Wednesday, October 4th 2023 | Article by: Liza Docken
Taking Aromatherapy Beyond Aromatics + Exploring the Science of Essential Oils
Aromatherapy has long been considered a lifestyle support, thanks to the typically pleasant aromas of essential oils. People have enjoyed and used essential oils for their aromatics via diffusion, cleaning, and personal care. This type of aromatherapy is often referred to as English Aromatherapy, where essential oils are chosen for their aroma and blended, resulting in new aromatic experiences. Most people living in the United States and many other areas in the world are familiar with this type of aromatherapy as it’s been the most common and most practiced here. There is, however, another option when it comes to the use of essential oils.
French Medical Aromatherapy
French, Medical, or Scientific Aromatherapy are terms that describe this alternate method of essential oils utilization. French Aromatherapy chooses oils based on their constituents, or chemical compounds, to then blend with other essential oils based on their constituents, resulting in a more complex therapeutic application. We’ve seen companies synthesize and extract these very compounds that occur naturally in plants. While synthesis and extraction may be convenient, it eliminates the entourage effect that comes from using a naturally occurring compound with its surrounding (co-existing) constituents. While primary constituents are crucial, their co-existing compounds can be just as vital. This is why using naturally derived plant medicine can be so beneficial for your health.
A Short History of Aromatherapy
Let’s briefly address the history of aromatherapy and some of the primary ways it has been utilized by people since our earliest recorded history. In 40,000 BCE Aboriginal people already had specific uses for aromatic plants, such as pulverizing leaves to mix with mud and clay for topical application and burning plant material to breathe in the smoke to support respiratory conditions. In 3,500 BCE the first written mention of phytotherapy happened in China, where archaeologist have found evidence of clay utensils whose use is assumed to be a variation of distillation. Not long after, we see regular use of plant aromatics in Egypt by doctors and embalmers. Ibn Sina (Avicenna) wrote more than 100 works on medicine as is credited with the invention of steam distillation in 1,000 CE.
As people traveled more and further for trade, plant medicine grew as new plants were introduced. In the 15thcentury, Apothecaries were called ‘Aromaterii’ due to the increased knowledge of ‘aromatherapy’ and the important role of aromatic plant medicine at that time. Finally, at the turn of the 17th century over 100 essential oils were being used to treat illness and symptoms. This continued until the 20th century with many oils and formulations included in the Pharmceutical Codex. This was the century where the term ‘Aromatherapy’ was implemented and stuck.
René Maurice Gattefossé was a chemist and researcher living in Lyon, France. After a lab explosion left his hand severely injured, he had the good sense to put it into a vessel containing lavender essential oil. Due to the rapid healing, lack of infection, and undetectable scar, Gattefossé began his aromatic journey and in 1937 wrote a book called Aromathérapie: Les Huiles essentielles hormones végétales (translated into English and now called Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy) that birthed the style of aromatherapy upon which Pranarōm functions: French Medical Aromatherapy.
Bringing Your Health Into Balance
As a general definition, Aromatherapy provides botanical support for your body, mind, and spirit through the therapeutic and aromatic constituents produced by the plant by way of essential oils. Essential oils are just that, vital to the health, longevity, and proliferation of a plant species. As our founder would describe it, “Scientific and medical aromatherapy can be defined as follows: the use of chemotyped essential oils from aromatic plants by varying methods of administration: oral, respiratory, olfactory, dermal, auricular, nasal, or by atmospheric diffusion, to provide complementary, preventative, or curative treatment for a wide variety of conditions.” From p.27 of Contemporary French Aromatherapy by Dominique Baudoux.
The Science of Essential Oils
Pranarōm prides itself on promoting the science of essential oils. At Pranarōm, every batch of every oil goes through rigorous testing. Tests include various human and mechanical inspections and analyses to provide a certificate of analysis, listing all constituents present in the oil. This testing also ensures Organic Certification approved by both ECOCERT and USDA guidelines. As the number one essential oil brand in a large part of Europe, we have the assets for a large R&D department, keeping Pranarōm at the forefront of innovation and expansion. With a pharmacist/aromatherapist founder, our attention to detail in constituents is unrivaled in this market, which paved the way for our most recent product launches: Aromaforce and Pranacaps, two categories that offer safe and effective internal use of essential oils. This safety is made possible thanks to our varied and in-depth testing.
Because Pranarōm chooses oils based on their constituents, we formulate with therapeutic constituent synergy in mind. Each Wellness Blend, Aromaforce product, and Pranacap offering provides a product formulated with concentrated plant medicine, based on constituent combinations, for a specific ailment with a tailored application. When it comes to your health, sometimes we need the powerful punch that essential oils offer. As an example, production of Lavender essential oils requires 2,000lbs of lavender flower to create just one gallon of essential oil. When you consider the landmass and plant material required for each drop of oil, it becomes quite clear just how powerful this plant medicine can be.
Our Aromaforce line takes aromatherapy from lifestyle support to health support. Aromaforce is a product line designed to help support and soothe your natural defenses during cold and flu season. This line offers our new Vapor Rub, and our revamped Essential Syrup and Throat Spray, all of which support and soothe the respiratory system. These items are rounded out by our Immune Defense Solution, great for diffusion, bottoms of feet, and in hand soaps and lotions; and our Purifying Sprays that clean up the atmosphere and surfaces wherever you need a little boost of health. To work in concert with these products, Aromaforce offers a selection of single note essential oil Mini-caps to support safe and optimal internal use of essential oils. Expertly diluted to offer one drop of essential oil per mini-cap in a base of organic vegetable oil, these are offered in Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger, and Ravintsara.
Pranarōm’s biggest boon is our Pranacap line, a tailored line of internal use capsules to support balanced health and wellness. Targeting our most common health concerns, each formulation combats the effects these ailments have on our health and day-to-day lives. Each product contains a synergy of essential oils in a base of organic vegetable oil to safely deliver this potent and effective plant medicine.
Digestive Support – for your digestive needs and to support digestive comfort. Formulated with Ginger, Peppermint, Cassia, Lemon, Cardamom, and Caraway essential oils.
Immune Support – to help nourish and maintain your natural defenses. Formulated with Eucalyptus Radiata, Lemon, Ginger, Clove, and Winter Savory essential oils.
Memory & Focus – support your cognitive function and promote better memory. Formulated with Lavender, Spanish Sage, Winter Savory, Peppermint, and Rosemary essential oils.
Respiratory Health – promote and maintain respiratory tract health. Formulated with Oregano and Lemon essential oils.
Stress Relief & Sleep – to calm the mind and support your natural sleep cycles. Formulated with Mandarin, Lavender, and Caraway essential oils.