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About rtisserand

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So far rtisserand has created 33 blog entries.

Is clary sage oil estrogenic?

According to Franchomme & Pénöel (1990), clary sage oil is estrogen-like, due to its content of sclareol, which is said to be structurally similar to human estrogens. The sclareol content of clary sage oil is given as 1.6-7.0%. In gas chromatographic analyses of clary sage oil, a sclareol content of 0.1-0.4% is typical. However sclareol concentrations tend to be underestimated due to the very low volatility of the molecule, so 1.6-7.0% is probably reasonable. Clary sage absolute is a solid material, and contains about 70% sclareol, which is also solid.

Some of the more common Internet comments about the hormonal effects […]

By |April 25th, 2010|Myth-busting, Safety|20 Comments

Therapeutic grade oils – read all about it!

Dear Massage Magazine,

I submitted an article, which you published as a Guest Editorial on page 22 of your March 2010 issue, entitled Essential Oils: Premium Quality Yields Premium Results. On page 10, your Contents Page, this was listed as: Guest Editorial: Read about therapeutic grade essential oils in “Powerful Tools in A Small Bottle”, by Dawn-Mari Yurkovic, at www.massagemag.com/powerfultools. Don’t you agree this is a little weird? One person writes a two-page article, and a completely different person/article is listed on the Contents page of the magazine?
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By |April 10th, 2010|Aromatherapy / Research|74 Comments

A rainy afternoon in Cambridge

In May 1967 my mother went to Paris to hear a lecture by Dr. Jean Valnet, and came back with a signed copy of his book. I was 19. At that time, this was the only in-print book on the subject of aromatherapy that was available in any language. Within ten years, I had trained in soft-tissue massage, and had written my own aromatherapy book. I wrote it as a kind of “companion book” to Valnet’s; his was all about the science of aromatherapy, so I called mine The Art of Aromatherapy. It took me two years to research the […]

By |March 30th, 2010|Aromatherapy / Research|9 Comments

P&G to reduce 1,4-dioxane

ANAHEIM, CA – On Friday March 12, 2010, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a watchdog group with over 850,000 members, and The Green Patriot Working Group (GPWG), led by environmental health consumer advocate David Steinman (in cooperation with The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC), a national coalition of health and environmental groups) announced the details of an agreement from Procter and Gamble (P&G) to reformulate 18 products from its top-selling Herbal Essences brand to reduce levels of the carcinogenic petrochemical 1,4-dioxane. In addition, they announced new results from a continuing study that has tested over 150 consumer products for the […]

By |March 9th, 2010|Safety|Comments Off on P&G to reduce 1,4-dioxane

A dash of TNT with that, madam?

One of the reasons given for supporting the Colorado bill was that the targeted ingredients are more stringently restricted in Europe than in the USA. It’s true that the FDA has prohibited only 9 substances as cosmetic ingredients, compared to 1,233 currently prohibited in Europe. Well, clearly “no contest” in the legal stringency stakes. But, the great majority of the 1,233 are petroleum derivatives, and many are pharmaceutical drugs, industrial solvents, or poisons such as curare, strychnine and arsenic – you can read the full list here. Very few of them would ever be […]

By |March 5th, 2010|Legislation|8 Comments

Colorado bill fails

The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act failed today at approximately 8:44 pm EST on a 7-to-4 vote.

By |March 1st, 2010|Legislation|4 Comments

Citrus oil threat

Among the ingredients that would be forbidden in personal care products in the event the Colorado bill passes are di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and 5-methoxypsoralen. DEHP is listed by the National Toxicology Program as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”. Well, who wants phthalates in their products anyway?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but cold-pressed citrus oils like bergamot contain about 1 ppm of DEHP, because it leaches out of plastic tubing used in the extraction process. One part per million in a citrus oil isn’t much, and once that oil is incorporated into […]

By |February 27th, 2010|Legislation|6 Comments

Tunnel vision

People should expect reasonable and sensible protection from harm by those who regulate consumer products, and vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant women may need special consideration. Therefore, cosmetics that are totally free of all carcinogens and teratogens may sound like a good idea. But is it realistic? And is more legislation needed?

One problem is in that word “totally”. If you want to avoid encountering one molecule of a toxic substance, then you need to either live in a bubble, or stop eating, drinking, and breathing. Traces of cyanide, for instance, are found in foods and beverages, both natural […]

By |February 23rd, 2010|Legislation|40 Comments

Hidden benefits

Reports on the effects of aromatherapy massage on pain, anxiety and depression in cancer patients are inconsistent, with some finding significant effects, and others not. One that did find an effect (Imanishi et al 2007) was authored by a group of researchers from four Japanese Universities. In 12 patients with breast cancer, anxiety was significantly reduced over a 4 week period. The patients receved two 30 minute massage sessions each week, using diluted sweet orange, lavender and sandalwood oils. STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) scores were significantly lower after a massage session than before it, and the reduction was progressive. Even one […]

By |February 22nd, 2010|Aromatherapy / Research|Comments Off on Hidden benefits

Ravensara rant

OK, here’s the problem as I see it. And, if you’re not an essential oil aficionado, I advise you to stop reading now. There is an oil produced from Ravensara aromatica, and it is known by the (somewhat uninventive) name of “Ravensara” or, occasionally, “ravensare” It is produced only in Madagascar, and the name derives from a Malagasy word meaning “fragrant leaf” – or something similar.

But, and here’s the rub, there is another Madagascan oil, this one produced from Cinnamomum camphora leaves, and it is known as “ravintsara” in the aromatherapy community. I guess there are a lot of fragrant […]

By |February 9th, 2010|Rants|Comments Off on Ravensara rant
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