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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