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I am bombarded regularly with statements such as, “I bought a scented candle and it did nothing for me.” Or, “I bought brand X aromatherapy body wash and I didn’t feel any different.” “How come aromatherapy doesn’t work on me?”

Is it a problem that aromatherapy doesn’t work on them or is there another reason that they may not be getting the benefits they expect?

As I looked a little deeper into the stories that were conveyed to me I noticed a very obvious problem with all of them. Do you want to know what my findings were? I am sure you do <smile>. All of the products that these people had tried actually had the word “aromatherapy” written on the product label but in fact had no essential oils listed on the label.

What was written? Fragrance added. (Amongst other chemicals of course.)

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, N.A.H.A., the definition of aromatherapy is: Aromatherapy is... the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well being." Valerie Cooksley [i]

As practicing Aromatherapists this is how we view aromatherapy. We use essential oils and essential oils only, added in a base carrier oil and applied to the body via various methods of application. We do not, and will never use fragrance oils.

Fragrance oils are synthetic in nature and are not pure, unadulterated essential oils. There is a huge difference in their composition and make up. There are many people who find themselves sensitive to fragrance chemicals and their number seems to be increasing almost daily. They are known as “fragrant intolerant”.

Fragrances used in many products are synthetic and petroleum based. These can cause such symptoms as asthma, dizziness, headache, and nausea. There is no law stating that a fragrance manufacturer needs to place all of its ingredients on the packaging label as this may give away the manufacturer’s trade secrets. All they need to do is write ‘fragrance”.

Even many so-called "natural" aromatherapy products can be adulterated by adding extra linalool to Lavender for example, to make it smell more.

People must be very careful with whom they are dealing with and be sure they are buying from a reputable dealer of pure essential oils.

It appears as if aromatherapy has become a fad in the marketing industry and everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon, from perfumers to even bakery good manufacturers. If it smells good then people want it associated with aromatherapy.

The actual definition of the word aromatherapy technically would be: "therapy by the use of aroma", so in this sense, any aroma that is pleasant and brings about pleasant memories can be placed under the umbrella of aromatherapy. This is where true aromatherapy and Aromatherapists have the problem. The population has to be informed how true aromatherapy really works and that not all things that smell good are in reality aromatherapy, but can actually be bad for you.

True aromatherapy has been around for centuries, unlike the latest commercial craze. Even the ancient Egyptians were known to embalm their dead with oils infused with herbs which was the forerunner of our modern day distillation.

As early as the 11th century, a Persian named Avicenna, invented a pipe which was coiled and allowed the vapor and steam from the plants to cool down making the first distillation of rose oil. This is very similar to the way in which essential oils are distilled today.

By the 12th century Germany was growing and distilling Lavender for its medicinal properties.

It did not take long for the pharmaceutical industry to be born and this encouraged more distillation of essential oils due to their wonderful healing properties.

It is impossible in a small article such as this to get into all of the studies and healing properties of all of the oils but I hope to give you a glimpse of the importance of using pure essential oils instead of falling for “fad” products.

For today I will give you some information on Tea Tree oil. This is one of the most often used oils in aromatherapy. Captain Cook in Australia discovered it when he saw the Aborigines using it as a tea to treat ailments. Hence came the name Tea Tree. It’s real name is Melaleuca Alternafolia and it is best known for its antibiotic effects. It was used in World War I as an antiseptic for open wounds.

Below you will find the properties of Melaleuca Alternafolia:

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternafolia)




Steam Distilled

Part :

Leaves and twigs


Australia: All year


Clear to yellowish green


Camphoraceous, tart, musty












5th (Throat Chakra)



Tea Tree is cultivated in Australia. It is similar to cypress with small narrow leaves and yellow or purple flowers. It is related to Eucalyptus but has a softer smell.

Historical Info:

Tea Tree has historically been used as a first aid oil and as a herbal tea. In fact, Captain Cook saw the Aborigines using the herb for tea and it is believed that is why it was called Tea Tree. It was used widely during WWI and in the 1st aid kit of every Australian soldier.


May cause sensitization in some individuals, Do a skin patch test first.

Blends With:     

Bergamot, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mandarin, Marjoram, Orange, Pine, Rosemary, Thyme, Oakmoss, Ylang Ylang

Main Chemical Constituents:                                                                                                

Terpine-4-ol, cineol, pinene, terpinenes, cymene, sesquiterpenes, sesquiterpene alcohols, cineole


Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Viral


Abscess, Acne, Athlete’s foot , Bacterial Infections , Bronchitis , Burns (also said to protect from radiation burns in cancer therapy) , Candida, Chicken Pox, Colds/Flu , Cuts/Wounds , Dandruff , Diaper rash, Ear ache, Fever, Fungal infections , Genital Infections , Herpes , Insect bites, Low Immunity , Mouth/Gums , Respiratory problems/Infections, Ringworm, Shingles, Sinuses, Throat Infections , Urinary Infection , Vaginal Infections, Viral Infections , Warts


Apathy, Feelings of Uncleanness, Hypochondria, Hysteria, over preoccupation with detail, Shock, Strengthening

Essential oils do contain chemical constituents that can help heal the body. Fragrance oils cannot do this. My hope is that you have gleaned enough information from this article to make more educated decisions when it comes to aromatherapy.

My suggestion is to always consult with a certified Aromatherapist. They have studied and know how to guide you with their knowledge.

Aromatherapy is something that should be enjoyed by all. Infuse your life with excellence.