a pilot program in Illinois, children with life-limiting illness received a weekly massage both two months before the Aromatherapy program was introduced into the program and for a year after. The nurse/massage therapist reported that the benefit of massage was 50% more effective when essential oils were used in the massage lotion than massages given using an unscented massage lotion (Cantele, 2013). At the Shore Medical Center (350-bed medical center) in New Jersey, the Aromatherapy program began with nurses performing hand massages at the bedside using Lavender (1% dilution) in lotion. As the program evolved other essential oils were incorporated including Peppermint, Ginger, Mandarin (Citrus retculata), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), and Bergamot (Citrus x bergamia)(Gurdgiel et al., 2015). Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital (726-bed hospital) is the largest hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2002, the interdisciplinary committee was formed to explore complementary and integrated healing modalities, including Aromatherapy. In 2004, the initial Aromatherapy training was provided by Jane Buckle, however the hospital now has five instructors who teach the course every 18 months. The nurses have an Aromatherapy kit that includes 33 essential oils. The primary method of application is through the use of personal inhalers (aromasticks), although in a pinch a nurse can place a drop or two of essential oil onto a cotton ball for the patient to inhale from. Topical application is provided by giving the patient a hand massage using essential oil in a carrier oil. The dilution is determined by the nurse. The most popular use of Aromatherapy is for stress/anxiety reduction using Lavender or Frankincense (Boswellia caterii). Other oils employed include Mandarin, Ginger and Peppermint for nausea, Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) and/or Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) for abdominal distress and nausea. Other methods of use include foot baths or a 5% topical application to the abdomen. A few of the nurses will use a 10% dilution of Black pepper essential oil as a vasodilator to assist in locating a “hiding” vein for venipuncture (Scheidel, 2015).


AIA and its goal to integrate Aromatherapy into mainstream medical

The AIA serves as a resource for evidence-based Aromatherapy research for its members, as well as healthcare professionals. Among its goals, the AIA desires to bring together conventional medicine and natural therapies, with an emphasis on Aromatherapy, into a more harmonious relationship. By providing educational opportunities for its members and others through international conferences, teleseminars, workshops and research articles, the AIA helps to equip its clinical members to integrate with the medical community. The AIA Research Committee is currently conducting a research study, in cooperation with the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, entitled “Mapping Aromatherapy Use in the USA” to increase its understanding of how essential oils are currently being used in hospitals.


The changing landscape

While writing this paper, the landscape of Aromatherapy in the U.S. went through many changes. American Aromatherapists saw the rise and shift of focus of an essential oil trade association, warning letters to two of the largest essential oil distributors from the FDA, a warning letter to a base ingredient manufacturer known for providing quality education on raw materials, and a lot of divisiveness—not only amongst essential oil users, but also amongst and within our Aromatherapy organizations. We have also seen an increase in use of Aromatherapy in clinical settings including hospitals, hospices, palliative care facilities, and nursing homes.


There has also been a shift in education. Aromatherapy in the U.S. appears to be a blend of the what is perceived as the “British” and “French” models of Aromatherapy. Ten years ago Aromatherapy was provided generally via inhalation, topical application, and the use of beauty products enriched with essential oils. Over the years, more massage therapists began incorporating essential oils into their massage practices as “an enhancement.” Massage therapists in the U.S. require a separate license to practice in the U.S. and most receive no training in the use of essential oils and their safe application. Most spas provide a selection of essential oils to choose from, along with a laminated card with general indications for each oil, for your massage. Many of these oils are not oils that an authentic Aromatherapist would generally use without a full consultation; such as Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), Wintergreen (Gaultheria fragmentissima), and Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). Often times, one would find citrus or cineole-rich essential oils left uncapped throughout the massage allowing for oxidation of the oil. Raindrop Technique and similar methods of application began to find their way into spas and massage businesses. Through social media we are now seeing more advice given for internal (ingested) use through the advice of the MLM’s independent distributors. However, the advice given seems to be the result of information shared via “the telephone game,” where one passes information through another, to another and so on until the information has become completely disconnected. Due to these more intrusive methods of application and distorted information, we are seeing more educational offerings from those trained in Aromatic Medicine from other countries such as France and Australia. Additionally, there are more lectures and seminars that provide “myth-busting” of common misconceptions with essential oil use. There is more emphasis placed on safety of essential oils. As these fine educators bring their teachings to America, I find that those in attendance are qualified Aromatherapists and not necessarily those who might benefit more from the information (e.g. the independent distributors). Here again, divided camps. There are those who have tried to reach across the divide to engage with the MLMs to offer education. To date, these have been nothing more than a short meeting to introduce oneself and some effort to open the door to further dialog, but it’s a start.



As Aromatherapy use grows in the U.S., as well as the debate over how it is used, there is a need for standardization and unification. This requires uniting organizations, at least on common issues, to present a unified front to the public. The American organizations have remained very separate with no cooperation with the other. This is partly due to a misunderstanding from years back, but continues with veterans of each organization being stuck in old history. While on a couple of occasions a board member of one organization has reached out to the other (and vice versa), there has not been any movement to pursue collaboration.


It is this author’s suggestion (and one shared by many) that the Aromatherapy organizations in America need to come together over common issues and goals (e.g. educational standards for the various levels of Aromatherapy training, standards of practice, code of ethics, and safety) to present a united front while delivering a clear message to the American public. Better still, a merger of both organizations. It was refreshing to see so many new people at the 2015 international conference of the AIA, however as the veterans of our aromatic community prepare for retirement, there is a need for younger enthusiastic Aromatherapists to step up and serve on the boards and committees of these organizations to ensure their existence.


Why stop there? Imagine how much stronger the voice of Aromatherapists would be if there was one solid Aromatherapy organization in each country and they all worked collaboratively to create a foundation of professionalism and engaged in communication with other healthcare professionals and regulatory agencies for the betterment of the Aromatic community as a whole.

The prospect of a global voice to support Aromatherapy world-wide may be just what is in order to have the practice of Aromatherapy become a recognized and respected holistic healing modality.



Aromatherapy United. (2014 and 2015). Injury Reports. Available: Last accessed 20 October 2015.


Barber K and Gagnon-Warr J. (2001, revised 2002). White Paper: Raindrop Therapy. Available: Last accessed 29 October 2015.


Berland G K, Elliott MN, Morales L S, Algazy J I, Kravitz R L, Broder M S, Kanouse D E, Munoz J A, Purol J A, Lara M, Watkins K E, Yang H, McGlynn E A, (2001). Health information on the internet: accessibility, quality, and readability in English and Spanish. JAMA. 285 (20), p2612-2621.


Beredjiklian P K, Bozentka D J, Steinberg D R, Berstein J. (2000). Evaluating the source and content of orthopedic information on the Internet, The case of carpal tunnel syndrome. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 82-A (11), p1540-1543.


Burfield T and Sheppard-Hanger S. (2005). Aromatherapy Undiluted- Safety and Ethics [modified from a previous article “A Brief Safety Guidance on Essential Oils” written for IFA, Sept 2004]. Available: Last accessed: 29 October 2015.


Cantele L. (2012). Improving the Quality of Life of Children with Life-Limiting Illnesses. Journal of the Japanese Society of Aromatherapy. 11 (suppl.), p55-59.


Eisenburg D M, Davis R B, Ettner S L, Scott A, Wilkey S, Van Rompay M I, Kessler R C. (1998). Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States 1990-1997. JAMA. 280, p1569-1575.


Forrester L T, Maayan N G, Orrell M, Spector A E, Buchan L D, Soars-Weiser K. (2014). Aromatherapy for dementia (Review). The Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. 2:CD003150.


Gurdgiel D, Bingenheimer D, Burke E. (2015). Introduction of Clinical Aromatherapy into a Community Hospital. International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. 3 (4), p39-43.


Halcón L. (2013). Chapter 20: Aromatherapy in Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Nursing, 7th Ed. Lindquist, Snyder & Tracy, editors. New York: Springer Publishing, p323.


Li L, Irvin E, Guzman J, Bombardier C. (2001). Surfing for back pain patients: the nature and quality of back pain information on the Internet. Spine. 26 (5), p545-557.


Lillehei A S and Halcón L. (2014) A systematic review of the effect of inhaled essential oils on sleep. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 20 (6).


Lillehei A S, Halcón L, Kreitzer M J. (2015). Integrative Nursing and Aromatherapy in the United States. International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. 3 (4), p31-35.


Mayden K D. (2014) Mind-Body Therapies: Evidence and Implications in Advanced Oncology Practice, Advanced Practitioner, 3 (6), p357-373.


Sagaram S, Walji M, Bernstam E. (2002). Evaluating the prevalence, content and readability of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) web pages on the internet. Proceedings of the  AMIA Symposium. p672–676. Available: Last accessed 25 October 2015.


Scheidel C. (2015). Introduction of Clinical Aromatherapy into a Community Hospital. International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. 3 (4), p36-38.


Tisserand R. (2012). Book review: The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules by David Stewart, PhD, DNM. International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. 1 (3), p52-54.

Tisserand R and Young R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety, 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Elsevier.

A Rare Glimpse into Adulteration of Essential Oils Wed, 07 Sep 2016 17:56:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Essential oil adulteration: camphor and turpentine


Article written by Dr. Raphael d’Angelo, AIA Medical Advisor


I recently was given a fascinating article entitled “How to Adulterate Volatile Oils: A Pre-1906 Manuscript Formulary” (G. Sonnedecker, 1990) and I think the AIA members would find this very informative as a part of aromatherapy history that we rarely encounter.


Adulteration is defined as “any practice that through intent or neglect, results in a variation of strength and/or purity from the professed quality of a drug” was the standard before 1859. In that year the budding American Pharmaceutical Association added ” the intentional addition to an article, for the purpose of gain, or deception…”


Documented falsification of natural substances goes all the way back to the Romans who used their five senses to detect adulterants. This was the only practical way until the early 1800s when physical and chemical tests became more available. The first published work on adulteration (1784) was from a pharmacist in Brussels La Falsification des Medicaments de Voile. The first American publication was by the physician-chemist Lewis C. Beck in 1846 under the title Adulteration of Various Substances Used in Medicine and the Arts.


In the 19th century as it is today, adulteration was a problem that was prevalent and not easily spotted or curtailed. In 1856 the National Wholesale Druggists Association concluded, “the best cultivated and most fruitful field for dishonest practices in our branch of trade has always been in the essential oil business and it continues to be so.” Interestingly, essential oils in this time period were being used much less for personal health concerns and more for food flavoring, drugs, liqueurs, toiletries and cosmetics.


In an effort to combat this greedy practice pharmacy journals would publish specific oils and the proportions of adulterants used in an effort to make pharmacists and other end-users more aware of what to be looking for. However the opposite effect of equipping an unscrupulous producer with the exact knowledge of the craft was a glaring drawback.


The article examined one of these rare manuscripts – a thirty page bound document with fifty-eight formulas for adulterating essential oils and was in use in 1901 and 1902. Twenty different adulterants were noted with oil of turpentine leading the list. In decreasing frequency there was alcohol, oil of Camphor, oil of Cedarwood, oil of Balsam of Gurjon, Castor oil, Black oil, Asphalt Varnish, oil of Birch tar, oil of French Reunion, oil of Geranium, oil of Copaiba, oil of Olivarum, oil of Petit-grain, Carbon Bisulfide, oil of Red Thyme, oil of Sesame, Concentrated Sulfuric Ether, and Carbonate of Iron. An adulterant of 50% or more of the volume was specified in more than half of the formulas. An example was oil of Oregano labeled “pure” contained 17% turpentine and oil of Cedar labeled “commercial” had 90% turpentine.


The article’s Appendix provides examples of the adulteration formulas found in this manuscript. I have selected some that follow.




  • Oil origanum 7 lbs
  • Turpentine 3 gallons
  • Asphalt Varnish 4 drams




  • Oil organum 10 lbs
  • Turpentine 2 lbs




  • French oil of Rose Geranium 2 ounces
  • Oil of Rose, Kissanlick 1 ounce




  • Oil Hyssop 1.75 ounces
  • Alcohol, absolute 0.25 ounces




  • Methyl salicylate 4 lbs
  • Rectified turpentine 1 ounce
  • Oil of Camphor 1 ounce
  • Carbonate of Iron ½ dram


Oil of Turpentine was steam distilled from the crude oleoresin. A V-shaped incision was made in the bark of pine trees in Southern states in the nineteenth century. The sticky resin would flow into collecting pans and then into wooden barrels. From there it was available for sale.




Glenn Sonnedecker, professor emeritus, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison. “How to Adulterate Volatile Oils: A Pre-1906 Manuscript Formulary”. Presented to the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, 1990.


My thanks to Mindy Green, Boulder, Colorado for making this article available at the July 2016 AIA Rocky Mountain Regional meeting.

The Bugs of Summer Tue, 14 Jun 2016 23:01:36 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Bugs of Summer


Bug season is upon us and that means it’s time for aromatherapy bug spray blends. Although all essential oils will repel some insects, there are a few that are more commonly used for the summer pests that many deal with such as mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks.


You may need to experiment to find out what works for your local bugs. Here are some essential oils classically used to deter the tiny biters…


  • Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica, Juniperus virginiana, Cedrus deodora, or Juniperus mexicana)
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
  • Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
  • Geranium Bourbon (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora)
  • Lemon Tea Tree (Leptospermun petersonii)
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)


Try different combinations of these oils and experiment by adding some of your own.


Use distilled water with a touch of alcohol, witch hazel, or liquid Castile soap and blend at up to 2% (1% for kids, using kid-safe oils, of course). Hydrosols also make an excellent base and contribute to repelling bugs. Peppermint hydrosol smells especially good when combined with patchouli essential oil.


Try This:


Mix catnip essential oil into neem carrier oil and spray on plants and trees. The neem sticks to the plants and trees and keeps mosquitoes away. Use one tablespoon (30ml) neem per one gallon of water, shake well and spray (catnip eo is optional). Be sure to respray after it rains.


Suggested Proportions:


  • 1 Tbsp Neem oil ( Azadirachta indica)
  • 50 drops Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
  • 1 gallon Water


Bonus Tip:


Leave out Lemongrass as it attracts bees. Beekeepers use lemongrass oil to swarm bees to a new hive (click below to watch video):


Click to watch bee video



Use common sense beyond aromatherapy:


Check your property for potential breeding grounds for mosquitos. Empty anything that has standing water such as buckets and old tires to be sure that they do not nest near your home. Wear protective clothing and tuck pant legs into socks when walking through high grass.


Remember to write down your recipes as you make them so the winning one can be replicated! Share you recipes with us on the AIA Facebook page.


Emily Carpenter

Emily Carpenter is a Certified Aromatherapist, herbalist, and Reiki practitioner who also studies homeopathy. She blogs about her experiences on

Ayurveda Rituals for Beauty & Balance Sun, 15 May 2016 15:49:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Ayurvedic Recipes


At the April Mountain Region Meeting, Nellie Shapiro gave a lively and interactive presentation on Ayurveda. Her 2-hour presentation began with a discussion on the 20 “Gunas.” ‘Guna’ is the Sanskrit word meaning attribute or quality. This was an introduction to determining your Dosha or Bioelement that make up one’s constitution. While all three Doshas (Kapha, Pitta and Vata) are present in each of us, one generally dominates at any given time. The key is keeping them in balance. After learning about the Gunas, Nellie let her audience try their hand at determining the Doshas of each of the others in attendance and explained further the various nuances in determining each person’s constitution. This was followed by a brief break in which attendees sampled some tea Nellie prepared with fennel, cumin, turmeric and coriander and a delicious ginger and beet chutney. After the break, Nellie talked her audience through Dinachariya—a daily morning ritual to nourish and energize the body; including the appropriate time to rise, prayer, hygiene, exercise, breathing and meditation…all before breakfast! With each step, she explained the how and the why, as well as preparations she uses for herself including a tooth powder, body oil and deodorant made with herbs and essential oils. Her presentation concluded with the sharing of the following recipes for nourishment to support an Ayurvedic lifestyle for wellness.


Ayurvedic Kitchari




  • 1 cup split yellow mung dahl beans
  • ¼ – ½ cup long grain white or white basmati rice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger root
  • 1 tsp each: black mustard seeds, cumin, and turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp each: coriander powder, fennel and fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2Tbs coconut flakes
  • 7-10 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt (rock salt is best)
  • 1 small handful chopped fresh cilantro ( basil ) leaves
  • Can add vegetables – beets leaves, kale, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc
  • Ghee or coconut oil to the taste and according to constitution


I prefer to make my spice mixes every week ahead of time, roasted and powdered.




  1. Wash split yellow mung beans and rice together until water runs clear.
  2. In a pre-heated large pot, dry roast the ginger and all the spices (except the bay leaves) on medium heat for a few minutes. This dry-roasting will enhance the flavor.
  3. Add dahl and rice and stir, coating the rice and beans with the spices.
  4. Add water and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
  5. Boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn heat to low, cover pot and continue to cook until dahl and rice become soft (about 30-40 minutes).
  7. The cilantro (basil) leaves and ghee (coconut oil) can be added just before serving.
  8. Add salt.


For weak digestion, gas or bloating: Before starting to prepare the kitchari, first par-boil the split mung dahl (cover with water and bring to boil), drain, and rinse. Repeat 2-3 times. OR, soak beans overnight and then drain. Cook as directed.


Takra: Ayurvedic Butter Milk


“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita (divine nectar) is for the gods, takra is to humans.” Bhavaprakasha Chapter 6.7


Great probiotic.


Serves 1




  • ¼ cup fresh cold yogurt (make your own fresh, when possible)
  • ¾ cup purified cold water
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 1 pinch of rock salt
  • Fresh cilantro/ basil leaves – optional.




  1. Place the freshly-made yogurt in the blender and blend for three to five minutes. Add the cold water, and blend again on low for three to five minutes.
  2. Collect and discard the fatty foam on top. Repeat blending and remove further fatty foam if yogurt still seems thick or solid white (should appear watery but cloudy in color when finished).
  3. Add the spices and herb
  4. Serve at room temperature.


For simplicity you can just combine all ingredients and mix by hand. The important part is 1:4 ratio yogurt/ water. Milk kefir is another great probiotic.




  • 1/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/3 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/3 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups of water


Combine ingredients in a medium pot and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover. After 5 minutes, turn off heat and allow to cool to a drinkable temperature. Strain to serve. Sweeten with a touch of honey or maple syrup or a splash of almond milk.


Skin-Nourishing Spice Mixture


  • 3 parts turmeric
  • 6 parts coriander
  • 6 parts fennel
  • 3parts fenugreek
  • 1 part black pepper
Aromatic Medicine: Internal Dosing of Essential Oils Mon, 02 May 2016 20:52:45 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Article by Amy Kreydin


  botanical medicine capsule  


If aromatherapy is a frequently misunderstood profession then the specialization of aromatic medicine is so out there we could be discussing xenobotany here. But we’re not talking about plant life on other planets, this is a unique branch of botanical medicine that employs volatile aromatic plant extracts in internal dose forms.


Twenty years ago I began studying botanical medicine in high mountain meadows, birthing rooms, greenhouses, gardens, and dining rooms in Northern New Mexico. Six years ago I studied clinical aromatherapy in a classroom at Boston Medical Center. Last year I began studying aromatic medicine at the Heal Center. It was an International effort coordinated by South African Roz Zollinger, Brit Gabriel Mojay, and led by Aussie Mark Webb. It was amazing and I’ve loved how it has taken my practice and education to another level. 🙂  

What is Aromatic Medicine?


Aromatic Medicine is the internal dosing of volatile plant extracts. Extracts used in aromatic medicine include:


  • steam- and hydro-distilled essential oils,
  • expressed/cold-pressed essential oils,
  • carbon dioxide extracted volatiles (CO2 extracts),
  • and deterpenated/rectified essential oils.


Other botanical ingredients used in formulations might include:


  • ethanol botanical extracts (herbal tinctures),
  • triglyceride (fatty) oils, waxes, and butters (think shea butter and almond oil),
  • and raw plant materials from powders to loose herbs.


Aromatic medicine draws on both pharmaceutical standardized methodologies (Galenic method) as well as botanical medicine methodologies to calibrate and formulate doses. This has proven to be the biggest leap in the evolution of how I prepare remedies. Twenty years ago I used dashes, pinches, scoops and generally eyeballed my measurements. That would be a terrific way to make a batch of bone broth, blood builder syrup, healing soup, or adrenal-nourishing tea but a terrifying approach to aromatic medicine! Today you’ll find me cozied up to a fancy little scale measuring active ingredients in milligrams with a handy little calculator and a mason jar full of pipettes. 


Dose Forms in Aromatic Medicine


You’ll recognize some of these dose forms from more common aromatherapy practices but I’m adding notes specific to how the dose may be different in aromatic medicine:  


  • Respiratory tract – an emulsified solution dosed via a nebulizer according to the constitution and age of the client; an emulsified nasal spray/wash; an aromatic suppository.
  • Gastrointestinal tract – milligram dosage according to the weight of the client and chemistry of the active ingredients employed and dosed via enteric-coated capsules, aperitifs and digestifs, emulsified gargles, liquid syrups, or aromatic suppositories.
  • Urogenital tract – milligram dosage according to weight of the client and chemistry of the active ingredients employed and dosed via aromatic suppositories or pessaries.


Should I try Aromatic Medicine?


Professionally, my aromatic medicine training has really elevated my formulation work and introduced me to some unique approaches to drafting wellness plans. Personally, I’ve enjoyed a broader range of wellness tools to support immune health during the 2015-2016 cold/flu season, and this year’s cedar fever season followed shortly by the mold and pollen sinus apocalypse ;-).   Aromatic medicine seems to particularly shine in the area of supporting the body during an acute or chronic infectious disease state. Examples of this include influenza, hospital superbugs, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, and Lyme disease.


Is it safe?


Safety and efficacy should always be at the forefront of any aromatic intervention, be it inhaled, topical, internal, or oral. If you’ve read some of my other posts like Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils, and Why essential oils are not water flavoring agents, and Essential Oils and GRAS: What it really means then you know there are risks associated with oral dosing: mucosal lining damage, internal organ stress, stomach and esophageal damage, phototoxic reactions (worse with oral dosing than topical), and immune system stress (sensitization, triggering an autoimmune condition, etc). So if adding a drop to a glass of water isn’t safe how is adding a drop to a gel cap and swallowing it safe? Great question!


The only way for aromatic medicine to be safe is to have a firm grasp on dosing, chemistry, and pharmacology of these concentrated ingredients. We know that essential oils can safely be used to flavor beverages and foods when they have been appropriately emulsified (remember that oil and water don’t mix!), and used in accordance with flavoring doses. Oftentimes this means an essential oil needs to be rectified for it to be non-irritating to the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and stomach.


Dosing, chemistry, and pharmacology go hand-in-hand in a treatment plan. We select a dose based on weight and constitution of the individual – very different dosing and dose forms for a 190 pound adult with a strong constitution versus a frail 110 pound senior citizen. Then we further calibrate the dose according to the chemistry of the aromatics we’ve selected. After that we further calibrate based on the dose form we wish to employ. So each capsule, suppository, nebulizer dose provides the same dose of aromatics.  

Can I do this myself?


I get a lot of safety questions about using essential oils orally, and many of them are centered around the individual wanting to know if their at-home formula is safe or if a commercial formulation they’ve purchased is safe. With some inspiration from Jim McDonald, a Michigan herbalist, I’ve put together a list of questions to help you determine whether an oral dose of essential oils is appropriate and safe for you:


  • What is the binomial (latin) name of the plant this aromatic extract comes from?
  • Does it have a chemotype? (i.e. Rosemary CT Cineole)
  • How was this aromatic extracted?
  • Has it been rectified/deterpenated?
  • How was the plant grown?
  • What is the chemistry of this specific batch?
  • How old is it and what were the storage conditions like?
  • What is the LD (Lethal Dose) 50 of this extract?
  • What are the possible medication and health contraindications for this extract?
  • What is the maximum adult oral dose of this extract?
  • What is the nature of the condition being treated?
  • What is the dosage for the weight and constitution of the person being treated?
  • What delivery form will be the most effective, and safest for the condition being treated?
  • What is the dosage frequency and the treatment plan length?
  • What do the side effects look like?
  • What does an overdose look like with this dose form and aromatic?


This article, written by Amy Kreydin, was originally published at The Barefoot Dragonfly.


Amy Kreydin


Amy Kreydin is a Board Certified Reflexologist and Clinically-trained Aromatherapist, in private practice since 2004. Kreydin received her certificate as a Certified Reflexologist from the Palmer Institute in Salem, MA in 2004, and was awarded her board certificate in Reflexology from the American Reflexology Certification Board in 2006. She trained at a Harvard teaching hospital in Boston, MA and obtained her Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner (CCAP) in 2011. She is passionate about whole body wellness and loves helping folks reach their health goals to live an abundant, vibrant, and balanced life.

A 5 Element Approach to Understanding Essential Oils: The Wood Element Mon, 18 Apr 2016 19:21:19 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Article by Marc J. Gian, L. Ac, LMT


5 Elements


There are as many ways to classify Essential Oils as there are to use them. As we use essential oils for “holistic aromatherapy” we need to become clear on what holistic means. All too often, the term holistic is thrown around for the use of treating symptoms without allopathic medicine. However, to accurately be holistic practitioners the inclusion of the emotional/mental aspect of our client is paramount. The philosophy of the 5 Elements is one system that can lead to sincere holistic treatment.


The 5 Elements or Wu Xing is a leading paradigm used in Chinese medicine and is a solution for the aromatherapist eager to understand the root of illness. The 5 Elements are used to describe many of the phenomena of the natural world including the human condition. Each element gives birth to another and then cycles back again, just like the seasons.


Let’s take a look a look at the basics of the 5 Elements:


5 Element Chart


We are all born with a predominance of one or two elements that make up our being. During certain situations and times of life one elemental trait will dominate. This can be equated to an essential oil blend. When blending, quantity and function/personality of essential oil determines dominance of one oil over the other.


As the seasons cycle towards spring, it suites that this article focus on correlating the Wood Element and Aromatherapy/Essential Oils. The organs that are associated with the Wood Element are the Liver and Gall Bladder. The mother of the Wood Element is the Water Element, the Wood Element gives rise to the Fire Element.


The Water Element is associated with the winter time and dormancy. The Water Element can be seen as those aspects of our lives that have not been experienced or have brought into the world. Quite often, this can be the expression of our emotions, an idea that has been in the works or the deepest purpose in life.


Naturally, in order to emerge from inactivity (Winter) to a state of renewal (Spring) and then to full expression (Fire) the directionality of energy needs to be in an upward and outward direction. In Chinese medicinal terms, this correlates to the function of Promoting the Movement of Qi. This function helps to maintain the movement of energy in our being and move dormant/suppressed Qi. For the purposes of this writing and to comprehend our energetic cycles we need to be clear that upward and outward direction or promoting the movement of Qi is used in all seasons, it is dependent on what is happening to with the individual.


From the above we can correlate that movement forward is associated with the Wood Element. As a matter of fact, symptoms associated with “sciatica” or “piriformis” and other forms of muscle tightness are associated with the Wood Element. Quite often, the emotional cause of pain in this area is a result of either not moving forward in life or suppressing our emotions or the direction we want to go. The Wood Element is associated with direction in life and the expression of anger. If our anger or direction in life does not progress outward it gets suppressed and moves downward. This is the opposite direction of spring.


This perverse flow on Liver Qi is an actual cause of physical pain and may also be a contributor to the western medical diagnosis of depression. Therefore, from the basics we already know, the proper essential oils to use would be those that have the function to Promote the Movement of Qi to unblock this dormancy (Winter). Essential Oils that are classified for the Wood Element and have this function include: Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Lavender angustifolia.


All of the above oils are associated with moving stagnant Qi yet do so in different ways. Naturally, when we experience irritation and frustration, our muscle tense. The Liver controls the sinews. Lemongrass the “tendinomuscular oil” is key in Promoting the Movement of Qi in the hips, legs and ankles. Consequently, Lemongrass is an excellent choice for muscle tenderness due to emotional suppression, i.e sciatica pain/piriormis syndrome. This warming oil has the ability to move stagnation in the muscle layer especially in the hips and legs. Treating physical pain is often the first step in the freedom from emotional stagnation.


Rosemary is commonly used with Lemongrass for the above symptoms. Yet, its spring like nature can also be seen in its ability to strengthen our digestive system. Our digestive system (Earth Element) becomes deficient for many reasons including diet and emotional experience. A common diagnosis is what is called Wood (Liver) Overacting on Earth (Spleen) Common symptoms of Wood Overacting on Earth include; irritability, bloating, alternating diarrhea and constipation and fatigue. In addition to being associated with the Wood Element it also has an affinity with the Earth Element. This dual association makes Rosemary the premier essential oil for treating this condition.The two functions that Rosemary has to treat this are Promoting the Movement of QI Upwards (the expression of self) and Raising the Spleen Qi.


The rising nature of Wood engenders the Fire Element (Heart and Small Intestine. Lavender is an oil that has an affinity with both the Wood and Fire Element. Similar to Lemongrass and Rosemary, Lavender promotes the Movement of Qi. However, Lemongrass and Rosemary are both warming in nature, while Lavender is cool and is distilled from a flower. As it is a flower, it calms with a cooler, softer and gentler quality. Lavender is a principal oil to be used when there are emotional issues of the Fire Element, such as anxiety, restlessness and nostalgia.


The system of the 5 Element deepens the understanding of essential oils and provides a framework to connect emotions and physicality. When practitioners start to use this structure they will observe the whole person and be able to treat in deeper and more efficient manner.

AIA Becomes “Contributing Producer” for Aromatherapy Documentary – Uncommon Scents Sun, 31 Jan 2016 00:14:45 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Uncommon Scents Thanks AIA


The world of aromatherapy is a complex one. There are everything from home users who use essential oils through oral traditions, people who self-study, and others that receive formal training to understand the chemical makeup and actions of essential oils. Aromatherapy pioneers such as Robert Tisserand, Sylla Shepherd-Hanger, Jeanne Rose, Colleen Dodt, and Marge Clark have been studying the art and science of aromatherapy for 30-40+ years. Millions are just beginning to study aromatherapy.


Social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram have made the sharing of information about essential oils easier than ever. Aromatherapy pioneers generously contribute to the discussion and provide valuable insight.


While there is a vast amount of information about aromatherapy available online, it is not all reliable, and in many cases is misleading, incorrect, or dangerous. This range of information has set up a divide in the aromatherapy community and caused finger-pointing and leaves many scratching their heads to find a way to bring the aromatherapy community together to move forward united with a common goal of sharing sound information to make responsible aromatherapy available to as many as possible.


Two women seek to tell the story of aromatherapy and to contribute to uniting the aromatherapy community. Executive producers and trained aromatherapists, Angela Jensen Ehmke and Kristina Bauer, debuted their idea for the full-featured aromatherapy documentary, Uncommon Scents, at the 2015 AIA conference. Since then they have been working tirelessly to vet interviewees and raise funds to make their dream a reality.


While many have a narrow view of aromatherapy based on where they live, Uncommon Scents aims to share a global perspective as has never been done before. They will travel around the world to tell the story of aromatherapy that has been missing up to this point. Interviewees so far include Patricia Brooks, Andrea Butje, Lora Cantele, Marge Clark, Dorene Petersen, Ann Harman, Nyssa Hanger, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, Ixchel Leigh, Rhiannon Lewis, Gabriel Mojay, Dr. Robert Pappas, Jade Shutes, Robert Tisserand, and Mark Webb.


The film will tackle topics such as aromatherapy history, chemistry, applications, safety, adulteration sustainability, as well as concerns about the marketing and monetization of essential oils. They will share insights about threats and controversies facing the industry and community including challenges surrounding regulation, licensing, and education. They will also talk about why protecting essential oil sources and reducing risk are key to aromatherapy’s future.


AIA recognizes this as an important documentary for the aromatic world. This film must be made. AIA has made a contribution and will be listed as a Contributing Producer of the film. Now it’s your turn! Every penny counts and Uncommon Scents has until February 18th to raise enough funds ($60,000) to begin production.


You can contribute as little or as much as you’d like. Many perks such as aromatherapy books, classes, and essential oils are available to entice you to give at a level you are comfortable with. What’s the next bottle of essential oil or next aromatherapy book you were thinking of buying? Why not wait a little longer and contribute to this film instead. The entire aromatherapy world will thank you!


Learn more about the film and donate at Indiegogo.


Visiting the home of Fragonia™ Wed, 23 Dec 2015 03:59:09 +0000 Continue reading ]]> by Priscilla Fouracres


I recently had the privilege of visiting the only place in the world where Fragonia™ (Agonis fragrans), is grown and produced into essential oil. The 46-hectare property (114 acres), owned and operated by John and Peta Day, is about two hours from Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.

John and Peta Day in a field of Agonis fragrans (Photo courtesy of the Paperbark Co.)

John and Peta Day in a field of Agonis fragrans (Photo courtesy of the Paperbark Co.)


The ‘farm’, as the Days call it, has a sense of serenity that emanates from the well-cared for and highly-loved piece of land they began developing 15 years ago.


A mud-map is required to find the farm and even then it is easy to drive past the unassuming property in a low-lying marshland where paperbark trees, a common name for some species of Melaleucas from the Myrtaceae family1, grow naturally.


Situated in a farming community and region better known for its citrus fruit, beef production and vineyards than native plants, the farm is virtually unknown in its own backyard by the general population. Yet, it is well-known and reputed for its quality oils and hydrosols among aromatherapists and essential oil suppliers worldwide who understand the significance of the Day’s work in bringing a brand new essential oil to an international market.


Clinical trials on Fragonia™ are nearing completion and will be another step forward in confirming the efficacy of the oil along with scientific work that has already been done.2


Sold under the trademarked name of Fragonia™, laboratory tests have shown it has antimicrobial activity similar to Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), and Oregano (Origanum vulgare).3 Therefore, Fragonia™ is a good substitute for people who are not fond of the smell of tea tree.


Steam distilled from leaves and twigs, Fragonia™ has a middle note.


A typical GC/MS analysis of Fragonia™ will show the following range of components4.


Monoterpenes 30 – 40%
a-pinene 22 – 27%
b-pinene 1.5 – 1.8%
myrcene 1.4 – 2.2%
limonene 2.3 – 2.5%
p-cymene 1.6 – 2.9%
y-terpinene 1.3 – 3.3%
Oxides 26 – 32%
1,8-cineole 26.6 – 32.5%
Monoterpenols 23 – 30%
linalool 10.9 – 12.4%
terpinen-4-ol 3.2 – 4.3%
a-terpineol 5.4 – 4.5%
myrtenol 3.1 – 4.5%
geraniol 0.5 – 1.6%


The oil’s 1,8 cineole content offers expectorant and mucolytic properties, making it useful for respiratory issues.5, 6


As a monoterpene-rich oil with a high percentage of alpha-pinene, Fragonia™ would be expected to have analgesic, antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant properties.7 Tisserand and Young8 recommend the addition of an antioxidant to preparations containing Fragonia™ because of its high alpha-pinene content.


Fragonia™ is a favorite with many Western Australian aromatherapists because of its aroma and calming properties. The camphoraceous, balsamic, citrus and sweet smell is attributed to its myrtenol content, while its well-known calming properties are due to linalool.9


Fragonia™ can easily stand alone in a diffuser and could be mistaken for a blend.


I have used it in liquid hand soap and blends to alleviate muscle and joint pain. I also diffuse it when I’m alone but want the company of a heart-warming friend.
You will no doubt hear more about Fragonia™ in the weeks ahead when results from the clinical trials are released.



  1. Brophy J.J., Craven L.A. and Doran J.C. Melaleucas: their botany, essential oils and uses. Canberra, ACT: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Monograph No. 156; 2013: 415.
  2. Day P. and Day J. Personal conversation. Paperpark Co.; 2015
  3. Robinson C.J. A new essential oil – Agonis fragrans: chemotype selection and evaluation. Publication No 06/090. Barton, ACT: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation; 2006:73.
  4. Webb, M.A. Aromatic Toolkit – Materia Medica. Two-day workshop. Perth, WA: AromaMedix Pty Ltd; 2015.
  5. Battaglia S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd ed. Brisbane, QLD: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy; 2003:34.
  6. Price S. and Price L. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. 4th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2012:27.
  7. Battaglia S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd ed. Brisbane, QLD: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy; 2003:76.
  8. Tisserand R. and Young R. Essential Oil Safety. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014:287.
  9. Webb, M.A. Aromatic Toolkit – Materia Medica. Two-day workshop. Perth, WA: AromaMedix Pty Ltd; 2015.


Priscilla Fouracres

Priscilla Fouracres


Priscilla Fouracres is a writer and certified aromatherapist. She has a B.A. degree in Communications and has worked as a journalist and public relations consultant for the health sector. She is an American expat living in Perth, Western Australia, and AIA member.

Beyond Aromatherapy Teleseminar, December 16, 2015 Mon, 14 Dec 2015 13:34:16 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Beyond Aromatherapy: Expand Your Practice

with Sara Jo Holmes BS RA LMT NCTMB

sara-holmes-tree-largeI teach Complementary Therapies in Healthcare for College Students at Parkland College in Champaign, IL and have now done so for 10 years. Aromatherapy opened the door to my current career and although it was a difficult path new opportunities presented themselves and I embraced them! My horizons have broadened and I have learned much from the journey. Since my aromatherapy beginnings, I have added massage therapy, meditation, energy work (Reiki and Chakra balancing), herbal therapy, and many other forms of CAM to my private practice, my classes and my life. I will share with you how I prepared and expanded my practice, increased my income and help you do the same. I hope this presentation will encourage you to explore the other health therapies that make perfect partners to aromatherapy and can open new doors for yourself and your business.  Learn more…