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So far rtisserand has created 33 blog entries.

Tangerine-scented bird

Plants create essential oils by mixing together dozens of fragrant molecules. The functions of these fragrant molecules is primarily to attract pollinators and repel herbivores (generally insects in both cases) and to guard against fungal or bacterial infection. Interestingly, bacteria often produce fragrant molecules too. Insects produce the same aromatic molecules, which they use for intra-species communication. In insects we call them pheromones, and they impart messages that relate to mating, scent trails to food, alarm signals etc.

Aethia cristatella Aethia cristatella

Mammals don’t produce the same highly volatile fragrant molecules. […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:12+00:00 May 3rd, 2011|Fragrance, Sense of smell|Comments Off on Tangerine-scented bird

Gattefossé’s burn

“In 1910 French chemist and scholar René-Maurice Gattefossé discovered the virtues of the essential oil of lavender. Gattefossé badly burned his hand during an experiment in a perfumery plant and plunged his hand into the nearest tub of liquid, which just happened to be lavender essential oil. He was later amazed at how quickly his burn healed and with very little scarring. This started a fascination with essential oils and inspired him to experiment with them during the First World War on soldiers in the military hospitals.”

If you’re in the aromatherapy biz, you are probably familiar with the story. The […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:12+00:00 April 22nd, 2011|Aromatherapy / Research|17 Comments

From lemon to rosewood – it’s only skin deep

It’s hard to tell how many essential oils are covered in Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s database, because if you put “essential oil” their search box, the results are pretty hit-and-miss. When I tried it, only 16 of the first 50 items listed were essential oils. Lemon oil, interestingly, was listed twice: CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) OIL (hazard rating 0) and CITRUS MEDICA LIMONUM (LEMON) PEEL OIL (hazard rating 2). The second one is defined as: “volatile oil obtained from the fresh peel of of lemon, Citrus medica limonum.” The first one is not defined at all, […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:12+00:00 March 20th, 2011|Rants|8 Comments

Personal Care Truth

Why I am one of the “experts” at Personal Care Truth.

We human beings have a strong emotional attachment to our beliefs, and our actions are not always logical. Take, for example, the green movement. Are you a “green consumer”? I like to think that I am. Do you want products that are organic/fair trade/do not harm the environment/come from sustainable sources etc? In holding such beliefs, it’s all too easy to demonize synthetic ingredients.

When we hear that sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) contains 1,4-dioxane, and that 1,4-dioxane is a probable carcinogen, in a strange way this is comforting, […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:12+00:00 March 8th, 2011|Safety|7 Comments

The “oxygenation” myth

It is commonly believed in some aromatherapy circles that a major therapeutic benefit of essential oils derives from the fact that they are rich in oxygen; that they efficiently carry this oxygen to the body’s cells and tissues, and thus dramatically enhance our health. Jim Lynn, for example, writes the following paragraphs under the title “Essential Oils and Oxygen“:

If there is any one BIG reason for you to use essential oils everyday, it can be summed up in one word…OXYGEN! Essential oils are loaded (concentrated) with it, at least 50 times more oxygen than what the plants give off from […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:13+00:00 November 27th, 2010|Myth-busting|25 Comments

No suspension of disbelief required

Unlike the practice of acupuncture or homoeopathy, the belief system underlying the use of plants as medicines is not necessarily different to the use of single substances, or “drugs”. For sure, herbalist and doctor may have very different approaches to healing disease, and the concept of synergy is one that remains almost totally unexplored in conventional medicine (perhaps a missed opportunity…).

But, medicines of both types can be described using similar pharmacological terminology – anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial and so on. Therefore, no suspension of disbelief is required – no fundamental paradigm shift  – no reinvention of the laws of physics or […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:13+00:00 November 11th, 2010|Aromatherapy / Research|Comments Off on No suspension of disbelief required

Can essential oils raise blood pressure?

Blood pressureThe status quo, the widely believed “wisdom” of the day, is always difficult to change, however illogical or wrong it may be. Blood letting had been widely used for 1,500 years before physicians figured out that it was not, after all, the ideal go-to therapy for all ills. In that context, 36 years is not a long time, but that’s how long the aromatherapy community has been under the illusion that oils of rosemary, hyssop, sage and thyme should not be used for people with high blood pressure.

In 1964, […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:13+00:00 August 31st, 2010|Myth-busting, Safety|33 Comments

Zero tolerance

Toxicology is tough to grasp. It’s full of jargon like No-Adverse-Effect-Levels, Uncertainty Factors, and Acceptable Daily Intake. But, the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics has a simple solution – “Let’s not debate how much lead should be allowed in lipstick – just get the toxic chemicals out of our products!”

Yay! Go for it! – prohibit all the chemicals that have been “linked to” adverse effects such as cancer, neurotoxicity or birth defects. Don’t allow them to be used in any amount! Cool! I’m up to here in poison already!  Anyway, why DO cosmetics companies put lead in lipstick? Could it be […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:13+00:00 August 21st, 2010|Rants|Comments Off on Zero tolerance

Toxic baby alert!

Concern: Inhalation of toxic gases

Target of alert: Pregnant mothers

One of the greatest health threats to an unborn child may come from a totally unexpected source. A CFSC (Campaign for Scaring Consumers) directive is currently being formulated to advise pregnant women not to change the diapers of their babies, or even be in the same room when a baby discharges body wastes.

After an extensive literature review, the CFSC is advising that there is a high risk of fetal toxicity following the mother’s inhalation of the chemicals occurring in feces and gastrointestinal tract gases, since these contain significant quantities of hydrogen sulfide, […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:14+00:00 August 18th, 2010|Rants|10 Comments

The Safe Cosmetics Act 2010

The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (SCA 2010), now before the House of Representatives, is an inappropriate and seriously flawed attempt to make cosmetics safer. You can read the full text here. The thinking behind it is identical to a bill that was proposed (and defeated on March 1st this year) in Colorado (see Tunnel vision). Both are the brainchild of a group including the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (SFSC) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which are in turn linked to the Skin Deep database. SCA 2010 is being opposed by groups representing small businesses […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:14+00:00 August 15th, 2010|Legislation|30 Comments
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