Mineral Oil

I have been inspired to write my post this week following some extensive research into the best products for reducing stretch marks*, as I am pregnant and rapidly expanding!   I have noticed that one of the best selling products for this symptom has mineral oil listed as its number one ingredient.  As an aromatherapist and avid reader of other people’s blogs, I am lead to believe that mineral oils are  “nasties” that should be avoided at all cost – indeed, popular Australian current affairs (ahem…) programs  have sensationally promoted the death benefits of prominent cosmetic and baby products which include (or are) mineral oil.  As an infant massage instructor (yes, one of my many guises) I often encourage new parents to err on the side of caution and refrain from using these products and yet, until very recently, I have not fully investigated the product myself – yes, I have based my information on what someone has told me.  And as a researcher, I am trained to question everything.  So, this is my “in a nutshell” overview of mineral oil.  Take from it what you will.  And remember you, too, should question everything!

Mineral oil is the by-product of the distillation of petroleum from crude oil; it a white, odourless product which is very cheap due to the sheer quantities available, and it is often found in cosmetics and baby products. It is also known as liquid paraffin, white oil and liquid petroleum (however, you are unlikely to see this wording in a list of cosmetic ingredients, for obvious reasons!).  When it is applied topically, it forms a thin film on the skins surface, forming a moisture barrier; it has been used historically to promote wound healing (although I could not find any evidence in the past ten years that would convince me it was current “best practice”).

Put the words “mineral oil” into the Google search engine and you will come up with any number of websites which will tell you that it is bad for you, it depletes vitamins, it is carcinogenic and it is comedogenic (or pore clogging).  Please, readers, beware – the problem with this information is that, in most cases, it does not list any references, so we are unsure of where the authors get their information from.

It depletes vitamins:  The use of mineral oil as treatment for constipation has a long history; it is considered a safe way to stop water which you drink absorbing into the body and instead staying in stomach and bowels, hence softening stools and improving movement and ease of passage (sorry… it just had to be said!).  The American Cancer Society recommend that you do not ingest mineral oil within two hours of taking medicine or eating food as it may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the therapeutic benefits of medication, or the vitamins and minerals which are present in food; they also suggest that prolonged use “blocks absorption of certain nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and K. It can also build up in the tissues and cause problems”.  Mindell and Lee (1983) suggest that mineral oil depletes vitamin E, inhibits absorption of vitamin D and may inhibit absorption of vitamin C.   So, if you are experiencing prolonged symptoms of constipation, you should possibly reconsider your diet; if this symptom is the side-effect of a prescribed medicine, you should be discuss this with your doctor.

My biggest concern here is the depletion of vit K.  Vitamin K is administered to a baby shortly after birth in order to reduce the risk of developing an extremely rare illness known as Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB), which is the occurrence of hemorrhaging or bleeding in babies in the first weeks of life.

It is not within the parameters of the post to argue the pro’s and con’s, or to try and persuade or dissuade you concerning this prophylaxis; needless to say, it has been administered to children at birth for more than 20 years.  The reason that it is administered to new born babies is because they do not receive enough vitamin K from their mothers during pregnancy or from breast-feeding.  This is a recommendation from the NHMRC and if you would like to read more about it, you can do so here.

So, back to the topical application of mineral oil, babies and one of the worlds most popular baby oils is a mineral oil; you know the one, 8 out of 10 midwives would recommend it?  During my baby massage classes, I would recommend that my parent students avoid using typically baby smelling mineral oil products, and include this note in the handouts I provide: “try and avoid using this oil on babies as, while it is not known how topical application may affect absorption or depletion of vitamins and minerals – babies put their hands in their mouths; it will enter their guts and it will have a cumulative effect”.

It is carcinogenic:  There is usually not any smoke without fire, however, it is important to note that cosmetic-grade mineral oil used in cosmetics and baby products is highly refined and purified, and this is strictly monitored (we are told/we hope – but I am not going down that line in this post, either). Mineral oil which is not treated or is mildly treated (often lubricants used for engines and other mechanical equipment) is said to be carcinogenic; the evidence describing its links to cancer is fairly conclusive as it has been gleaned from longitudinal (over a long period of time) and epidemiological (very large, population based) studies.  

There is some evidence which suggests that the use of cosmetic mineral oils on the skin may (well, I would argue, DO, but that is what the evidence says…) minimally enhance ultra-violet radiation (UVR) penetration which can cause sunburn and lasting damage to skin and eyes, and, as we know, the cumulative effects of enhanced UVR exposure may lead to premature aging, skin cancers and eye disorders; Kligman and Kligman (1992, in Forbes, 2009) found that topical application of mineral oil, substantially increases the risk of acute photo-irritation (a skin response to UV light via a light reactive chemical) and tumorigenesis (formation or production of tumors).  So, this does actually sound awful; while I could not find the exact source of this information, I did note that Kligman and Kligman, who carry out a lot of research on topically applied products for dermatological conditions, usually carry out their research using mice.  This 1992 research may also be carried out on mice and as yet I am not convinced that ANY research carried out on lab mice and guinea pigs actually corresponds to humans.  And the Forbes (2009) article, which cited K&K’s research, concludes that much more detailed examination is required in order to make a conclusive recommendation, either way.

That it causes pimples: I am becoming somewhat of an expert on acne (it is the topic of my PhD thesis) and in all of my research I have not read anything about mineral oil causing acne. And I have read… A LOT!  But, as this is a commonly held belief amongst those who write about the loathsome mineral oil, I thought I should investigate further.  I found that it is not actually comedogenic (produce or aggravate acne), BUT, it does occlude the pores and any possible environmental causative factors such as pollutants, dirt or bacteria will be “trapped”and this, in turn, may cause pimples.

What are the benefits?  Earlier in this post I mentioned that when applied topically, mineral oil can create a moisture barrier, and this can provide therapeutic benefit.

  • Premature babies (less than 28 gestational weeks) will experience heat and insensible (continuous and unnoticed) water loss which can lead to “hypothermia and problems with fluid balance, as well as skin trauma leading to infection” (Beeram et al., 2006).  Research carried out in Texas found that applying mineral oil product is beneficial for fluid retention and electrolyte balance in extreme preterm infants, thus reducing the risk of further complications.
  • Products which are promoted for nappy rash contain mineral oils, as they provide a barrier between the sensitive skin of a babies bottom, and a wet nappy.

If you decide to further investigage mineral oils, you will find that people often criticize them in order to make natural, plant derived oils sound better.  But I don’t actually think that this is necessary.  I am not about to go on a scare-mongering campaign to further promote my work as I have found that there are some very important therapeutic benefits for using mineral oil.  But would I use it myself?  Well, no.  While mineral oil might not be dangerous or sensitizing or overly harmful (well, except for the enhancing UV radiation bit…), it does not contain anything good, either (except for those wee early babies, obviously!).  Plant derived oils contain vitamins and fatty acids which make them more easily absorbed.  Mineral oil inhibits absorption (Besouilah and Buck, 2006) and while it has a very long shelf life, it does not actually do anything for you or your skin.  Mixing essential oils into mineral oil will offer no therapeutic benefit other than that offered by the aroma, as there is no trans-dermal absorption.

Beware of authors who say things such as “everything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body”, followed by “mineral oils sit on your skin and are difficult to absorb”.  This is clearly a contradiction (and there are many who do that!).  And, finally, not “everything” we put on our skin, winds up in our body.  For a long time, skin was considered a waterproof membrane which protected the internal organs.  During the second half of the 20th century, researchers found that certain substances do cross the layers of the dermis but the amount which is absorbed depends on a number of factors including the molecular make up of the substance (weight, spatial arrangement, polarity etc – too big, and it will not pass through the dermis layers); the area of the skin where the substance is placed – larger surface areas will absorb greater amounts; the temperature of the skin (in aromatherapy, more of the essential oil will pass through the dermis if the skin is warm and then covered up); and the pH of the skin.  While it is not known exactly how much of what you put on your skin is absorbed, we do know that it is certainly not 100% of it!  But, even 1% of chemical crap, is not doing you any good – and possibly doing you harm (the topic of another post, another day!).

If you want to do something that is cheap and nourishing, you can apply any number of carrier oils to your skin which are both inexpensive and beneficial – my favourites include avocado (contains vitamins A, B1, B2 and D; skin healing properties, moisturizing, softening and said to prevent premature aging); or sunflower (first pressing, contains vitamins A, D and (principally) E, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron and phosphorous; it is beneficial for skin complaints, it is often included in skin preparations for disorders such as acne and seborrhea; and it has a softening and moisturizing effect on the skin).

*Regarding the stretch marks – the jury is still out.  I have come up with my own blend which I and a couple of pregnant friends are road testing (non-scientific and probably totally biased).  I will let you know the outcome of our experiences in a few months time!  I am still not sure whether this is something that I am going to be able to completely avoid; some would say that stretch marks are inevitable if we have inherited from our mums; some just say to embrace them as a natural, physical reminder of our pregnancy.  My stuff is nice, and so far, it is helping with my dry, itchy skin! And it smells nice, too!

You can’t be distracted by the noise of misinformation.
James Daly

Disclaimer:

All material provided in this blog is for your information only.  Whilst every caution has been taken to ensure the material is accurate and the analysis is critical, due to the nature of essential oils, it is important that you consult your doctor and/or aromatherapist before making any decisions based on this information. The author will not compensate you in any way if you suffer an inconvenience, damage or side-effect because of  the information provided in this blog.

The Author is not responsible for the content of any comments made by Commenter(s) and reserves the right to block Commenter(s) who have previously published offensive comments, illegal content, or SPAM.

References:

Beeram, M et al., (2006) Effects of Topical Emollient Therapy on Infants at or Less than 27 Weeks’ Gestation, Journal of the National Medical Association,  Vol 98 (2) p261-264

Bensouilah, J., Buck, P (2006) Aromadermatology: aromatherapy in the treatment and care of common skin conditions, Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford, UK

Forbes, P D (2009) Moisturizers, Vehicle Effects, and Photocarcinogenesis (Commentary) Journal of Investigative Dermatology Vol 129; p261-262

Mindell, E., Lee, W H (1983) Vitamin Robbers: Foods, drugs and pollutants that steal your nutrition, Keats Publishing, Connecticut

Is “aromatherapy” a misnomer?

My whole blog is dedicated to aromatherapy; in fact, at the moment aromatherapy is the centre of my whole life! I am building two businesses around the treatment; it is the subject of my PhD thesis and it is helping me through the morning sickness phase of my pregnancy, not to mention those dreaded, pregnancy associated stretch-marks. So, with this many applications (and so many more!!), I am beginning to wonder – is “aromatherapy” a misnomer??

The term was originally coined by René-Maurice Gattefossé in the early 1900’s when he wrote the book, Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles Hormones Végétales. This was later translated into English as “Aromatherapy”.

When someone hears the word aromatherapy for the first time, it would not be heedless of them to believe that the treatment was based around scent, alone. I mean, “aroma” is defined “as an odor arising from spices, plants, cooking, etc., especially an agreeable odor; fragrance” (Dictionary.com) and “therapy” as “the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process” (Dictionary.com). When we think about terms which define certain therapies, there is no mistaking them: speech therapy, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy – and the list goes on. Why then is a therapy with so many important and varied applications, limited by its name?

In the recent Australian budget, the government announced it was to carry out a review on complementary therapies in order to re-define those which would be supported by private health insurance. I whole-heartedly support this initiative as it should ultimately highlight where the research is necessary, and where research funding should be allocated (after all, CAM accounts for 12.5% of medicine sales in Australia and this is increasing). The name aromatherapy suggests action through scent and via the olfactory pathway with an impact on the limbic system and there is very little robust evidence to support this action (a very valid therapeutic aspect of aromatherapy, but not the only one). When discussing “aromatherapy” with friends, it became apparent that the word does not actually conjure up any “therapeutic” benefit at all – for them it is associated with nice candles, and relaxing massages. In their opinion it does not provide any inkling of the benefits outside of this pleasant smelling “experience”.

Any one individual essential oil is a complex mixture of monoterpenes (more than 1000 identified, to date), sesquiterpenes (more than 3000) and phenylpropanoids (a much smaller, but none-the-less very significant constituent group) which can begin to explain why one essential oil may be described as analgesic, antidepressant, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antitoxic, caminative, cicatrizant, cytophylactic, deodorant, hypotensive, insecticidal, parasiticidal, sedative, stimulant, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. OK, so this may be overstating the illustration, but it does present support to the “holistic” aromatherapy approach, rather than “symptomatic, reductionist” approach to healing offered by orthodox medicines”.

I would like to highlight the significant effect the use of essential oils, or aromatherapy had for one man following hospital admission:

During 1997/98, an adult male was admitted to hospital with an open fracture to his left tibia. Following the removal of damaged tissue, the insertion of an intermedullary nail (used to treat fractures of long bones) and follow up surgery the man developed chronic osteomyelitis (bone infection) with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), causing significant swelling and pain. This was treated with intravenous antibiotics and surgery for a number of years without successful outcome; amputation was discussed as a potential treatment option. The man was admitted for emergency surgery following yet another extremely painful flare-up of symptoms, at which time Osteoset Pellets™ which had been soaked in a Polytoxinol (a liquid mixture of active ingredients including lemongrass, eucalyptus, melaleuca (tea tree), clove, thyme, B.H.T and alcohol) were inserted via an incision near the tibia bone, and were continuously soaked with the liquid for 48 hours. Three months following the procedure, the wound had healed, the symptoms had resolved and the man felt better (Sherry et al., 2001) – and he still has a leg! The makers of this anti-biotic alternative have also claimed that it is beneficial for the treatment of golden staph and tuberculosis.

The word “aromatherapy” does not even begin to describe the benefits attributed to essential oils in this example.

My research will examine the effect of essential oils on the physical symptoms of acne – another example of a therapeutic outcome which is not associated with “smell”.

Having said all of this, there is a lot to be said about the “smell” of essential oils and the associated therapeutic benefits. Some areas of important research include its effects on hypertension (high blood pressure); post-operative nausea; anxiety; dementia; child birth; stress; sleep disorders – and the list goes on. Does the term aromatherapy accurately describes these benefits? I am not so sure…

So, what is the solution? Do we change the name? I don’t think that this would make the word aromatherapy obsolete; but I do think it is time to differentiate. Many “aromatherapists” use the term “clinical” to denote the difference between their practice and those whose role is to provide a lovely, relaxing experience in, say, a spa setting. I call myself a Clinical Aromatherapist. But this still does not provide an accurate description of the treatment I offer. With associations to phytotherapy and historical links to herbal medicine, perhaps it is time to come up with a more fitting professional name: Essential Phytotherapy; Essential Oil Therapy. What do you think?

Ref: Sherry, E., Boeck, H., Warnke, P H (2001) Percutaneous treatment of chronic MRSA osteomyelitis with a novel plant-derived antiseptic. BMC Surgery 1(1)

“Fun-run” indeed, what a misnomer. That’d be like saying “calm gremlin” or “pleasant hag” or “entertaining history textbook”.

Kiersten White, Supernaturally

Essential Oils are Good for our Health

When you think about essential oils, do you think about the health benefits beyond the wonderful aroma?  I know that you probably love to put them in an oil burner and let the scent create an atmosphere of relaxation, stimulation, inspiration, exhilaration, comfort,  or enlivenment – you might even drop a few drops of ylang ylang in for a bit of passion.

But did you know that they also have powerful antibacterial properties? The scientific world is concerned about antibiotic resistance, and rightly so.  According to an article  in The Independent, “There is a global crisis in antibiotics caused by rapidly evolving resistance among microbes responsible for common infections that threaten to turn them into untreatable diseases”.   The General Director of the World Health Organisation says ” doctors should be prescribing antibiotics appropriately, patients should be following their treatment, and there should be restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animals”.  I suggest we should be conducting much more research into the properties of essential oils, and here is why:

  1. Essential oils act on bacteria – many in vitro studies have been conducted and the evidence is positive – essential oils can kill many different bacteria.  The next step is conducting clinical trials to see how effective they are under clinical conditions (or in humans!)
  2. Humans cannot become resistant to essential oils – due to environmental conditions, no two crops are exactly the same, therefore, the body cannot build up a resistance like it does to antibiotics (which are always the same – which is the problem!).
  3. Essential oils can potentially be taken orally – this is not something I practice, nor is it something I promote here in this forum!  In fact – there is a MASSIVE DISCLAIMER HERE!!!  Aromatherapy is a medical practice in France and essential oils are often prescribed instead of antibiotics; this is either taken via the mouth, or as a suppository; they are also prescribed for external use and applied as part of a daily friction.
  4. Essential oils can be immune boosting, providing support for our own innate ability to heal ourselves.  You only need to smell the right oil for it to be promoting health.

For the time being, if you DO have a serious infection, I advise that you attend the doctors and receive the appropriate treatment.  If you want to treat yourself with “Complementary” aromatherapy, I advise you seek professional advice.

So, the future isn’t necessarily all doom and gloom – in fact, we might actually come up smelling of roses!

I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory! I wish I’d invented it, because it is very true.
Audrey Hepburn

Disclaimer:

All material provided in this blog is for your information only.  Whilst every caution has been taken to ensure the material is accurate and the analysis is critical, due to the nature of essential oils, it is important that you consult your doctor and/or aromatherapist before making any decisions based on this information. The author will not compensate you in any way if you suffer an inconvenience, damage or side-effect because of  the information provided in this blog.

The Author is not responsible for the content of any comments made by Commenter(s) and reserves the right to block Commenter(s) who have previously published offensive comments, illegal content, or SPAM.

Bodhi Mama (yep! That’s Me)

Bodhi Mama launched today and I am absolutely delighted!  Thanks to my friend Sacha who helped and inspired me!

Bodhi Mama is Adelaide’s newest infant massage class.  I will be providing a space where new mum’s can learn a beneficial skill, where you can learn about the various health aspects of massage, supported by a growing base of evidence, and most importantly, a warm and nurturing environment where you will become the expert when it comes to your child.

When you know the art of massage, you become the authority when it comes to your child’s body and you will trust that instinctive part of you.

 Bodhi Mama’s mission is to pass on the best available knowledge and evidence to support an ancient practice;  to be the start of an Australian tradition where baby massage is passed down from generation to generation and to ensure massage becomes a fundamental part of our parental knowing.

So join me as I embark on my adventure – I am a teacher, and I am a novice business woman and I look forward to sharing my experience with you!

Oh, and you will find us on facebook, too:

Tx

“The baby who is adequately satisfied receives the feeling that the world is his for the asking”
Ashley Montagu, author

There is no such thing as a ‘therapeutic grade’ essential oil!

Before I go on, I have to say that I am sorry it has been a long time between posts!  I am now a fully fledged PhD candidate in the throws of preparing a research proposal which is due in August.   I have also been pondering the direction that this blog should take.  I do not want to start an encyclopaedia of essential oils.  You can google any essential oil and come up with mountains of information – not all of it good, I might add – and so I think that to go down this path would be a waste of my time.  A good place to start (if this is the kind of information you are looking for) isAromaweb, although a lot of their information comes from sources that are not referenced, I would also look at google scholar to see if there is anything you can find, too!

I do not want to start writing recipes for everyone as, like I have said before in previous posts, the use of essential oils, or blends of, is usually based on an in-depth consultation.  If you cannot find what you are looking for in the plethora of information that is already out there, or are not confident to mix something for yourself – see a qualified therapist.  On that note, yes – I have previously written a few useful blends for pregnancy, this was borne out of concern for safety.

Today, I want to help dispel the myth of ‘therapeutic grade essential oils’.  I recently joined an aromatherapy discussion group, where I thought I might meet like minded people.  Instead, I have fallen into a wealth of blog inspiration!

The term ‘therapeutic grade essential oils’ was coined by the founder of an American essential oil distributor, Gary Young.  Basically, he describes his oils as ‘therapeutic’ as they are of the highest quality/standards.  Other companies have cottoned on to this term and also claim that their oils are ‘therapeutic grade’ oils.  These oils apparently undergo stringent quality testing such as “rigorous mass spectrometry and gas chromatography testing to ensure extract composition and activity” and the oils are independently tested.

The problem with this is, it is JUST A MARKETING PLOY! Please do not be fooled by this.  ALL quality essential oils undergo this kind of testing.  If you purchase an essential oil from a reliable distributor, you can ask for the information.  Each batch of essential oils is slightly different; this is what makes them unique.  For example, lavender, grown in France, in the same field, at the same time of year WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AS THE LAST LOT.  This is because the variables change.  One year might be hot, the next might be wet…. This is nature, and we cannot control it.

You really should google “what are therapeutic grade essential oils” – it is quite laughable!  One site says:

The key to producing a therapeutic-grade essential oil is to preserve as many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the essential oil as possible – elements that are very fragile and destroyed by high temperature and high-pressure. Contact with chemically reactive metals (i.e., copper or aluminum) is another danger to the fragile aromatic compounds in oils.

AND

The purity of an essential oil is also determined by its chemical constituents. There are many variables that can affect these constituents. These can include:

· Soil conditions
· Quality of fertilizer and whether it was organic or chemical
· Region
· Climate
· Altitude
· Harvest season
· Harvest methods
· Distillation process
· The part or parts of the plant used for distillation

Really??  Gosh…..  

The definition of the term, therapeutic is: “of or pertaining to the treating or curing of disease; curative” and yet, some of these websites have DISCLAIMERS!  My favourite one is “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

I am not about to re-write what Tony Burfield puts so succinctly in his paper entitled “The ‘Therapeutic Grade’ Essential Oils Disinformation Campaign“.  Please, if you are interested, have a read.

Obviously there is concern about adulterated oils.  I have written about this previously.  Some unscrupulous dealers will mix a pure essential oil with a carrier.  This might be because the pure oil is expensive, as in the case of jasmine oil.  The honest dealer will mark this on the bottle, stating  “blended” or “in jojoba”.  The unscrupulous dealer will, obviously, sell it to you as 100% pure.  The Aromaweb site I mentioned earlier gives a “consistency” description of essential oils.  If you are in doubt about what you have purchased, check this site.  You can also test it yourself, simply by putting a drop of oil on the back of your hand:

  • It is a pure essential oil (distilled or expressed) if it disappears into the skin quite quickly;
  • An absolute or a resin should be thick and sticky;
  • An essential oil in a carrier oil will lubricate the back of your hand and will not quickly absorb.

There is no way of knowing whether this same unscrupulous dealer is selling you something which is synthetic (well, there is, but not at point-of-sale, and not to the lay person).  So, in order to avoid this – DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  The reputable brands will be easy to spot, and should also be easy to find.  Synthetic oils are more-often-than-not found in toiletry products, so you should not really worry about being fooled into buying them.  It is simply scaremongering on the part of these companies which claim their products are ‘therapeutic’.

Good luck! And don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any more information…

Tamara

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” 
Phineas T. Barnum

Research

I keep harping on about research!  Research is not always easy to come by.  You could try “google scholar” where in some instances, the information is available to read without a password.  In this blog, I am going to provide some links to websites which I believe provide reputable information:

Health insite

Shirley Price Aromatherapy

Robert Tisserand blog

If you cannot find what you are looking for within these links, please do not hesitate to contact me!  I am more than happy to provide you with some guidance in your search for information!

Tx

“If a man will begin with certainties, he will end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he will end in certainties”
Francis Bacon

So, just how useful ARE essential oils?

Essential oils are SO USEFUL!!  What can I say – I am a convert.  I am sceptical about a lot of what is said about a lot of things, and research aside, unless I have seen any kind of results FOR MYSELF, I am sceptical about it.  And so should you be (especially when it comes to claims made by cosmetic companies – their research is usually conducted by themselves rather than an independent group, on a small number of women – they publish any positive results (and they are usually twisted to sound great) and the negative results are usually hidden away from the world).   If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

There are many proven benefits of using essential oils (there are also unproven claims, usually historical ones).   Where research is useful, and conclusive, is the determination of the chemicals which make up the oils.  Understanding their chemical composition means we can determine how the oil should act.  That said, some oils are more effective than others – this is to do with the quantities of the chemical in the oil, synergy, the quality of the oil (the topic of a future blog), supply (some suppliers are dodgy!), and variation in climate (where the plants originate).

We know that some oils are useful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-infectious, antiseptic, and antiviral. These oils can help to treat infection and virus, and can also be useful for protecting others who are living in an environment with a sick person.

We understand that certain oils act like hormones (due to their chemical components) and have historically been useful for treating premenstrual syndrome, regulating menstrual cycles; some authors recommend hormone-like essential oils (such as geranium) for disorders such as dysmenorrhoea and amenorrhoea.

Essential oils can also have a positive effect on emotions, and can be helpful for mild depression, sleep problems and irritability.  They can aid study, or help to relieve stress in any environment.   

I believe that there will be an essential oil for almost all ailments and or emotional situations.  They might be helping to relieve symptoms, helping you to feel more comfortable, helping to boost your immune system to deal with the complaint, or helping to relieve the side-effects of any drugs that you might be taking for the ailment.

Your decision to use essential oils in your life can only be a positive one; however, it is important to seek advice from a professional.  There are many blogs and websites out there that suggest recipes for any number of issue – whether it be for personal use or within the home.  They do suggest that some oils are irritants, and that some research into what suits your own personal situation is essential.  This is good advice, but most do not offer guidance on what to do.  So, for guidance on how to test essential oils out on yourself, please see Essential oil safety: It is sometimes dangerous to associate ‘natural’ with ‘safe’ under the section entitled “How to conduct a patch test”.

My next blog (which will come along a lot sooner than this one, I promise!!) will consider the different approaches aromatherapists use; and how they sit with the conventional ”holistic approach”.

Tx

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on.  It is never of any use to oneself”
Oscar Wilde

Disclaimer:

All material provided in this blog is for your information only.  Whilst every caution has been taken to ensure the material is accurate and the analysis is critical, due to the nature of essential oils, it is important that you consult your doctor and/or aromatherapist before making any decisions based on the information here. The author will not compensate you in any way if you suffer an inconvenience, damage or side-effect because of  the information provided in this blog.

The Author is not responsible for the content of any comments made by Commenter(s) and reserves the right to block Commenter(s) who have previously published offensive comments, illegal content, or SPAM.