Monthly Archives: May 2013

Cancer-Preventing Properties of Essential Oil Monoterpenes d-Limonene and Perillyl Alcohol

Monoterpenes (MTs) are widely found in common citrus fruits such as oranges. While MTs are used as cleaning agents (try placing a small amount on the front hubcaps of your car to clean off the black grime) due to their solvent properties, they are far from being poisons. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth for these wonderful, naturally occurring, and health-promoting substances. While the solvent properties of monoterpenes have been exploited clinically to dissolve gallstones (Igimi et al, 1976), monoterpenes are also the focus of much investigation in the area of cancer prevention and therapeutics.

Cancer prevention, inhibition, and regression are the most noteworthy attributes of the MTs. D-limonene (DL) and perillyl alcohol (POH) have been shown to be chemopreventive against mammary (Crowell, 1997), liver, lung, and UV-induced skin cancer (Uedo et al, 1999), and chemotherapeutic against both experimental mammary and pancreatic tumors.  DL has also been shown to inhibit angiogenesis and metastasis of  human colon cancer cells (Chidambara et al, 2012). The importance of which is discussed below. Perillyl alcohol stands out as effective against human pancreatic cancer (Stark et al, 1995), against colon and liver tumors (Broitman et al, 1996), and in reduction of vein graft intimal hyperplasia (Fulton et al, 1997). Furthermore, POH is effective as chemopreventive against colon carcinogenesis, prostate, and lung cancer (Reddy et al, 1997).  These are further discussed in the context of the data.

What they are?                                                                                                                           As seen in Figure 1, DL is a monocyclic MT with POH, a metabolite of d-limonene, being its  hydroxylated form. Monoterpenes are found in  essential oils of many plants including Lemon (Citrus limon), Orange (Citrus aurantium var. sinensis per.), Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), Caraway (Carum carvi), Dill (Anethum graveolens), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Peppermint (Mentha x piperita fol.), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) (Chanthai et al, 2012), and Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). They are also associated with vegetables and some evergreen trees (Von Burg, 1995). POH, often distilled from lavender, is also found in cherries, mint, and celery seeds (Hohl, 1996) and can be produced synthetically. It is typically used as a flavouring agent, food additive, and fragrance and has been found to be a major volatile component of mother’s milk (Von Burg, 1995).

Perilyl alcohol and limonene

Figure 1 Structures of Perillyl Alcohol and Limonene

Many people regularly consume DL everyday without even knowing it. This is because DL is found in things such as orange juice, at concentrations ranging from 10-100 ppm, and chewing gum, which contains up to 2,300 ppm (Von Burg, 1995).

Molecular stages of cancer formation                                                                     In order to understand the mode of action of the anticancer properties of monoterpenes, it is necessary to understand a little of the molecular events that surround cancer. Normal, non-cancer cells live a limited and constrained life. Once normal cells are formed, they have a finite number of cell divisions they undergo during their life-span and, with few exceptions, they remain relatively localized to the same point in the body during this entire process. As a cell lives and ages, it maintains an “awareness” of its surroundings via cell-cell communication molecules both on the cell surface and secreted. This allows the cells to determine if all around them is well and good and instructs them to maintain their relative positions in the body. Towards the end of a cell’s designated life-span, certain cellular events occur which instruct the cell to terminate. This is called apoptosis or programmed cell death and is a very normal and useful event for clearing away the old and making room for the new. While it may not sound like the most compassionate thing to do to old cells, the evolutionarily derived utility of such action affords the body a mechanism to remove cells which could possibly, although rarely likely, be on their way to becoming cancer cells via mutations.

formation of cancer cells

Data                                                                                                                                           Because the metabolites, which vary from species to species, of monoterpenes also show anticancer effects, it is necessary to discuss dosage in the  context of the specifics of each study.

Written by Mark Brudnak, PhD, ND.  This article appears in its entirety in the Spring 2013 Issue of the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. For more information visit

This article originally appeared in Positive Health Issue 53 – June 2000 and was revised by the author for the IJPHA in February 2013.

Images:  © Mark Brudnak



Disclaimer                                                                                                                                                   The editor/publisher does not accept  responsibility for the opinions, advice, and recommendations of its contributors.  Furthermore, the IJPHA accepts no    responsibility for any incident or injury to  persons or property resulting from the use of any method, products, instructions or ideas contained within this publication.

Natural Spring Cleaning

Natural Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently estimated that seven pathogens including Salmonella, Toxoplasma, Listeria, Norovirus, Campylobacter, E. coli O157, and Clostridium perfringens, are responsible for 90% of illnesses, hospitalizations, and even death. Most people are concerned with the cleanliness of restaurants and other public places, however 30% of food-borne illnesses are found in the home. The kitchen is known for being a bacteria factory. Kitchen counters, cutting boards, and every knob, drawer and door handle are part of a breeding ground for bacteria to grow. The biggest offender in the spread of nasty microbial trespassers, such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, is the sponge or dish cloth. They clean up everything from milk spills to raw meat juices and leaky food pack

ages. But after repeated use, how clean are they? The bathroom isn’t much cleaner, either, and may contain many bacterial species that can potentially cause harm if not adequately maintained. Staphylococcus bacteria, which are especially widespread, are frequently found in and around toilets, in showers, on door handles, and in and around the bathroom sink. Essential oils can be just the antimicrobial agents we need.

An alternative approach against these germs is to integrate non-toxic cleaning products into your home. Most commercial cleaning products contain chemicals and cleansing agents that are potentially toxic and, when breathed in, some of these substances can irritate the respiratory system. This can cause allergies, headaches and a multitude of other health concerns so it is wise to limit your exposure to chemical toxins. You can safeguard your health by making your own simple, all-natural household cleaners with a few affordable ingredients:

  • Baking soda acts as a natural abrasive deodorizer and cleanser, and is gentle enough to use on most surfaces.
  • Borax is a natural mineral compound that lifts dirt, softens water, and is an insecticide (Woods, 1994).
  • Castile soap is made with fat from a vegetable origin (usually olive oil) rather than animal fats. It is high quality soap, is gentle on the skin and a great cleanser.
  • White vinegar can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E. coli (Entani E et al, 1998), by creating an unfriendly, acidic environment.
  • Essential oils offer antimicrobial properties for cleaning, such as ~Eucalyptus (E. globulus) which is effective for cleaning children’s toys to remove house dust mites (Chang et al, 2011)  ~Lemon (Citrus limonum) which is “second to none in its antiseptic and bactericidal properties” (Valnet, 1990)  ~Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) which is an “anti-infective agent with very broad-spectrum of action” (Schnaubelt, 1998)  ~Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) which is effective against food born bacteria including Brochothrix thermosphacta and Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella abony, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and P. fragi (Schmidt et al, 2012)

Deodorizing Room Spray
2 oz/60 ml distilled water
10 drops Lemon (Citrus limonum)
5 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
5 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

In a 2 oz/60 ml spray bottle, combine water and essential oils. Shake vigorously and mist into the air. Avoid spraying into eyes or on animals.

Written by Andrea Butje, Clinical Aromatherapist and Linda Byington, RA, Certified Reflexologist
This article appears in its entirety in the Spring 2013 Issue of the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. For more information visit

Image: © franny-anne

Disclaimer                                                                                                                                                   The editor/publisher does not accept  responsibility for the opinions, advice, and recommendations of its contributors.  Furthermore, the IJPHA accepts no    responsibility for any incident or injury to  persons or property resulting from the use of any method, products, instructions or ideas contained within this publication.

Recipe from the Sensual Kitchen: Blood Orange Shrimp

shrimpBlood Orange Shrimp

4 Tbl. key lime juice

2/3 cup/168 gm frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed slightly

1 1/2 Tbl. soft crystallized ginger, finely chopped

3 Tbl. lemon curd

1/4 cup + 2 Tbl./89 gm brown sugar

1/4 cup/85 gm honey

10 drops lime (Citrus medica) essential oil

30 drops blood orange or orange (Citrus aurantium var. sinensis per.) essential oil

40-50 raw shrimp

Soak 10 wooden skewers in water.

Mix the first five ingredients together in a medium size bowl and set aside.

Warm the honey, then add the essential oils to the honey.  When incorporated, add honey to the bowl.

Stir together, then add cooked thawed shrimp and let marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Set oven shelf so that the broiler pan is about 7”/18 cm below the flame.  Place 4 to 5 shrimp on each skewer and broil in oven 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

Serves 10

For the general guidelines on cooking with essential oils subscribe now to the IJPHA at  Each fabulous issue contains a cooking recipe or two from practitioners all over the globe and general cooking guidelines courtesy of Kris Wrede of Kismet Potions.

For more information about Aromatic Alchemist, Kris Wrede and her aromatherapy courses (and cooking with essential oil adventures) visit her site at

Image: © Daniel Loiselle

Disclaimer                                                                                                                                                   The editor/publisher does not accept  responsibility for the opinions, advice, and recommendations of its contributors.  Furthermore, the IJPHA accepts no    responsibility for any incident or injury to  persons or property resulting from the use of any method, products, instructions or ideas contained within this publication.

Let the Sun Shine In: A Psychospiritual Profile of Popular Citrus Essential Oils

group citrusCrude oils derived from citrus fruits are among the most loved and most used by aromatherapists, whether beginner or expert. Many of us can recite their uses for physical ailments by rote, but when it comes to emotional and spiritual applications these oils begin to blend together. All seem to be useful for anxiety and depression, and all seem to be uplifting. This is not surprising because citrus oils have more commonalities than differences. This article will discuss key common psychospiritual properties of the most frequently used citrus oils, and further expound on this family by delineating the subtle differences among them.

Essential oils which are composed almost entirely of monoterpene hydrocarbons, be they citruses, conifers or the like, largely have to do with some form of cleansing or purification. In the case of citrus oils, this purification occurs by physically freeing up blood and lymphatic circulation, and by purging toxins via high levels of antimicrobial activity. However, this cleansing property also extends to emotional and spiritual levels. Citruses are simple and strongly nurturing, feeding our souls equally as their fruits feed our bodies. They allow us to honor and enjoy the sweetness of life.

From an energetic standpoint, all citrus oils support the solar plexus chakra and a few of them have an affinity for multiple chakras. The solar plexus chakra is our center of self-esteem, self-confidence, responsibility, personal protection, and the source of our personal power in terms of how we as individuals relate to groups. This chakra also manages the often complex relationship with our chosen profession, life’s work, or legacy. Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and Mandarin all reflect the very colour of this energy center, variously described as bright yellow or brilliant yellow-orange.

All citrus fruits share a common ancestor, Mandarin (Citrus reticulata). This forebearer fruit originated in the vicinity of southern China and Southeast Asia where it was heavily documented in medicinal use and regarded as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Mandarin was brought to the Mediterranean centuries ago by Arab and Persian traders, and careful cultivation by Arab gardeners produced several distinct crosses and hybrids. By the Middle Ages, North African peoples had introduced oranges, mandarins, lemons, and citron to Spain and Sicily, and by the Renaissance these and several additional species were cultivated throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Bitter orange is thought to have been the original “golden fruit” grown by a miraculous tree in the mythical Garden of Hesperides. The tree was gifted to Hera by the great mother Gaia upon Hera’s marriage to Zeus. As a gift, this magical tree was prized, symbolizing the union of earth and sky, spirit and matter. Its precious fruit was reflective of the alchemical aur, or gold, believed to be sunlight condensed into earthbound matter. All citruses share this solar property making them an energetic bridge between body and soul.

Sweet orange, the Zest for Life
Pharmacist and aromatherapy pioneer Paolo Rovesti cited Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) oil as an effective antidepressant, and the peel was used to treat melancholia in Europe for at least three centuries prior to Rovesti’s findings. Sunny and cheerful, Sweet Orange seems the essential oil of the eternal optimist. Its bright hue is the colour of joy and it can be used to alleviate stress, anxiety, tension, irritability, and frustration.

The Sweet Orange characterology is that of a young person: one who is eager, loves challenges, is excited about his work, and wants to have it all, ideally as soon as possible. In many respects, he resembles the archetype of the Fool, a sensitive innocent who has yet to emotionally mature but who has set out very independently on a grand adventure. In his inexperienced youth, the Sweet Orange person wants to create and maintain his identity but doesn’t know how to handle power inside or outside the workplace, and doesn’t understand the concept of sharing. He doesn’t yet have a framework on how to properly relate to others because he has yet to achieve the wisdom of experience, and this gets him into trouble. Like the Fool, he can be charming and good-natured one moment, cranky and petulant the next.

A person who resonates with Sweet Orange can be a youthful Type A in the making. He often throws himself into his work, where he develops perfectionist tendencies, intolerance of mistakes and a tendency to judge. Consequently, he is prone to health issues related to overwork and rigidity such as headaches, eyestrain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), nervous indigestion, extreme anxiety, and poor appetite. When out of balance, he is given to nervous fidgeting, impatience, snappishness, bouts of aggression, loss of spontaneity, tossing about during sleep, and feelings of helplessness (which he abhors). His overactivity puts a strain on the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and he begins to burn out. This constitution can work productively in short bursts but has no stamina, so prolonged heavy activities result in asthenia and depression. When in this state, a Sweet Orange type loses his enthusiasm and starts to expect obstructions and difficulties at every turn. Wherever he looks, he sees Murphy’s Law.

Incorporating Sweet Orange oil into such a person’s treatment regimen will bring back a sense of ease and alleviate frustration, as well as the exhaustion and boredom of burnout. Citrus sinensis gently tonifies the SNS without overstimulating the nervous system. When in balance, the natural, sunny optimism of this archetype returns. His big heart and giving spirit come back into play, he becomes less thin-skinned, and obstacles disappear. His will to succeed strengthens and, most importantly, he is able to take a more mature view toward his life’s work by getting back in touch with the joy it brings him. A somewhat wiser Fool is ready for his next adventure.

The Happy Family
There are many other members of the citrus family that yield beneficial essential oils: Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco var. Mandarin; Citrus deliciosa Tenore), Tangerine (Citrus reticulata Blanco), Lime (Citrus aurantifolia), Citron, Yuzu (Citrus junos) and Combava/Kaffir Lime (Citrus hystrix). Each of these oils has its own special ability to banish the blues and uncover the optimist in all of us. Together they truly constitute a happy family. Whether bitter or sweet, citruses collectively cleanse us and joyfully lift our bodies, minds, and souls to the light.

Author’s note: Although citrus oils are primarily neutral in terms of male/female characteristics, they are given gender specific pronouns for narrative purposes.

Written by Kathatine Koeppen, RA, LMT, NCTMB
This article appears in its entirety in the Spring 2013 Issue of the International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy. For more information visit

Image: Citrus fruits © Holistic Photo

Disclaimer                                                                                                                                                   The editor/publisher does not accept  responsibility for the opinions, advice, and recommendations of its contributors.  Furthermore, the IJPHA accepts no    responsibility for any incident or injury to  persons or property resulting from the use of any method, products, instructions or ideas contained within this publication.

Are you Pinvolved?

pinvolve22Are you using both Pinterest and Facebook? If so, this business tip is for you!


Pinvolve provides tools that let you (and your fans) share your Facebook picture posts on Pinterest, and include your Pinterest pins on your Facebook profile!

The Pinvolve app creates a new area on your Facebook page showing all your Facebook photo posts in a beautiful and appealing display. Your Facebook “likes” and the comments associated with each post will also show up.
When you place your curser over an image, you are invited to pin, tweet or share the post.

Click the “pin” button, and the app will post your content to your Pinterest board of choice. Click the “share” button and your pin gets posted to your Facebook profile.

To set up Pinvolve, simply log onto your Facebook business page and use this link:

Once you install the Pinvolve app, it is located on the top of your Facebook page just under your cover photo in the section called your “favorites,” where photos, “likes” and events are also located. You can visit my Aromahead Institute Facebook page to see how Pinvolve looks and functions (

I wrote to one of the developers of Pinvolve to ask her to share the story of developing this app. This is her story.

“We are a young startup company and we started working together in February 2012. Our main project is actually a collage iPad app that lets you create amazing collages from your Pinterest images, called Bazaart ( While we were setting up and starting our social media accounts for Bazaart, we felt the pain of managing the marketing presence on multiple channels – it took a huge amount of time and we had to do so much manual syncing of our visual content!

So, we decided to build Pinvolve to help relieve some of that tedious work. Pinvolve makes repinning, sharing and tweeting your Facebook and Pinterest content, directly from your Facebook fan page, easy as pie!

As you see, Pinvolve started as a side project, and the initial version was built in one night! We were shocked that after two weeks of its release, Pinvolve got covered by TechCrunch, and then we realized we had something on our hands which solved not only our own problem, but is helpful to many others. One year later, we continue to work on Pinvolve, in addition to growing Bazaart, and we are super happy to be able to make people’s life a little easier. So far 32,000 page owners have installed Pinvolve and we are proud to call them “The Pinvolve Community”.

By Andrea Butje, Clinical Aromatherapist for The International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (  This article appears in the Spring 2013 issue.