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Home Page > Aromatherapy Articles & Guides > Aromatherapy Is Science Based

Aromatherapy is Science Based: It is Not a Gimmick

Comment from AromaWeb Visitor:

On behalf of AromaWeb, I receive many interesting and unique emails. I don't keep track of how many emails that I receive or reply to, but with over 4 million visits to AromaWeb a year, I'm sure you can get an idea. Most emails are from individuals that have sincere, genuine aromatherapy questions.

The other evening, I received an intriguing email that was quite negative and naive in some ways, but it makes the basis for an interesting article.

I won't quote his email or use his name. Essentially, his rant indicated that he "tried" essential oils, claimed that it was a gimmick just like religion and that there was no science to support aromatherapy. He did not provide any indication of what he meant by "trying essential oils."

My Response:

Holistic aromatherapy is based in science. Some spiritual and other uses of essential oils are esoteric, but the therapeutic applications of essential oils are certainly based in science.

Essential oils consist of the natural chemical constituents found in plants. Due to these chemical constituents, many essential oils, for example, are antibacterial and antiviral, Some essential oils like lavender and roman chamomile consist of constituents that act as mild sedatives. It's the natural essential oil in chamomile, for instance, that gives chamomile tea its ability to promote relaxation in some individuals. The natural oil is released when the chamomile buds are infused into the hot water. A number of products that you use every day likely do include essential oils or their constituents...

Listerine, as a singular product example that has been around for more than a century, contains antimicrobial constituents found in Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Thyme essential oils. I believe it was originally invented and used to sterilize surgical equipment.

You mentioned that you "tried" aromatherapy, but didn't touch on what your trial entailed, so I'm not able to offer possible feedback about that. Sadly, a number of uneducated individuals exist that promote aromatherapy inaccurately and give it a bad name by making misleading claims. That is what lead to my starting AromaWeb 18 years ago.

Without knowing more about your "trial," I'm guessing that one or more of the following issues were inappropriate in your situation: (a) the method of application that was used, (b) the choice in essential oils, (c) your expectations or possible misunderstanding as to the results you would achieve, and/or (d) any promises that were made to you by a salesperson or misleading site/book about the specific results that you could achieve.

I do sense that you are determined to hold a negative opinion regardless of my response, so I'll stop here. I do hope that you do find this response helpful. However, please understand that I do not have the time or desire to engage in an email debate.

Wishing you the best on your personal journey.

For More Information...

For more general information, read AromaWeb's article entitled Is All the Hype About Aromatherapy and Essential Oils True?

For those interested in pursuing the fascinating realm of essential oil chemistry, consider the following book list and/or enrolling in a reputable aromatherapy course. You can view listings of holistic aromatherapy educators by visiting AromaWeb's Aromatherapy Schools and Educators Directory.

    Advanced Aromatherapy
Book Image  

Level: Advanced
Author: Kurt Schnaubelt
ISBN: 0-89281-743-7
Summary: Essential oil chemistry, EO selection and application are the topical highlights of this information-rich text. 

    Aromatherapy for Health Professionals
Book Image   Level: Intermediate Advanced
Authors: Shirley Price and Len Price
ISBN: 0-443-06210-2
Summary: A thick book that includes detailed AT information, case studies and research. Few other books exist that actually provide research, case studies and such comprehensive information.
    Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals
Book Image   Level: Beginning Intermediate Advanced
Maria Lis-Balchin, BSc, PhD
ISBN: 0-85369-578-4
Summary: This text is a valuable resource for not only healthcare professionals working in traditional medical settings, but it is also an indispensable text for aromatherapy educators, students and laypersons interested in seriously expanding their knowledge of holistic aromatherapy.
    The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils
Book Image   Level: Beginning Intermediate Advanced
E. Joy Bowles
ISBN: 1-74114-051X
Summary:Written in easy-to-understand language, The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils should be considered as a resource for students and practitioners who want a deeper understanding of the chemistry and constituents behind the essential oils commonly used in holistic aromatherapy. This book will also appeal to aromatherapy enthusiasts who have no background in chemistry.
    Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice
Book Image   Level: Intermediate Advanced
Jane Buckle, RN, PhD
ISBN:0702054402 / 978-0702054402
Summary:Third edition. Loaded with references and case studies, Clinical Aromatherapy is a hefty 412-page book that focuses on the use of essential oils in hospitals and in a clinical setting.
    Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals
Book Image   Level: Intermediate • Advanced
Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
ISBN: 0443062412 / 978-0443062414
Summary: Second edition. A number of enhancements are present in the second edition. Additionally, it has been updated to include profiles for 400 essential oils and profiles for 206 essential oil constituents.
    Gattefossé's Aromatherapy - The First Book on Aromatherapy
Book Image   Level: Intermediate Advanced
René-Maurice Gattefossé
ISBN: 0-85207-236-8
Summary:Originally called Aromatérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones végétales., this is the English translation of this 1937 French work written by the man who coined the term aromatherapy. 
  Handbook of Essential Oils:
Science, Technology, and Applications
Book Image   Level:Intermediate Advanced
K. Husnu Can Baser; Gerhard Buchbauer
ISBN:1420063154 / 978-1420063158
Summary: Bringing together significant research and market profiles, this comprehensive handbook provides a much-needed compilation of information related to the development, use, and marketing of essential oils, including their chemistry and biochemistry. [Excerpt from the back cover]
    Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy
Book Image   Level: Intermediate Advanced
Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.
ISBN: 1594774250 / 978-1594774256
Summary:A beautifully presented book. The eye-catching layout includes numerous color photographs and educational sidebars. If you want to dig deeper into particular areas that aren't covered on AromaWeb or in many books, this is an insightful book to add to your aromatherapy library.
    Medical Aromatherapy
Book Image   Level: Advanced
Author: Kurt Schnaubelt
ISBN: 1-883319-69-2
Summary: Discusses aromatherapy as a viable alternative medicine modality and discusses the medicinal uses of essential oils. 
    The Practice of Aromatherapy
Book Image   Level: Intermediate Advanced
Jean Valnet
ISBN: 0-89281-398-9
Summary: This work was originally called Aromathérapie and was published in French. Valnet's work helped bring more acceptance to aromatherapy and his book provides a retrospective look at his ideas and research. 




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