OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Reviewed by Martin Watt Cert. Phyt. Medical Herbalist.
10. "Rosemary and Marjoram should
be avoided in pregnancy"
should not be used by epileptics"
16. "Oils when used in massage are
absorbed by the skin and transported throughout the body"
A list of absorption rates is given, but no information as to the source of the original material. There is therefore no way of checking if it is valid information or not. The absorption rates do not agree with known data on some of the major chemicals in the named oils such as geraniol in Geranium, and linalool in Lavender where there is trials data showing that these chemicals are not absorbed.
19 - Contra indications: "Fennel,
Hyssop and Sage should be avoided by epileptics, Clary should not be
used while drinking alcohol." "High blood pressure: avoid
Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage and all types of Thyme."
20 - for Eczema:"as
an anti inflammatory - Yarrow".
a deodorant - Spanish Sage:
21. "Essential oils are easily absorbed
via the skin into the blood stream, affecting the nature of the circulation
as a whole, also influencing the inner organs, oils like hyssop tend
to have a balancing and regulating effect on the circulation system
as a whole, reducing the blood pressure if it is too high or stimulating
the system if it is sluggish."
21. "Lymphatic stimulants: Grapefruit,
Lime, Fennel, Lemon, Mandarin, and white Birch"
system. balsamic agents: Benzoin, Frankincense, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam."
congestion: Lemon, Lime, Rosemary and Peppermint."
22 - Genito urinary system: "Like
the digestive system, the reproductive organs can be affected by absorption
via the skin into the blood stream." Followed by a list of oils
with claimed actions including "genital infections," "other
oils contain plant hormones which mimic the human hormones"
and fennel have been found to contain a form of oestrogen which influences
menstrual cycle, lactation etc."
"Chamomile oil an emmenagogue" That is ridiculous as many women consume chamomile tea without it affecting their cycle. In the case of the essential oil there is not a shred of evidence to back such a claim.
"Peppermint an emmenagogue" That is even more ridiculous as it is a commonly used food flavour as well as in over the counter medicines.
Galactagogues: I doubt she has any evidence for any of the mentioned oils causing that effect; she is clearly referring to the use of the herbal extracts given orally.
- for anxiety:
Page 23 - the immune system. "virtually all essential oils have bactericidal properties". This simply is not true.
promoting the production of white blood cells etc."
using essential oils all the time have a high level of resistance to
Nervous system. A whole lot of oils claimed to be "proven" to correspond with traditional held views, but no references are supplied.
found to be stimulating"
26 - Massage: "the blend should be
between 1 and 3% depending on the type of disorder."
Page 27 - Diluting the oils. The suggested method of diluting the essential oil in a solvent, and then adding this to more water, will simply make the essential oil reform, coming back out of the initial dispersion in the solvent.
28 - Steam inhalation: "5 drops of
Thyme or Peppermint in hot water."
"External application of oils such as juniper and white birch will help purify the system." This really is dangerous nonsense.
SKIPPED TO PAGES 34/35
A GUIDE TO AROMATIC MATERIALS
First line: incorrect. There are hundreds of species of plants used in producing aromatic extracts. Around 150-200 fragrance materials are commonly available.
line. "It is important to know the correct
botanical name Etc."
limonene, antiviral - I know of
no evidence to support this.
3rd line. "aldehydes in general have a
"Ketones are toxic." This is utter rubbish as ketones are part of our everyday foods and are common ingredients in flavoured processed foods such as sausages, pates, burgers etc. Again it all depends on which ketone and how much is consumed. This generalisation is like saying aspirin is toxic therefore do not use it.
Alcohol's: Again no evidence of antiviral action is given for a vast group of substances which alcohols encompass, some may be, but certainly some will not be. It is extremely unreliable to use such sweeping statements dealing with chemicals. With natural chemicals such as thujone, it does not exist as a single substance, but is a number of isomers one of which is four times more toxic than the other. These isomers occur in different plants at different levels which can make for instance some varieties of Tansy highly toxic, but Sage relatively safe, so safe in fact that experiments at the West of Scotland College have justified the herbs reputation for prolonging life.
Same paragraph. No information is given on the fact that the isomers of linalool in Rosewood and Lavender can be opposite to each other, and that Rosewood oil has absolutely no traditional history of medicinal use.
Phenols: Far too general it tells you nothing, you most certainly can not assume that because an essential oil contains these chemicals that it will therefore have antibacterial actions.
Oxides. Tells you nothing of importance. In fact some of the most important oxides are not mentioned i.e. rose oxides, which give rose its characteristic fragrance.
Chart methods of extraction: This is incorrect, and is a subjective interpretation of extraction techniques. Essential oils are produced from concretes and this can be by solvent extraction or distillation. The resulting extracts are frequently of a far higher quality than steam distilled oils, and in no way should it be taken that steam distilled oils are therapeutically superior, this is a total fallacy that has crept into aromatherapy as the result of ill informed tuition and ill researched books.
TO PAGE 146.
Take a look at the monograph on broom and look at the box which gives the 'actions'. Not a single one of those have anything to do with broom absolute.
Then look at Rosa Damascena- 'Actions'. This is a total hotch potch of herbal uses intertwined with a few valid uses of the oil, typical of the remainder of the book.
When this author first wrote this book, she had only recently qualified as a Medical Herbalist. She also helped run a company supplying essential oils. However, her knowledge of the therapeutic attributes of essential oils was largely based on extrapolations from the use of herbal extracts. She was also being advised on the essential oils by someone whose company was later found to be supplying fake Sandalwood oil. That may be why there are many errors on oil chemistry.
This author has since written other works and corrected some of her earlier errors. However, her main problem is still in attributing therapeutic actions to essential oils (used externally) that are entirely due to the use of the water or alcohol extraction's used internally.
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