Georgie’s Garden: A Healing Garden with Aromatics

Posted on: July 22nd, 2017 by
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George in the Sedona Aromatherapie Garden: Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

George in the Sedona Aromatherapie Garden: Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

Last night, after a lengthy struggle with inflammatory bowel disease, my beloved dog, George, passed away. George was a very special soul who touched so many lives in his short time here on Earth. Although my heart is broken, I know that I was extremely honored to have shared the past eight years of my life with this beautiful boy. So, I am sharing something here which will help his memory to live on and heal others, as he helped to heal me over the years.

How Aromas Can Help Us to Heal

Aromas have a powerful way of healing. Think about some of your favorite aromas and what they remind you of. I tried so hard to hold onto George’s aroma at the end that I was constantly inhaling his fur into my nose. The only way I got some sleep after his passing was to sleep with his blanket close to my nose. Aromas can be comforting, and help us to process deep emotional issues that our logical brain has difficulty understanding.

On a scientific note, aromas are the quickest way in which essential oils used in aromatherapy connect with the brain. From the Sedona Aromatherapie Certificate in Professional Aromatherapy course, we learn that:

“The theory of olfaction, with regard to aromatherapy, can be summarized as follows:

  • Reception – the volatile molecules of an essential oil dissolve in the inner mucus lining of the nose.
  • Transmission – the molecules are detected by the cilia, protruding from the olfactory receptor cells. The olfactory receptor cells send an electrochemical message, along the nerve fiber known as an axon, to the axons of the receptor cells. The fibers of the olfactory nerves, connected to the axons of the receptor cells, travel through the roof of the nose (via the cribiform plate of the ethmoid bone) where they join the olfactory bulb. This message is chemically converted and relayed to the brain.
  • Perception – the message is received and perceived by the cerebral cortex. The olfactory area of the brain is found in the temporal lobe of the brain.

The above process occurs at lightening speed.”

Aromatic Healing Gardens

Regular readers will know that over the past two years, I have been developing aromatic healing gardens of my own. George has been a big influence in that, too! In my recent NAHA Webinar: A Healing Garden in Your Back Yard, I discussed the role of our senses in the aromatic garden, and gave ways in which George helped to demonstrate that process. George”smelled” with his tongue and I’ve never known a dog who was so stimulated by different aromas, and demonstrated it so with his tongue. He was always licking! But then, he did arrive in our home at the tender age of four months, and was immediately surrounded by the work of an aromatherapist!

He regularly patroled the garden to make sure that everything was in order and took in the scent of each new flower or herb that appeared in the garden. Unfortunately, he also had a penchant for chasing lizards, and two of my flower beds suffered greatly with doggy paws trampling and digging for lizards who used to hide from him.

Despite these adventures, my own aromatic healing gardens have helped me to both grow and connect with plants more as an aromatherapist, and to just truly take in the very healing nature of plants. My instagram feed regularly features many of these plants.

Georgie’s Garden: His Passing and Legacy

George had a way of making the Sedona Aromatherapie aromatic garden his own so it seems only fitting to rename the Sedona Aromatherapie Garden in his honor to “Georgie’s Garden.” Many friends, neighbors, and clients have walked through the garden and described it as a place of healing, without my prompting, so it is only natural to honor this, even if it has unintentionally become an extension of my business.

George passed peacefully at home, surrounded with love and many tears, but he managed one last walk in the garden with me, despite his struggle, on the morning of his passing. We sat quitely for half an hour, drinking in the garden together. It seemed to me like he was proud of this garden he had made his own, and, continuing to share the healing it has already brought, is his legacy. George was a very loving and giving soul, only wanting to please those around him, so his garden is the perfect gift to us all to honor that memory.

As I develop aromatic workshops for next year, I will share more information on Georgie’s Garden and how it will continue to heal those with suffering. Even if you can’t physically attend an in-person workshop, I will continue to share the work of the garden through instagram, and other ways, virtually.

For my beloved George,

November 24 2008 – July 21 2017,

Forever in Our Hearts.

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Aromatic Blends with Borage Oil

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by
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Borage Oil is Used in Aromatherapy Blends: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

Borage Oil is Used in Aromatherapy Blends: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

In the final post of the trilogy on borage, I am finishing up with two aromatic blends which incorporate borage oil; the third blend recipe (adaption) can be found in my book Authentic Aromatherapy. As discussed previously, borage oil isn’t usually a popular oil for use in aromatherapy, in comparison to other oils such as jojoba and sunflower, but it is a valuable addition to several types of blends. Here’s a few ideas.

Skincare Serum with Borage Oil for Mature Skin

As discussed in the first post of this trilogy, borage oil is recommended for use with wrinkles, so the following skincare serum would work well as part of a mature skin care routine. A skincare serum can be defined as many things but, in this instance, it is simply a mixture of beneficial oils for this particular skin type. No essential oils are needed for this blend; sometimes, less is really more!

You will need:

  • 1 part borage (Borago officinalis) oil

  • 1 part rosehip(Rosa rugosa) oil

  • 2 parts sweet almond (Prunis dulcis) oil

For example: For 1 oz of oil, you would mix 1/4 oz each of borage and rosehip oil, and add 1/2 oz of sweet almond oil.

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a suitable glass bottle. You may wish to use a dropper bottle for ease of application.

  • To apply: Add a small amount to hands and massage over face after washing morning and night.

Aromatherapy Blend with Borage Oil for Eczema in Children

Eczema is an inflammation of the skin which can cause severe itching, redness, flaking, scaling, or weeping. Consult your health care practitioner before using an aromatherapy blend in conjunction with eczema and any prescribed or over-the-counter medication.

The following blend is suitable for children aged 3 and up:

  • 3/4 oz calendula (Calendula officinalis) oil

  • 1/4 oz borage (borago officinalis) oil

  • 2 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • 1 drop bergamot (Citrus bergamia) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine all of the ingredients together in a one ounce glass bottle and mix well.

  • To apply: Massage a small amount of the blend over the affected areas up to three times a day. If irritation occurs, stop using immediately and seek medical advice.

Cautions:

  • This blend may cause photo-sensitivity. Do not apply prior to going out in sunlight or with use in any other ultra-violet light.

Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions with Borage Oil

If you enjoy making your own creams and lotions at home, you might benefit from adding borage oil to your base recipe. A base recipe for both creams and lotions is given in my book Authentic Aromatherapy. Substitute part of the shea butter portion (in the cream recipe) with borage oil to suit your requirements. This cream would be then suitable to use for dry or mature skin as part of your daily skin care routine.

Learn More About Using Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to use carrier oils further, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program.

References:

  • The recommendations expressed in this article are based on the author’s 20 year history in the health care and aromatherapy industry, as a UK-certified aromatherapist, as a published author in aromatherapy, as an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), as an aromatherapy business owner, as a consultant, and as Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Borage in the Aromatic Garden

Posted on: July 10th, 2017 by
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Borage in the Aromatic Garden: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved

Borage in the Aromatic Garden: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved

Last week’s post looked at an introduction to borage oil and how it is used in aromatherapy practice. In the second post of the current trilogy, we are taking a quick look at how borage is useful in the aromatic garden. This is a plant which is easy to grow for beginners, directly from seed, and it has a few advantages in the garden, in addition to enjoying its beautiful blue flowers!

Description of Borage as a Plant

Borage (Borago officinalis) is perhaps not the first plant you would think of adding to your aromatic garden as it doesn’t actually have an aroma! Its use in aromatherapy is as a carrier oil, not an aromatic essential oil. However, what it lacks in aroma, borage makes up for in visual impact. It’s true – this plant is not an automatic showstopper, and you might even overlook its brillant blue, starry flowers at first due to their modest (some would say, small) size. Its large hairy leaves and stem tend to overwhelm the flowers at first glance. However, plant borage “in bulk,” and you”l be pulled in by the blue flowers, popping out at you from the mass of green leaves.

A botanical profile of borage was discussed in the first post of this series.

How to Grow Borage

Borage is described as an annual or biennial plant. However, it does self-seed, and I have found a few plants popping up in unexpected places in the garden! Depending upon your climate, and considering the date of your average last frost in spring, it’s possible to grow borage from direct sowing the seed in your garden. It needs little care and attention (although it will wilt if not watered frequently in hot weather), so pretty soon you’ll have shoots coming through the soil. Sun and water are borage’s friend, so provide enough of both, and borage will bless you with its presence in your aromatic garden!

Borage can be planted in groupings of other borage plants, alongside other herbs and aromatic plants in the garden, or as a beneficial companion plant and/or pest repellent.

Borage as a Companion Plant and as a Pest Repellent

Borage is a friend to many plants in the garden; there aren’t many plants it doesn’t get along with, but it is cited as one of the best companion plants for tomatoes, squash, and strawberries by various sources.1

What is a companion plant? A companion plant, just like a human companion, is good to have around as it provides support, growth, and/or protection. In the case of borage, borage will attract beneficial pollinators such as bees, and repel garden pests that may attack plants such as tomatoes, squash, and strawberries.

Permaculture with Borage

Permaculture draws on the natural world to design a holistic “health care” system for the garden to create and sustain food and resources in harmony with its environment. A simple example is that of organic gardening.2 With regard to borage, the plant is an excellent permaculture worker.

Borage is reputed as adding trace minerals to the soil, thereby improving soil quality and promoting plant growth naturally, and it is a great mulcher and composter.3 It can fix the nitrogen level in the soil by storing what it absorbs from the air in its roots.4

Learn More About Borage as a Carrier Oil in Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about carrier oils such as borage, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM home study program!

References:

  1. LA Times website, Borage: Companion Plant for Tomatoes, Strawberries, and Squash, accessed from: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/26/news/la-lh-borage-seeds-how-to-grow-20130323

  2. Deep Green Permaculture website, What is Permaculture?, accessed from: https://deepgreenpermaculture.com/permaculture/

  3. Permaculture Research Institute website, All About Borage, accessed from: https://permaculturenews.org/2011/01/21/all-about-borage/

  4. Regenerative.com website, The Best Herbs for Composting, accessed from: https://www.regenerative.com/magazine/best-herbs-composting

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry and a UK-certified aromatherapist. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she is in the process of creating her own aromatic stillroom on her one acre homestead and aromatic gardens.

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An Introduction to Borage Oil

Posted on: July 3rd, 2017 by
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Borage in the Garden: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

Borage in the Garden: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto All Rights Reserved

Borage is not one of the most commonly used carrier oils in aromatherapy but this oil has a number of therapeutic benefits. In addition, it is produced from, what I consider, to be one of the most beautiful plants in the aromatic garden (albeit from the seeds and not the memorizing blue flowers). In the first of a new trilogy, I am looking at borage as a carrier oil and its potential for use in therapeutic aromatherapy blends.

Profile of the Plant Borage

Borage (Borago officinalis) is a member of the Boraginaceae botanical family. It is a relatively “ancient” plant as it was described by Pliny as euphrosium – due to its tendency to cause happiness in people, an aspect I can clearly relate to. Bees seem to love it, too!

Borage produces the most beautiful blue star-shaped flowers, which start out as pink and mature into the blue color. The flowers are small but, on a flowering borage plant, resemble clusters of stars. The plant itself is quite stocky in comparison to the delicate flowers, with a strong, hairy stem, and large hairy leaves. It is annual or biennual plant, although it is a good self-seeder. Borage can grow to a height of two feet.

Chemical Components of Borage Oil

Borage oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the plant. The oil contains approximately:

  • Linoleic acid (over 30%)

  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) (over 20%)

  • Oleic acid (over 10%)

  • Palmitic acid (over 10%)

  • Stearic acid (over 3 %)

  • And other trace components.1

Traditional Uses and Modern Day Use of Borage

The flowers of borage have traditionally been used to make teas, and as a garnish in salads. You can also freeze the flowers in ice cubes to make a fun addition to summer drinks!*

As described by Pliny, borage promotes happiness and therefore it has traditionally been used in cases of melancholy and grief. In addition, Grieve describes the use of borage as a poultice for inflammation and swelling.2

In aromatherapy practice, borage oil can be used in skin care products, particularly for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and wrinkles (due to the presence of bonded fatty acid chemical components). I usually advise combining borage oil with other carrier oils, as its aroma is often “disagreeable” to some, and the thickness of the oil makes it easier to apply in combination with another carrier oil, such as sunflower (Helianthus annuus). I will be suggesting some aromatherapy blends with the use of borage oil in the conclusion of this particular trilogy of posts.

Borage oil is not known to have any contra-indications for use.

Learn More About Carrier Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to use carrier oils in aromatherapy blends, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program.

References:

  1. Price, Lenn, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK: Riverhead Publishing

  2. Grieve, m. 1998. A Modern Herbal, accessed online at: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/borage66.html

* Author’s own opinion.

* Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry and a UK-certified aromatherapist. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She works from her home studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she is in the process of creating her own aromatic stillroom on her one acre homestead and aromatic gardens.

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The Difference Between Dark and Light Patchouli Essential Oil

Posted on: June 26th, 2017 by
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Essential Oil Differences

Essential Oil Differences

Despite my number of years in the aromatherapy profession, it continues to amaze me the variety of essential oils available, and those which continue to come to the market. It appears that there is no such product as one essential oil extracted from just one plant; each plant can often be extracted in multiple ways, sometimes from multiple parts, and from different regions, resulting in a slight variation of chemical components, therapeutic properties, and/or aroma.

One such oil in question is that of patchouli (Pogostemon cablin). This article discusses the difference between light and dark patchouli essential oil, with regard to aroma and appearance.

Botanical Profile of Patchouli

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is a member of the Lamiaceae plant family, so it is botanically related to familiar plants such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), peppermint (Mentha x piperita), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). However, patchouli, unlike many of its relatives, is a native of the tropics and it is found in places such as the Caribbean, Malaysia, South America, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

It is a relatively small herb with fragrant, serrated, oval-shaped leaves, a hairy stem, and inconspicious white/pink/purple flowers.

Distillation Techniques of Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli essential oil is traditionally steam distilled from the leaves of the plant. Today, a CO2 extract is also available. However, it is the variations in steam distillation which we are looking at in this article.

Patchouli essential oil is often described as dark patchouli essential oil or light patchouli essential oil. Simply put, dark patchouli essential oil is steam distilled using iron vats whereas light patchouli essential oil is steam distilled using stainless steel vats. You may find light patchouli essential oil also described as iron-free (a reference to the method of distilling).The result: A difference in aroma and appearance of the essential oil.

Aroma and Appearance of Patchouli Essential Oil

Dark patchouli essential oil is a more tenacious, deeper, and richer essential oil than light patchouli essential oil. As the name suggests, light patchouli essential oil is lighter than the dark variety, clearer in color, and, in my opinion, fades more quickly.1

Both dark and light patchouli essential oil are earthy, sweet, and have a somewhat herbacious/woody aroma. It is perhaps the only essential oil which improves with age. Some of the chemical components of patchouli essential oil include patchouli alcohol, patchoulene, and pogostol.2

Due to its tenacity, patchouli essential oil is often used as a fixative in perfumery blends. It has a reputation of being an overpowering oil and sometimes provokes an immediate negative response in some people. However, I think that it gained this reputation due to its popularity as an incense during the 1960s, and the oil itself can be more subtle and grounding, if used correctly. I have used patchouli essential oil to fix aromatic perfume blends that you wouldn’t know contained patchouli unless you read the ingredients.

Quality of Patchouli Essential Oil

I have personally experienced varying qualities in patchouli essential oil from different suppliers. The country of origin is important when purchasing patchouli essential oil, in addition to the distillation method for your required purpose/aroma. Indonesian patchouli essential oil is considered the superior essential oil.3

Uses and Therapeutic Properties of Patchouli Essential Oil

Patchouli’s connection with the hippie era of the 1960′s gave it a reputation as a relaxing and calming aroma. However, patchouli essential oil can be used for many other conditions; these include use in skin care ( acne, dermatitis, eczema, and oily skin) sores, wounds, scar tissue and wrinkles. It is also used in the treatment of depression, stress and other nervous disorders. Other uses of patchouli essential oil include use as an insect repellent, help with menopausal sweating, and varicose veins.

The therapeutic properties of patchouli oil are: Antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, digestive, bactericidal, carminative, anti-inflammatory and a tonic.4 The chemical element of patchoulene, present in the essential oil, is very similar to that of azulene found in chamomile and presents the same anti-inflammatory properties.5

Patchouli essential oil can be sedative at a low dose or stimulating at a higher dose, so the amount of patchouli essential oil that you add to either a therapeutic or perfumery blend will determine the outcome of the blend.

Learn More About Essential Oils with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to use essential oils and other aromatic plant extracts, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program.

References:

  1. Author’s own opinion.*

  2. Caddy, Rosemary, 1997, Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Colour, UK: Amberwood Publishing Ltd.

  3. Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young, 2014, Essential Oil Safety (2nd Edition), UK: Churchill Livingstone

  4. Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons

  5. Davis, Patricia, 1999, Aromatherapy: An A-Z, UK: Vermilion

* Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry and a UK-certified aromatherapist. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She works from her home studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she is in the process of creating her own aromatic stillroom on her one acre homestead and aromatic gardens.

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How to Make a Beard Oil for Dad for Father’s Day

Posted on: June 16th, 2017 by
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An Aromatic Beard Oil for Men

An Aromatic Beard Oil for Men

With Father’s Day upon us this weekend, I decided to release next week’s blog post a couple of days early! Aromatherapy is used for many women’s skincare products but an increasing trend in aromatherapy products for men is the use of a beard oil. An aromatic beard oil is simple to make – and a great product for dad to add to his skincare regime. Here’s a great aromatic recipe idea on how to make a simple beard oil for Father’s Day.

Carrier Oils to Make a Beard Oil Base

A beard oil is made up of a base component – a carrier oil – and appropriate essential oils. You don’t have to add essential oils, if you want to keep it simple, but essential oils can enhance the effectiveness of the beard oil, depending upon skincare issues. If you aren’t adding essential oils, I recommend combining one or more of the following carrier oils:

  • Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) – a basic, good quality carrier oil which is suitable for most skin types.

  • Sweet almond (Prunis dulcis) – a popular carrier oil used in aromatherapy for dry skin, inflammed skin, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.1

  • Sunflower (Helianthus annus) – a general, good “all-rounder” carrier oil which is useful for a variety of skin complaints including acne.

  • Pomegranate seed (Punica granatum) – a less well known but effective carrier oil used for acne, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, skin aging, wrinkles and to promote healthier looking skin and to increase skin elasticity.2

Combine one or more of these carrier oils to make the base for your beard oil.

Essential Oils for a Beard Oil

The essential oils that you chose for your beard oil will depend on the condition of the skin, specific problems, and the health history of the person you are making it for. It is best to consult a certified aromatherapist for specific issues but the following essential oils can be used, with caution, to create a simple beard oil:

  • Black spruce (Picea mariana) – warm, balsamic, pine-like aroma suitable for acne-prone skin and eczema.

  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) – Woody-balsamic aroma suitable for oily skin.

  • Frankincense (Boswellia spicta) – Rich, balsamic aroma suitable for dry and mature skin.

  • Sandalwood (Santalum album) – Woody-balsamic aroma suitable for acne, dry skin, and cracked skin.

  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – Fresh, spicy-herbaceous, strong, minty aroma suitable for acne-prone skin and dermatitis.

  • Juniper (Juniperus communis) – Fresh, woody-balsamic aroma suitable for acne-prone skin, eczema, and dermatitis. Avoid use with kidney disease.

A Simple Beard Oil with Essential Oils

The following aromatic beard oil is suitable for use with most people,without specific health conditions which might be contra-indicated for use. However, use caution, and stop using immediately if a rash or other adverse reactions occur.

You will need:

  • 2 oz sunflower (Helianthus annus) oil

  • 4 drops black spruce (Picea mariana) essential oil

  • 3 drops cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) essential oil

  • 2 drops frankincense (Boswellia spicta) essential oil

  • 2 drop spearmint (Mentha spicata) essential oil

*TIP: If you enjoy a fresh, minty aroma, leave out the cypress essential oil, and substitute the number of drops with spearmint essential oil.

CAUTIONS: Possible skin sensitivity in some individuals. This is just under a 1 % dilution rate.

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine the sunflower oil with the essential oils in a small bottle. Add a few drops of vitamin E oil to preserve.

  • Apply to the beard on a daily basis to promote health and vitality.

Happy Father’s Day!

Learn More About Aromatherapy Skincare Products with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about making aromatherapy skincare products, take a look at the Sedona Aromatherapie home study aromatherapy course program. Visit the courses home page to learn more.

References:

  1. Price, Len, 1999, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, UK Riverhead Publishing Ltd.

  2. Various references discussed in the article Pomegranate Seed Oil for Skincare Products.

  • The recommendations expressed in this article are based on the author’s 20 year history in the health care and aromatherapy industry, as a UK-certified aromatherapist, as a published author in aromatherapy, as an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), as an aromatherapy business owner, as a consultant, and as Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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