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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Three Exotic Aromatic Rose Blends for Summer

Posted on: June 12th, 2017 by
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Children benefit from the aroma of rose

Children benefit from the aroma of rose

In the final post of my current double rose trilogy on the blog, I am finishing with three luxurious blends to add to the three simple rose blends from last week. If you love the exotic aroma of rose, and would like to use them for some common situations this summer, these blends are created just for you!

Aromatic Rose Whipped Body Butter with Essential Oils

Whipped body butter is a luxurious aromatherapy product to begin with, so why not add rose and some complimentary aromas to it to take it one step further! The base recipe for my own custom whipped body butter is available via my course but for a basic base, whip shea butter or coconut oil (virgin) lightly and add in the following essential oil blend.

  • 8 oz whipped body butter

Essential Oil Blend (2% blend; half this amount if you intend to use it on your face):

  • 7 drops rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil

  • 15 drops frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil

  • 10 drops vetiver (Vetivera zizaniodes) essential oil

  • 30 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • 30 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Blend together the whipped body base with the essential oil blend in an 8 oz container.

  • Apply to the skin after bathing. Be aware that some individuals may have sensitization with regard to the addition of sweet orange essential oil. If irritation occurs, stop using straight away. This blend is intended for adult use only.

Bonus Tip:

  • This a GREAT blend for mature skin and skin which has been exposed to sun throughout the summer months!

Aromatic Rose Perfume Roll on

Perfume roll-ons are great to carry around in your purse and use on-the-go. I have several both in my purse and around my home! I always use a base of jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) for basic perfume roll-on blends as it is the easiest base to blend with almost any essential oil.

You will need:

  • 1 oz jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

  • 2 drops rose (Rosa x centifolia) essential oil

  • 6 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

  • 4 drops Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine the essential oils with the jojoba. Add to a 1 oz roll-on bottle.

  • Apply as required. For adult use only.

Bonus Tip:

  • This is a calming blend and can be used in stressful situations on-the-go.

Relaxing Rose Inhaler for Children

Children can benefit from the aroma of rose essential oil in a number of ways. Although a more luxurious essential oil to use in a children’s blend, it is worth the investment, and just a drop may help. Rose essential oil helps children navigate the stresses of the school yard by increasing confidence, controlling jealousy, and in calming and relieving tension for feelings of inadequacy. An inhaler is a great application to use in these instances.

You will need:

  • a standard plastic inhaler

  • 5 drops of rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Add the rose essential oil to the wick of the inhaler. Make sure that it is fully soaked in before putting the inhaler together.

  • The child can use the inhaler by taking a couple of short sniffs in the appropriate situation. Make sure that the inhaler does not touch mucous membranes or that it is inserted into any orifice. Adult supervision is recommended until the child fully understands how to use the inhaler appropriately.

  • For use with children five years and over.

Bonus Tip:

  • Substitute with geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil as an alternative.

Learn More About Safe Essential Oil Use with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to use essential oils and other aromatic plant extracts safely, 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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Basic Aromatic Rose Blends for Summer

Posted on: June 5th, 2017 by
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Aromatic Rose Blends for thr Bath

Aromatic Rose Blends for the Bath

In the final two posts of my current double rose trilogy on the blog, I am including six simple rose blends ideal for the summer months! Each blend requires minimum ingredients and has been blended with budget in mind. Enjoy!

Aromatic Rose Spray with Hydrosols and Essential Oils

Hydrosol sprays are great for the summer months to cool down, tone skin, or refresh. You can also use them to set the mood for a romantic dinner!

Here’s what you’ll need to create this particular aromatic rose summer spray:

  • 0.5 oz rose (Rosa x damascena) hydrosol

  • 0.5 oz melissa (Melissa officinalis) hydrosol

  • 1 oz geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) hydrosol

  • 3 drops palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii) essential oil

  • 2 drops lemongrass (Cymbogon citratus) essential oil

  • 1 drop amyris (Amyris balsamifera) essential oil

This is a 1% blend of essential oils in hydrosols, in order to maximize the subtle aroma of the hydrosols.

Instructions for Use:

  • Blend together the hydrosols and the essential oils in a 2 oz spray bottle. A solubol can be added if desired, or simply shake the bottle vigorously before each use.

  • Spray on self or around the room, remembering not to spray directly into eyes or other orifices. Take caution if using around babies and children, seniors, or in pregnancy.

Bonus Tip:

  • This blend contains essential oils and/or hydrosols that are used as insect repellents. A great summer blend to protect yourself and to enjoy a summer evening!

Aromatic Rose Bath Salts with Essential Oils

The following essential oil blend is one of my favorites for the bath as it utilizes three of my favorite salts, with a subtle rose twist to nourish the skin and relax after a long, hot day. For adult use only.

You will need:

  • 4 oz Epsom salts

  • 2 oz Dead Sea salts

  • 1 oz Himalyan Pink Salts (Fine)

  • 12 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

  • 4 drop rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil

  • 8 drops mandarin (Citrus reticulata) essential oil

  • 1 oz borax or bicarbonate of soda (to combine the ingredients)

Instructions for Use:

  • Combine the essential oils, salts, and borax/bicarbonate of soda together in a 8 oz jar or container. Try to avoid the use of glass jars near the bath tub as they are in danger of breaking.

  • Add one to two tablespoons to the bath as required. Mix well.

Bonus Tip:

  • If you don’t have rose essential oil, simply replace the required amount with geranium essential oil.

Relaxing Rose Blend for Baby with Essential Oils

A basic, unscented white lotion makes a great base to use with baby. Carrier oils can be oily and slippy – not a great combination with a wriggling little one! Although I recommend hydrosols for use with babies and young children, this very basic lotion with rose essential oil is great to calm and relax baby before bed.

You will need:

  • 1 oz unscented white lotion

  • 1 drop of rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil

Instructions for Use:

  • Add the rose essential oil to the white lotion base and mix well. Store in a suitable jar or container. A PET bottle with a flip top is ideal to use around baby.

  • Apply gently to baby’s skin before bed to relax. If any irritation occurs, stop use immediately and consult a qualified health care professional.

Bonus Tip:

  • It is extremely important to use the best quality essential oils for baby. If you don’t have rose essential oil, substitute with geranium essential oil.

Learn More About Safe Essential Oil Use with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn how to use essential oils and other aromatic plant extracts safely, 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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Rose: A Divine and Feminine Essence

Posted on: May 29th, 2017 by
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Rose as a feminine and divine essence

Rose as a feminine and divine essence

Today’s post continues the series on rose but it is perhaps a slight deviation from the usual type of posts that I write. However, I thought that it was both interesting, and relevant, to take a brief look at what rose means as a feminine essence, and the divinity attached to it throughout the centuries. How does that apply to rose as an essence, an aromatic to be used in therapeutic and perfume blends? Well, here’s my interpretation of that concept!

Symbolism of Rose Throughout the Centuries

There is no doubt that rose has been a sacred and divine symbol for many different cultures throughout the centuries. Think about how rose was incoporated into the church; its exuberant use by lovers such as Cleopatra and Marc Antony, and Napoleon and Josephine; and the decandance use of rose by the Romans who threw lavish parties with rose petals.

Rose has symbolized love, purity, Greek goddesses, and sisterhood – and therein lies the common thread, the feminine. Rose is often called the Queen of the Flowers, its flower petals and aroma as soft as a woman’s touch.

The Heart of Rose

In perfumery and aromatherapy, rose is regarded as a base note oil and aroma, or a soul note. To me, rose can cross that divide between a middle note, or heart note, and a soul note, depending upon the extract and exact rose species. Rose is both the heart and soul of a blend; after all, rose has a long association with matters of the heart – love – which also affect the soul, hence the term soul mate.

We often talk about following your heart’s desire, or in other words, connecting with your true life purpose. This can also be described as the feminine or divine essence, truly connecting with the Earth, its gifts, and each other.

The Creativeness of Rose

Why chose rose as the flower and aroma to connect to this divine essence? Rose parallels a lot of characteristics associated with the feminine essence and the female form. For instance, rose petals are soft, colorful, and aromatic (sometimes) but there is also the thorny, protective side of rose. Many women can also identify with these characteristics, and it should not be something we run or hide from, but embrace in all of its imperfectiveness.

Rose as an aroma is made up of so many complex components that not all of them have yet been identified. We are talking hundreds of different, subtle chemical components that give each rose its fragrance. Imagine blending, and creating, with all of these subtle changes! Not only does it inspire creativity in the aromatherapist and perfumer, but also the artist, the flower grower, the florist, the gardener, just YOU – all can tap into the creativity that this complex aroma presents.

Aromatic Blending with Rose

Rose is a versatile therapeutic aroma; it is used in all types of skincare products for different skin issues; it is used for stress, depression, and anxiety; it aids in sleep and with headaches; and it addresses many problems that women encounter through their life cycle. It’s gentle enough to be used with babies and children and may help to increase confidence and reduce jealousy in little ones. To me, it is a nuturing and protective oil, another parallel with the feminine.

From an aromatherapist’s and perfumer’s point of view, the aroma of rose can be found not just in rose itself, but in other plants and fragrances, too. Examine the different layers that each plant and/or oil presents, and you will discover that rose exists in many forms. In my opinion, blending with rose can help you to grow as an aromatic formulator and it may help you to truly tap into your divine feminine!

Learn More About Rose with Sedona Aromatherapie

I will conclude this double rose trilogy with a double post of rose aromatic recipes, over the next two weeks, to demonstrate the topic discussed in this post. In addition, don’t forget to check out the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program.

References:

  • The views expressed in this article belong to the author but the author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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