Lavender: is it the be-all and end-all?

The internet is all a buzz, Lavender is everywhere – and supposedly it’s going to knock you out and cure you of everything under the sun.

Every day folks come into my little Aroma Apothecary
questioning . . . Do you have any Lavender essential oil . . . or they declare lavender cures insomnia, reduces anxiety, cures depression, quells anger, improves heart function, balances hormones, cures headaches, settles restless legs, relieves sore muscles and improves libido.

Then they ask . . . is this true? . . .  or they declare . . . I would like to get off my medication!

And so I say – well it’s complicated!

  1. The common factor with all of the above symptoms is that we all suffer from them, why because:
    – we don’t get enough sleep,
    – we are over-exposed to a plethora of synthetic chemicals,
    – 
    we work too hard,
    – we abuse our bodies,
    – we don’t eat well,
    – we consume too much sugar
    – we have a lot of stress in our lives,
    – our lives are frantic,
    – politics and bureaucracy make us angry,
    – life is expensive,
    – we live with grief,
    – we live with mental health issues,
    – we are a living organism that is susceptible to disease, due to genetics and the environment, and
    – as much as we don’t want to hear – we get old and the vehicle breaks down.

  2. First and foremost, don’t stop taking your medication that was prescribed by your doctor if you have a serious medical condition.
  3. Secondly there are many natural wellness modalities that we must incorporate into our lives in order to maintain our wellbeing.
  4. Yes Lavender is known to elicit a calming effect on the central nervous system because it smells lovely and looks beautiful. The psychological calm that it produces when we smell lavender is the result of primarily one chemical constituent that occurs in lavender and it is called linalool.  However linalool also occurs in nearly 200 different aromatic plants.  When our olfactory bulb detects linalool it immediately produces an . . . ah effect (but smell is very subjective – so go a head and smell something that you adore – but it doesn’t have to be Lavender).  Take a deep breath, exhale slowly and notice how your shoulders relax the corners of your mouth turn up and eyes soften . . . research indicates that a pleasant fragrance can produce an immediate change in physiological parameters such as blood pressure, muscle tension, pupil dilation, skin temperature, pulse rate and brain activity.
  5. But what if you don’t particularly like Lavender . . . well hey . . . below we have provided a lovely visual of 7 other essential oils that contain the relaxing linalool substance.  Now you may not like them in their individual or neat form, but one of the beautiful things about having a collection of essential oils is that you can create unique combinations of aromatics to fragrance your body, fragrance your home, use in skin care products, and to help alleviate stress.  But I don’t generally recommend that you use all of your relaxing oils at one time or blend them all together. Drop in sometime for a whiff ! Our Professional Aromatherapist is always happy to explain – it’s just a little easier to educate our clients before they walk in the door. (what are essential oils – read more here)

Linalool9labeled

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

Neroli

Neroli ~ Citrus aurantium L. and/or Citrus bigardia L. possesses GRAS status (generally recognized as safe).  Neroli oil contains more than 70 different natural occurring chemicals, however the constituents that are responsible for its lovely scent are primarily:
linalyl acetate (43-68.5%)
linalool (23.8-54.3%)
geraniol (2.8 – 5.9%), and
limonene (traces up to 10.2%). Percentage levels vary from batch to batch, due growing conditions, geographical location and species.
The essential oil of Neroli is derived by the steam distillation of orange and/or bitter orange tree blossoms. Neroli is one of the most expensive essential oils on the market (approximately $8,000 Cdn. per litre) because it takes about 100 kilos of blooms to create just 1 litre of neroli oil.  At that price it is not economically viable for candle and soap manufacturers to use pure essential oil of Neroli in their products and so they often use synthetic knock-offs.

In contrast, just 1 litre of distilled Petitgrain (orange or lemon LEAF oil) is approximately $160 Cdn. per litre, this is due to the fact that the orange leaf yields much more oil than the blossom. When you smell Neroli and Petitgrain side-by-side it is quite clear that they have similar aromatic notes with Neroli being very sweet and floral, while Petitgrain has more sharp, and tenacious green notes.

Neroli oil is highly valued by perfumers for its sweet and middle floral notes, with a slight smokey green pepper undertone. Skin care alchemists declare that Neroli helps to combat dry, irritated and sensitive skin and it may help improve the skin’s elasticity which in-turn may slow down the occurrence of thread veins and prevent scaring.

True Neroli oil is prized by Aromatherapists as being one of the most important oils in their collection, as the scent of Neroli can produce feelings of euphoria and lower respiration, thereby helping to reduce stress and help to quell anxiety.

Two of the chemicals that occur naturally in Neroli and Petitgrain (and in approximately 200 other different species of aromatics plants) are Linalool and linalyl acetate. Research indicates that when the scent of linalool and linalyl acetate are lightly vaporized they have relaxing and positive effects on the central nervous system, helping to quiet the mind and lower respiration and may be useful from a pain management perspective.

In a laboratory setting, the application of Neroli oil was found to have antibacterial action against several species of bacteria while it’s vapour was less effective.  Neroli oil application proved effective with many forms of fungi.

Given the fact that Neroli possesses anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties it does not indicate that the oil be used as an alternative to treat bacterial infections in humans.  Based on the fact that Neroli possesses anti-microbial properties, some ‘essential oil sales folks’ may entice or suggest that people buy Neroli oil and add it to their home-made cleaning products.  In my opinion this is sheer nonsense and an un-ethical sales pitch. Don’t waste your money or your Neroli. There are plenty of other essential oils that contain constituents that are anti-microbial and are more affordable for your do-it-your-self natural cleaning products. 

Petitgrain ~ Citrus aurantium L., Citrus reticulata, possesses GRAS status (generally recognized as safe).  The primary chemical constituents in Petitgrain are:
linalyl acetate (46-71%)
linalool (12.3-27%)
geraniol (1.4-4%)
limonene (1-8%)
a-Terpineol (2-8%), and
Geranyl acetate (1.9-3.4%).
As previously mentioned Petitgrain oil is derived via steam distillation of leaves and twigs primarily from the lemon and orange tree.  The odour of Petitgrain oil is comprised of nearly 400 different components.  Dermal sensitization and phototoxicity is rare with Petitgrain oil unless it has been adulterated with cold pressed citrus oils.  In a laboratory setting, the application of Petitgrain oil was found to exhibit relatively good action against several species of bacteria and fungi, however its vapour was less effective.

Given the fact that Petitgrain oil possesses anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties it does not indicate that the oil be used as an alternative to treat bacterial infections in humans.  Since Petitgrain is a very affordable essential oil it would make more sense to add a little Petitgrain oil and not Neroli oil to your homemade natural cleaning products. Petitgrain oil is an excellent fragrant choice that could be used to naturally scent unscented mediums such as carrier oils, lotions, creams, deodorants, soaps, shampoos and shower gels.  In the palm of your hand with a dollop of your choice (lotion, carrier oil, soap) add 2-3 drops of petitgrain and enjoy.

Linalyl acetate also possess promising anti-inflammatory properties.  Linalyl acetate often occurs in conjunction with linalool in many essential oils but it must be understood, that while essential oils possess these valuable properties it does not mean that essential oils should be used in leu of conventional therapies.

Most of the empirical research (scientific) involving essential oils has been conducted in laboratory settings in vitro (controlled environment outside of a living organism) often on skin tissue or ileum (smooth muscle intestine samples) excised from laboratory animals.

Neroli in it’s pure or neat form could cause cutaneous irritation therefore it is imperative to dilute neroli in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil.  Typically safe dilutions of all essential oils should be maintained at less than 6-10% per volume, however harsh essential oils (those essential oils that are known to be severe dermal irritants) should be maintained a lower dilutions such as 1-2% per volume.

Because Neroli is so darn expensive it would be a waste of money to use it in wash off products or to diffuse it in an electric aromatic diffuser.  To truly benefit from the relaxing effects of Neroli consider blending 20 drops of neroli in 10 ml bottle of fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil and use it to perfume your wrists and palms of your hands, and then cup the aroma around your nose in order to benefit from it’s odour – this is what ‘Aroma’-therapy is all about.

Neroli is a very delicate aroma – blending it with other essential oils takes some skill and understanding because some will compliment and others will compete. At Bespoke Aromatics – I personally create custom blended natural perfumes with pure essential oils – drop in for a whiff sometime – and ask about my Neroli Solifore perfume.

References:

Lis-Balchin, M., Dr. (1995) The Chemistry & Bioactivity of Essential Oils.

Lis-Balchin, M., Dr. (2006) Aromatherapy Science, A Guide for HealthCare Professionals.

Tisserand, Robert & Young, Rodney. (2014) Essential Oil Safety, A Guide to Health Care Professionals, 2nd Edition.

Online Research Resources:

Anticonvulsant activity of Citrus aurantium blossom essential oil neroli: involvment of the GABAergic system.

Effects of Inhalation of Essential Oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units.

Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art.

Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils

Lavandula angustifolia Mill. Oil and Its Active Constituent Linalyl Acetate Alleviate Pain and Urinary Residual Sense after Colorectal Cancer Surgery: A Randomised Controlled Trial.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

 

 

 

 

Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils

IMG_3553Many essential oils possess anti-microbial properties, due to the naturally occurring constituents that result from the distillation process.

However this does not mean that humans should consume essential oils in order to treat or prevent bacterial infections.

Essential oils are extremely strong substances and they need to be used with caution, with respect to inhalation and topical skin use.

If an adult were to receive an entire body massage with a massage oil and that individual does not have a medical condition nor is taking a medication, the massage oil blend should not exceed six (6-10%) percent of added essential oils in a base oil such as coconut.

Pregnant or nursing mothers, the elderly, children under the age of 12 years, those with a medical condition, those persons taking medication or receiving treatment such as chemotherapy, persons with respiratory conditions or those who have allergies or skin sensitivities should use milder dilutions at one (1%) to two (2%). Some essential oils should be completely avoided by persons who fall into any of the above scenarios and it is imperative to consult with your physician.

Essential oils are commonly being used in cold water vapour machines known as ultrasonic misters.  Many folks are turning to this method in order to naturally scent their homes and personal spaces. Since many essential oils contain naturally occurring substances that have antimicrobial properties it is believed that this practice may help to improve air quality. According to Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young (2014):

A few drops of essential oil in a burner, vaporizer or in a steam inhalation is virtually risk-free.  However, prolonged inhalation (more than about 30 minutes) of concentrated essential oil vapors (eg., steam inhalation, or direct from a bottle) can lead to headaches, vertigo, nausea and lethargy.  In certain instances more serious symptoms might be experienced, such incoherence and double vision.

For children 5 years old or less, direct inhalation should be avoided.

At Bespoke Aromatics we carry over 100 different varieties of pure essential oils and we teach classes about how to use essential oils safely and effectively.

Many of our customers ask us if we make our essential oils, and often folks tell as that ‘such and such’ a company or that ‘this person I know’ makes their own essential oils.  In order to make an essential oil, expensive and complicated machinery is required.  Essential oils are most often extracted or distilled on-site at the location where the plant material is grown and harvested. Oh for sure there are many companies, manufacturers, aromatherapists, practitioners and even back-yard do-it-yourselfers who blend essentials into various concoctions and mediums but this does not equate to ‘making’ an essential oil.  Nearly all of the essential oils on the market are purchased in bulk (25 kg +) from just a handful of multi-national distributors of essential oils and raw material handlers.  Then the essential oils are re-bottled into smaller bottles and are re-labeled and branded.

It doesn’t take rocket-science to create a synergistic blend of essential oils that help to combat environmental germs, and you don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money (or be ‘thieves’) to create your own blend.  At Bespoke we carry all the individual essential oils to create your own ‘thieves blend’ : Lemon, Eucalyptus radiata, Rosemary, Cinnamon Bark and Clove Bud.

There is substantial research pointing to the fact that many essential oils have anti-microbial properties. Below we provide a list of valuable online resources:

Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.

Antimicrobial activities of eucalyptus leaf extracts and flavonoids from Eucalyptus maculata.

Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination.

In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils.

Aromatherapy: Guidelines For Using Essential Oils And Herbs

Other Sources:

Lis-Balchin, M. (1995). Aroma science: The chemistry and bioactivity of essential oils. United Kingdom: Amberwood Publishing.

Tisserand, R., Young, R., Williamson, E. M., Balacs, T., & Tisser, R. (2013). Essential oil safety: A guide for health care professionals (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

 

 

Frankincense: Let’s put this in perspective!

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At least once a day somebody asks us – do you have any ‪#‎Frankincense‬ Oil? Then they tell us how they read an article on the emojiinternet, or that a friend told them to place a few drops under their tongue or rub some on the roof of their mouth every day in order to treat or prevent cancer!  

Frankincense Essential Oil (EO) is obtained by distilling the resin (a sap like substance) that exudes from a tree known as Boswellia carterii which is primarily indigenous to India, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The chemistry of the essential oil is mainly monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, with small amounts of diterpenoid components occurring in the upper limit, in terms of molecular weight.

From a scent perspective the EO of Frankincense has a fresh balsamic peppery aroma, with a slightly dry green note, and is used in many citrus, floral and masculine type perfume formulations.

Some folks indicate that the aroma has been known to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, nervous tension and stress-related conditions.  From inhalation perspective some folks indicate that it helps to lessen the symptoms associated with asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs and laryngitis.

Frankincense EO is often used as an ingredient in natural skin care preparations and in aromatherapy concoctions as it is reputedly known to benefit blemishes, scars, wounds, dry and mature complexions and may help to prevent wrinkles.

In a laboratory setting when bacteria is grown in a petri dish Frankincense EO has proven to be quite effective as an anti-bacterial agent, and food chemists have investigated its properties to control various types of Listeria monocytogenes. However, Frankincense EO has yet to be proven as a substance to treat human pathogens.

From a synergistic perspective a blend (see below) of Frankincense EO would serve as an excellent adjunct to Massage Therapy, as Frankincense EO contains constituents that may help to improve circulation and reduce inflammation (due to the monoterpene levels specifically a-pinene & thujone – which is dependent upon the species of the Frankincense EO). Since there is reputed research pointing to the benefits of Massage Therapy the two modalities may have a positive affect on arthritic and muscular conditions.

Blend Recipe: 1.5 ml (30 drops) of Frankincense EO in 30 ml (1 oz) of a natural vegetable carrier oil, such as coconut oil.

Despite all the chatter on the internet by those who sell false-hope, distilled Frankincense EO does not contain any boswellic acid and therefore possesses no anti-inflammatory or anti-tumour properties.  Under no circumstance should Frankincense EO or any other EO be taken internally.  Frankincense EO is not an approved substance by Health Canada or by The FDA for oral use or for human consumption.

On the other hand, some research has pointed to the possibility that taking an approved oral form of boswellia extract may have some health benefits. Several years ago Health Canada implemented a program to licence products that have been found to be safe, effective and of high quality under their recommended conditions of use. You can identify licensed natural health products by looking for the eight-digit Natural Product Number (NPN) or Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM) on the label.

Robert Tisserand is a highly regarded expert in the field of Essential Oils, and so we would suggest that you check out the following links.

Frankincense Essential Oil & Cancer

Frankincense Essential Oil – Cancer in Perspective

If you are in the Cobourg Ontario area we carry more than 90 different essential oils including Organic Pure Indian Boswellia serrata, (Frankincense Essential Oil).

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

 

Live Love Smell & Learn

#LiveLoveSmell & Learn about Essential Oils
Workshops are starting soon
Visit our website for more details www.bespokearomatics.com 

Basic Aromachology Intro Workshop

Areas of discussion

Defining Aromatherapy and Aromachology. What are Essential Oils?
How are they made?
How to use Essential Oils Safely and Effectively
Debunking the Myths: Purity & Pricing
Reading between the Lines: The Lingo
We will cover 12 of the most useful Essential Oils
Formulation Mathematics
Logistics & Legal regarding the sale of your own handcrafted products.

 

IMG_0414

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

 

Cinnamon: A Tasty and Aromatic Treat

The aroma and flavour of cinnamon is one of the world’s most popular, and just a pinch added to your daily diet has tremendous health benefits.  Research indicates that it may help to control diabetes, improve brain function, and aid in weight loss.

Waffles&BakedApple
When One Belgian Waffle isn’t Enough.  Paired with baked apple wedges and Canadian maple syrup and sprinkled with Sri Lankan Cinnamon. Oh what a Treat!

From an aromatherapeutic and olfactory perspective the scent of cinnamon elicits feelings of warmth and wellness, like peppermint and ginger, the scent of cinnamon may help to ease the discomforts of nausea.

Essential oils should never be consumed or taken internally.  In aromatherapy or in preference ‘aromachology‘ all essential oils must be well diluted in a natural medium such as coconut oil. Well diluted, means at or less than a four percent (4%) solution per volume within a chosen medium.

Even more care is required when using cinnamon or clove essential oils as both of these oils can cause skin irritation.  I do not recommend using cinnamon or clove in any all-over-body preparation.  However one or two (1 or 2) drops blended with other essential oils in a jojoba oil base adds a spicy grounding warmth to natural perfumes.

The aroma of cinnamon may even be a useful retail marketing tool when used in air diffusion.

People smelling warm fragrances such as cinnamon feel that the room they are in is more crowded, and feel less powerful as a result,” the authors write. “This can lead them to compensate by buying items they feel are more prestigious.

Natural perfume blends can be a little more concentrated at ten to fifteen (10-15%) than the four percent (4%) mentioned above.  However, they should only be applied three to five times per day (3 to 5 times per day) in tiny spot applications to body pulse points*, and only after conducting a skin test on the inside of the arm); *temples, inside of wrists, behind the ears, behind the knees and cleavage. 

For a yummy warm wintery natural perfume, in a 10 ml empty bottle try a ten percent (10%) solution mixed with Jojoba Oil – which would equate to the following:

2 drops of cinnamon bark essential oil
2 drops of lemongrass essential oil
10 drops of lavender essential oil
6 drops of vetiver essential oil
+ 9 mls of Jojoba Oil

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

History: To Bathe

bath
L. Alma Tadema, victorian artist

Bathing = … ‘the washing of the body, or immersion of the body in water, practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes’

Star Anise (Illicium vermum) Essential Oil has an aroma similar to black licorice.  From a topical aromatherapeutic perspective it may be helpful with musculosketal aches and pains related to sports injury and rheumatism.  Through nasal inhalation it may help to ease bronchitis and nasal congestion related to the common cold.

Dead Sea salt is renowned for it’s therapeutic benefits for thousands of years due to the high content of magnesium along with other beneficial minerals.  Studies indicate that Dead Sea salts have remarkable improvements with respect to the itching and scaliness associated with psoriasis.

Our Mediterranean Dead Sea Salts have Zen-BathSaltsbeen aromatically enhanced with Star Anise essential oil along with cedarwood, sweet orange and lavender.

If you’re a bath lover – we have several varieties of natural bath salts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

TinyFlowerVisit us – we’ll turn your nose on
#LiveLoveSmell

 

Sources:
Bathing. (2015, June 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Dead Sea Salt, Benefits. SaltWorks, America’s Sea Salt Company.

What is an Essential Oil?

Egypt (1)

1. What is an Essential Oil?
Essential oils are distilled essences that are derived from a wide range of aromatic plants. These essences contain upward of 50 different naturally occurring components that work synergistically within the botanical matrix of the plant rendering the plant with the ability to protect itself from invasive disease, repel predators and attract pollinators. The term ’essential’ does not indicate that these substances are essential to humans, rather the term ’essential’ is derived from the word essence. While these substances are natural they are still considered volatile chemicals that require stringent respect. There are many references indicating that humans have used herbal and aromatic extracts and resins dating back to the Mesopotamia era. It is imperative to know that herbal extracts and resinous plant materials are completely different from distilled Essential Oils.

2. How are essential oils made?
Essential oils are predominately produced through a steam distillation process. Citrus essential oils are primarily produced through a cold pressed process. It takes several kilos of plant material and flower petals to yield a natural essential oil. Some plant material yields more essential oil than others which is why essential oil prices differ. When a particular plant does not yield much oil it’s natural odour molecules can be captured through a solvent process commonly referred to as absolute. The oldest known method for preserving plant odours is called enfleurage. For example gardenia petals would be soaked in a fat for several days and then the process is repeated until fat is saturated with the fragrance.

3. Are essential oils and the practice of aromatherapy regulated?
In Canada and the United States there are two professional organizations; respectively The Canadian Federation of Aromatherpists (CFA) and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), these organizations have strict guidelines that practitioners and businesses adhere to with respect to the proper dissemination of information and education surrounding the use of essential oils, absolutes and natural essences and including the distribution of such. Aromatherapy is currently an unregulated and unlicensed field both for the practice of aromatherapy as well as the manufacturing of aromatherapy products, generally speaking aromatherapy inspired products fall under the category of natural wellness products (as long as no medical claim is being made) otherwise they may be considered as cosmetics. As a whole the industry seeks to comply with current safety and standards of practice, and to stay informed about potential impending regulations with regards to the manufacturing of aromatherapy inspired products and items that contain essential oils.

4. Pure essential oil vs. a fragrant oil?
Essential oils are predominately distilled from leaves, stems, flowers, roots, seeds, bark or resinous substances that exude from trees such as sap. Natural cold pressed essential oils are extracted from the peel of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, lime and orange. Fragrant oils are industry approved aromatic materials that are used predominately in soaps, detergents, cleaning products, body care products, cosmetics and perfumes. Fragrant oils are relatively inexpensive and are created with petrochemicals, commercial brand products that are fragrant also contain synthetic fixatives which allows the scent to last for several hours or an entire day. Advancements in the petrochemical industry over the last century have provided industries with the ability to create synthetic fragrance and produce aromatic chemicals (such as musk) or that simulate natural odours such as lilac or watermelon. These synthetic aromas are used extensively in the perfume industry and by companies that manufacture body care products, detergents and soaps. Pure essential oils are expensive and unstable constituents; for example a batch of fresh distilled lavender oil could contain between 25— 50% linalool (a terpene alcohol that occurs in hundreds of aromatics plants and flowers). However, from season to season and depending upon the geographical growing location the resulting amount of linalool in a particular batch of lavender will vary. Varying amounts of linalool is not conducive to quality control standards when a manufacturer is trying to achieve a consistent scent. Therefore synthetic linalool is used extensively as an inexpensive filler and adulterator.

5. Can essential oils be used internally?
Essential oils that are of a culinary nature are used in the food and beverage industry as flavour enhancers. These additives are formulated by food chemists who are bound by industry protocols, licensing and government regulations. Sometimes you may see the term GRAS status on a label, meaning that a substance is Generally Recognized as Safe by the EPA & FDA (Environmental Protection Agency & Federal Drug Administration). This does not indicate that an essential oil is safe to ingest as a medicine or from a nutritional perspective. Many companies are promoting the idea that it is safe to consume essential oils due to their naturalness and purity, with anecdotal marketing tag lines that entice purchasers into believing that essential oils can be used to cure, treat or render the human body from developing illnesses and disease. For example adding a few drops of a cold pressed citrus essential oil to your water or smoothie does not provide any vitamin c, nor does it provide any other nutritional benefits compared to eating and/or consuming the whole fruit. Some essential oils contain naturally occurring substances that cause mucous membrane, esophageal and stomaching lining irritation. Under the code of ethics stipulated by organizations such as the CFA & NAHA, essential oils should not be ingested for any reason. However some essential oils can be used in oral products such as toothpaste and mouthwash. As a flavour enhancer 1 drop of essential oil that is of a culinary nature should be well dissolved or blended in 1 teaspoon of olive oil or honey and then could be added to various foods and beverages.

6. How do essential oils work, and how do odours affect people?
There are numerous books on the subject of Aromatherapy and piles of references on the internet directing folks to use essential oils either topically or internally to treat, cure, or prevent various conditions. However, making such exaggerated and unjustifiable product claims is sheer negligence. Many of these anecdotal claims are being made by companies and individuals who have construed scientific information. There is however, empirical research indicating that pure essential oils contain constituents that are that are anti-microbial and possess insecticidal properties, some essential oils may provide topical relief related to musculoskeletal disorders, due to their cooling and/or warming properties, and some essential oils may benefit skin conditions. However, essential oils should never be used on the skin undiluted and it is imperative to know which essential oils should be used in lessor dilutions and realize that many can cause dermal irritation especially those that oxidize quickly. There is also verifiable science indicating that from a psychological perspective that an odour, be it natural or synthetic, be it pleasant or obnoxious – will light-up various centres of the brain and elicit positive or negative mood states.

7. Is one brand of essential oil better than another?
There is a lot of chatter purported by many businesses who indicate that their particular essential oils are classified as the purest or possess most therapeutic quality. One company in particular indicates that their oils are certified* which is a misleading statement. Most essential oil companies do not distil or manufacture their oils, rather most businesses buy in bulk from raw material distributors or have pre-arranged contracts with agricultural producers and farms.
Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade®  These four words strung together followed by an encircled ‘R’ – simply means that this statement is a ‘paid for’ registered trade mark and is simply a clever marketing slogan which no other company is allowed to use. It gives the appearance of being approved by some kind of higher authority and it has been said that the company states it is a FDA approved to use this label. According to Elston (2009), “This registered word mark has not been provided to them by the FDA as they claim and is meaningless in proving that an outside certifying body has declared or designated that DoTERRAʼs essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade. DoTERRA, LLC owns the right to exclusive use of the mark (however not the exclusive right to the actual words “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” which is revealing) This seal or word mark is nothing more than a commercial trademark that they have registered and paid a fee for”. (Jade, Shutes, The East-West School for Herbal & Aromatic Studies).

8. Can people be allergic to essential oils or synthetic fragrance oils?
Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s good for you! Many botanicals are poisonous, many people have environmental allergies, and many folks have very sensitive skin. If you know that you are sensitive to a particular plant then it is best that you avoid that particular essential oil, absolute or natural essence. Over the last one hundred years many folks have developed sensitivities to synthetic perfumes and to petrochemical derivatives in cosmetics. Best health practices indicate that adopting healthy lifestyle habits and reducing our exposure to toxic ingredients will benefit our planet and our bodies.

9.  Why do some companies charge more money for essential oils and why is rose oil more expensive than eucalyptus oil?
Those companies that sell essential oils through distributorship hierarchies are often more expensive due to the fact their profit margins are being shared.  Many essential oil companies (or brands) are sourced from the same suppliers who are ethical producers and farms which are located in the country to which the plant is native, or grown and harvested. It is important to realize that essential oils are agricultural commodities therefore from crop to crop, season to season, prices tend to fluctuate, also the price of an essential is related to the volume of oil that a particular plant yields.  For example eucalyptus leaves yield voluminous amounts of oil in comparison to rose petals which produce only a tiny amount of essential oil.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.   See legal

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