Lavender Helps Burned Boy – a heart-rending story with a happy ending!

In the winter of 1994, I was contacted by a Mandy Kelly, whose little boy Ciaran had been badly burned in an accident involving a wood-burning stove. Apart from wanting to do anything to help him heal, she was also an aromatherapy enthusiast. She called me and I helped her figure out the best way to use essential oils, lavender in particular, to speed up little Ciaran’s healing process. This happened in Scotland, and the most amazing part was that the surgeon who attended Ciaran was totally fine with essential oils and herbs […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:44+00:00April 2nd, 2016|Aromatherapy / Research|11 Comments

Essential oils and gut flora

In a blog post dated July 13th 2014, Madhupa Maypop quoted Paul Bergner, saying: “The scent of an essential oil can kill gut flora just like antibiotics do, according to Paul Bergner, director of the clinical studies program at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies. He told me that breathing the oils puts them into the blood stream very quickly and can be a major disturber of intestinal health and contributor to poor immune functioning.” However this quote has now been removed from the post, since Paul Bergner has denied that he ever said this. Paul contacted me […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:46+00:00July 14th, 2014|Aromatherapy / Research, Myth-busting|22 Comments

Essential Oils, Stroke Patients, and Bergamot

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Dear Mr. Tisserand,

I have been a student of essential oils for the last 15 years or so. I have what seems to be a defeating question. I’ve looked for the answer from some people in aromatherapy and tried also to find the answer online.
Is there any kind of research on essential oils and healing the brain, whether it be strokes or epilepsy?
I am particularly interested in essential oils on healing stroke victims.
I am not in the medical field. I would like to do a research paper on this but have hit […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:48+00:00December 9th, 2013|Aromatherapy / Research, Q & A|2 Comments

Sniffing Rosemary Can Increase Memory By 75%

Published 8-April-2013 by Jenny Hope at

Rosemary herb Useful and attractive: Research has found the essential oil from rosemary helps long-term memory and alertness

Why a whiff of rosemary DOES help you remember: Sniffing the herb can increase memory by 75%

• The Tudors believed rosemary had powers to enhance memory
• In Hamlet, Ophelia says ‘There’s rosemary that’s for remembrance’
• Researchers have found the oil helps alertness and arithmetic

Shakespeare was right in saying rosemary can improve your memory.

Researchers have found for the first time that essential oil from the herb when […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:59+00:00April 19th, 2013|Aromatherapy / Research, Sense of smell|27 Comments

Florian Birkmayer: aromatherapists & psychiatrist

Florian BirkmayerFlorian Birkmayer, M.D., founded the Birkmayer Institute in 2009 to offer holistic person-centered psychiatry and addiction medicine as well as seminars and workshops on a wide range of holistic topics to facilitate self-transformation and continued self-development. This approach has been inspired by C.G. Jung’s ideas about Individuation, which is the journey of the limited ego to the Higher Self. His emphasis in holistic psychiatry is on Equine-assisted therapy, person-centered psychotherapy and holistic medication management including aromatherapy.

I met Dr. Birkmayer in February 2013, when he attended a weekend seminar […]

Q&A – Essential Oil Extraction Process

Hi Robert,
I have read that the essential oil extraction process can (but doesn’t’ always) include the use of solvents, and that many of the manufacturers buy and distribute oils that contain these solvents (claiming that they are pure). Can you recommend a manufacturer and or a distributor that can be trusted to sell high quality oils?

Dr. James Lembeck

Hi James,

Essential oils are extracted by steam or water distillation, citrus oils generally by expression. Other than water or steam, no solvents are involved. So there are no solvent-extracted essential oils.

Concretes, absolutes and resinoids are extracted using solvents, most commonly hexane. (Benzene used […]

By |2013-01-09T17:14:32+00:00January 9th, 2013|Aromatherapy / Research, Q & A|1 Comment

Tea tree oil and biofilms

One of the outstanding properties of many essential oils, including tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), is that they can be effective even against bacterial biofilms.

A biofilm is a layered matrix, consisting mainly of polysaccharide and protein, that bacteria or fungi create on a surface as a secure habitat. In this form they are more difficult to kill, because the biofilm structure affords protection from the environment. Plaque on teeth is an example of a biofilm and the success of ‘essential oil’ mouthwashes such as Listerine compared to others is partly due to their ability to break down and inhibit plaque formation […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:00+00:00October 19th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research|12 Comments

Aromatherapy: the big picture

In September 2010 I gave two presentations at an IFA conference in Tokyo. One of them was called: Forty years of aromatherapy evolution: 1970-2010. There were 475 attendees, and I suspect this was the largest aromatherapy conference ever held. You can see some photos here.

After the conference, I went to the office of the Aroma Environment Association of Japan. In 2010 the AEAJ had 50,000 members, and their substantial office reflects the size of the organization. While I was there they filmed a 36 minute interview with me, which was due to be screened in March 2011 at the […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:01+00:00August 13th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research, Interview|3 Comments

Hygienic massage with essential oils

Human skin carries some 900 species of bacteria, and when one person massages another, a two-way microbial exchange takes place. I’m not suggesting that there is significant risk here, and shaking hands with another person is no less risky. But, thorough hand-washing before and after a massage session is recommended. In a hospital environment, infection can be spread by medical staff from one patient to another if hygiene routines are not followed, and this can lead to fatal illness if antibiotic-resistant strains are transferred. Hospital patients however, are more likely to be immune-compromised, and therefore vulnerable. And, hospitals are the […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:02+00:00April 9th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research, Safety|Comments Off on Hygienic massage with essential oils

Interaction with SSRI medication?

Dear Mr. Tisserand,

I was treating a young woman with back pain recently. This young woman is on selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) type of anti-depressant medication. Because her pain was acute I used a 10% blend on the specific site of pain that included German chamomile, black pepper, ginger and everlasting. About 30 minutes after the application she vomited and told me she suspected the essential oils may have caused her to be sick. She mentioned serotonin syndrome which is caused by an overload of serotonin in her system.

I referred to quite a few texts (including your book) and could […]

By |2012-03-20T17:01:04+00:00March 20th, 2012|Aromatherapy / Research, Q & A, Safety|11 Comments
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