Lavender mascara?

Adding lavender oil to your mascara has become a thing, on the basis that it will make your eyelashes longer and thicker, and also that it will deter eyelash mites. About half of us have tiny eyelash mites, but they don’t affect at least 95% of those who have them. They do not make your eyelashes thinner or shorter, though an infestation can make eyelashes fall out. Some argue that eyelash mites perform a useful function, by eating dead cells and debris. If the mites do indeed proliferate, the condition is known as demodicosis. This […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:46+00:00February 2nd, 2015|Myth-busting, News, Safety|5 Comments

China Report 2014

On Thursday July 24th, I left home for my second visit to the People’s Republic of China! (see report and video of my first visit here, and pics here) This time I was invited by a Beijing-based aromatherapy school, Floralwish. The most obvious difference from my 2011 trip was the weather – instead of November’s freeze, I encountered a very warm and humid August, with average temps of around 90F. And this time, after my weekend seminar in Beijing, I was going to repeat it a week later […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:46+00:00August 26th, 2014|Blog, News|7 Comments

Tea tree oil quality and constituents

I am writing this in response to a recent discussion on various facebook pages about tea tree oil (TTO), and whether a TTO with 51% terpinen-4-ol would be better than one with 41%, or whether 51% suggested adultration. Most TTO is produced in Australia and China, and this article is about the quality of Australian TTO, since the Chinese oils generally do not conform to the Australian standards, and there is no quality standard for Chinese TTO. The major constituent of TTO is terpinen-4-ol (T-4-ol). Most essential oils contain a single major constituent, and yet the main point of natural […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:58+00:00July 28th, 2013|News, Safety|13 Comments

Climate Change News 2013: Essential Oils Cool Planet

It now appears that the world would have warmed more than it has were it not for the aromatic cocktail of chemicals emitted by plants. It turns out that this can change the weather – and anything that changes the weather day after day and year after year changes the climate too. While this mechanism is nowhere near strong enough to save us from global warming, it may have been stronger in the past when the air was cleaner. So could it be that Gaia is not powerless after all? Stephen Battersby

It has long been suspected that the envelope of […]

By |2018-04-24T20:25:58+00:00July 20th, 2013|News|1 Comment

Essential oil label guideline

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announced on August 2nd that it has created a new guidance policy for the labeling of essential oils sold for topical use and offered for retail trade. The AHPA board of trustees adopted the guidance at its recent July meeting.

The AHPA board had adopted in July 2009 and amended in July 2011 a trade requirement for the labeling of essential oils. But it believes that additional labeling may address other issues that do not rise to the same level of a requirement, but that nonetheless represent good labeling practice.
The new essential oils guidance […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:01+00:00August 16th, 2012|News|Comments Off on Essential oil label guideline

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 […]

A week in Beijing

On the morning of Tuesday November 15th 2011 I drove to LAX (two hours of heavy traffic) and boarded an Air China flight direct to Beijing. I was the only non-Asian in my business class cabin. The food was excellent! After dinner and then two movies I remember thinking that I still had eight hours to go. I had hoped to get some sleep but it didn’t happen. I arrived at 4.40 pm on Wednesday.

I was welcomed like a long-lost relative! My host in Beijing was Darren Moore, a Canadian who settled there in 1996. He lives […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:04+00:00January 25th, 2012|News|Comments Off on A week in Beijing

Geranium oil linked to performance-enhancing drug

An alleged ingredient of geranium oil is now one of the latest performance-enhancing supplements, and has already been linked to two fatalities. In the 1940s, Eli Lilly developed and patented a nasal decongestant known as Forthane. The active ingredient was methylhexaneamine (MHA), also known as 2-amino-4-methylhexane, 1,3-dimethylpentylamine (1,3 DMAA) or “geranamine”.  Some companies are now pitching this as “geranium oil extract”, citing various aromatherapy authors (including myself) to show that geranium oil is safe and harmless. But is MHA even a constituent of geranium oil?

A Chinese paper […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:04+00:00December 19th, 2011|Legislation, News|8 Comments

Essential oils and chemical ecology: interview with Kelly Ablard

I met Kelly when I gave a talk in April 2011 in Sidney BC, for the British Columbia Association of Practicing Aromatherapists . Kelly is on the BCAPA Board and is working on her PhD dissertation in Chemical Ecology at Simon Fraser University. She recently returned from Java Indonesia, where she conducted research on slow loris toxin for a BBC film.

What is chemical ecology?

Chemical ecology is the study of chemicals that mediate interactions between living organisms and their environment. These are known as semiochemicals. The subclass used for […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:04+00:00December 16th, 2011|Interview, News, Sense of smell|2 Comments

Lavender oil and negative innuendo

In a recent blog post an Environmental Working Group (EWG) research assistant suggests that lavender oil may be unsafe, saying: “the science is still evolving and safety can’t be assumed.” The science is still evolving? Isn’t that true of anything? Are we just sowing the seeds of doubt here?

I have written a number of posts about the EWG and sloppy science. Their modus operandi involves highlighting negative information, along with liberal use of the phrase “has been linked to”. Facts are so often distorted that their reputation in scientific […]

By |2018-04-24T20:26:05+00:00December 9th, 2011|News, Safety|19 Comments
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