Essential Oils Break Through – Vanderbilt University Medical Center

I am a firm believer in the benefits of Essential Oils. I am so happy to find out that RN nurses Tonya McBride and Teresa Sturges who work at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are open-minded enough to recognize that Essential Oils in the work place really do make a difference.

“Through our own experiences of enlightenment, we now have a unique perspective for both traditional and alternative modalities.  We have witnessed a new era developing among physicians, nurses, and other healthcare practitioners who have a willingness to explore the therapeutic value of essential oils.”

Through the wellness committee, the use of essential oils was approved and defined within a research model to analyze the direct effects of diffusing essential oils in the hospital environment for the perceived outcome of stress reduction and increased energy levels.  Our staff was surveyed for 30 days pre and post implementation.  Before the use of essential oils 41% of the staff felt work related stress very often, after the use of essential oils only 3% felt work related stress very often.  The feelings of being overwhelmed changed from 25% very often before implementation to 2% after implementation.  Feelings of being well equipped to handle stressors at work changed from 13% very often before implementation to 58% after implementation.  Perceptions of staff optimal energy level increased from 33% to 77%.  Following the implementation of the essential oil initiative, 84% of the staff strongly agreed and 10% agreed that diffusing essential oils contributed to a more positive work environment.

You can read more of this great article at

I am very encouraged by this information and I feel very fortunate to be on the ground floor of getting the healthiest most natural ways out there to my readers who have a challenged family member.

If these nurses can make a difference in their work environment with their co workers using Essential Oils then it makes me wonder what impact they could potentially have on there patients at the hospital. Maybe doctors will now not be so closed-minded when we take our challenged family member in for a doctor visit and mention an alternative medicine instead of using a traditional medicine.

essential oils lavender, lemon and sweet orange

essential oils lavender, lemon and sweet orange (Photo credit: How to be Sustainable)



Essential Oils and Mental Health – Robert Tisserand

The more I do research on Natural Alternatives for Sarah the more excited I am getting. There is so much more help out there than there was 20 years ago.



There is a man named Robert Tisserand that has been researching the many healthy ways that Essential Oils and Hydrosols help many people. He has been studying Essential Oils since the 1960’s. I want to share some of his findings with you.

English: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Ess...

English: Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Essential Oil in clear glass vial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


First of all he of course has his own webpage – which is a wealth of information.



Robert Tisserand is one of the world’s leading experts in aromatherapy. He wrote the first comprehensive book on aromatherapy in English in 1977, and The Art of Aromatherapy is still published in 12 languages. In 1974 he established the first company in the UK to market aromatherapy products, promoting the now industry-leadingTisserand branded products. Robert was the publisher and editor ofThe International Journal of Aromatherapy, for 12 years and in the 1990s, he orchestrated three international AROMA conferences at British Universities.



He is highly articulate and published with worldwide lecturing experience, and his library includes several thousand journal articles. He has a personal collection of some 500 essential oils, absolutes and CO2 extracts, and has created many “functional fragrances” for products that combine perfumery principles with the therapeutic, hygienic, and dermatological properties of essential oils.



Today Robert lives in the United States where he continues to follow his passion for aromatherapy by working as an independent industry expert consulting to practitioners, colleges and corporations around the world.



The blood-brain barrier
Christy C. Tangney is quoted on WebMD as saying: “More study is needed to see how, or even if, rosemary affects how quickly and accurately we perform mental exercises.” Tangney is an associate professor of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She feels that the findings could be due to chance or something else besides the fragrance. “There is something here. I don’t know that I could conclude that it is the aroma of the rosemary that is associated with improvements though” Tangney says.



On the face of it this is an odd comment, since the researchers were at pains to clarify that it is not the “aroma” of the rosemary oil that is producing the effect, it is the fact that constituents of the oil enter the bloodstream, and thereby produce an effect. But, Tangney probably meant simply that the rosemary oil might not be doing anything at all. I suppose someone has to be the designated bearer of the “it’s only placebo” message.



As small, fat-soluble organic molecules, terpenes like 1,8-cineole can enter the blood stream via the nasal or pulmonary mucosa. We know they can cross the blood-brain barrier (i.e. move out of the cerebral blood vessels and into the brain), as interactions with various receptor sites in the brain have been seen after administration (Aoshima and Hamamoto 1999, Elisabetsky et al 1999). In a German study, whether mice were given rosemary oil orally, or it was evaporated in their cage, similar blood levels of 1,8-cineole were detected. This was associated with an increase in ‘locomotor activity’ – spontaneous movement – thus demonstrating a stimulant effect from inhalation of the oil (Kovar et al 1987). This shows that inhalation of rosemary oil produces an effect on the nervous system that is not purely psychological, or due to expectation. We don’t know whether mice like rosemary oil, or whether it might improve their mathematical skills. I’m just saying…



1,8-Cineole is found in many other essential oils including eucalyptus, sage, laurel, myrtle and cardamon. Previous research has shown that it inhibits acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) enzymes, which are important in brain and central nervous system neurochemistry. Acetylcholine is the principal neurotransmitter in the brain, so when the enzyme that breaks it down is inhibited, there’s more acetylcholine to help those synapses fire. The most commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals for treating loss of cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are AChE inhibitors, also known as cholinergic drugs.



A rosemary oil with 44.4% 1,8-cineole and 12.6% a-pinene inhibited AChE and BChE (Orhan et al 2008). All three of the major constituents of rosemary oil individually inhibit (AChE), as do three of its minor constituents. The AChE inhibiting effect is especially strong for 1,8-cineole and a-pinene, and less so for camphor. These three, and other constituents, act synergistically to produce the effect (Savelev et al 2003). There are several chemotypes of rosemary oil. The one used by Moss in all his research (fromTisserand Aromatherapy) is a 1,8-cineole chemotype. A typical analysis for this type of oil is shown in the Table below.





In a Japanese study, 17 AD patients were exposed to the vapors of rosemary and lemon oils in the morning, and lavender and orange oils in the afternoon for 28 days. Compared to similar pre-treatment and post-treatment periods, aromatherapy resulted in significant cognitive improvements (Jimbo et al 2009). In other clinical research, 11 AD patients were given small oral doses of Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) oil, which is chemically very similar to the type of rosemary oil used by Mark Moss (see Table). Again, there were significant cognitive improvements (Perry et al 2003). When Spanish sage oil was taken orally by 24 healthy young volunteers in a placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover trial, both speed and accuracy significantly improved in tests of cognitive performance (Tildesley et al 2005).



Cholinergic function is surely not the whole story, and a number of other mechanisms are likely at work. For example, cognitive impairment in AD is also associated with low dopamine (Wolfe et al 1990), and 1,8-cineole increases dopamine release in brain cells (Kako et al 2008).



Taken together, the evidence for a positive effect on cognitive function by rosemary oil, and similar oils, is strong. Effects are due to synergistic interactions of constituents. Since both rosemary and Spanish sage oil have similar effects, the precise composition of the oil does not seem to be critical. Whether the perception of the rosemary odor produces contentment or relaxation may not be directly relevant, since taking the oil orally has a similar effect. This gives credence to Mark Moss’s contention that it is blood-borne essential oil constituents that affect mental function.


Rosemary (given name)

Rosemary (given name) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you looking for specific effects from specific oils, or is it all basically ‘feel-good’, or do you use fragrance to anchor feelings?
I use essential oils for specific effects, such as enhancing mood or alleviating anxiety or insomnia as well as to counteract certain side effects of medications. What you refer to as ‘feel-good’ I see as the enhanced sense of well-being that clients get from regaining a sense of resilience and improved coping skills with regards to their symptoms and life stressors. This also allows clients to shift from being symptom-focused to being ‘strengths based’ or ‘recovery oriented.’ In many cases, I tell clients to think of an intention or positive thought when they apply the essential oils, so in addition to the specific effects, the oils can thereby anchor feelings and intentions, or, more broadly, an enhanced sense of self-efficacy.



The situation for aromatherapy is much better today than it was when I started in the 1960s and 70s, and aromatherapy is developing in its different facets. Today there are more medicines being developed based on essential oils. We have seen a tremendous development in skin care products over the last 20 years. We are now seeing interesting possibilities with environmental fragrancing, not just in terms of mood, but also in terms of hygiene, and both of those together. So I think there are a lot of very exciting developments!



I tend not to go by just one persons research or opinions. I have done my research on Robert Tisserand and I have seen his references. He is a very formidable and credible person as far as I can tell now.



I will keep researching as to what scents Sarah will like and what EO’s and Hydrosols will help her. My goal is to see her completely off of her traditional medicines, and take all natural stuff if she needs to. At the very least have the EO’s and Hydrosols work in conjunction, with her traditional medicines and perhaps lower her doses.


Autism not only affects your child/adult, it affects your entire family. The least stress there is on Sarah the least stress there is on the family. I am very much a nurturer, and if I can help Sarah be comfortable in her own skin then I will. This has been a quest of mine for 22 years and I will not stop!Sarah and Me








Essential Oils for Autism

English: Leaves of Eucalyptus olida packed int...

English: Leaves of Eucalyptus olida packed into steam distillation unit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As I said before I am researching any and all natural ways to help our Sarah with her struggles with Autism and other challenges. Right now I am taking a closer look at Essential Oils.




I found this information through Wikipedia and thought it would be helpful for you my readers as well;




Essential oils are generally extracted by distillationSteam distillation is often used. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumescosmeticssoaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents toincense and household cleaning products.




Essential oils have been used medicinally in history. Medical applications proposed by those who sell medicinal oils range from skin treatments to remedies for cancer and often are based solely on historical accounts of use of essential oils for these purposes. Claims for the efficacy of medical treatments, and treatment of cancers in particular, are now subject to regulation in most countries.




Interest in essential oils has revived in recent decades with the popularity of aromatherapy, a branch of alternative medicine that claims that essential oils and other aromatic compounds have curative effects. Oils are volatilized or diluted in a carrier oil and used in massage, diffused in the air by a nebulizer, heated over a candle flame, or burned as incense.




The earliest recorded mention of the techniques and methods used to produce essential oils is believed to be that of Ibn al-Baitar(1188–1248), an Andalusian physicianpharmacist and chemist.




The recondensed water is referred to as a hydrosol, hydrolat, herbal distillate or plant water essence, which may be sold as another fragrant product. Popular hydrosols include rose waterlavender water, lemon balmclary sage and orange blossom water. The use of herbal distillates in cosmetics is increasing. Some plant hydrosols have unpleasant smells and are therefore not sold.




Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to the aromatic compounds in essential oils and other plant extracts. Many common essential oils have medicinal properties that have been applied in folk medicine since ancient times and are still widely used today. For example, many essential oils have antiseptic properties. Many are also claimed to have an uplifting effect on the mind. Such claims, if meaningful, are not necessarily false but are difficult to quantify in the light of the sheer variability of materials used in the practice.




The potential danger of an essential oil is generally relative to its level or grade of purity. Many essential oils are designed exclusively for their aroma-therapeutic quality; these essential oils generally should not be applied directly to the skin in their undiluted or “neat” form. Some can cause severe irritation, provoke an allergic reaction and, over time, prove hepatotoxic. Non-therapeutic grade essential oils are never recommended for topical or internal use.




Now this is what got my attention;








The following table lists the LD or median lethal dose for common oils; this is the dose required to kill half the members of a tested population.LD is intended as a guideline only, and reported values can vary widely due to differences in tested species and testing conditions.




Common Name Oral LD50 Dermal LD50 Notes
Neem 14 g/kg >2 g/kg
Lemon myrtle 2.43 g/kg 2.25 g/kg
Frankincense >5 g/kg >5 g/kg Boswellia carterii
Frankincense >2 g/kg >2 g/kg Boswellia sacra
Indian frankincense >2 g/kg >2 g/kg Boswellia serrata
Ylang-ylang >5 g/kg >5 g/kg
Cedarwood >5 g/kg >5 g/kg
Roman chamomile >5 g/kg >5 g/kg
White camphor >5 g/kg >5 g/kg Cinnamomum camphora, extracted from leaves
Yellow camphor 3.73 g/kg >5 g/kg Cinnamomum camphora, extracted from bark
Hot oil 3.80 g/kg >5 g/kg Cinnamomum camphora, oil extracted from leaves
Cassia 2.80 g/kg 0.32 g/kg


It is important to understand that the foregoing figures are far less relevant in everyday life than far smaller, often localized levels of exposure. For example, a dose of many an essential oil that would do no harm if swallowed in diluted solution or emulsion, could do serious damage to eyes or lungs in a higher concentration.


Essential Oils Box

Essential Oils Box (Photo credit: luxomedia)


I figured that Essential Oils would be toxic to a degree. Then I think about the traditional medicines that are being prescribed, and how toxic they become over time.




As with anything you have to be very careful and responsible. Essential Oils can get in places of the body faster, in a way that traditional medicines cannot penetrate.




So much of Sarah’s issues are neurological. I am seriously thinking Essential Oils is the way to go for her. I did introduce her to certain oils when she was little to the degree of which she could tolerate, but they were mainly for fragrance and not for medical issues.




I sure wish I would have known then what I know now. That is ok though, better late than never 🙂










Natural Alternatives For Autism

Sarah HerbertAlthough Sarah is on prescription medicines, I am constantly looking for natural alternatives that may take the place of those prescription medicines. I would rather her be on natural stuff than anything that may harm her in the long run.


There are all kinds of different natural alternatives for many different things. I try to find natural things specifically pertaining to what Sarah has been diagnosed with on the Autism Spectrum, and outside the Spectrum as well.


I am also looking at things that she now enjoys doing. She has recently taken up painting, which tells me that she is much more tolerant of smells than she use to be.

English: Glass vial containing Fleabane Essent...

English: Glass vial containing Fleabane Essential Oil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)e is much more tolerant of smells than she use to be. 


Sarah has a collection of different lotions and she is taking much more interest in flowers. It is like she is noticing the beauty around her. She often picks wild flowers for me, or she will go to the store and buy me some pretty fake flowers.


So with all of that in mind, I have been collecting different Essential Oils. Essential Oils are very concentrated oils that must be diluted before you use them. I have also been looking at Hydrosols also. Hydrosol is the water that comes from making Essential Oils and you do not have to dilute it, as it is not as strong as Essential Oils.


I know there is a lot of hype out there with MLM (Muti Level Marketing) companies saying that they have the EO (Essential Oil) or Hyrodsol you need for your child’s challenge whatever it may be. I am very skeptical when it comes to what Natural Alternatives I give or do with Sarah.


Sarah has been diagnosed with a wide range of challenges besides Autism. Although she is considered High Functioning her IQ was low (by their standards) and she has low muscle tone, plus the challenges of Bi-Polar, psychotic Episodes, Schizophrenia, Seasonal Effective Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome ect…… I look at everything natural that pertains to all of her needs and not just Autism.


Essential Oils is not the only thing I look at for Sarah. I look at certain vitamins that will help her also and lets not forget diet and exercise. I believe the Gluten and Casein Free Diets could really help Sarah a lot and that will be brought up at her next meeting.


Exercise is really not one of Sarah’s favorite things to do. Her staff got the creative idea to put letters in the mailbox everyday for her, so she would have to go outside (with supervision of course) and get the letters. This excites her a lot and she is willing to do that. Through this she gets some of her exercise.


This year Sarah is really excited about going to Camp Attitude. We also plan on camping a night or two with her. The more she is outside experiencing the natural beauty around her the happier I think she is.


I still believe Hyperberic Chambers would be good for Sarah as well. After all, what is more natural than pure oxygen right? There are so many alternatives out there and I have not even skimmed the surface yet!

English: A boy with autism treats in his perso...

English: A boy with autism treats in his personal hyperberic chamber. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been researching all of the above alternatives for Sarah. I will blog about more I’m sure as I learn more. I would really like to know what others that are going through these challenges or know of anyone with challenges think about Natural Alternatives compared to the Traditional Medicines.


If you would like you can follow us on our Sarah’s Voice Facebook Page at please do 🙂


I am the administrator of her page and we put lots of interesting stuff on it.


The more likes the better!


You can also follow us on Twitter’s Voice. Come and join us on our adventures 🙂



Autism – How Essential Oils Helped My Daughter

1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games

1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Essential Oils Box

Essential Oils Box (Photo credit: luxomedia)

Eat healthy fruits and veggies bowl

Eat healthy fruits and veggies bowl (Photo credit: Trace Nietert)

Essential oils as well as a healthy diet and exercise can help everyone and especially individuals with special needs. I know from experience that it is sometimes very difficult to get your child or adult with special needs to eat the healthy way, and to get them motivated to exercise, but what about using Essential Oils? Sarah our daughter who was diagnosed with Autism, had a very difficult time with textures and tastes at first, and exercising became difficult for her to do. At first she had a real problem with taking baths until she learned that baths helped her smell and feel good from the oils I put in her bath. I learned certain smells excited her, and certain smells calmed her. She came to love baths and now she is very hygienic and loves to smell good. Based on my experience over time, I believe that Essential Oils have been a positive experience for my daughter.