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The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils

The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy

Published by Healing Arts
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Explores science’s new biological understanding of essential oils for improved immunity and treatment of degenerative diseases

• Explains how essential oils convey the complex natural healing powers of plants, offering scientifically proven advantages over synthetic drugs

• Offers revolutionary essential oil treatments to ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments as well as for hepatitis, osteoporosis, liver detoxification, and the prevention of UV damage and melanoma

• Presents simple recipes and protocols for strengthening the immune system; for treatment of common ailments, such as colds, flu, herpes, and candida; and for pain management

Exploring science’s new biological understanding of essential oils and their advantages over synthetic drugs, renowned aromatherapist Kurt Schnaubelt reveals how the effectiveness of essential oil treatments stems from our common biochemical and cellular heritage with plants. He explains how essential oils preserve a plant’s complex natural life-supporting and immune-building qualities, developed through millions of years of interaction with animals and humans. Reviewing recent research in molecular, cellular, and evolutionary biology, he shows how the multilayered activity of plant essences helps maintain the integrity of our genetic code--the reason why pathogens cannot develop resistance toward essential oils as they do with antibiotics and antivirals--making essential oils a more effective and sustainable form of treatment for a variety of health problems.

Laying to rest old arguments over essential oils’ alleged toxicity and whether they can be ingested or used undiluted, Schnaubelt presents simple recipes and protocols for treating and preventing common ailments, such as colds, flu, herpes, and candida, as well as for pain management. Offering new essential oil treatment opportunities for hepatitis, osteoporosis, liver detoxification, and the prevention of UV damage and melanoma, he shows how essential oils can also ameliorate the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments as well as how even home use of essential oils for relaxation or skin care can help build one’s immunity and overall well-being.


Chapter Eight
How to Apply Essential Oils Topically

The Power of Dilution

Applications with a Base Oil

It is important to realize that the main reason to use nonirritant essential oils undiluted is generally convenience. The assumption that undiluted essential oils will work more efficiently is generally not true. Perhaps surprisingly, experience often indicates that diluted oil is more effective than undiluted. Such observations can be explained chemically in that certain molecules rearrange into less active forms when they are present in high concentration. The molecule curls up because it sees too many of its own kind. Diluted, it sees more molecules from other oils and it relaxes into a more stretched out and active form. It appears that increased efficacy upon dilution is a phenomenon observed mostly with authentic oils.

As convenient as it may be to take a drop of essential oil directly out of the bottle there are situations where dilution with a base oil (such as sesame, hazelnut, or almond oil) is preferred. For actual treatments it is often necessary to apply essential oils over long periods of time. In such cases a stock bottle with essential oils diluted in a base oil should be prepared.

Other Diluents
A condition where dilution is key is eczema. However, fatty oils are often not the choice of eczema patients, as their oily feel is perceived as distressing. For eczema treatments it is best to integrate essential oils into a nonoily base. One possibility is to use a water-based acrylic gel; even though such gels are synthetic, they provide an effective and convenient means of delivery. Dogmatic insistence on natural carrier materials often leads to abandoning the treatment and may be self-defeating.

An easy way to prepare essential oil remedies for eczema treatments without the potentially cumbersome procurement of acrylic gels is to mix the essential oil component with aloe vera gel. Another option is to disperse a drop of the undiluted blend with the help of some hydrosols such as Myrtle, Lavender, or Everlasting.

Essential Oil Journey

The classic example of an essential oil that is highly effective in dilution is Helichrysum italicum, the oil that may be aromatherapy’s most easily recognizable success story. Its undisputed ability to heal skin tissue steadily increases the demand for this oil. The aromatherapy literature is full of praise and testimonials for this oil. Exploration of this essential oil, also known as Everlasting or Immortelle, offers a nonthreatening experiment. It impresses with its extreme gentleness and high efficacy. There is hardly a better wound healer and anti-aging agent than this oil.

To verify this contention, a drop of the essential oil is applied to a random reddish area we may have on our hands or arms, simply to notice the nonevent that follows. Either nothing happens or symptoms of irritation diminish or disappear.

Helichrysum italicum essential oil is so mild that it can be put on the skin undiluted, which sometimes is the preferred option for the immediate treatment of injuries, especially bleeding wounds. Dropping the oil into a bleeding wound sanitizes the wound, speeds its closure, and quickly stops the pain.

Generally, though, the essential oil of Helichrysum italicum is best used in dilution (low concentration). For most of its intended purposes it is equally as effective in a 1 percent dilution in sesame oil as it would be at higher concentrations. Given that the oil is not entirely inexpensive the remarkable efficacy of even the smallest amounts make treatments with Helichrysum italicum essential oil quite affordable after all.

Sources and Efficacy

Prior to the war in 1992 large quantities of Helichrysum essential oil were distilled in the former Yugoslavia. Demand came mostly from Grasse industries, which employed the oil as an important part in fragrancing/flavoring pipe tobaccos. Aromatherapy was only beginning to discover Helichrysum, and its popularity grew right around the time when the supply from the Balkans dried up due to the war. The only remaining production then came from Corsica, which could not satisfy the demand, and prices began a steady climb.

In the past ten years production of Helichrysum from the hillsides of Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina has returned to the market. This has not necessarily led to a decrease in prices, as a large multinational corporation has launched a skincare line based on Helichrysum italicum essential oil. Helichrysum has remained the subject of a sellers’ market.

Oils purportedly originating from mainland France appear to be spurious, as it is illegal to harvest the plant there. Helichrysum oils labeled to be of French origin have a higher likelihood of having had at least a minor stay in a laboratory or to be a blend of oils from different growing areas--fabricated in Grasse!

It appears that oils from Corsica and Bosnia-Herzegovina (or other areas of the former Yugoslavia) work equally well for wound and scar treatments despite the fact they have moderately different chemical composition. Recent analyses have shown no oxygenated components (this means no so-called di-ketones) in the Bosnian oil. This is probably a consequence of harvesting at the earliest possible time, as buyers from France crisscross the growing areas, leaving those who start late with no plants to harvest.

This suggests that oxygenated compounds accumulate in Helichrysum oil later rather than earlier in its flowering state. Even though conventional thinking attributes the qualities of Helichrysum essential oil to its content of di-ketones, the oils without di-ketones work equally well. It would appear that the undisputable qualities of this essential oil are better explained by organicism than by identifying active ingredients: the wound-healing quality of Helichrysum oil arises at the level of the whole plant and not at the level of a specific molecule.

About The Author

Kurt Schnaubelt holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and is the founder and scientific director of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy in San Francisco. The author of Advanced Aromatherapy and Medical Aromatherapy, he lives in San Rafael, California.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Healing Arts (November 8, 2011)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781594778155

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Raves and Reviews

“Kurt Schnaubelt continues his professional validation of essential oils as serious health care products. Using in-depth but approachable science, Schnaubelt shows how humans and plants have evolved together, supporting and influencing each other’s development and well-being over millennia. Each section of this beautifully illustrated book covers a different area of aromatherapy study, from how to recognize authentic oils to recipes for basic health issues and all interspersed with delightful “Essential Oil Journeys” that trace the use of plant essences around the world. Suitable for professional therapists of all kinds while still accessible to the home practitioner, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils is destined to become a well-thumbed classic in every health library.”

– Suzanne Catty, author of Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy

“Particularly unique is the layout of pages and the tidbits of information on the edges highlighting subjects such as toxicity myths, quotes by various contributors to the craft, nods to plant pioneers, and more. Throughout the book Dr. Schnaubelt presents the work of other prominent figures in the profession, explores historical views of essential oils from around the world, and the utilization of essential oils in various cultures.”

– Mindy Green, MS, AHG, RA, HerbalGram, November 2011

“It offers new essential oil treatment opportunities for hepatitis, osteoporosis, liver detoxification, and the prevention of UV damage and melanoma while showing how even home use of essential oils for relaxation or skin care can help build one’s immunity and overall well being.”

– Yoga Magazine, January2012

“Kurt Schaubelt takes a rare stand as a chemist and speaks in favor of aromatherapy, using this book to illustrate how essential oils work differently from synthesized pharmaceutical materials.”

– Diana Rajchel, Facing North April 2012

“Schnaubelt’s beautiful job of merging science and plant energetics is reflected in [The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils].”

– Kathi Keville, American Herb Association, March 2013

“Dr. Schnaubelt shows a cutting-edge aromatherapy perspective in this book and gives us many answers to deeply understand the co-evolution of plants and human beings.”

– Ayako Berg, London School of Aromatherapy, Japan

“Authoritatively written, this title will easily find an audience among herbalists, massage therapists, home-health advocates, complementary and alternative clinicians, and their patients. Conventional medical practitioners and pharmacists might also find it a worthy, informative read.”

– Janet Tapper, Library Journal, October 2011

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