Can essential oils increase absorption of cancer treatment drugs?

Hello! Thanking you in advance for your time…I have a question regarding something that I read about peppermint and eucalyptus oils increasing the skins absorption of 5-fluorouracil, an anti-cancer drug. The study cited was Abdullah et al 1996, Williams & Barry, 1989. I am unable to find that particular study and wondered if you have any input as to the validity of this statement. If this is indeed true…do you have any special recommendations for those with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy or for those taking cancer relapse prevention drugs?
With great regard, Tiffany

Hi Tiffany,

A number of essential oils enhance the transcutaneous penetration […]

By | 2012-03-07T11:49:58+00:00 March 7th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research, Q & A|20 Comments

Rosemary boosts brain power!

In 1652, English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote, about rosemary: “Helps a weak memory and quickens the senses. The chymical [essential] oil drawn from the leaves and flowers, is a sovereign help…touch the temples and nostrils with two or three drops.” Scientists at Northumbria University (UK) are now uncovering how rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) oil does indeed sharpen mental faculties. Researchers Mark Moss and Lorraine Oliver detail how blood levels of 1,8-cineole, a rosemary oil component, correlate with improved cognitive performance (Moss & Oliver 2012).

Moss and Oliver exposed 20 subjects to […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:03+00:00 March 1st, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research, News, Sense of smell|11 Comments

Essential oils as medicines

The following text is the editorial comment in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, Vol. 1 issue 1 2012. I have reproduced it in full as it expresses my own sentiments more eloquently and economically than I could do myself. The editor is Paul Schnitzler, who works at the Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Germany.

“Plants produce primary and secondary metabolites, which have been exploited by humans for many different beneficial purposes. Many secondary plant metabolites, e.g. terpenes, terpenoids, alkaloids and phenolic compounds have been well characterized. Essential oils are considered the chemical weapons of plants, as their compounds […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:03+00:00 February 26th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research, Guest posts|8 Comments

Animal testing – is it relevant?

A frequent criticism of aromatherapy is that there are few clinical trials demonstrating efficacy over placebo. Medical interests in both Australia and the UK have recently lobbied to withdraw government funding from university departments teaching any kind of alternative medicine. Books like Bad Science, Snake Oil Science and Trick or Treatment express the view that herbal medicine, aromatherapy, chiropractic, homeopathy etc. have no effect beyond placebo, but that they can be harmful. Trick or Treatment, amazingly, contains not a single citation to back up anything expressed in its vitriolic pages. To complain about lack of evidence, and then to provide […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:03+00:00 January 29th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research|5 Comments

Q&A: where can I find quality EO research articles?

Hi Robert. Could you recommend some particularly good sources/sites for current peer-evaluated journal articles supporting the efficacy of essential oils against MRSA. Also articles that demonstrate the therapeutic/healing benefits of essential oils in chronic care/long term care facilities? Much appreciated!
-Melinda R.

Hi Melinda, try
and for starters. You can also try different search terms and you will get different results.

Best, Robert

Thanks for being such an aromatherapeutic rock star!

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:06+00:00 September 26th, 2011|Aromatherapy / Research, Q & A|3 Comments

Lavender oil – skin savior or skin irritant?

Dit artikel is ook beschikbaar in het Nederlands!

A question came up recently on TheBeautyBrains forum: Lavender oil in cosmetics – does it cause skin cell death, and is that a problem? This was in response to the description of “lavender extract and oil” on Paula Begoun’s Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary. Paula is known for her belief that fragrances, natural or synthetic, have no place in cosmetic products. Here are some random examples from her website: “Cedarwood oil: there is evidence that cedarwood oil is allergenic and can cause […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:06+00:00 August 25th, 2011|Aromatherapy / Research, Myth-busting, Rants, Safety|56 Comments

Ron Guba on essential oils and skin cancer

During my mini-tour of Australia in October 2010 I interviewed Ron Guba in Melbourne. Some of this interview is shown above, in which Ron talks about his use of essential oils to treat very small, early-stage skin cancers or pre-cancerous lesions. These were not cancers that required urgent medical intervention.

The main types of skin cancer include:

  • Solar (or actinic) keratosis (a precursor to SCC)
  • Squamous celle carcinoma (SCC)
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
  • Melanoma

Melanoma (a.k.a. malignant melanoma) is the rarest, but most virulent type of skin cancer. You can find more detailed information on the different types of skin cancer 

Q&A: Essential oils for pain management

Q&AWendy N. writes:
Hi Robert, I trust this finds you well. Can you direct me to any research that discusses the use of essential oils & aromatherapy in pain management please? I am currently doing some training at an aged and palliative care facility and this is one of the topics they wish me to cover. Thanks and warmest regards
Wendy 🙂


Hi Wendy, well the simplest thing to do is to go HERE,
and this is probably more than you want, but I don’t have an alternative, simple answer at this point. […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:10+00:00 June 23rd, 2011|Aromatherapy / Research, Q & A|Comments Off on Q&A: Essential oils for pain management

Uncorked! The Natural Perfumers Guild blogging event 6.1.11

UncorkedFINALwebjpg-1My father was born in London in 1911. He always told me it was easy to remember, because it was the year before the Titanic sank (who knew?). His parents were both French, so his first language was French, and he learned English when he went to school at the age of five or six. He grew up speaking both languages. In 1939 he was conscripted into the British Army and worked mostly as a clerk, keeping records of supplies (his pre-war job was in a bank, keeping records). While still in […]

By | 2018-04-24T20:26:11+00:00 June 1st, 2011|Aromatherapy / Research, Fragrance|10 Comments

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
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