Monday, November 30, 2009

Medicinal Properties of Bay Essential Oil and Liniment Recipe

Bay essential oil, Laurus nobilis, has a long and interesting history. It was known as Daphne to the Greeks because the nymph Daphne escaped the attentions of Apollo by being transformed into a bay tree. Heartbroken, Apollo, the God of Music and Poetry, took the tree as his emblem, hence the term "poet laureate" and "to gain one's laurels."

In addition, the Romans believed bay warded off both evil and infectious disease, and to this day in Europe you can still see bay leaf garlands hanging on doors.

Today, bay is used as a flavoring in foods, and is effective to combat infectious bacteria when used in a vaporizer. In perfumery, bay is sweet, pleasant, and slightly spicy, and blends well with bergamot, black pepper, clary sage, cypress, juniper, lavender, neroli, and rosemary, to name a few.

Medicinally, bay is attributed with antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, diaphoretic, digestant, and sedative properties.

Recommended Daily Dose:
Three times daily unless otherwise stated. Use for a maximum of two weeks, then take three weeks off to avoid accumulative toxicity. In adults, use 2 drops, three times a day. Externally, use up to 5 drops in a bath.

Liniment Blend:
30 drops bay essential oil
15 drops nutmeg oil
9 drops black pepper oil
1 cup peanut oil

Blend all oils together. Peanut oil can be replaced with another vegetable oil, such as sweet almond or grapeseed. However, peanut oil is preferred as it has a traditional reputation for effectively reducing the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.

Blend all oils together. Pour into a dark glass bottle and label. Massage directly into painful areas. Store in a cool place and use within 6 months.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oregano essential oil featured in Well Being Journal for antiseptic properties

Common oregano, Origanum vulgare, "has long been used as a remedy for digestive, respiratory and rheumatic problems and as a treatment for stings and bites," according to the article "Natural Solutions to Drug-Resistant Infections," which appeared in the September/October 2009 edition of Well Being Journal.

Author CJ Puotinen provides a detailed list of recommended uses for Origanum vulgare based on the text The Cure Is in the Cupboard: How to Use Oregano for Better Health by Cass Ingram, who recommends both the dried herb and essential oil for: allergies, asthma, cold sores, colds, congestion, fatigue, flu, gastritis, parasites, tooth and gum infections, ulcers, and urinary infections, to name a few.

Regarding suggested use, Puotinen says Origanum vulgare can be made into a "water-based antiseptic solution." It can also be grow and dried for use in capsules or made into a tincture.

>> If you want to learn more about the use of essential oils to help support your body's optimal function, click here

To purchase therapeutic grade Origanum vulgare essential oil, visit the Apothecary Shoppe

Friday, October 09, 2009

The antiviral activity of essential oils

BY Arianna Staruch, ND, ACHS Academic Dean

A recent study looked at preparing a nasal spray from the essential oil of bupleurum root (Radix bupleuri) and tested it in animals for effectiveness. It did show promise as a fever reducer. However, many essential oils can be irritating to mucus membranes and should not be used undiluted or without first doing a skin patch test.

So how can you use essential oil in your everyday life to help reduce to risk of viral infection? Essential oils can be used in the home as antiviral cleaning products. A diffuser with any of the oils listed above, such as eucalyptus, lemon balm, or peppermint, may reduce the airborne viruses in a room. In addition, essential oils may be added to hand creams to help reduce the spread of viruses by contact. Of course, these should be used in addition to the common sense CDC recommendations to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and nose with your arm when you sneeze, and to stay home if you are sick. (You should see your primary care provider for a proper diagnosis if you think you may have the seasonal flu or the H1N1 flu, and follow their recommendations.) This fall may be a challenging time because there is the potential for many people to be sick with the flu at the same time, but we can use natural support options, such as essential oils, to keep us healthy.

>> Click here to read the full-length article about using essential oils to reduce the risk of viral infection

1. Astani, A., Reichling, J., and Schnitzler, P. Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytother Res. 2009 Aug 3.
2. Reichling, J., Koch, C., Stahl-Biskup, E., Sojka, C., and Schnitzler, P.
Virucidal activity of a beta-triketone-rich essential oil of Leptospermum scoparium (manuka oil) against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in cell culture. Planta Med. 2005 Dec;71(12):1123-7.
3. Schnitzler, P., Schuhmacher, A., Astani, A., and Reichling, J. Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses. Phytomedicine. 2008 Sep;15(9):734-40.
4. Hayashi, K., Kamiya, M., Hayashi, T. Virucidal effects of the steam distillate from Houttuynia cordata and its components on HSV-1, influenza virus, and HIV. Planta Med. 1995 Jun;61(3):237-41.
5. Xie, Y., Lu, W., Cao, S., Jiang, X., Yin, M., and Tang, W. Preparation of bupleurum nasal spray and evaluation on its safety and efficacy. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006 Jan;54(1):48-53.

>> For information about organic essential oils, click here

>> To learn more about aromatherapy classes, click here

Friday, September 18, 2009

Aromatic Journey in the Eastern Mediterranean

BY Dorene Petersen, ACHS President

Chios's aromatic mastic gum oozes silently and slowly from the wounds cut into the Mastic tree trunk and forms droplets. Diamond-like droplets fall to the ground and collect beneath the tree. Sparkling with a clear brilliance when the sun hits them, they lie on the ground protected from the soil and debris by a layer of white clay tamped down and flattened to form a table-like surface until they harden and are gathered. The white clay placed under the tree keeps it clean and transparent and is called a trapezi or table. One-thousand tons of kaolin is used per year on Chios to make the white tables under the mastic trees.

My husband Robert Seidel from The Essential Oil Company and I have sailed to the eastern Mediterranean beating into the meltemi wind howling from the northwest to visit the Greek island of Chios. We are on a mission to learn as much as we can about the Chios mastic tree and understand how the now European Union-protected Chios mastic gum is harvested. We have had the great fortune to meet two experts, John Perikos, author of many books including The Chios Gum Mastic, and Vassilis Ballas, who along with his wife Roula moved to Chios from Athens to become a mastic farmer and to provide ecotours of the mastic fields amongst other fascinating things. They have established a company called "masticculture".

John and Vassilis kindly spend time with us and share the mastic gum process and their vast knowledge, much of which is handed down verbally. Vassilis drives us around the island sharing all the secret fascinating places, which are tourist destinations, but so strangely signposted we miss them when driving ourselves. Vassilis takes us out into the mastic fields so we can experience the aromatic trees and the gathering process first hand.

Mastic gum must coagulate before it is collected. There are two major collection dates. One starts around August 15th and the other September 15th. The area under the tree is swept with a regular broom and the entire collection is picked up and put in a sack. The sacks are taken back to the village (originally by donkey, but now in a strange-looking vehicle that resembles a lawn mower on wheels with a truck-bed addition in the rear). They say you can tell a mastic grower by the vehicle and we see a determined old lady, her head wrapped tightly in a white scarf, driving a bunch of what could have been her grandkids through the town of Prygi, one of the quaint medieval mastic villages in one of these converted lawn mowers. The sacks of mastic harvest contain lots of soil and debris, as well as the gum, and they sit until October or November when the mastic gum cleaning process begins. The sacks are emptied into half barrels full of water. The leaves float and are collected with a sieve and put aside. The remaining material is left in the water for three days. Calcium carbonate is added to the water changing the density and the mastic gum floats to the surface. The mastic is skimmed off and sorted. Gum must be refrigerated if it is stored before being delivered to the cooperative, which is in Chios town.

The Cooperative sorts the mastic again. This time women clad in pretty pale-blue smocks with matching hair coverings, and all wearing latex gloves, sit around a large table covered in mastic tears and with speed and dexterity using a small sharp pointed knife blade they cut away impurities and they "pick" through the gum, sorting it by size and color. Here also is a computer which analyzes quality by passing it through a light box that checks the color clarity and can also give an average size for payment. All mastic gum gathered must be sold to the Cooperative. The Cooperative was started in 1938. Mastic producers must sell to the cooperative and even if they want to make their own product they must sell the gum and then buy it back. The Cooperative has stabilized prices and has done a lot to promote Mastic gum with exports of Chios Gum mastic increasing considerable over the years since it was formed. The new chain of Gum Mastica boutiques one of which recently opened in New York is the brainchild of the commercial division of the Cooperative. [...]

You may wonder why mastic produces this wonderful therapeutic gum. The mastic is said to be in the tree to protect it. Vasillis says, "You can take the same tree and plant it in Sweden and it will not produce mastic". The mastic gum from Chios has been granted protection by the European Union with designations such as PDO - Protected Designation of Origin; PGI- Protected Geographical Indication and TSG Traditional Specialty Guaranteed. Only the Chios gum mastic has these designations.

>> To learn more about mastic and download mastic recipes and formulas, click here. Or, go to and click on News and Events.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Going Green: E-tips for Aromatherapy Awareness

By Kayla Fioravanti, Registered Aromatherapist
Back to School with Aromatherapy

Every school year I add another essential oil to my arsenal of therapies I use to deal with the "sickies and ickies" that the kids pick up at school. My kids are totally healthy all summer long but once they hit the classroom it seems the germs accumulate overnight. With aromatherapy we encounter less and less sick days as the years go on. There are several lines of defense that a mother can take. It takes a combination of being proactive and reactive to get through a school year successfully.

Back to school haircuts is the first indicator that it is time to add Tea Tree essential oil to the kids shampoo for lice prevention, because prevention is the best medicine for lice. My family has witnessed a lot of head lice outbreaks, but we have avoided being involved by adding just 1-2 drops of Tea Tree essential oil per ounce of shampoo and conditioner. In addition, whenever there is an outbreak at school I always make sure to apply Tea Tree through their hair. I simply get a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil onto my finger tips and run my hands through their hair from root to tip. [...]

Avoiding illness is critical for our children because they suffer from asthma. Any respiratory ailment sends their asthma into overdrive. Treating the air in our car and home for their asthma relief has become common place in our household. I developed the essential oil blend Breathe Green using Sweet Basil, Rosemary, Laurel leaf, Peppermint, Ginger, Eucalyptus, Ravensara and Lemon to respond to their immune and respiratory needs. A few days after I first blended Breathe Green I dispersed it into the car and successfully averted an Emergency Room trip. That was my first indicator that I was onto something with the Breathe Green blend. Last school year we used it in combination with asthma medications to successfully avoid respiratory infections, urgent care and emergency trips which had been the norm in the past.

On the first day of school I always carry a bottle of lavender with me to school. Everyone knows me as the aromatherapy lady so no one questions my lavender scented hand coming to touch the head of their teary anxiety ridden child. A simple method of helping moms and kids who are struggling with separation anxiety is to hand them a tissue with subtle scents of Lavender transferred from your fingers. It works every time not only does the Lavender calm the child but the interruption of the crisis helps to dissipate anxiety.

>> Want more information about aromatherapy? Check out our Introduction to Aromatherapy classes

>> Read Kayla's full-length article on the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy blog

Friday, September 04, 2009

Natural PerfumeMaking with Essential Oils

BY Dorene Petersen, ACHS President

Looking for a natural perfume? A fragrance that does not contain a collection of synthetic chemicals, which place a burden on your liver and other detoxifying organs. Wander through any perfume counter at the local department store and your olfactory system is bombarded with aromas. Some have names you recognize like gardenia, jasmine, or even rose. But, if you take a closer look at these perfume formulas, it is unlikely you will find anything resembling plant-sourced material even though they may use the term “natural” or “nature identical.” Don’t be fooled. These terms do not mean the perfume was blended from essential oils or absolutes, which are all distilled, expressed, or dissolved from plant leaves, flowers, stems, roots, or seeds in a solvent base.

Unlike perfumes made from plant-based materials, most perfume counter perfumes are made from a combination of synthetic chemicals, derived from petroleum. These ingredients allow perfumers to create an array of fragrances that are either unavailable or difficult to obtain in nature. Of course they are less expensive, too.

However, there is growing public awareness about the relationship between synthetic ingredients—potential toxins—and health challenges. To maintain optimal health, natural perfume blending is a healthy green alternative. These perfumes are made from high-quality essential oils, which are known to have therapeutic health benefits and are truly natural. In this context, the term “natural” refers to plant-sourced perfumes. The plants are grown or wildcrafted naturally and, preferably, grown organically (without synthetic pesticides) and sustainably whenever possible.

>>To read the full-length article and more articles from the Aromatherapy Registration Council newsletter, CLICK HERE

>> To learn more about natural products manufacturing and aromatherapy, check out the American College website

Friday, August 21, 2009

United Aromatherapy Effort to Expand Focus of Disaster Relief to Military

Founder and Director of the United Aromatherapy Effort, Inc. Sylla Sheppard-Hanger is spearheading a new campaign to refocus the energies of the UAE to include our military personnel who are currently at war, serving overseas and here in America.

The United Aromatherapy Effort would like to see all military personnel and their families receive emotional and physical support through aromatherapy, massage, and other modalities. Sheppard-Hanger is looking to "go big" and partner the UAE with the United Service Organizations (USO). The goal is to provide our troops with comforts of home away from home.

This UAE and USO partnership could involve teams or individuals that offer seated massage, aromatherapy, and other services in Veterans Hospitals, Military Centers, or Family Support Centers. The USO makes uso2go kits and the UAE is looking at putting something together with a couple of blends for stress, fatigue, focus, etc.

The UAE needs your ideas and input to establish what items might be most viable for such a kit. To contact the UAE, email Sylla Sheppard-Hanger at or

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AHPA Adopts Trade Requirement on Labeling of Undiluted Essential Oils

The American Herbal Products Association's (AHPA) Board of Trustees recently adopted a trade requirement to support the safe-use and proper-identification of undiluted essential oils used topically and offered for retail sale.

The trade requirement, which AHPA members must come into compliance with by Jan. 9, 2010, requires that undiluted essential oils offered for retail sale and intended for topical use include all of the following information or statements on package labels:
  • "Keep out of reach of children" or significantly similar cautionary language
  • "External Use Only," "Not for Internal Use," "Not for Ingestion" or significantly similar cautionary language
  • "Keep away from eyes and mucous membranes" or significantly similar cautionary language
  • The Latin name of the plant from which the essential oil is derived
  • Identification of the plant part from which the essential oil is derived
Developed by a working group of AHPA's Botanical Personal Care Products Committee, composed of both AHPA member companies and non-member companies involved in the trade of essential oils, the trade requirement is intended to help educate industry and promote the responsible sale and use of undiluted essential oils intended for topical use and sold at retail. The labeling requirement does not address synthetic fragrances, which are not, in fact, essential oils.

All of AHPA's trade requirements and guidance policies are available on AHPA's Web site.

International Fragrance Association wants to ban melissa, rose, oak moss, and bergamot

By Rhavda Cooper Emison

Today in the aromatherapy community we have a "call to arms" in facing another challenge with the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) due to the IFRA imposing more and more unfair, ungrounded regulations worldwide on what can and cannot be used in the perfume/fragrance world. Melissa, Rose, Oak Moss, and Bergamot are just a few of the essential oils that the IFRA wants to remove from our use in not only the perfume/fragrance industry but also in the aromatherapy world.

The IFRA is continuously and quickly taking away our rights and freedoms in choosing what natural products are best for us to use in our businesses. The loss of our rights and freedoms impacts all of us. Whatever IFRA's true agenda for removing our choices to grow, manufacture, and buy natural products is yet to be fully seen but the main causes are suspected to be power, money, and greed. IFRA is placing its interests above the interests of the community that it is supposed to protect.

According to Tony Burfield of CropWatch and Safety Advisor to NAHA, he used to support the IFRA until the time of the 40th Amendment. At that point, Tony believed that the IFRA started to put the interests of its composite career toxicologists over and above its function of a balanced safety policy-making unit for the fragrance industry based on the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials' (RIFM) research. The other point is that IFRA's large budget allows it to carry out a certain amount of research on essential oil toxicology and their findings and policies greatly influence safety legislators and officials throughout the world. Unfortunately there is no similarly-financed independent organization able to monitor or carry out counter-research where needed.

I have been involved with aromatherapy (AT) for over 25 years. I have seen many things come and go but I have been surprised by the tenacity and staying power of the IFRA with their current agenda. I expected them to go away after a while and leave the natural products/fragrance world alone but they haven't. Melissa (Melissa officinalis) essential oil is their latest victim on their "hit list" of essential oils to destroy.

Effect on the Entire Aromatherapy Community

In my opinion, the IFRA is smart in that they are going after the perfume/fragrance community first. This community has the most to lose from the ban on using certain essential oils (eos) along with other natural products. For this article, I will be in reference to only a few of the essential oils on the IFRA's "hit list" such as Rose, Melissa, Oak Moss, Bergamot, etc. By going after the community that has the most to lose, the IFRA will cause the biggest and harshest impact. With the removal of certain essential oils that have been used safely for centuries in the perfume/fragrance industry, the IFRA will cause it's biggest ripple effect in the supply chain yet. This ripple effect will trickle down to you and me when certain essential oils become unavailable for us to use in our AT businesses. If the perfume/fragrance industry decides to comply and bow down to the IFRA, then the IFRA will have successfully killed the perfumery/fragrance industry as we know it today. This, in turn, will create a vacuum in the demand for certain essential oils. Growers will quit growing certain herbs and flowers for the manufacturers to manufacture into essential oils and the suppliers then will be unable to purchase the essential oils for resale to the perfume/fragrance industry. That in turn, can put us all out of business, folks. No products, no industry. No money. You will have to find another job to earn your living. I, for one, don't want to do this. I have been an aromatherapist for too many years now to want to change professions. What about you? Are you willing to be forced into changing professions? I hope not.

What We Can Do

What can we do about this? Become pro-active. Support Tony Burfield and CropWatch, which monitor IFRA continuously. Write your congressman and senator. Tell them how you feel about the possibility of an EU organization putting you out of a job. Don't sit on your laurels and wait for someone else to do something. Become pro-active NOW and before it is too late. Take Action. Research. Read. This is your business. Do you want to LOSE IT? I think NOT! I am already Pro-Active but I am only one person. Come and join me in saving our Aromatherapy community. I can't do this alone and neither can NAHA nor any other aromatherapy organization. It will take all of us joining together to make a difference.

To learn more about the original announcement on the Unfair Treatment of Melissa Oil visit To learn more about Tony Burfield, click here.

Cropwatch Disclaimer
Cropwatch has presented information and formed opinions from what has been believed to be current and reliable sources. The data is supplied without warranty, expressed or implied, regarding the potential use of any materials described in these opinions. It is the users responsibility to determine the safe conditions for use of these materials, and to assume liability for loss, injury, damage of expense arising from their improper use.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Essential oils for pain relief

By Shellie Enteen, BA, LMT

Working with essential oils requires an understanding of the physiological properties, methods of delivery, safety issues such as skin sensitization and contraindication, as well as the "subtle" aspect which includes the effect on the mind, emotions and spirit. Once again, I invite and encourage those readers who have not seen my earlier columns to search the archives for basic information on methods and safe use of essential oils and a discussion of subtle aromatherapy.

When it comes to pain relief, aromatherapy recognizes that there are different ways to approach. For example, there are specific essential oils recommended for headache pain if the headache is caused by stress, by overindulging, by withheld anger, and so on. In the same way, muscle or joint pain could require nerve sedation, warming through increased circulation, removing inflammation and/or toxins, or a combination of these and other aspects.

Massage therapists should be well-equipped to determine the physical cause and description of the client's pain, which makes selecting the right essence easy if you know its physiological properties.

Understanding the mental and emotional state of the client in regard to the pain or in their current life experience will add the ability to select essences based on the subtle properties. For example, a pain blend for someone who has had a sports injury would be different than one for someone going through a difficult divorce. The most effective blend addresses both physical and subtle influences. Topical application in massage or bath is suggested, but relief through inhaling diffused blends has also been reported. Essential oils have been seen to have an almost immediate effect on muscle tissue augmented by manipulation through massage.

Musculoskeletal pain can be effectively reduced through using analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, detoxifying, and rubefacient essential oils.

Analgesic Essential Oils
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus ), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana), Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) are common analgesic essential oils. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is an essence more frequently used in the East. Earlier articles have explored the properties of the commonly used essences. Of these, Chamomile, Lavender and Marjoram are also a sedative, while Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Thyme are considered stimulants.

A lesser known stimulant is Turmeric. A native of South Asia, Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as an herb in cooking and as medicine. The yellow powder is an ingredient in many curries. Current research indicates that Turmeric has a strong antioxidant property that makes it an herb that may prevent and assist disease and aging issues. It belongs to the ginger family and the powder and essential oil is obtained from the thick rhizome (root). In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, Turmeric is used to treat flatulence, colic, abdominal pain, liver disorder, menstrual issues, hemorrhage, bruises, sores, and toothache as well as chest and shoulder pain. Because of its analgesic, anti-arthritis, anti-inflammatory, choleric, digestive, and rubefacient properties, aromatherapists use Turmeric for arthritis, rheumatism, digestive problems, and liver congestion.

Research has shown that Turmeric can stop the proliferation of laboratory strains of melanoma. (Read Farida Irani 2008 article "Turmeric" in Aromatherapy Journal, the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) e-Journal.) Turmeric is said to be non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing.

Anti-inflammatory Essential Oils
German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), also known as Everlasting, Turmeric (Curcuma longa), and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) bring down swelling and are appropriate choices for osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, strains and sprains where inflammation is present. Both German Chamomile and Yarrow are deep blue.

Treatment Blends for Pain

Diluted into 1 oz carrier oil, based only on analgesic and anti-inflammatory physiological properties a treatment blend for inflamed, painful joints or strained muscles and back pain might include the following:

Inflamed, Painful Joints
Chamomile 1 drop
Marjoram 5 drops
Rosemary 3 drops
Turmeric 1 drop

Strained Muscles and Back Pain
Lavender 6 drops
Eucalyptus 1 drop
Peppermint 2 drops
Helichrysum 1 drop

These blends contain both sedative and stimulant essences, but a greater number of drops of sedative oils create an overall relaxing effect.

This information is not intended to diagnose or take the place of professional healthcare. Please consult your health care practitioner if you are pregnant or have been diagnosed with any serious healthcare problems. Keep all aromatherapy products out of reach of children. Do not get near eyes. If essential oils get in the eyes, flush with water and seek proper healthcare advice. Before using essential oils and aromatherapy products please consult with a professional aromatherapist.

This article first appeared in MassageToday:

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to make lavender wands from fresh lavender

Lavender lovers came from near and far for the 7th annual ACHS Lavender Open House held at the College campus in SW Portland on July 17. Participants were treated to a series of lavender-themed workshops that ranged from the practical to the scientific, including making natural lavender products to differentiating lavender varieties.

As the culmination of the workshop activities, participants headed into the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden to harvest their own lavender Lavandula angustifolia for drying and making into lavender wands.

Look for a video of the day's events on ACHStv, the ACHS YouTube channel, soon.

In the meantime, here is some information about making your own lavender wands. If you live in the Portland area, harvest your own fresh lavender at the ACHS campus Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. If you're not in Portland, Oregon, find a U-Pick in your area at

Materials Needed
  • 13 stems of fresh lavender (or any odd number larger than 13)--each at least 12-inches tall.
  • 3 yards of satin or other ribbon, ¼-inches wide.
  • Patience... allow yourself about 40 minutes to do your first wand. Be very forgiving of yourself... like all skills, this one improves with practice.
1. Strip all the leaves from the stem. The suppleness of the stem is important to the success of wand making. Harvest the lavender early in the day, and make sure that the flowers are not damp.

2. Line up the bottom of the flower heads and tie them gently together with the end of the 3 yards of ribbon.

3. Turn the bundle upside down and gently bend each stem down around the blossom heads. You can facilitate this step by scoring the underside of the stem section that is being bent with your fingernail. When all of the blossoms are “in the cage of stems”, the long end of the ribbon should be pulled out of the cage, the short end tucked inside.

4. Line up all of the stems evenly around the blossoms, making sure that they do not overlap.

5. Start to weave the ribbon under and over the stems. Gently pull on the ribbon to make sure the weave is tight. The most difficult part of this process is in the first two rows of the weaving. On the second row you should be going under the stems that you had gone over on the first row.

6. Continue weaving until you have covered all the flowers. You can use a stem of lavender to push any buds that stick out back into the weave or rub them off. Wrap the ribbon around the “neck” of the wand and tie a slip knot.

7. Trim the stems to the same length and continue to wrap the stems until you reach the end. Use a rubber band to secure the ribbon to the end of the stem. After the stem has dried and shrunk, you can rewrap the ribbon and glue the ends.

>> To learn more about lavender, or herbal medicine or aromatherapy classes, visit the American College of Healthcare Sciences website.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ACHS lavender distillation yields 30 mls of essential oil

On June 30 ACHS held a public distillation of lavender from the botanical teaching garden. About a dozen community members helped College President Dorene Petersen with the distillation, including harvesting the lavender from the garden.

Historically, lavender Lavandula angustifolia has been used to relieve stress and its effects, including insomnia and anxiety, and to generally aid relaxation. It can also be used around the home as an effective deodorizer and air freshener, in closets and drawers as a natural insecticide, and as a perfume.

Lavender oil is colorless, pale-yellow or yellowish-green oil. It must be stored at cool temperatures in well-filled, airtight containers, and protected from light.

>>To sample the lavender essential oil from the ACHS distillation, check out the Apothecary Shoppe College Store for your free sample.

>>To see more pictures from the ACHS lavender distillation, friend us on Facebook.

>>To watch the ACHS lavender harvest and distillation, visit our Youtube channel, ACHStv.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ACHS raises lavender awareness by sponsoring educational events

The American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) will host two educational events in July to raise awareness about the benefits of growing lavender and its applications.

Lavender Distillation on Sunday, July 12, 2009, will take place at Sherwood Lavender Farm, owned by ACHS Senior Vice President Erika Yigzaw. Participants will learn about the benefits of lavender for small agriculture and its many by-products. Master Distiller Robert Seidel from The Essential Oil Company and ACHS President Dorene Petersen will also lead a class about lavender distillation, including an introduction to essential oil and aromatherapy, the art and science of using volatile plant oils to promote health and relaxation. Lavender Distillation runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Call (503) 244-0726 for directions.

U-Pick Lavender on Friday, July 17, 2009, is an opportunity for the community to explore the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden and to learn more about urban gardens. Visitors will also learn about the properties and holistic health applications of lavender while they harvest fresh lavender from the Garden ($6 per lavender bunch or 2 bunches for $10). U-Pick Lavender runs 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the ACHS campus in John’s Landing, 5940 SW Hood Ave., Portland.

The Lavender Distillation at Sherwood Lavender Farm on July 12 has a materials fee of $35. U-Pick Lavender on July 17 is free to attend. Both events require RSVP. Call (503) 244-0726 or email to reserve your space.

For a complete list of community education events sponsored by ACHS, visit and click on Community Wellness Classes. The American College of Healthcare Sciences is the only DETC accredited, fully online college offering degrees, professional diplomas, and career-training certificates in Complementary Alternative Medicine.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Receive a free gift from the Apothecary Shoppe

You've been selected to receive a free gift! Discover the soothing properties of therapeutic grade rosemary essential oil with this special Free Gift with Purchase offer.

Receive a free vial of ACHS distilled rosemary essential oil with any purchase made June 23-29, 2009*. Click here to add this promotion to your cart!

Hand-harvested from the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden, this rosemary essential oil was distilled to maintain the highest quality of anti-inflammatory ester borneol acetate.

When used topically, rosemary essential oil also is attributed with antibacterial, antiseptic, and stimulant properties. When used as an aromatic--inhaled or diffused into the air--it is known for its nervine (sedative) properties.

You will receive this spray-free, undiluted, therapeutic grade essential oil with any purchase placed through the Apothecary Shoppe from June 23-29. Add this promotion to your cart.

*Offer good through Monday, June 29, 2009, or while supplies last. Additional student or graduate discounts do not apply. Cannot be combined with other offers. Available in-store, online, and orders by phone. Not available retroactively. No cash refunds.

To watch the rosemary harvest and distillation featuring ACHS President Dorene Petersen, check out ACHStv YouTube link here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Slim down with scent?

Like almost every dieter in America, Wendy Bassett has used all sorts of weight-loss products. Nothing worked, she said, until she tried Sensa: granules she scatters on almost everything she eats, and which are supposed to make dieters less hungry by enhancing the smell and taste of food.

“Every time I touch a piece of food, I pour it on,” said Ms. Bassett, 34, an accountant in Tyler, Tex. She has been using Sensa since February. So far, she said, she has lost 30 pounds.

The maker of Sensa claims that its effectiveness is largely related to smell: the heightened scent and flavor of food that has been sprinkled with Sensa stimulate the olfactory bulb — the organ that transmits smell from the nose to the brain — to signal the “satiety center” of the hypothalamus. Hormones that suppress appetite are then released.

But can the manipulation of smell really lead to weight loss? A handful of niche products would have you believe just that.

In addition to Sensa, which has been available since last summer, there is SlimScents, aromatherapy diet pens filled with fruity or minty odors; a peppermint spray called Happy Scent; and the vanilla-doused Aroma Patch, which you wear on your hand, wrist or chest.

Last month, Compellis Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Mass., began human trials on a nasal spray designed to do the opposite of what Sensa does: to curb the appetite by blocking rather than enhancing smell.

“Eighty percent of what you perceive as taste is actually smell,” said Christopher Adams, a molecular biologist and the company’s founder. “The hypothesis is that if we can alter your sense of smell we can make food less palatable, because the hedonic effect — that is, the pleasurable effect you get from eating chocolate — won’t be there.”

Using smell to manipulate appetite may be an appealing premise, but only a few studies have been conducted, and some experts have doubts.

Click here to read the full length article.

© Abby Ellin, The New York Times, June 17, 2009:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Pine essential oil may be natural insect repellent

As the weather warms, we spend more and more time outside. Whether you have a family camping trip planned, or just plan to hang out in your backyard, mosquitoes can make outdoor living pretty uncomfortable. However, there is another reason to use insect repellent. "Human diseases caused by blood-feeding ticks and mosquitoes represent a serious threat to public health worldwide," according to the website

Agricultural Research Service scientists have discovered that a naturally-occurring compound made from pine oil seems to deter the biting of mosquitoes more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent DEET.

"Many natural-product chemicals isolated from plants and essential oils have proven to have repellent effects," reports the article "Tick and Mosquito Repellent Can Be Made Commercially From Pine Oil." "This newly-discovered repellent can be prepared inexpensively from pine oil feedstock in ton quantities for large-scale commercial applications, giving it a significant advantage over many of the other natural-product repellent chemicals."

In the meantime, however, pine Pinus sylvestris essential oil has been shown to have natural insecticide properties. The essential oil has a sweet, woody fragrance with a somewhat balsamic undertone, which sweetens as it evaporates. Used externally, the Recommended Daily Dose is 1-3 drops, or diffuse into the air.

*A skin patch test is recommended. Avoid use on sensitive or damaged skin.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama sees alternative medicine as a practical avenue for prevention

During an April 29 Town Hall meeting in Arnold, MO, President Barack Obama said, "We should do what works," expressing his openness to including complementary alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. healthcare system.

Obama went on to say, “I think it is pretty well documented through scientific studies that acupuncture, for example, can be very helpful in relieving certain things like migraines and other ailments—or at least as effective as more intrusive interventions.”

According to a press release on the Nutraceuticals World website, "The response followed a question posed by a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist, who asked the president how alternative medicine would fit into his new healthcare system."

The press release goes on to say:

"'I think one basic principle that we know is that the more we do on the prevention side, the more we can obtain serious savings down the road,” he added after commenting directly on acupuncture. President Obama also stressed the importance of changing the current logic of the healthcare system, which focuses only on reducing costs in the near-term.

“Reimbursement for healthcare provided by CAM practitioners not only would support the health of the public,” said Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association, Silver Spring, MD, “it represents a significant opportunity for products used and prescribed by CAM practitioners and a major step forward in the development of an innovative and wellness-based healthcare system.'"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day is a celebration of life and health

In honor of Earth Day, a celebration of life and health, ACHS wants to support your choice to live well. Now through April 26, 2009, we are offering 20% off your entire purchase of earth friendly products made through the ACHS Apothecary Shoppe College Store.

When you purchase sustainable products, you protect the environment, but you also take a further step toward protecting your personal health. Help your body to thrive. Purchase organic, spray and synthetic-free products whenever possible.

Stock up on EcoCert organic, sustainably wildcrafted herbs and essential oils, do-it-yourself natural body care kits, health reference texts, flower essences, gardening supplies, and a wide variety of holistic health resources.

Did you know...
In 1970, 20 million celebrated the first Earth Day. Founded by John Gardener, Founder of Common Cause, Earth Day started as a grassroots celebration of the planet, which continues today.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Reduce stress at home with essential oils

Aromatherapy is a very effective tool for stress management. But, if you’re on the go, it can be a challenge to schedule time for a relaxing aromatherapy bath or to blend your own soothing essential oil scent. Don’t worry. Incorporating essential oils into your busy lifestyle is easier than you may think.

Here are four tips for using essential oils at home. They’re simple. They’re effective. And above all, they’re relatively inexpensive. Use essential oils while:

1. Cleaning.
Place two or three essential oils drops onto your vacuum cleaner’s filter pad, and the inhale the fresh aroma as you do your cleaning. Essential oils known for their energizing properties include: bergamot, eucalyptus, and grapefruit.

2. Room freshener.
To keep the aroma fresh and alive, place a few drops of essential oil directly into a light bulb scent ring. These rings are easy to find at most local grocery or drug stores. Essential oils known for their calming properties include: chamomile, lavender, and neroli.

3. Laundry.
Replace your synthetically fragranced detergent with a fragrance-free, natural variety. Then add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice to the wash cycle. Essential oils known for their stress-relief properties include: anise, jasmine, and sandalwood.

4. Drains.
To clear musty smells from around the home, add a few drops of essential oil to drains, the bottom of trashcans, and the inside of toilet paper rolls. Essential oils known for their antibacterial properties include: cedarwood, peppermint, and tea tree.

To learn more about aromatherapy diffusers, click here. For a selection of certified organic, therapeutic essential oils, click here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lemon hand and nail butter keeps the gardener's hands fresh

Lemon hand and nail butter keeps the gardener's hands fresh

Working in the garden often means a lot of digging, soil work, and exposure to water. Taken separately, these garden tasks can be very rewarding. But together, they can wreak havoc on your hands.

It may be the price you pay for a lush garden and fresh fruits and veggies, but overdried or cracked skin can be painful. Keep your hands in mint condition with this recipe for lemon essential oil hand and nail butter.

Lemon Citrus limonum essential oil is a pale-yellow color and has a light, though fresh aroma. As an aromatherapy oil, lemon essential oil, when inhaled, has a soothing effect. When applied topically, such as in the hand and nail butter recipe below, lemon essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties.

To keep your hands healthy, moisturized, and active in the garden, try this all-natural, do-it-yourself lemon hand and nail butter recipe. (This recipe can also be used to soften chapped lips, and rough knees, elbows, and feet.)

For free aromatherapy and natural body care downloads, visit the Apothecary Shoppe.

Beeswax 1-T Cocoa butter 2-T. Sweet almond oil 4-T Lanolin, anhydrous 1-T
Lemon essential oil 50- drops

In a small saucepan over low heat or in a double boiler, warm all ingredients, except the lemon essential oil until the wax and cocoa butter are just melted. Remove from heat and stir a few times to blend. Add essential oil, stir, and pour into container(s). Cover container(s) lightly with a paper towel, and cap when cooled. Leave the butter at room temperature for 12 hours prior to use to allow cocoa butter to set up completely. The finished formula should have a soft paste wax consistency. It requires no refrigeration, but for maximum potency and reshness, use within one year. Store in plastic or glass jars or tins. Yields approximately 1/2-cup.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Problems with air travel use homeopathic Rhus tox

Homeopathy is based on the Law of Similars, or “like cures like.” In other words, homeopathics are minute doses of medicines, which, if given in larger doses, would produce similar symptoms to what the client is already suffering from.

However, in small doses, homeopathics have been shown to cure what they also cause. When homeopathic medicines are tested on healthy humans, symptoms appear. This is known as a “ medicine induced state of disease,” and the symptoms can be related to the symptoms of many natural disease states, whether of an emotional or physiological nature, or a mixture of both.

A homeopathic practitioner, then, is trained to link the natural disease state with homeopathic medicines, and to choose a homeopathic which, in minute doses, will relieve the specific symptoms of their client and bring about a curative effect.

Did you know...homeopathics are:
  • Natural and holistic medicines
  • Effective in crisis situations (In 1801, Hahnemann, the Father of Homeopathy, used Belladonna to treat and prevent scarlet fever.)
  • Fast-acting for trauma situations, both emotional and physical
Homeopathy Travel Tip: The homeopathic Rhus tox has been shown effective for use with air travel, especially when there is nausea.

For more information about at-home use of homeopathy, check out Homeopathic Self-care by naturopathic doctors Robert and Judyth Reichenberg-Ulman.

World Homeopathy Awareness Week, April 10-16, is sponsored by the World Homeopathy Awareness Organization to create an international network of support for homeopathy and homeopathic practitioners. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How-to aromatic massage guide and recipes

Our sense of smell not only helps to protect us, it is also one of the ways we communicate. Therefore, blending smell with touch massage can create a very romantic and intimate experience.

To create a sensual atmosphere:
1. Create a private space.
2. Fill your space with your favorite colors and fabrics, including pillows and/or blankets.
3. Minimize outside noise.
4. Details: relaxing music, aromatherapy candles, and fresh flowers.

To enhance aromatic massage:
1. Diffuse the essential oil of your choice into the room (essential oils can also be added directly into massage oils and bath water; see the recipes below).
2. Focus on comfort and intent.
3. Communicate through all of your senses; don’t focus on conversation only.
4. Play. Laugh. Enjoy yourself.

Aromatic Massage Recipes

For massage, essential oils are best added into a base oil like jojoba, almond, or avocado.

1. Basic Massage Oil
Sweet almond oil: 4-oz
Rose Rosa damascena oil: 1-2-drops
Jasmine Jasmine grandiflorum: 1-2-drops

2. Rose Water Ointment
Sweet almond oil: 1-oz
Beeswax: ½-oz
Rose water: 7-oz
Rose Rosa damascena: 8-drops

Melt the beeswax and almond oil over a water bath. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. Beat in the rose water until the ointment emulsifies, and then add the 8-drops of rose essential oil.

Once relaxed head to toe, follow your sensuous massage with another sensory indulgence:

Chocolate, best shared by two.

1. Liquid Chocolate (makes four servings)*
3-T unsweetened cocoa powder
Stevia: 10-drops
Pinch of salt
3-cups 1% milk
½-t vanilla extract
Ice cubes

Instructions: Slowly warm the milk on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent scalding. In a medium bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, Stevia, and salt. Slowly pour in 1-cup of the milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining 2-cups of the milk and vanilla. Fill four 8-oz mugs with Liquid Chocolate and serve warm.

For a taste of the exotic (and increased libido), add cinnamon to flavor, or add a few drops of rose essential oil.

CLICK HERE to download a free aromatherapy ambiance blend recipe.

*Recipe provided by ACHS graduate Maureen Jeanson, author of Squeaky Gourmet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

5 stress-relief tips to protect your health

For some people exercise is relaxation. It is difficult to worry and fret about the mistakes and decisions of the day when you are coordinating arms and legs in a dance movement or running that extra mile up a hill. What’s more, relaxation is doing something you enjoy, absorbing yourself in the moment, and nothing else.

Emotional and mental relaxation is as fundamental to your health program as the food you put into your mouth. Do not neglect this aspect of your health regime, regardless of how busy you are.

For easy, at-home, do-it-yourself stress relief and health support, try these techniques:

1. Diffuse your favorite essential oils in your office and home. Lavender, neroli, and anise are pleasant, yet effective stress-reducing aromas.

2. Soak in a fragrant bath, scented with lavender or rose essential oils. Play some relaxing music, light an aromatherapy candle, read a book, and relax. Remember not to have the water too hot, and add the essential oils just before you get in, as they evaporate quickly.

3. Eat a good meal full of fresh vegetables and health-supporting herbs, like rosemary, which enlivens both the senses and digestion.

4. Remember to enjoy life. Do something fun: Walk in the park, watch a comedy, or savor a great meal.

5. Every night, before you go to sleep, write down five things you are grateful for in your life that day.

CLICK HERE for a free download about the history of aromatherapy.

Rosemary is a natural antibacterial herb

Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is a needle-like evergreen with a camphor-like scent and a fresh, somewhat bitter taste. When used topically, rosemary has antibacterial, antiseptic, nervine (sedative), and stimulant properties, among others. As a culinary ingredient, rosemary imparts flavor and aroma, and helps to facilitate digestion.

In addition, Rosemary officinalis, is one of the earliest and most renowned of the English medicinal herbs. A powerful antibacterial herb, rosemary is often used in hair preparations and as an ingredient in soaps and toiletries and is best know as a memory and circulation support.

Discover the power of practicing sustainable wellness with simple solutions like adding herbs into your everyday diet.

Join our Herb of the Month Club and have high quality, organic, healing, therapeutic grade herbs delivered to our kitchen once a month. Each month an 8-oz package of the featured herb will automatically arrive, including an informational description of the herb and recipes and formulas to help promote your natural health lifestyle. Or, call (800) 487-8839 for information.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Aromatherapy Can Help PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event. Typically, this event threatens serious physical danger or involves physical violence. Following this experience, it would not be out of the ordinary for someone to feel scared, confused or angry. However, if these feelings continue long-term and become disruptive to your daily activities, you may be suffering from PTSD.

In a given year, about 7.7 million American adults suffer from PTSD. Although it was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, PTSD can result from common events, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or personal assault.

It is estimated that among veterans, the rate of PTSD is somewhere between 14 percent and 33 percent. Not every person who experiences a traumatic event will experience PTSD, and not every Soldier will either, but being aware of possible symptoms and stressors could help with treatment and prevention.

In the past, PTSD has commonly been treated with pharmaceuticals or some type of mood management therapy. Today, information about alternative treatments is becoming more widespread and research has substantiated the historical use of aromatherapy for depression. Why not for PTSD?

Aromatherapy means: the use of aromas for their healing properties. The documented use of essential oils goes back to Egyptian times, where herbs were burnt in public squares to purify the air. Today we know that lemon essential oil, for example, can be used to lift mild depression. We also know that aromatherapy is a natural, less invasive treatment for chronic afflictions. And compared to most pharmaceuticals, aromatherapy is typically less expensive and more accessible.

Many people with PTSD get better over time, but about 1 out of 3 experience PTSD as a recurring challenge. Use of aromatherapy has many advantages in these cases. If used correctly, they have minimal to no adverse effects when used over time. Aromatherapy is also a healthy alternative for those opposed to long-term use of prescription drugs, and essential oils, when diluted and applied to the skin (or inhaled), can be absorbed into the bloodstream for almost immediate results.

Essential oils are distilled directly from plants. The term “essential” is applied to these oils because they contain the fragrant part of the plant. Essential oils are powerful and concentrated. Many should not be applied to the skin in their undiluted form. Rather, essential oils should be diluted with almond or apricot oil, which lend additional nutrient and antioxidant health benefits.

Aromatherapy expert, Dorene Petersen, President of the Australasian College of Health Sciences, said her college store carries organic certified oils because “it’s important to have the highest quality oils available. Essential oils are extracted from plants, which absorb toxins in their environment. Certified organic essential oils are free of contaminants and pesticides; a purer oil means greater health benefits.”

When treating chronic challenges like PTSD, a consistent routine is important. The recommended solution is a combination of wellness protocols such as holistic nutrition and aromatherapy. A balanced, natural foods diet is the greatest tool we have to maintain healthy physical and psychological functions. When regularly added into the diet, aromatic herb plants that contain essential oils will boost immunity, circulation, and metabolism, among other things. For example, chamomile, which has been found to soothe low levels of stress and depression, can be made into a tea, and geranium, which is commonly used to stabilize emotions, can replace vanilla in baking recipes.

To complement a healthy diet, here are some suggestions for simple, yet effective uses of aromatherapy at home. First, undiluted essential oils can quickly be diffused into the air on a room-by-room basis. Second, you can drop essential oils directly into a relaxing bath or foot soak. (Some oils are more potent than others; until you know how the oil will react with your system, less is more.) Or, try replacing commercial cleaners and air fresheners with essential oils and sprinkling a few drops in and around drains, trashcans, and pillowcases.

Before using aromatherapy as a PTSD protocol, consult with a Registered Aromatherapist, which can be located through the Aromatherapy Registration Council Web site: www.

The Australasian College of Health Sciences is the only DETC-accredited, fully online college offering continuing education, certificate, diploma, and degree programs in complementary alternative medicine with aromatherapy and holistic health majors. For more information about aromatherapy and the college, visit

CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the complete article.

© 2009 Article originally appeared in the February edition of Military Spouse Magazine

Monday, January 05, 2009

Cajuput: Oil of the Month

Cajuput, Melaleuca leucadendron, is distilled from the leaves of the cajuput tree, and is known for its highly aromatic aroma. Full of stimulating properties, the aroma is similar to camphor or rosemary; the taste is bitter.

Traces of copper may be found in the oil, if it has a greenish tint. The oil should be stored in a colored bottle out of direct sunlight.

Therapeutic actions of cajuput include: antispasmodic, diaphoretic, stimulant, antiseptic, and anthelmintic. When diluted, according to the Recommended Daily Dose, and taken internally, the oil has a warming sensation, which can increase the pulse and perspiration. When applied externally, the oil is a stimulant and has a mild counter-irritant property. It is suggested that the oil be diluted in olive or similar base oil in a 1-part cajuput to 2-part oil ratio.

Cajuput is January’s featured essential oil for ACHS’s Oil of the Month Club. As member, each month you will receive 5 ml of the featured oil and an informational insert, as well as formulas and tips for healthy living. Oil of the Month is available through the Apothecary Shoppe at:

More hospitals offering CAM programs

Hospitals across the nation are responding to patient demand and integrating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) services with the conventional services they normally provide, according to the results of a new survey released [September 15, 2008] by Health Forum, a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association (AHA). The survey shows that more than 37 percent of responding hospitals indicated they offer one or more CAM therapies, up from 26.5 percent in 2005. Additionally, hospitals in the southern Atlantic states led the nation in offering CAM services to the patients they serve, followed by east north central states and those in the middle Atlantic.

CAM is not based solely on traditional western allopathic medical teachings, and can include acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, diet and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine, massage therapy and more. CAM services also reflect hospitals' desire to treat the whole person-body, mind, and spirit.

"Complementary and alternative medicine has shown great promise in supporting and stimulating healing," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "It's one of the many tools hospitals look to as they continue to create optimal healing environments for the patients they serve."

According to the survey, 84 percent of hospitals indicated patient demand as the primary rationale in offering CAM services and 67 percent of survey respondents stated clinical effectiveness as their top reason.

"Today's patients have better access to health information and are demanding more personalized care," said study author Sita Ananth. "The survey results reinforce the fact that patients want the best that both traditional and alternative medicine can offer."

Other survey results include:

* Massage therapy is in the top two services provided in both outpatient and inpatient settings;
* The majority of hospitals that offered CAM were urban hospitals (72 percent) and were medium-sized (100-299 beds); and
* Most CAM services are not reimbursable by insurance and are paid for out-of-pocket by patients.

The third biannual survey was mailed in November 2007 to 6,439 U.S. hospitals. The report is available online at or by calling (800) 242-2626.

© 2008 American Hospital Association: