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Sunday, January 18, 2009

National Aromatherapy Conference 2009 this February

The following is the schedule for the 2009 Aromatherapy conference to be held in San Rafael, California, this February 20th - 22nd. The focus this year is "Cancer, Degenerative and Auto-immune Diseases". The conference is presented by the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy. Visit their website for more information.

The following is a list of the presenters, and their topics:

A convincing body of scientific research confirms the singular ability of essential oils to reduce the risk of developing tumors. Studies on the antitumor effects of essential oil components have been funded by the NIH and have resulted in a key patent held by the United States.

The fact that essential oil efficacy against tumors is not better known is a consequence of the way health care and pharmaceutical dollars are allocated. Since well known and traditional natural medicines cannot be patented, returns on investment are difficult to monopolize. Funds for research predominantly go to synthetic substances which can be owned exclusively by their manufacturer.

The most pertinent American research of the day proving the anticancer effects of essential oils was presented at the 2000 conference Essential Oils and Cancer (Available in the proceedings of the 4th wholistic aromatherapy conference). The 2009 Conference builds on this basis and presents the most fascinating development of aromatherapy to date: New scientific understanding resulting in healing concepts that do not require the expensive, impersonal and frightening intervention of high-tech medicine. Instead, simple uses of essential oils deliver a maximum of protection against the most dreaded diseases of our time.

Plenary lectures, featuring world-renowned scientists and physicians, are complimented by panel presentations where members of the aromatherapy community share their practical essential oil applications

Anne-Marie Giraud-Robert: Essential Oils for Cancer Patients

Dr. Anne-Marie Giraud-Robert will discuss using aromatherapy along side conventional cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy with the aim of reducing toxicity, stimulating the organism?s own defenses and draining toxins from liver and kidneys. Essential oils can prevent and treat infections during chemotherapy and protect the skin during radiation therapy. They manage many symptoms after completion of conventional treatments, such as fatigue, blisters, nausea, epistaxis and lymphedema.

Dr. Giraud-Robert will summarize complementary use of essential oils in over 1400 clinical cases, including ovarian, lung, prostate and other cancers, observing increased efficacy of the conventional treatment, improved quality of life and dramatically increased average survival rates.

Michael Wink: Scientific Basis for Essential Oil Efficacy

In the perspective of conventional medicine, medicinal plant extracts are generally considered to be of low efficacy. Prof Wink makes the point that this is due the difficulty, conventional pharmacology has, to correctly assess the activity of natural multicomponent mixtures.

Plants cannot run away when attacked by herbivores nor do they have an immune system to fight infection. Instead they have developed biologically active secondary metabolites to serve as their defense.

Prof. Wink will present the molecular mechanisms by which secondary plant metabolites induce physiological effects and also how natural multicomponent mixtures such as essential oils have evolved to become highly effective and how they outperform mono substances.

Jeffrey Yuen: Essential Oils for Degenerative Disease

Jeffrey Yuen has pioneered the application of essential oils according to the principles of Chinese Medicine. Mr. Yuen draws from unparalleled knowledge of the traditions of Chinese medicine. He has fascinated aromatherapy enthusiasts everywhere as he unifies time tested tradition with contemporary aromatherapy.

According to Classical Chinese medicine, degenerative disease develops when we no longer regenerate sufficiently because our ability to derive energy and nutrients from the food we eat has become impaired. A fist step to reversing degenerative processes is to use essential oils according to the individual constitution of a patient so that nutrients are properly digested and absorbed and waste materials are eliminated.

Scott Franzblau: Essential Oil Efficacy against Tuberculosis

Professor Scott G. Franzblau, PhD is director of the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Illinois, where he has been conducting experiments demonstrating the efficacy of a number of essential oils against the bacterium that causes most cases of tuberculosis: Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

James Geiger: Aromatherapy in the 21st Century

Dr. James Geiger, MD is a practicing anesthesiologist and author of The Sweet Smell of Success. He will present a review of the latest research covering hitherto unfamiliar areas of essential oil efficacy:

* Efficacy of Essential Oils against the Chagas pathogen.
* Inhibition of the inflammatory protein NF-KB by sesqui terpenes.
* Treatment of diabetic gangrene with essential oils.
* Black Pepper essential oil for stroke patients.
* Inhibition of inflammation by essential oils of Ginger, Helichrysum and Frankincense blocking LOX (Lipo oxygenase) and COX (Cyclo oxygenase).
* Preventing osteo arthritis.
* Essential oils and appetite suppression.


Elson Haas: Nutrition Strategies to prevent Degenerative Diseases

Dr. Elson Haas, MD is the author of numerous books including Staying Healthy with the Seasons. He combines eastern and natural approaches with western modalities. Based on his many years of experience and his medical background Dr. Haas will discuss nutritional aspects in preventing degenerative disease.

Richard Maldonado: Aging: A Native American Perspective

In his practice, Richard Maldonado has helped countless individuals master life's challenges through the wisdom of his Native American heritage. In this culture, plant spirit is tapped to remedy imbalances of the soul. Mr. Maldonado will tell American plant tales and visit some of the ceremonial aspects of his Peruvian lineage.

Pam Taylor: Supporting Elderly Patients with Chronic Diseases

Dr. Pam Taylor is a practicing naturopath confronted with real life problems on a daily basis. She will share her experiences on reducing chemotherapy induced nausea as well as the many ways in which degenerative disease symptoms in the elderly can be eased or even cleared up with essential oils.
Mark Webb

Medical Applications of Australian Aromatics

Mark Webb is the author of the much acclaimed Bush Sense, The Clinical and Medical Applications of Australian Aromatics. He will discuss commonly and some not so commonly available Australian aromatics as well as their developing clinical and medicinal uses, from Tea Tree to Agonis fragrans and Kunzea.

Gary Young: Therapeutic Spectrum of Ecuadorian Essential Oils

Dr. Gary Young, ND is the author of several books and the authority behind the hugely popular Young Living enterprise. In his presentation Dr. Young will share results about indigenous essential oils of Ecuador as well as revolutionary research about intravenous application of Melissa essential oil to restore atrophied liver



Reducing Environmental Toxicity for Companion Animals: Nancy Brandt

Detoxification protocols with essential oils can be used internally and topically with animals, to clean the home environment from harmful toxins and also to neutralize bacterial, viral and fungal challenges.

Valerie Cooksley: Cancer Prevention with Essential Oils

A significant degree of cancer prevention is achieved by using essential oils in personal regimens (primary) and also as replacement for many toxic household chemicals (secondary).

Jimm Harrison: Melanoma Suppression

Melanoma, squamous and basal cell cancers are among the most damaging consequences of exposure to sunlight. Jimm Harrison will present current research on flavonoids, poly phenols and essential oils to treat sun damage and to prevent cancer.

Janice Hein: Essential Oils in Corporate Clinical Environments

In the US medical use of essential oils has been mostly limited to individuals. Clinical application as seen in other countries is the exception. Ms. Hein will discuss the politics, policies, financial support, and maneuvering involved with aromatherapy implementation in hospitals.

Mindy Green: Essential Oil and Skin Cancer


The scientific literature is clear that mono terpene compounds from essential oils affect metabolic pathways relevant in cancer formation. As research of whole essential oils for direct external use in treating skin cancer is scarce, concerned individuals have extrapolated from existing science and gathered their own experiences. Incorporating specific essential oils into daily skin care is an easy way to pro actively protect skin from skin cancer and other serious conditions.

Lance Morris: Resonant Sound Therapy

Resonant sound arises by the patient making a vocal tone and the practitioner adding a resonant overtone ultimately leading to fascial release.

Kevin Redmond: Healing the Death Wish

Healing the emotional and energetic cause of cancer requires unravelling the original death wish. The presentation addresses healing the death wish through the 16 chakras, chaos and commitment and the role of perception in healing.

Greg Toews: Energy Healing and Essential Oils

Principles of energy healing are universal to all spiritual practices. Healing and spiritual growth go hand in hand. Medical aromatherapy is a perfect tool to connect energetic cleansing, and anchoring of spiritual energies in a quantifiable fashion.

Robbi Zeck: Emotional Support for the Chronically Ill

Emotional aspects and family support are significant in the treatment of chronic conditions. Skillful selection of essential oils helps chronically ill patients in attaining a positive state of mind.
Meet the Distillers

Producers from Australia, Germany and the US: Georg Effner will present his unique distillation technique for essential oils such as Angelica Seed and Hops and reference antitumor effects of Angelica archangelica. Peta and John Day are the exclusive producers of Fragonia (Agonis fragrans), which along with Kunzea, has inspired aromatherapy. Peta and John will speak about these and other oils they produce. Janet Brown and Marty Jacobson from AllStar organics will share their experiences growing and distilling aromatic plants in the Marin county hamlet Lagunitas.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thyme and Peppermint Studied for Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Actions

Recent studies are examining essential oils as means to preserve food without the use of synthetic chemicals. The two important features of essential oil activity is that they act both as antimicrobials, preventing the growth of unwanted micro-organisms, and as anti-oxidants, preserving 'freshness'. (These actions take place not only in petri dishes, but within humans as well). Here are a couple of studies examining Thyme and Peppermint essential oils and their actions:

Chemical composition of essential oils of Thymus and Mentha species and their antifungal activities.

Sokovi? MD, Vukojevi? J, Marin PD, Brki? DD, Vajs V, van Griensven LJ.Institute for Biological Research "Sinisa Stankovi?", Bulevar despota Stefana 142, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia.

The potential antifungal effects of Thymus vulgaris L. (Thyme essential oil), Thymus tosevii L., Mentha spicata L. (Spearmint essential oil), and Mentha piperita L. (Peppermint essential oil) and their components against 17 micromycetal food poisoning, plant, animal and human pathogens are presented. The essential oils were obtained by hydrodestillation of dried plant material. Their composition was determined by GC-MS. Identification of individual constituents was made by comparison with analytical standards, and by computer matching mass spectral data with those of the Wiley/NBS Library of Mass Spectra. MIC's and MFC's of the oils and their components were determined by dilution assays. Thymol (48.9%) and p-cymene (19.0%) were the main components of T. vulgaris, while carvacrol (12.8%), a-terpinyl acetate (12.3%), cis-myrtanol (11.2%) and thymol (10.4%) were dominant in T. tosevii. Both Thymus species showed very strong antifungal activities. In M. piperita oil menthol (37.4%), menthyl acetate (17.4%) and menthone (12.7%) were the main components, whereas those of M. spicata oil were carvone (69.5%) and menthone (21.9%). Mentha sp. showed strong antifungal activities, however lower than Thymus sp. The commercial fungicide, bifonazole, used as a control, had much lower antifungal activity than the oils and components investigated. It is concluded that essential oils of Thymus and Mentha species possess great antifungal potential and could be used as natural preservatives and fungicides.

Study: Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of three Mentha species essential oils.

Mimica-Duki? N, Bozin B, Sokovi? M, Mihajlovi? B, Matavulj M.University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Department of Chemistry, Novi Sad, FR Yugoslavia.

The present study describes the antimicrobial activity and free radical scavenging capacity (RSC) of essential oils from Mentha aquatica L., Mentha longifolia L., and Mentha piperita L. (Peppermint essential oil). The chemical profile of each essential oil was determined by GC-MS and TLC. All essential oils exhibited very strong antibacterial activity, in particularly against Esherichia coli strains. The most powerful was M. piperita essential oil, especially towards multiresistant strain of Shigella sonei and Micrococcus flavus ATTC 10,240. All tested oils showed significant fungistatic and fungicidal activity [expressed as minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal fungicidal concentration (MFC) values, respectively], that were considerably higher than those of the commercial fungicide bifonazole. The essential oils of M. piperita and M. longifolia were found to be more active than the essential oil of M. aquatica. Especially low MIC (4 microL/mL) and MFC (4 microL/mL) were found with M. piperita oil against Trichophyton tonsurans and Candida albicans (both 8 microL/mL). The RSC was evaluated by measuring the scavenging activity of the essential oils on the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and OH radicals. All examined essential oils were able to reduce DPPH radicals into the neutral DPPH-H form, and this activity was dose-dependent. However, only the M. piperita oil reduced DPPH to 50 % (IC50 = 2.53 microg/mL). The M. piperita essential oil also exhibited the highest OH radical scavenging activity, reducing OH radical generation in the Fenton reaction by 24 % (pure oil). According to GC-MS and TLC (dot-blot techniques), the most powerful scavenging compounds were monoterpene ketones (menthone and isomenthone) in the essential oils of M. longifolia and M. piperita and 1,8-cineole in the oil of M. aquatica.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lemongrass Essential Oil Studied for Anti-Cancer Effects

Lemongrass as an herb has been used for centuries for its positive health effects. In Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for relief of menstrual discomfort and nausea. The fresh grass is used in indigenous medicine systems around the world. Recently, the essential oil has been the subject of scientific studies regarding its effects on cancer cells. One of the features of cancer cells is the upset of natural cell death. Lemongrass appears to be effective as a form of chemotherapy, causing cell death to occur as it should: "Our results indicate that the oil has a promising anticancer activity and causes loss in tumor cell viability by activating the apoptotic process". These studies indicate that Lemongrass essential oil, with its low toxicity, has the potential of being an inexpensive 'alternative' treatment in the future.

Study: Anticancer activity of an essential oil from Cymbopogon flexuosus.

Sharma PR, Mondhe DM, Muthiah S, Pal HC, Shahi AK, Saxena AK, Qazi GN.Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Canal Road, Jammu 180001, India.


The essential oil from a lemon grass (see lemongrass essential oil) variety of Cymbopogon flexuosus was studied for its in vitro cytotoxicity against twelve human cancer cell lines. The in vivo anticancer activity of the oil was also studied using both solid and ascitic Ehrlich and Sarcoma-180 tumor models in mice. In addition, the morphological changes in tumor cells were studied to ascertain the mechanism of cell death. The in vitro cytotoxicity studies showed dose-dependent effects against various human cancer cell lines. The IC(50) values of oil ranged from 4.2 to 79mug/ml depending upon the cell line. In 502713 (colon) and IMR-32 (neuroblastoma) cell lines, the oil showed highest cytotoxicity with IC(50) value of 4.2 and 4.7mug/ml, respectively. Intra-peritoneal administration of the oil significantly inhibited both ascitic and solid forms of Ehrlich and Sarcoma-180 tumors in a dose-dependent manner. The tumor growth inhibition at 200mg/kg (i.p.) of the oil observed with both ascitic and solid tumor forms of Ehrlich Ascites carcinoma was 97.34 and 57.83 respectively. In case of Sarcoma-180, the growth inhibition at similar dose of oil was 94.07 and 36.97% in ascitic and solid forms respectively. Morphological studies of the oil treated HL-60 cells revealed loss of surface projections, chromatin condensation and apoptosis. The mitochondria showed apparent loss of cristae in the cells undergoing apoptosis. The morphological studies of Sarcoma-180 solid tumor cells from animals treated with the oil revealed condensation and fragmentation of nuclei typical of apoptosis. Morphological studies of ascites cells from animals treated with the oil too revealed the changes typical of apoptosis. Our results indicate that the oil has a promising anticancer activity and causes loss in tumor cell viability by activating the apoptotic process as identified by electron microscopy.
Study: An essential oil and its major constituent isointermedeol induce apoptosis by increased expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c and apical death receptors in human leukaemia HL-60 cells.

Kumar A, Malik F, Bhushan S, Sethi VK, Shahi AK, Kaur J, Taneja SC, Qazi GN, Singh J.Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu, India.

An essential oil from a lemon grass variety of Cymbopogon flexuosus (CFO) and its major chemical constituent sesquiterpene isointermedeol (ISO) were investigated for their ability to induce apoptosis in human leukaemia HL-60 cells because dysregulation of apoptosis is the hallmark of cancer cells. CFO and ISO inhibited cell proliferation with 48 h IC50 of approximately 30 and 20 microg/ml, respectively. Both induced concentration dependent strong and early apoptosis as measured by various end-points, e.g. annexinV binding, DNA laddering, apoptotic bodies formation and an increase in hypo diploid sub-G0 DNA content during the early 6h period of study. This could be because of early surge in ROS formation with concurrent loss of mitochondrial membrane potential observed. Both CFO and ISO activated apical death receptors TNFR1, DR4 and caspase-8 activity. Simultaneously, both increased the expression of mitochondrial cytochrome c protein with its concomitant release to cytosol leading to caspase-9 activation, suggesting thereby the involvement of both the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis. Further, Bax translocation, and decrease in nuclear NF-kappaB expression predict multi-target effects of the essential oil and ISO while both appeared to follow similar signaling apoptosis pathways. The easy and abundant availability of the oil combined with its suggested mechanism of cytotoxicity make CFO highly useful in the development of anti-cancer therapeutics.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Getting the Most from Essential Oils Using Reflexology

Evidence shows that the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, and Indians all worked on the feet as a tool to encourage good health. Originally known as 'reflex zone therapy', Reflexology is a holistic healing method that involves pressure and massage of the reflex points found on the feet and/or the hands. Reflexology teaches that one?s vital energy circulates between the organs of the body, permeating every living cell and tissue. If the energy becomes blocked or congested the part of the body relating to the blockage is affected. These reflexes found on the soles of the feet or the palms of the hands reflect the health of the whole organism. Through stimulation of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, and by encouraging the release of toxins, Reflexology supports the entire body in healing itself.

A method for ?activating the healing powers of the body?, modern Reflexology is both a science and an art. As a science, it requires careful study, practice, technical knowledge, and skill. As a healing art, Reflexology works best when the therapist works with patience, dedication, intention, and (most importantly) loving care.

Reflexology is not a ?foot massage?. Reflexology does not diagnose illness. Reflexology does not treat specific diseases. However, when combined with sound healing practices, reflexology can help to facilitate healing and encourage well-being.

Many benefits of Reflexology:

Stress Reduction and Relaxation- Reflexology assists in alleviating the effects of stress by inducing deep relaxation. The nervous system is allowed to rest and consequently functions in a more balanced state. As the body moves toward homeostasis, healing can take effect. Lavender essential oil is fabulous for decreasing stress and facilitating relaxation. 3-4 drops of therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil in the palm of your hand and then gently holding your friends or clients feet with the intention of sending them love and relaxation. Other relaxing essential oils include: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, Rose, and Roman Chamomile. A lovely calming blend includes equal parts Lavender and Chamomile in the carrier oil of choice. Rose essential oil is fabulous for opening the energy of the heart.

Cleanses toxins and impurities from the body- Gravity pulls toxins downward. Inorganic waste material (such as uric acid and calcium crystals) can accumulate in bottom of the feet. An experienced Reflexologist can break up these crystals with various reflexology techniques. Soaking your friends feet in epsom salts with a few drops of essential oils can help to facilitate the release of old energy. This is a very healing therapy that is safe for elderly, pregnant, and children. Use ? cup of epsom salts in warm water. Add in 3-4 drops of essential oils and relax for half and hour. Foot baths are wonderful for those who have been ill or are exhausted. Aromatherapy baths are generally considered safe as long as the essential oils are properly dispersed throughout the water. Grapefruit, Geranium, and Juniper are all wonderful essential oils for detoxification.

Revitalizes energy- Reflexology works on with subtle energy flows to revitalize the bodies natural internal healing mechanisms. The epsom salt foot bath is also wonderful for revitalizing one's overall energy. Choose essential oils that are uplifting such as Black Spruce, Bergamot, Rosemary, Rosemary blends nicely with lavender for clearing nervous exhaustion. Remember with essential oils that a little goes a long ways. You can always blend the oils with a small amount of carrier to ensure that the oils do not burn the skin. Bergamot is considered relaxing, calming and restoring. It may also help to lift depression as it encourages the flow of Chi (life-force). Always dilute Bergamot in a carrier before applying to the feet or skin.

Balances and integrates the body- as energy pathways are opened, strengthened, and brought into balance, the body returns to its natural rhythms. Energy flows. The body, mind, and spirit are brought back into balance. Rose essential oil is a wonderful oil for balancing and integrating the energy pathways of the body. Facilitate this healing by gently 'anointing' your friends feet with Rose oil and then along them to bask in the high vibration healing of this beautiful flower. Ylang Ylang essential oil is lovely for balancing one's masculine and feminine energies.

Improves circulation- The feet are furthest from the heart (where circulation can tend to be stagnant); Reflexology stimulates and encourages blood flow to the feet thus helping to nourish all the extremities of the body. A non-toxic, non-irritating oil Spruce is an excellent choice for those with poor circulation. Ylang Ylang, Sweet Marjoram, and Lavender essential oil have been found to reduce blood pressure.

Preventative health care- Good health depends on balance, equilibrium, and the natural functioning of all the body systems. This dynamic state of balance is called homeostasis. For the body to function optimally, all systems must work in synergistic harmony. Body work in general and specifically Reflexolgy is a wonderful preventative healing technique. Trust your instinct when choosing a reflexologist or massage therapist. Ask a friend for referrals and be consistent in getting body work.

Nourishes practitioner and client- The Reflexologist is a conduit for healing. As healing takes place, the practitioner and the client both experience a sense of well-being. This well-being can carry into other areas of the clients and practitioners life and the dynamic benefit is then extended out into the world. Reflexology is an amazing and dynamic tool in assisting oneself and one?s client in becoming independently healthy. In my opinion as having both received and shared reflexology sessions with clients and friends, this method of healing is fantastic!

Bibliography:
1) Feet First, a Guide to Reflexology; by: Laura Norman with Thomas Cowan, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1988.
2) The Complete Guide to Reflexology (Revised); by: Kevin and Barbara Kunz, (International) Reflexology Research, New Mexico, 1993.
3) The Joy of Reflexology (Healing Techniques for the Hands and Feet to Reduce Stress and Reclaim Health); by: Ann Gillanders, Little, Brown, and Company, Boston and New York, 1995.
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