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Improving the Immune System

Essential oil.fruitveg.supplmntSix essential oils for boosting immunity  

Spring is here and that means so are stuffy noses and annoying coughs. With seasonal changes we are more susceptible to becoming ill. A good way to avoid being under the weather is to keep the immune system strong. The immune system is the line of the defense for the body and is what keeps us healthy. There are many ways to boost immunity from essential oils to minimal exercise. Keeping the immune system healthy isn’t a one time job, it takes work and requires different methods to keep it in top shape. Great ways to boost your immunity include essential oils, herbs, food and vitamins.

Essential oils  

Using essential oils to boost immunity is an excellent way to ensure you stay healthy through seasonal changes. These essential oils are some that have great immunity properties; Spearmint, Balsam Copaiba, Sweet Orange, Rosalina, Clary Sage, and Tea Tree. Of course there are more oils that can improve immune system but these six oils have specific properties which are for the immune system.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

This essential oil has a great scent but also contains the chemical carvone. Carvone is part of the ketone functional group and possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Carvone is abundant (62.85%) in Spearmint. Using a little Spearmint (1 drop per 5 ml) in a massage oil or 3-4 drops in a diffuser for 20 minutes twice per day is a great way to boost the immune system as it helps to loosen and expel mucous and cool and reduce fever.

Copaiba Balsam (Copaifera langsdorfii Desf., Copaifera officinalis)

Copaiba Balsam is rich in β-caryophyllene (65.7%), a chemical with biological activity that helps improve immunity. β -Caryophyllene is part of the sesquiterpene functional group and can be useful immunostimulant as well as having antiviral properties. It is also used to relieve general aches and pains that accompany illness. It can be used in massage oil and diffuser blends and pair well aromatically with Roman Chamomile, Cedarwood, and Jasmine.

Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) 

When it comes to boosting immunity d-limonene, a monoterpene gets the job done. Sweet Orange essential oil is rich in d-limonene (96%) containing more than Lemon essential oil (65%).  Limonene-rich oils are an excellent general tonic for the immune system. They are also wonderful decongestants, are antibacterial and effective antioxidants making very efficient for boosting immunity. The aroma of limonene-rich oils is bright and pleasant and can add a little sunshine to the otherwise gray outlook that comes with illness.

Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia)

Rosalina is in the Melaleuca family and is also known as Lavender Tea Tree. Rosalina is rich in linalool (35-55%), a monoterpenol. Linalool is commonly found in Lavender in smaller amounts (approximately 37%). Linalool is wonderful in combating airborne microbes making it a useful addition to air mists/spray and for blends used in vaporizers and diffusers. Linalool also helps to relax the nervous system encouraging much needed rest. Consider blending the pleasant-smelling Rosalina with Lavender, Lemon, and Tea Tree. Blending these oils and using in a diffuser for 20 minutes twice per dayis an excellent way to boost the immune system.

Clary Sage (Salvia sclerea)

Rich in linalyl acetate (50-75%), an ester, Clary sage essential oil is great for balancing the body and allowing it to function properly. The bioactive properties of linalyl actate include, but are not limited to, reducing pain and inflammation, fighting bacteria, relaxing the nervous system and stimulating the immune system. This essential oil is also nice for improving mood by lifting the spirits. Clary Sage blends well with Lavender, Cedarwood, and Bergamot.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea Tree essential oil contains terpinen-4-ol (30-80%), a monoterpenol that is highly antibacterial and antiviral. Terpenin-4-ol also helps to boost white blood cells, hence improving immunity making Tea Tree essential oil a “must have” in the medicine cabinet. Use the oil during seasonal changes in a diffuser or environmental spray mist.

Essential oils aren’t the only way to help the body to help itself improve immunity. Another great way to improve the immune system is through the use of herbs.


We have been using herbs to improve immunity for centuries. Plants are one of the oldest and purest ways to improve the body. Two herbs that can improve the immune system are Ginseng and Echinacea.

Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) 

Ginseng root is known for its immune building properties. Extracts from the stems, leaves and mostly the root have shown to maintain homeostasis of the immune system. The root of the herb also increases resistance to illness and microbial infections. The way Ginseng does this is by boosting the immune system functions. Macrophage activity increases when Ginseng is consumed. Macrophages are a type of white blood cell that will consume foreign substances. Increasing macrophage activity will put the body on alert allowing it to combat foreign substances more efficiently. Ginseng can be consumed in many forms, pills, powder, and tea. When buying Ginseng products it is important to note what parts of the plant are being used and what percentage of the product is actually Ginseng. Looking for a product label to ensure that the whole plant is used. If the whole herb isn’t being used then the benefits of Ginseng may not be as effective.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs, especially in the United States. Echinacea, when used preventatively is great for reducing cold symptoms. The herb itself is great for boosting immunity, as it contains chemicals derived from the root; such as polysaccharides, flavonoids, chicoric acid, polyacetylenes and alkylamides. The root contains high levels of volatile oils which are odorous compounds. An example would be isobutylamide, an alklymide that provides taste and smell of Echinacea. As for the plant portion it has polysaccharides which set off activity in the immune system. Polysaccharides release TNF (tumournecrosis factor) which will increase the levels of macrophage interlekin-1 and interferon beta-2. Alkylamide and chicoric acid will also boost immunity by stimulating phagocytosis. The chemicals in Echinacea stimulate phagocyte activity improving the body’s health and wellness.

These are just two of many herbs that improve immunity, however they are the two that are most readily available.

Food and vitamins

Incorporating certain foods and vitamins into the diet is another way to increase immunity. Great foods to introduce into the diet would be garlic, red bell peppers, broccoli, and ginger. Garlic helps increase immunity by having sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin. Allicin is a organosulfer compound that has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral activity. Red bell peppers are high on vitamin C and is a great source of beta-carotene. Vitamin C maintains skin health and prevents colds, while beta-carotene helps maintain proper eye health. Broccoli is a great food with vitamins A, C and E. This vegetable is also loaded with antioxidants which helps prevent certain types of cell damage. Finally ginger has similar effects as it contains vitamin C. In addition, ginger has the added benefit of helping the body to reduce cholesterol. This plant contains many vitamins and minerals such as; thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, iron, and magnesium. The combination of these vitamins and minerals allows the body to reduce cholesterol and maintain a balanced immune system.

Vitamins provide a great impact when comes to supporting the immune system. The foods listed above have the necessary vitamins to help boost the immune system, but they can also be consumed in pill form as well. Some of the best vitamins for boosting immunity are vitamin A, C, E and B12.

Using a combination of essential oils, herbs, food and vitamins can be a very effective way way to improve immunity. Keeping a strong immune system is a year long task and requires many different ways to keep it healthy.

By Bryant Hernandez, Student Health Administration

Is Aromatherapy safe for babies and children?

Adorable little blond kid relaxing in spa with having massage

Photo: romrodinka/iStock

Aromatherapy and children–Is it safe for my kid? What oils should I use? What works? And what doesn’t? These are questions that have been circling the Aromatherapy community for some time. Even experts debate what is suitable for children, and what dosage should be used. When using essential oils with children it is always important to do research; nothing beats well cited articles with credible sources. Aromatherapy is used to help the body to heal itself. There are many ways Aromatherapy can enhance the body and improve how it functions. Aromatherapy is safe for children when used in a safe and knowledgeable way. There are many ways essential oils can be used for kids, one just needs to follow the ground rules.

Carrier oils

Carrier oils are key when using essential oils for children. Diluting the oil will ensure that the children don’t get overexposed to certain oils. There are many different oils that can be used as carriers; for example sweet almond and grapeseed oil.

Sweet Almond oil

If your child doesn’t have a nut allergy sweet almond oil is great oil for lotions, creams and massage. The oil works well for dry, normal and combination skin. Almond oil can help reduce itching, cracking, and inflammation.

Grapeseed oil

This carrier is derived from grape seeds from spent grapes used in wine making. Grapeseed is a great basic carrier oil that can be used for all skin types. The oil is light, has no smell, and penetrates the skin quickly. The carrier is great for children because it doesn’t cause allergic reactions.

Essential oils and baths for your children

The benefits of Aromatherapy are wonderful and these benefits can be experienced by children. Essential oils have stimulating and healing properties that can greatly influence the lives of children of all ages. It is important to note that when using essential oils with toddlers and infants the oil needs to be diluted. As they are still growing, children’s systems haven’t fully developed, diluted oils will still give them therapeutic benefits without over stimulating their senses. It is important to note that these essential oils will be diluted before using them therapeutically. Always combine the essential oil with the milk prior to adding to the bath water. The milk helps to disperse the essential oils as the oils and water do not mix. Skipping this important step allows the essential oil to sit on top of the water where they will be quickly absorbed (undiluted) by the skin. Essential oils like to be in a lipid substance most like itself, as in your skin’s sebum (natural oil). Mixing the essential oils in milk allows for proper dilution and dispersion in water making it a safer application for babies and children. Milk can also be substituted with a teaspoon of honey or castile soup (olive based).

3 days to 3 months

Essential oils that would be beneficial for infants are Roman chamomile, lavender, and mandarin. Remember that the oils need to be diluted and should not applied neat. These oils can be used for a baby’s bath by mixing 1 drop of Roman chamomile, lavender, or mandarin into 1 teaspoon of milk or cream before adding it to the bath water. One drop of any of these three oils when mixed with milk (as an emulsifier/dispersing agent) then diluted in a tub of water is a very safe way to use the essential oils with a baby.

3 months to 5 years

As your child grows, so does the list of essential oils that can be used. In addition to the oils mentioned above, your toddler can also use bergamot, cedarwood, frankincense, geranium, ginger, lemon, rose, rosemary ct. verbenone (for children over the age of 2), sandalwood, tea tree, thyme ct. linalool and ylang ylang (for children over the age of 2). A bath blend for toddlers 3 months to 3 years is the same as it is for infants but there is a wider selection of essential oils that can be used. For children 3 to 7 years, the amount of essential oil can be increased 2 drops of essential oil from the approved list combined with milk and added to the bath water.

Using citrus oils in the bath diluted as indicated falls far below the 1 drop in 15 ml guideline to avoid phototoxicity, however if you are still concerned you can use distilled lemon instead of the expressed oil and bergamot FCF (furanocoumarin-free) as the phototoxic elements have been removed.

5 years to puberty

At this age all oils that are safe for adults can be used, but in smaller amounts. A bath blend for this age range (5 to 10 years) is 3-4 drops of an approved essential oil combined with 1 tsp of milk. For 10 years and up the amount of essential oils can be increased to 5-6 drops with 1 tsp of milk.

The KEY to using essential oils in the bath is in adding the essential oils to milk or castile soap first, then adding it to the bath water. This is an important step in properly diluting the essential oils and dispersing them. Simply dropping the essential oils in water does not dilute them as they do not mix. The oils will simply float on top until it comes in contact with the skin where it is absorbed (undiluted).

Safe formulations for children 

Coughs and colds (3 months and older)

Essential Oils: Lavender, lemon or bergamot, and tea tree

Massage Treatment: In a non-reactive bowl combine 1 drop of each of the essential oils (lavender, lemon or bergamot, and tea tree) with 4 tsp of sweet almond oil. Use for a chest and back massage.

Overexcitement (3 months and older)

Essential Oils: Cedarwood, frankincense, sweet orange, rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang*.

Bath Treatment: Combine 1 tsp of milk with age-appropriate number drops alone or in combination of essential oils (cedarwood, frankincense, sweet orange, rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang*) then add to warm bath water.

When creating blends for children it is important to remember what oils are suitable as well as how much of each essential oil can be used for each age range.

Overall essential oils are safe for children to use when handled correctly. Always in moderation; a few days on and a couple of days off. Using essential oils with children can enhance their quality of life by positively affecting their behaviors, mood, and sleep quality.

*Ylang ylang not to be used with children under the age of two years old.

by Bryant Hernandez

Use all health care options available

better health aheadWhen we think of health care, we usually think of traditional medical care that involves the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illness, cancer, etc., which many people refer to as “Western medicine.”

In addition to the type of medical care we have all grown up with, there are several other approaches to health care that are known as “complementary” and “alternative.” Other areas of nontraditional health care include “integrative medicine” as well as “functional medicine.” So, what do all these terms mean and why should we think about using these types of health care?

In general, these are different approaches to health care with a history of use and origins outside of mainstream medicine; and although the term CAM uses the words complementary and alternative together and often interchangeably, these two words refer to somewhat different concepts of health care.

“Complementary” refers to using non-mainstream health care together with traditional or conventional medical care. The term “alternative” refers to using non-mainstream health care in place of traditional health care.

Another term we hear is “integrative medicine.” Think of the use of massage therapy or guided imagery. These are ways of treating a person using nontraditional means to help them heal. They integrate traditional medical care with alternative therapies. As an example, some cancer treatment centers use integrative health care programs which offer acupuncture or meditation to help manage symptoms and side effects of the cancer along with its traditional treatments (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.).

It is interesting to see that “integrative health care” is happening now and is a growing trend among people who understand the benefits. For these individuals it is important to utilize any and all means of health care that will help them treat their illness or, in the case when a person does not have a defined illness, simply stay healthy. The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) uses the term “complementary health approaches” when discussing natural products or, mind and body health care practices.

“Natural” products include herbs and botanicals, vitamins, minerals and probiotics which are often marketed as dietary supplements. Evidence shows that the value of these alternative products is significantly underestimated. When you look at the research and the scientific evidence for the use of botanicals (herbs and plants) for the treatment and prevention of illness and disease, the evidence is overwhelming. There are hundreds if not thousands of research reports that support the use of natural products for treatment and prevention. Examples include fish oil, echinacea, and mineral supplements. It is interesting to remember that penicillin comes from a fungus; and digoxin, a heart medication, comes from the foxglove plant. When we talk about using anti-oxidants to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, we need to understand that most of these come from plants.

NCCAM also includes “mind and body practices” as other forms of alternative health care. These include acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, relaxation techniques, spinal manipulation, osteopathic manipulation, chiropractic therapies, tai chi, yoga, hypnotherapy, to name a few. NCCAM is the government’s lead agency for scientific research on health care practices outside of mainstream medicine. Its mission is to define through scientific investigation the usefulness and safety of complementary health care approaches and to understand their roles in improving health. This scientific evidence will help people make informed decisions about their health care. More information about this organization can be found at

Another area of complementary medicine is called “functional medicine,” which focuses on alternative treatments emphasizing the interaction between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine and immune systems. Knowing the function of these systems within the body helps to understand the approach of functional medicine. The gastrointestinal (GI) system is the first line of defense the body has to bacteria, viruses, toxins, chemical, and other potentially harmful substances. Maintaining a healthy GI tract is necessary if we are going to be able to ward off these invaders. The endocrine system is the chemical system of the body which contains and controls the hundreds of hormones that keep us healthy. Knowing that there are so many environmental, health and life factors that affect our hormones is a no-brainer to understand why it is so important to keep this system healthy. The immune system allows us to fight infections and probably also helps us to deal with cancer cells and other illnesses.

Keeping the body functional should be one of the most important goals for health care. How do you do this? The answer to this is what I like to refer to as lifestyle management. This is a daily approach to life that allows you to maintain good health:

• a functional GI, endocrine and immune system;

• a sound and productive brain;

• a musculoskeletal system that allows you to move around and do all the physical things you want to do every day;

• a social and spiritual personality that brings you happiness and fulfillment and enables you to give back, pay it forward and to be grateful for all the blessings you have.

I can tell you from personal and professional experience that one of the most rewarding things you can do is to practice lifestyle management. I do this in my medical practice and in my personal life. It is so enjoyable to see a person take control of their health by taking control of their life. When they realize the power they have over their health, and all the benefits they get from keeping good health practices as the No. 1 priority in life, it is amazing to see what a person can accomplish and what a wonderful life they can enjoy!

Functional medicine is practiced by many physicians who find it important to not only treat a person’s illness but also to prevent illness, disease and disability. The American Board of Functional Medicine (ABFM) is an independent organization that certifies physicians who practice functional medicine.

I believe in and have practiced traditional medical care as a board certified internist for 20 years so I can attest to the significant benefits of this approach. With the addition of complementary health care products and services, we add another dimension to our health care and make available many other prevention and treatment approaches. Therefore, the recommendation would be to continue to rely on traditional medical/health care and add on complementary products, services and treatment approaches as necessary. This will enable you to take full advantage of all that is offered from Western and Eastern philosophies.

Stay will my friends and as always please send comments and questions to

Dr. Salvatore Lacagnina is vice president of health and wellness for Lee Memorial Health System.

Reprinted with permission

amazing opportunities: julia graves in boulder, co

Sharing this wonderful blog post written by The Untamed Alchemist about the upcoming classes we are sponsoring featuring Master Herbalist and author Julia Graves (The Language of Plants). Registration for this wonderful opportunity ends soon and space is limited! Reserve yours now!!


Helping those in need who serve our aromatic community

nepal oilsKailash Dixit is a chemical engineer and a distiller. After 15 years as an alcohol distiller, Kailash took some time off to explore his country, Nepal and its biodiversity. He realized that the work he was doing was contributing unhealthy products to the poor people in Nepal. This changed his mind about his work and how he was contributing to society. In his words, “As a result of this sadness, I wanted to make the most out of Nepal’s natural resources that the world could benefit from. I wanted to work in an environment that is peaceful, invigorating and full of camaraderie. I quit my job because I wanted do something more rewarding to the country, to the people and to myself using my skills in distillation and my background as a chemical engineer. I established an essential oil manufacturing distillery in 2004. I fell in love with the work that I am doing today. I realized my passion and my passion became my business. I am a proud essential oil manufacturer and a distributor from Nepal.”

Establishing a cooperative to support the community                             In 2004, he founded Aarya Aroma with three major objectives: 1) to cultivate essential oil-bearing plants, 2) to process essential oils, and 3) to provide the marketing and sales of essential oils on the international market. He leased more land (divided between 19 farmers) and installed more distillation units. This became the birth of a cooperative. “We also initiated collection of wild harvested herbs for distillation in partnership with the community forest user groups. We ensured buy-back guarantee of the raw material and the essential oils produced by the cooperative, locally owned enterprise and community forest user groups.”

The work of the cooperative supports the local community and helps the international community by providing the pure essential oils. Nepal has approximately 700 species of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) and 80% of the population depends on agriculture.

Devastating earthquakes                                                                               On April 25 and May 26, 2015 massive earthquakes hit Nepal and took more than 10, 000 lnepal rubbleives and internally displaced more than six million people. Kailash, once again motivated to help his people, went to the mountains to help the earthquake victims. With some financial funding, he visited the Wintergreen harvesting/collection area (2400-2800m) and stayed in the remote village for five days distributing some relief goods. He witnessed the destruction of 100% of the houses there. Aarya Aroma are currently in the planning phase to help the herb farmers/collectors in the remote mountains to re-build and relocate. Relocation is a bit tricky, as the mountain soil has been loosened and when the Monsoon (rainy) season begins, huge landslides are predicted.

A 10-point plan to relocate and rebuild a sustainable community                                                                                                        Aarya Aroma has devised a nepal land purchaseddevelopment and implementation strategy to help these people who grow and harvest Wintergreen. They have already purchased land from previous private donations from friends in the aromatic/herb community, but there is much more to be done.

1. In the area where Wintergreen is grown and harvested, 25% people are well off and have already taken initiative to rebuild their homes on their own expense. They aim to help the poorest of the poor who live on their daily wages (less than $5.00/day USD).

2.With the help of the international community, they plan to rebuild community homes (approximately 500-600 square feet), mostly using the debris. We will be using the same stones that got crumbled from the same house, carefully paying much attention to the structural safety. We will also be using the same windows and doors. They estimate is 50% of windows and doors need to be replaced.

3. They are not trying to rebuild fancy homes, the structure and their way of living will be very similar, but somewhat improvised. The estimated cost for each house is $6000 USD. It is very hard for the villagers to accept the sudden move from where their families have been living for centuries in harmony with their neighbors, so the people will only be relocated within a 1-1.5 km radius (approximately a walking distance of 10-15 minutes to reach their farm).

4. They aim to make the model community housing as sustainable as possible using their natural resources. An example is to construct micro-hydro power plant, costing $4000-$5000 USD and would provide lights for 15-20 homes.

5. They plan to build a community bio gas plant using human feces and urine; if inadequate they could also use cattle dung. This can provide an alternative source of cooking fuel six months without having to chop down trees for firewood.

6. People in this locality literally do not take shower because of the cold. For health reasons they will build a common bathing place for the families. The water will be heated using solar energy (one for males and another for females-separated by a common wall).

7. There will be a playground for children. In mountains there is no playground for kids.

8. Work has already begun on the model community housing and shared with one of the best advertising companies of Nepal. They are creating a 5 minute presentation to share about the project and the need for funding.

9. Their plan is to support the people 80% financially. The families will pay the remaining 20%, so as not to take things for granted and to have some pride in responsibility and ownership.

10. To appeal to the donor community.

Concerns regarding donations                                                                     There is concern that any donations will be delayed in reaching the areas that need it and the government may be incapable of spending the money appropriately. There is not yet a local government. Aarya Aroma aims to do this work as good citizens and provide a model for the to emulate. Likewise the donor community needs to be equally transparent on how they spend the money while being most economical in whatever endeavor we take so that the money will reach to the neediest families.

On a personal note                                                                                       I’ve met Kailash personally.  He is a warm and wonderful human being who greats everyone with open arms.  He is humble, modest and without ego in his endeavors. His work with Aarya Aroma started and continues to be in service to the local community. By providing work to these areas of Nepal, Aarya Aroma stimulates the local economy as well as the international community. In a time when so many oils are adulterated to meet the demands of the larger cosmetic and perfume corporations, Aarya Aroma is dedicated to providing pure essential oils to the practitioner.

A gift for them, a gift for you!                                                                   The International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy, International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy, the Aromahead Institute, and the Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy.  A private donation site is currently being set up for you to donate. Please contact the IJPHA if you wish to donate to support the efforts of Kailash and Aarya Aroma in helping the people in this community in Nepal.

As a thank you for your donation, you will receive a free audio file of Kailash Dixit’s presentation from the Botanica2014 conference in Dublin, Ireland from Rhiannon Lewis.

Two_little_girls_of_NepalWon’t you help?               Here’s how…

Mollie Jensen has set up a Crowdrise account to collect donations.

Book Review: The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness

book cover.trimmed

by Jennifer Peace Rhind

For some time now, there has been a real need for an up-to-date and comprehensive book about essential oils and aromatherapy that is aimed precisely at the enthusiast rather than the professional. This book not only fulfils this need, but also delivers so much more!

At 480 pages, this is a lengthy read, however the text is organised into four distinct sections that divides the content into manageable chunks, and allows the reader to find information quickly when required. So, it is a both a reliable reference and a practically oriented resource. The content is presented very well indeed; this book is full of accessible information that is delivered at just the right level – it is not ‘preachy’, it is not in any way condescending, and at no time does it assume prior knowledge – and so all the reader needs is curiosity, a love of essential oils, and a desire to incorporate them into their lives. The positive, health-enhancing benefits and safety aspects of the oils are described accurately, backed up by a comprehensive bibliography which contains research papers as well as authoritative aromatherapy texts.

The ‘Introduction’ provides the backdrop – including the origins and characteristics of essential oils, safety issues and ways of using them. In Part 1 ‘The Oils’, we find information about quality, cautions and their therapeutic properties, followed by an A (allspice) to Y (ylang ylang!) of essential oils – individual profiles that give just enough information about the character of the oils to whet the reader’s appetite, and their specific uses and cautions. Hydrolats, carrier oils and butters are also included in this section; and so, the information needed for preparing blends is all in place.

Part 2 is entitled ‘Remedies’, and is organised by conditions, from ‘abrasions’ through to ‘workplace stress’. This is so very comprehensive, no situation that cannot be remedied by the judicious use of aromatics has been omitted, and indeed some unusual conditions have been included, such as ‘water warts’. Lora’s experience and knowledge really shines here – and professionals will certainly learn a lot. She includes an impressive range of blends for wide-ranging conditions and situations, showcasing her considerable understanding of synergy and her excellent ‘nose’. I have absolutely no doubt that practitioners as well as enthusiasts will be preparing these blends and benefitting from them. Also, from the aromatherapist’s perspective, this section will serve to inspire as well as confirm our practice.

Part 3, ‘Aromatherapy for Daily Living’ shows us how to integrate aromatics into our lives, elevating our personal care routines into beautifully aromatic experiences. Here, we learn about essential oils that are particularly suitable for skin, hair and oral care, accompanied by formulae for a wide range of aromatic preparations. Even our home needs are catered for –  hygiene, cleaning and environmental fragrancing for mood enhancement – it is all here. Finally, there is a short section on massage, again aimed at the enthusiast. Part 4 addresses ‘Practicalities’ such as equipment, measurements, percentages, and the storage of essential oils and products. Other useful inclusions are a glossary, and a list of resources – not only for supplies and equipment, but also professional organisations and aromatherapy journals and newsletters.

I am sure that most professional aromatherapists have clients who would like to use essential oils at home, and who have the desire to to understand more about aromatics and aromatherapy. Also, and most importantly, the direct engagement with essential oils, and the blending process, is, in itself, is profoundly therapeutic; it allows us to form a personal relationship with the oils. Here, at last, is a book that professionals can recommend to their clients.

This really is a ‘handbook for everyday wellness’. In the preface to the first edition, the late Nerys Purchon wrote “… each day I feel a deeper love for and gain a greater understanding of these magical essences”. Lora Cantele, in the preface to this second edition expresses her own love of essential oils, saying “I now encourage others to embrace this fragrant way of life. I have found my calling in service to others, as both a healthcare provider and an aromatherapy educator”. Both Lora and Nerys have provided both professionals and enthusiasts with a valuable resource, and have enabled us all to enrich our lives with aromatherapy. Thank you.

The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness by Nerys Purchon and Lora Cantele                         Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.                                                                   Published: September 11, 2014                                                                     ISBN: 978-0-7788-0486-4                                                                           Available at and most book stores

Jennifer Peace Rhind is a Chartered Biologist with a PhD in Mycology. She has worked in quality assurance, research, and development. A long-standing interest in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) led to qualification in massage, Aromatherapy and reflexology. She worked as a therapist and partner in a multidisciplinary complementary healthcare clinic, and as an Aromatherapy tutor. Following this, she was a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University for fourteen years, and remains involved in essential oil and scent education. She is the author of Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice, Fragrance and Wellbeing: Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche, and A Sensory Journey: Meditations on Scent for Wellbeing all published by Singing Dragon Books.

Should Aromatherapy education be free?

Dropper With Amber Bottle and Green BackgroundLast week I referred to some viral comments including the belief that Aromatherapy certification is no longer desirable. It seems that with the widespread use of essential oils, many people new to Aromatherapy find it to be a “one-size-fits-all” fix and are more than happy with the “free education” being shared through social media.  Some went so far as to share their unhappiness of certified Aromatherapists claiming that we withhold valuable safety information unless we are paid to provide a consultation. Further, another posted a comment below the image of the  AIA Internal Use Statement  that it would appear that only those of us  who have paid for an obtained a formal education in aromatherapy seem to be the only ones who should be allowed to share information, but suggests that people should be able to obtain this information for free.

In addition, there have been heated debates over the use of undiluted essential oils and internal use sparked by some of this “free education.” Well let’s take a closer look.  Is it “free education” that is being provided or “free propaganda?”  Like it or not, recommendations for essential oil use are prevalent on social media. So much so that the aromatic community has responded in various ways. One organization and a few schools and educators have reached out to one of the larger essential oil multi-level marketing companies in an effort to provide education to their independent distributors.  The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has created a working group as part of their Botanical Personal Care Products Committee for the sole purpose of determining whether or not AHPA should establish additional guidelines and requirements for the internal use of essential oils. Many Certified Aromatherapists have grown weary with the laborious task of providing cautious, mindful and prudent educational posts on social media in an effort to protect our community and work.

If you or your child had a serious health concern would you go to a doctor or a shoe salesman for answers? Simply put, that is where we are and the standpoint from which we need to educate. I recently spoke at a college here in Colorado where I discussed these concerns with the aromatherapy students. At the end of my talk, I was approached by a student who told me she is having some chest pains since quitting smoking a few days earlier.  She wanted a recommendation for oils to help with her breathing and chest pains. I told her I wasn’t a doctor and she should seek a professional diagnosis.  Once diagnosed, I told her I would be happy to discuss her aromatherapeutic options with her. Her reply? “I thought that is what you’d say.” As a professional, I work within the scope of my practice and education (not to mention my liability insurance). So why is this now viewed as “withholding information without payment” or “becoming jaded with the sharing of ‘free propaganda’ and not respected as simply being responsible and professional? Essential oil use is changing. With all the “free” information being shared (good and bad), how much ‘free education” are you willing to provide in the face of all the “free propaganda” for the sake of your community?

Want more? Check out this link for a great read by my friend, The Untamed Alchemist.

Lora Cantele is a Registered Clinical Aromatherapist through the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) and a Certified Swiss Reflex Therapy (SRT) practitioner and instructor through its creator, Shirley Price.  Her work as former president of Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) has helped the organization flourish to become a leading voice in advancing an ethical practice of aromatherapy for personal as well as clinical use.  During her tenure at the AIA (2006-2012) she successfully lead the development and implementation of AIA’s aromatherapy educational standards to take the level of aromatherapy education in the USA to new heights.  In 2009 and 2010, she brought her professional expertise to a pilot program aimed at providing a better quality of life to children with life-limiting illnesses including; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.  As an aromatherapy educator, writer, and international speaker Ms. Cantele continues to unite and inspire her colleagues to speak out about the importance of this work within an integrative health and wellness program. She is the editor/publisher of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (IJPHA) and the co-author of The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness. Contact: and