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Essential Oil History and the Safety Debate – Part 2, The Peppermint King of Kalamazoo

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Albert May Todd, from:The Todd Family in America by John Edwards Todd, 1920

 

Albert May Todd was born on June 3, 1850 in Joseph County, Michigan, near Nottawa.  He was the youngest of ten children born to  Alfred and Mary Ann Hovey Todd, who were farmers of Scotch ancestry.  The name Todd is derived from the Scottih word tod, meaning fox. This is represented by historic Todd famly crest which bears three fox heads and a fox running away with a goose and the motto “Oportet Vivere”, meaning “one must live (even if he has to steal for it)”.

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Todd Family Crest from: The Todd Family in America by John Edwards Todd, 1920

Later family members chose not to display this somewhat questionable motto and modified it to show  in addition to the three fox heads, simply a fox sitting rather than stealing a goose.

Albert’s father Alfred, was born in Marcellius, New York in 1799, and had moved his family to Michigan in 1835 when he purchased an 80 acre farm near the village of Nottawa.  At that time, the land was still thick, primeval forest which had to be cleared, and only about about 45 acres were suitable for growing crops.  However, the Todds were staunch Presbyterians and industrious farmers and supported their large family entirely with the produce of this little farm, which had to be drawn by horse and wagon sixty miles to the nearest railroad.

During his first few years of school, Albert walked a mile and a half every day to the little red schoolhouse near Nottawa.  Later a school was built on the Todd farm and he attended classes there in between the many chores and farm work that needed to be done.  He attended and graduated from high school in the little town of Sturgis, seven miles from his home.

After this, he joined with his next older brother Oliver, in cultivating and distilling peppermint oil. Peppermint had first been  introduced to St. Joseph County, Michigan by a Mr. Sawyer, who brought roots from Ohio in 1835.  He planted them on the White Pigeon Prairie, selling his operation to Glover & Earle the next year.  They continued for a time but the soil in this area proved not to be well suited for the peppermint crops.

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A.M. Todd Company Advertisement, from: Prices Current, Fuller & Fuller Co., Chicago, 1906-07

Another pair of brothers, Marshall and Orrin Craw, obtained peppermint roots about 1840 and introduced them to the oak openings in the northern part of the Florence township, where they grew quite well.  The peppermint business was then taken to a commercial level by John Smith and Harrison Ranney, two farmers who had gained experience in peppermint growing and distilling in  Wayne County, New York. H.G. Hotchkiss of Lyons, in Wayne County, New York  had taken steps in 1844 to establish a monopoly by paying farmers in New York and Michigan to limit their crops for several years.  After about three years, he had gained such a large fortune, he ceased to enforce it, and bought only from New York farmers.  This encouraged the Michigan farmers to expand production to the extent that by 1850, 100,000 to 150,000 pounds of peppermint were being produced win St. Joseph County alone, which more than all the rest of the crops in the world combined. Mr. Henry Hall of Three Rivers was the largest dealer at that time, with a 900 acre farm and four distilleries.

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Peppermint farm, St. Joseph County. From The Pharmaceuitcal Era, Vol IV, 1890

Young Albert Todd was fascinated by all of this and felt sure he could make a prosperous living.  He borrowed $100, and rented five acres from his father,  in partnership with his brother and established the A.M. Todd Company in 1869 when he was just 19 years old. The Todd brothers made enough money that by 1873, Albert was able to attend Northwestern University in Illinois for a time, where he studied chemistry. However, due to illness he was obliged to discontinue his studies and traveled to Europe to recuperate.

Evidently, the trip served Albert well, and he took advantage of the time to study Eureopean methods of peppermint cultivation and distillation.  Meanwhile, Oliver decided he did not wish to continue in the peppermint business and asked his brother to take it over, so Albert bought him out.  With the knowledge of chemistry he had learned while studying at college, and his observations while traveling in Europe, he set about planning to improve upon these crude methods and develop superior methods for cultivating and distilling the crop.  Albert went heavily in debt, and many laughed as he purchased 1400 acres of black, mucky swamp land for $25,000 to develop his new peppermint enterprise. Extensive work had to be done clearing the land of tangled wood-growth, stumps and roots, and miles of deep drainage ditches had to be dug.  And after all that, the land was still so boggy that the horses had to be fitted with strange, cumbersome, “bog shoes” in order to avoid sinking deeply into the mire.  These round, wooden contraptions about a foot in diameter, resembled snowshoes and were held on with straps.

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A.M. Todd Campania Peppermint Farm, Allegan County Michigan, 1640 acres.                    From Michigan Bureau of Labor Annual Report, 1903

Nevertheless, up to that time, the reputation of Michigan peppermint was not the best, so Albert had his work cut out for him, despite the large production.  Many farmers were not careful about weeding their crops which reduced the quality of the oil.  Adulteration was often practiced by diluting the peppermint oil with one third rectified spirits. Turpentine or pennyroyal was also sometimes used by unscrupulous dealers to extend the oils and increase their profits. The Hotchkiss brand continued to be the gold standard of purity in peppermint oil, and Albert set out to compete with this.

Over the next several years, Albert continued to add to his holdings.  He called his farm Campania, building it to 1640 acres, and keeping about half of it planted in peppermint.  He added huge barns, comfortable houses for himself and his employees with libraries and reading rooms, distilleries, warehouses, ice houses, windmills, and more, turning it into a small village.  Albert treated his employees kindly and fairly, feeling they would do better service, and this practice served him well. He then added a second farm, which he called Mentha, consisting of 2000 acres, and finally a 7000 acre farm farther north which was called the Sylvania Range.  Being thrifty, he made the land work for him, and raised a herd of 500 shorthorn cattle, letting them graze in summer, and feeding them mint hay during the winter months, a diet which they thrived upon.

Altogether, these farms totalled 10,640 acres, making the peppermint farms of A.M. Todd the largest in the world.  Like H.G. Hotchkiss had done, Albert obtained Black Mitcham peppermint root stock from England in 1883, and developed the black peppermint variety which yielded more oil.   Albert also developed refining and redistilling techniques.  His brand of Crystal White double distilled peppermint, which he patented in 1875, became well known and won many prizes.  These included a Gold Medals and diplomas at the United States Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876; the Chicago World’s Fair Exposition, 1893; the Paris World’s Fair Exposition, 1900; the Pan American World’s Fair Exposition in Buffalo, New York, 1901; and the St. Louis World’s Fair Exposition, 1904.

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From The Chemist and Druggist, July 1894

Albert was among the first to develop tests and standards to maintain the quality of his oils.  He also tested and exposed fraudulent oils, including some who attempted to forge his Crystal White peppermint oil. His Mentha farm developed into an entire small community of its own with school, store, and post office.  This rare video from the Kalamazoo Public Library  shows actual footage of the Mentha farm, and the planting, harvesting, and distilling of peppermint oil there.

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From American Druggist, December 1889

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From The Druggist’s Ready Reference, 1887

Meanwhile, Albert ran for Governor of Michigan in 1894 under the Prohibition Party, but was unsuccessful.  He tried in 1895 to fill a vacant seat in Congress during a special election, which was also unsuccessful, but finally won a Congressional seat on the Democratic ticket in 1896, serving until 1898, but failing to win reelection.  Over the years, he made  several trips to Europe, and in addition to carrying out details of his peppermint business, he also collected fine art, rare books, and other artifacts, collecting more than 10,000 pieces of memorabilia.

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Albert M. Todd for Congress. From Wikimedia Commons, U.S. Public Domain

By the time H.G. Hotchkiss died in 1897, Albert was poised to take the lead in the peppermint industry, and he came to be known as “The Peppermint King of Kalamazoo”.   The Hotchkiss brand maintained its stellar reputation and many of the European buyers, as well as pharmaceutical companies and other longstanding customers, chose to stay with it.  However, new  markets for peppermint oil in the flavor industry were expanding rapidly.  William Wrigley Jr. began marketing his famous DoubleMint gum, flavored with peppermint oil, and soon BeechNut, American Chicle, and other companies began selling widely popular gums and candies flavored with peppermint oil.

In 1924, verticillium wilt, a soil-borne fungus was discovered in Michigan crops.  This was followed by a severe frost in late May of 1925 which decimated the peppermint crops.  As production of peppermint oil suffered, prices rose, and by 1925 the price of peppermint oil had gone up from  $4.50 to $32 a pound.  The A. M. Todd company went to work developing disease resistant strains.  Albert died in 1931 at the age of 81, but the A.M. Todd company continued to thrive, passing down through generations of his family until it was sold in 2011 to the Swiss Company, Wild Flavors.   The company continues to operate as a subsidiary of Wild Flavors at its location in Kalamazoo, Michigan, although it no longer grows any peppermint. Most peppermint production has moved west to Oregon and Washington, with Oregon currently the leading producer of peppermint oil, representing 34% of the nation’s crop.

 

 

 

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Essential Oil History and the Safety Debate – Part I, The Peppermint King

Within aromatherapy circles, increasing focus has been brought to bear on the issue of safety, based on the  belief that essential oils for home or personal use is a relatively new idea – and previously were seldom used except by doctors or pharmacies.  This is simply not true.

The term “aromatherapy” was first coined by René-Maurice Gattefossé and did not come into common use until after his book Aromathérapie was published in 1937.  However, steam distillation of essential oils has been known for at least 5000 years, and the use of a variety of plants for medicinal and natural remedies, as well as other uses, has been handed down through many cultures,  including  America. The practice of using plants, herbs, botanicals for home remedies, and a number of essential oils, came to America with the earliest settlers and has persisted through the years, never being entirely forgotten.  The very inclusion of most essential oils on the FDA’s GRAS list is based on substantial history of common use in food prior to January 1, 1958 as provided by CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 .

One of the most interesting in the history of essential oils in the U.S. is the story of peppermint.  A member of the mint family, peppermint is a naturally occurring hybrid of spearmint and water mint, originating in North Africa and the Mediterranean area. It has a long history of cultivation and medicinal use, dating back to at least 1500 B.C. It was mentioned in Icelandic Pharmacopoeias as early as the 13th century, and listed in the London Pharmacopoeia by 1721. Peppermint was brought to the US by early settlers, and became common in Massachusetts where some of the earliest colonies were established.

In 1810, a peddler named Archibald Burnett from Ashfield, Massachusetts, set out by foot for New York with another peddler, each carrying a pack sack full of Yankee notions which they sold along their journey.  Burnett settled upon the shores of Lake Canandaigua, the fourth largest of the Finger Lakes, and there remained until he received an urgent letter from his brother Nahum, urging him to return home as he had important news which could not be trusted to the mail.  Archibald made the long walk home, a distance of some 275 miles.  There he discovered that Nahum had been experimenting with distilling the peppermint that grew along the stream banks, and felt that if his brother would move back home and help him, they could make a considerable amount of money.  Archibald had an even better idea.  He felt sure the peppermint would grow even better on the rich flats of the Canandaigua Outlet, and there they would have no competition from other farmers distilling it, for at that time, the plant was not known outside of Massachusetts.  Accordingly, Archibald set once more on the trek back to New York, this time with a pack of carefully nurtured peppermint stolons slung over his shoulder.  Nahum sold his little farm and soon followed.  In 1814, the brothers purchased 40 acres of land near South Lyons, where they set out the peppermint plants and erected the first crude distillery.

True to Archibald’s prediction, the peppermint plants did extremely well on the mucky flats near the lake, and so successful was their venture that many of their Ashfield neighbors also came to Lyons and began distilling peppermint, which was soon taken up by other farmers of Wayne County.

 

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H.G. Hotchkiss, from History of Wayne County by W.H. McIntosh, 1877

Meanwhile, Hiram G. Hotchkiss, the man destined to be America’s Peppermint King, was born  on  June 19, 1810 in Ontario County, New York to parents Leman and Theodosia Gilbert Hotckiss.  He was just four years old when the Burnett brothers brought the first peppermint plants to Lyons, a small community of about 3500.  His father, a merchant, had moved the family to Phelps, Ontario County where he opened the first General Store in town in partnership with David McNeill.  Hotchkiss & McNeil became one of the most highly regarded mercantile firms in Western New York, doing brisk sales in excess of $100,000 per year, which was an enormous sum in those days. Hiram G. became a clerk in this store at 12 years of age and worked his way up.  By the time he was 18, he opened his own General Store in Phelps in partnership with his brother Leman B., and cousin, William T. Hotchkiss, as well as successfully operating two mills. By 1828 he had begun buying peppermint oil from the Burnett brothers and other farmers, along with their wheat.

 

At that time peppermint oil was in common use as a home remedy for digestive, respiratory and other common ailments,  but it was mostly imported from England. For a time,  H. G., as he was known, sold the peppermint oil in his store.  In 1833, he married Mary Williams Ashley, daughter of Dr. Robert Ashley of Lyons, and began to raise a family. Eventually they would have three sons and nine daughters.  H. G. began to accumulate more of the peppermint oil than it was practical to sell in his store alone, and so founded his Hotchkiss Essential Oil Company in 1839.  He tried to sell the peppermint oil in the New York markets.   Adulteration of the oil was so common they refused to even look at his product.  However, he knew his oil was pure and of excellent quality, so refusing to be discouraged, he rebottled the oil in cobalt blue bottles manufactured by the Ely Glass Company in nearby Clyde, and consigned it to London and Rotterdam Company in Hamburg, Germany. There the oil was promptly met with great favor, and tested and found to be the best and purest peppermint oil in the world.  Ultimately it was sold back to the New York markets who had refused it before.

The Hotchkiss label of peppermint oil was soon widely recognized both for its purity and extreme potency. By 1844, H.G. moved his family to Lyons to be nearer the Erie Canal, which had been constructed in 1825, and was a main means of transporting the oils. Purchasing a large tract of land, he began cultivating peppermint in earnest, using horses to plow the land and harvesting the peppermint by scythe in the fall after blooming.  It was said the canalers could smell the fragrance of peppermint wafting on the air as the neared the small town of Lyons.  The New York Central Railroad was established in 1853, which surpassed the canal as a primary means of transport, but still the little town was favorably situated.  The town of Lyons prospered and many of the local farmers who grew peppermint for Hotchkiss were able to pay their mortgages with it.

The geology of Wayne County has a curious history, being formed of parallel rows of elongated hills known as drumlins, which are said to occur in swarms.  They were known to be caused by glaciation more than 12,000 years ago, when ice a mile thick had covered the area of western New York.  The matter of exactly how they were formed was a topic of debate for more than a century and a half but was finally settled and explained in an article by retired geologist Fred Haynes. According to Haynes, it was found that the drumlins were islands of sediment rooted in bedrock, with the intervening regions washed out by rivers and streams from glaciers melting, and cutting deeply into the Paleozoic bedrock, making the contrast all the more dramatic.  The receding glaciers were also responsible for the formation of the Finger Lakes in the region, and the rich fertile wetlands surrounding the lakes and often the areas between the drumlins.  These were known as mucklands and proved to be ideal for the cultivation of peppermint.

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Mentha Piperita, Medical Botany, Vols 1-2, William Woodinvile, 1810

The first year, H. G. began his peppermint oil business in only a small way, selling less than 1000 pounds of oil. After horses had plowed the land, it was carefully marked off into furrows about three feet apart. Workmen with sacks of roots began setting out the peppermint plants in sets placed thickly and then covered lightly.  The plants took hold easily, and the dark green leaves contrasted handsomely with the delicate pink flowers which began appearing in late August.

 

When the peppermint was ready to be harvested, workmen came again to the fields, cutting the now two foot tall plants with scythes close to the root, and the harvest continued into September. The plants were piled into windrows and allowed to cure in the sun for 12 hours, so the oil would be more easily expressed.  Then they were pitched off into the wooden distilling vats which consisted of heavy staves hooped with iron, where they were trodden down.

When the vats were filled with plant material, they would be covered, made steam tight with rubber packing, and fastened with screw clamps.  Steam was then forced in by a pipe near the bottom of the vat, which connects to a steam boiler at thirty to forty pounds pressure.  This was a method different from that used in Europe which applied fire directly to the still.  The size of the vats corresponded to the amount of steam furnished by a boiler, but some of the vats described were four to five feet in diameter and twice as deep.  Another pipe in the center of the vat cover connected the vat to a condensing worm, which again varied in size according to the capacity of the still, but would become progressively smaller toward the outlet.

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From: New Remedies, Vol XI, 1882

The stills would be built so as to place the condensing worm directly in the stream so it would be cooled by a constant supply of cold running water. The volatized mint oil would mix with the steam  in the condensing worm, and then was collected into the receiver where specific gravity would cause the oil to separate from the hydrosol water. The receiver would often consist of a tin vessel with a pipe running from the bottom nearly to the top of the vessel where it then turned outward, and the weight of the oil would cause the water from the lower part of the vessel to rise in this spout and drip out.  Oil would then be dipped from the receiving vessel when a few pounds had accumulated.

 

First year crops were the best and purest.  No  cultivation was required in the second year, and  in the third year, the ground would be plowed again, allowing the plants to spring up anew from the the broken roots.

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From: New Remedies, Vol XI, 1882

After this, the land would be exhausted, and it was necessary to rotate with another crop, usually corn.

 

In 1846, H. G. discovered that the peppermint output of New York State at 44,500 pounds was triple that of competitors in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana combined.  Eureopean demand, however, was only 12,000 pounds.  Accordingly, H.G. paid growers in 1847 to sell him set amounts for two years and destroyed all of the surplus.  This provided him with a temporary monopoly which allowed him to control the market and the quality, elevating peppermint oil prices. After he won prizes at the World’s Fair in London in 1851, and the New York World’s Fair in 1853, he bought only from New York growers to maintain quality.  There were two distilleries, one near the plant and canal, and another on Pilgrimport Road.  H. G. continually studied new methods to improve both the cultivation of the crops as well as distillation of the oil.  He imported roots from England and developed the “Black Mint” variety, which yielded a greater quantity of oil.

H. G.’s  unyielding standards for purity, honesty, and fair dealing reaped handsome returns, and by 1895, little more than half a century later, the business sold well more than 100,000 pounds of peppermint oil alone. The Hotchkiss Essential Oil Company, which by that time distilled many other oils as well as peppermint, was the most highly respected essential oil brand not only in the United States, but controlled more than 60 percent of the markets around the entire globe in the years following the Civil War.

The trademarked peppermint oil remained their most famous though, and by 1877 the Hotchkiss name was so valued that H.G. also registered a facsimile of his signature with the U.S. Patent Office.  In 1878, H.G. visited Europe where he was very cordially welcomed and honored on the floor of the world renowned London Exchange for his outstanding brand of essential oils, an honor which had rarely been given to any American for any reason.   H.G. won first prize medals for his brand of oils at seventeen World Fairs, including:  London, 1853 and 1862; New York 1853; Paris 1856, 1867, and 1878;  Hamburg, 1863; Vienna, Austria, 1873; Philadelphia, 1876; and Chicago, 1893, by which time H. G. was 83 years old.

During these years, not only was peppermint oil a common and widely used home remedy for both topical and internal use, it was valued for its use as a flavoring in many candies and other sweets, gum, toothpaste, and a variety of pharmaceutical and  patented medicinal products.

Peppermint was regularly included in the early Pharmacopoeias, as well as The Dispensatory of the United States (1839).  Numerous essential oils still commonly sold today, including peppermint, were listed in Merck’s 1907 Index.  These generally called for actual pure distilled essential oils, and not synthetic versions.  Many books of home remedies were published which attest to the fact that peppermint essential oil, the same essential oil that is widely sold today, was indeed well known and recognized for home use, and had been since the colonists first brought it to America.  One such book was The Favorite Medical Receipt Book and Home Doctor, compiled by Josephus Goodenough, M.D.  This book includes recipes from more than a hundred doctors and nurses for many common ailments that were often treated at home, as well as for things that could be done while waiting for a doctor.  A very few others are Home Guide, Cure Without Drugs, by Dr. L.H. Kersey (1888), The Cottage Physician, for Individual and Home Use by George W. Post A.M., M.D. (1897), and Mother’s Remedies by Dr.T. J. Ritter (1910), which included more than a thousand home remedies used by mothers in the U.S. and Canada.  An example from Mother’s Remedies using peppermint oil is the following: “Cramps in Stomach, Oil of Peppermint for.—Put a few drops of peppermint in a glass of warm water. Take a teaspoonful every few minutes until relieved.” This is an old time-tried remedy our grandmothers used to use and can be relied upon.”

Countless other such books were published, giving recipes for home remedies often using peppermint oil, and many other essential oils as well.  This completely dispels the myth that essential oils were rarely used in America by  ordinary individuals in their homes until recent years. It also shows that certain oils could be, and often were, taken by simply adding a few drops to water.  Although the majority of oil produced would go to the pharmaceutical and flavor industries to be used in everything from chewing gum, toothpaste, sweets, various pharmaceutical and medicinal recipes for both topical and internal use, soaps, and more, personal use for home remedies remained a constant practice handed down through the years.  Interestingly, peppermint oil was one of the active ingredients in the original formula for Listerine, developed by Joseph Lawrence in 1879.  And it is still one of the active ingredients for the current reduced alcohol formula for Listerine developed by several noted scientists of the Warner Lambert Company in 1994, including Dr. Mike Buch, who is now the Chief Science Officer of Young Living Essential Oils.

Purity of the essential oils was as much a concern then as it is now. It was common at that time to adulterate peppermint with a number resinous substances, fixed oils, or alcohol.  Inferior quality also was widespread due to lack of care in keeping the peppermint fields free of weeds.  Sheep were often used for this purpose, as they would not touch the peppermint plants unless they were kept in these fields for years and became accustomed to the strong taste.  It was H.G.’s stringent attention to these details which made the quality of his peppermint oil so much in demand. During the peak years of operation, H.G. packaged the oil in signature 21 ounce cobalt blue glass bottles, bearing the slogan he coined, ““One 21 ounce bottle of Peppermint Oil will give the correct flavor to a ton of candy.”  Each bottle was hand wrapped in a facsimile of the first certificate won by H.G. at the 1851 London World Exhibition, and bearing the signature of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.

hotchkiss-essential-oil-depot

From: History of Wayne County, W.H. McIntosh, 1877

 

In 1894, the original plant built by H.G. burned, but he continued to manage and operate his peppermint business, which had come to be called the Hotchkiss International Prize Medal Essential Oil Company, until his death October 27, 1897. The business then passed to his sons, Calvin, who died in 1925, and Hiram, who died in 1926. After H. G.’s death  however, increasing numbers of farmers in Wayne County began to give up cultivating peppermint in favor of more profitable crops. Also, another Peppermint King was rising to stardom in Michigan.  We shall hear more of his story later.

Nevertheless, the Hotchkiss company continued, faithfully maintaining H.G.’s standards, and the name was so well known in Europe they continued to retain many of the old customers.  In 1926, upon the death of his father, the third Hiram G took over his grandfather’s business and continued till his death at 83 in 1963, when his daughter Anne Dickinson Hotchkiss became the company president.  Anne continued to run the company until 1982, and having no family member to leave it to, sold it to William Leman Company,  a competitor who grew and distilled peppermint in Indiana, famous for their gourmet mints first created in 1939.

The original peppermint office which H.G. rented from the Leach brothers when he came to Lyons in 1841, became the museum. This was placed on the National Historic Register in 1988, and is managed by the nonprofit Lyons Heritage Society which offers tours of the historic building during the summer months, and maintains a gift shop (where bottles of the famous peppermint oil may still be purchased) to help raise funds for its upkeep.

The Leman company continued to produce the Hotchkiss oils until 2003 when the formulation and rights were purchased by Essex Laboratories, founded in Salem, Oregon in 1992.  Anne Hotchkiss continued to take pride in the history of the Hotchkiss peppermint oil until her death in 2010 at 95 years of age.  Essex continues to produce Hotchkiss peppermint according to H.G.’s original specifications, making it the oldest trademarked oil in America.

Next we will look at Albert May Todd, The Peppermint King of Kalamazoo, the young chemist and politician who sought to claim that his oil was the best and purest, and his company the world leader. .

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Albert M. Todd, Public domain, Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra Report.

 

 

 

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These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseas


The Research of Dr Jean Valnet – Essential Oils During the Past Century, Part IV

Meanwhile, as the U.S. Government was quietly growing and distilling essential oils to research their medicinal benefits, and the FDA was taking steps to ensure that only patentable, synthetic drugs approved by them could ever be used to treat any illness, Gattefossé’s work was not entirely forgotten in France.

Jean Valnet was born July 26, 1920 in what is now the city of Châlons-en-Champagne, France (formerly known as Châlons-sur-Marne, the name was changed in 1998).  As a boy he had opportunity to observe the healing power of plants on many occasions, used by adults who seemed to be aware of the medicinal properties of many of the local plants surrounding them, and who seemed to accept them in a matter of fact way without really understanding how they worked.  Jean Valnet wanted to know more, and tucked this observations away in his enquiring young mind for future reference.

 

He served in combat during World War II (1940-45) and began to study medicine at the Military Academy of the Arrow, at the School of the Military Department of Health, and the Medical College of Lyon. From 1944-1945 he was Assistant Chief of Surgical Services for Evacuation Hospital 412, and he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1945, as well as Diplomas in Forensic Medicine, Psychiatry, Microbiology, Hygiene, and Colonial Medicine.  As a soldier, he earned many honors.  He was an OfficerCroix de Guerre 1939-1945 of the Legion of Honor and held the Croix de Guerre  during the years 1939-1945.  He earned six Cross TOE (Theatre of External Operations) citations and the honors he held included ” Cross of the Fighter,” “Cross Volunteer Fighter ,” “Cross of Resistance Fighter Volunteer ” and ” Medal of the Free French .”

Following his graduation in 1945, he was appointed Lieutenant and served as Assistant Surgeon for Evacuation hospitals 412 and 501 in Germany.  He also served as doctor for the School of Application of the Infantry, and the prestigious Special Military School of St. Cyr, which is the foremost military academy in France.

This academy had originally been founded in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte at Fontainebleu near Paris, using the historic buildings of the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis   The Maison Royale de Saint-Louis was originally founded in 1685 by Louis XIV for impoverished daughters of noblemen who had died for France. Several other moves of the school followed, and in 1808, the cadets eventually settled west of Paris in Saint-Cyr.

 

In 1948 he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and served as Surgeon of the Advanced Surgical Unit at Tonkin, the leading surgical unit in this location, from 1950 – 1953.  In 1954, Valnet earned a Bronze medal for his scientific work.  He found consistent results and great success in using many essential oils and aromatic solutions in dressing the wounds during this time.   Later, he served as chief physician to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the French armed forces, including the Chief of the Secretary of State for War, Staff of the Army, and Office of the Secretary of the Army.  Dr. Valnet also earned the academic decoration of being appointed Commanding Officer  of the ” National Order of Academic Palms ” at the age of 36 for his exceptional scientific research and services to Higher Education.  He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1958 and served as commanding doctor and physician for Emergency Services. Other awards included the Golden Civic Star and  Silver Medal of Physical Education.  Valnet was also Officer of the Franco-British Alliance, Commander of the League for Protection of Children, and Commander for the National Order of the Ivory Coast as well as a member of numerous medical and cultural organizations.

Dr. Valnet retired from the military in 1959 and continued his medical practice at his Paris surgery in the Avenue Kléber, continuing to advise his patients that a healthy diet and phyto-aromatherapy were important in maintaining wellness.  He chaired the first Symposium of Medical Aromatherapy in Paris in 1960, and his first reference work, titled “Aromatherapy : the treatment of ailments by Plant Essences” was published in 1964.  This was followed by a second book, “The treatment of ailments with vegetables, fruits and cereals” in 1967.  He wrote “Doctor Nature” in 1971, and “Phytotherapy : the treatment of ailments by Plants” in 1972.  These works were based on Dr. Valnet’s clinical observations, and spurred him to continued research in studying the anti-infectious properties of essential oils.  In collaboration with Dr. M. Girault of Dijon, he coined the term “aromatogramme” to describe a method using essential oils to test antimicrobial
susceptibility.  Valnet also foresaw the dangers of overusing antibiotics.

Dr. Valnet founded the first association for the research and study of phyto‐aromatherapy in 1971, and from 1976 until his death in 1995, he organized a a major annual international phyto‐aromatherapy conference which was widely attended by medical doctors, research scientists, and academics. In 1981, Dr. Valnet also founded the college of phytoaromatherapy and field‐based medicine in the French language. As a result of Dr. Valnet’s extensive research, he is generally considered by many as the  “father of modern‐day phyto‐aromatherapy”.

The forward thinking ideas of Dr. Valnet were well ahead of his time.  In his book, the Practice of Aromatherapy, published in 1980 as a culmination of his research and clinical observations, he wrote, “Normal preventive medicine, which consists in giving healthy people drugs and injections of products whose future effects are unpredictable, is an aberration.  Bringing about change by non-toxic means is the only efficacious course, among which aromatic plants and their essences have been, are, and will remain in the front rank.”  Dr. Valnet was the first to record the specific properties, indications, and dosages of essential oils useful in medical practice.  His work is credited for being the foundation of two great trends, which are the clinical and scientific approach which is regularly used by doctors in France, and more general popular trend of aromatherapy geared towards wellness and a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Valnet formulated his own line of 44 specifically recommended essential oils, and in 1985 selected Cosbionat Laboratory to produce his famous preparations. Cosbionat is located in the beautiful Loire Valley of France, on the fringes of the Vendômoise forest.  The laboratory was originally founded in 1981 by Marie-Thé Tiphaigne and her late husband Jackie Tiphaigne, who had followed Dr. Valnet’s teachings for 13 years.Dr. Valnet continued to review and update his rearch until his death in 1995, after which the Tiphaigne’s continued to market his exclusive line of essential oils. Following the passing of her husband, Marie-Thé Tiphaigne still continues the work begun by Dr. Valnet.  The oils are carefully sourced from long-time organic growers across five continents and steam distilled at low pressure. Citrus oils are cold pressed.  Each batch is then tested against certified benchmarks for gas chromatagraphy, density, optical rotation, refractive index, and sensory testing of color, smell, and taste.  Additional tests are conducted for environmental contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

 

 

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
 
© 2016, Brenda L. Tippin.  Please do not copy without permission

					
		
	


Truth in Advertising – Does Pure Really Mean Pure?

The question has been raised, “At what percent true essential oil can an oil still be labeled as “pure”. In other words, if an adulterated oil can still be labeled as “pure”, does it have to contain any essential oil at all?”  This is a very good question.  Some FDA guidelines on labeling The FDA’s guidelines for Fragrances in Cosmetics provide some general guidance, but still it is vague and doesn’t really provide definitive answers.  For any essential oils intended for use as dietary supplements or food flavorings, multiple ingredients are supposed to be listed on the label, however some ingredients considered as trace are not always listed.  Essential oils intended for topical use are generally considered cosmetics.  However, the FDA allows the words “fragrance” or “flavor” to be used instead of specifying exactly what those are.  And sometimes fragrances or flavors can be synthetic, in fact, when these words are used they most likely do contain synthetics.

As one example, NOW Foods Lavender oil which may be purchased on Amazon for as little as $21.16 for a 4 oz bottle is labeled as 100% pure lavender oil.  So what does that mean?  Some have used this to suggest that companies who sell oils through Multi-level marketing and charge much more for lavender sold in 15 ml bottles are overcharging their customers because NOW sells for so much less and has good reviews. But, not necessarily. Young Living’s Lavender retails for $30.92,  dōTERRA’s lavender retails for $28, and  AMEO’s retails for $31.67, and all have wholesale pricing for members.  Original Swiss Aromatics, which is not an MLM company, sells their genuine and authentic fine lavender at $28.10 for 15 ml, so there is actually not much difference in the pricing of this oil between these companies known or claimed to have high quality oils. They also have different descriptions on their labels such as “Therapeutic Grade”, “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”,  “Clinical Grade”, etc., all of which in fact are simply terms to describe each company’s individual quality standards.

There is no independent body which certifies that oils are pure, therapeutic, or clinical grade.  Any oil properly grown, harvested, and distilled without use of chemicals or pesticides, without synthetic chemicals or additives, or without being extended with cheaper oils of other species, and properly tested, will be therapeutic and able to penetrate cells, there is no difference between clinical grade or therapeutic grade if all these conditions have been met.  The growing body of scientific and clinical studies clearly demonstrates this, as oils from different sources have been used for these. However, there are very few companies who actually monitor this entire process and who consistently have trained experts involved with the whole process for every single source.

Companies which post test results of their oils online may seem impressive, but the truth is, the vast majority of consumers do not know how to read these tests.  Also, posting a test result for a particular batch number is really no different than any of the other claims on the label. The consumer who has purchased the oil from that batch number still has to rely on the company’s word that the test displayed really is the actual test done on the bottle of oil they are holding.  The average consumer also cannot accurately judge quality or purity simply by which one smells the nicest.  Unless you have a lot of experience using essential oils for years, and/or had extensive training in essential oils chemistry, your nose will only tell you what you think smells “nice”, you will not be able to break down the complexity of a fragrance or really understand the nuances.   The majority of companies in the U.S. selling essential oils are simply brokers or rebottlers.  They buy the oil from a distiller who tells them it is pure (and very often the distiller is not the grower and it may even have passed through several sources before reaching the company who bottles and sells it under their own label. Or they may buy the raw material and have someone distill it for them.  Even plant materials which have been painstakingly kept from contamination at this stage still may have lost much of their potency by the time they reach a distillery, but are then bottled and sold as “pure”, which may be entirely truthful, but the quality is simply not the same.

Then there are many other companies with prices in between the seemingly expensive brands to low-priced ones. All these oils, as well as many others are labeled “pure”, and we will get more into different companies later on, but for the serious user of essential oils there is actually much more to consider.  If you look at the NOW Foods lavender you will see it says Lavandula officinalis (spp). But it says 100% pure lavender, and the Latin name looks authentic so many people are not even going to pay any attention to that, or know what it means.

Lavender is part of the mint family and in fact there are at least 39 different known species, all of which have differences in their chemical profiles, their properties, and therapeutic uses.  Then on top of that, there can be many more variations as to quality and complexity depending on where and how the lavender was grown, soil and growing conditions for that particular crop, how and when it was harvested, how long and what was done with it between harvest and distillation, how it was distilled, the quality of the equipment used, temperature, pressure, etc, and the knowledge of the persons distilling it.  Then, how it is tested, bottled, sealed, and delivered to the consumer.  There are also other considerations with lavender, for instance whether it is wild, whether it is grown from seed, or from cloned plants.

The name  Lavandula officinalis is sometimes used interchangeably with Lavandula angustifolia, or it is occasionally referred to as Lavandula vera.  However, when the latin name is followed by the letters “spp”, this means multiple species.  All of which are lavender.  So NOW Foods may be truthful when they say 100% pure lavender, and the Lavandula officinalis (spp) is right on the front of the bottle.  But, they also sell “organic” lavender, for as low as $15.69 for 1 oz.  This is still about half the price of the others but certainly far more expensive than their 4 oz bottle, although both claim to be 100% pure lavender and are labeled Lavandula officinalis (spp).  So, you don’t really know what species of lavender are in these bottles, or even if they came from a single crop.  They tell you it is steam distilled from the flower, and they do conduct some testing. Depending  on what different people want, the NOW lavender might be adequate, but it most definitely is not the same and really does not provide evidence that the others are overpriced.

While multiple ingredients are supposed to be listed on the labels, strictly speaking, “pure” seems to be a term that has not really been standardized or defined by the FDA as yet.  The FDA is currently asking for public comments on use of the term “natural”.  So in short, “pure”, may not always mean “pure”, and the question of purity may not really be all you want to find out. An article by Valparaiso University Law School Assisant Law Professor Nicole Negowetti provides a good overview of the general issue.

Next:  The Research of Dr. Jean Valnet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra Report.

 

 

 

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

 


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Forgotten – Essential Oils and the US Government’s Little Known Role – Essential Oils During the Past Century Part III

What was happening in America with essential oils during the time when the Gattefossé brothers were discovering their therapeutic benefits?  The first Pharmacopeia in America was published by the Medical Society of Massachusetts in 1808, followed by  the very first United States Pharmacopeia, published in 1820.  The idea of a National Pharmacopeia was first proposed when Dr. Lyman Spalding  submitted the idea to the Medical Society of the County of New York.  The founding U.S. Pharmacopeial convention was held in Washington D.C. for the purpose of creating a system of standards and a National Formulary.  Essential oils were included in these works.

At the time René-Maurice Gattefossé applied lavender oil to the severe burns he suffered in a lab explosion, a number of essential oils  had been in regular use by U.S. doctors for more than a hundred years.  At that time, the United States Pharmacopeia was revised every ten years. During the first hundred years oils were included as individual pure volatile oils with directions for steam distillation, as important components for medicated waters, medicated spirits, liniments, ointments and other compounds.  About 10 oils were included in the 1808 Pharmacopeia of Massachusetts.  A few of the less common oils would come and go but overall the number of oils climbed over the years, peaking in 1890 with around 44 oils mentioned.  However, by this time, synthetic and artificial forms of wintergreen were included, and the 1900 version included several more synthetic forms and isolated components of volatile oils. By 1910 the number of individual pure distilled oils had tapered off to about 35 while synthetic and artificial versions and isolated components continued to increase. Later, the publications of the United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary were joined into one volume and published annually.

In 1900, Congress transferred 400 acres of the historic Arlington estate in Virginia to the Secretary of Agriculture for use as a general experimental farm. The Pentagon is now located on this site. This became one of several sites where the U.S. Government conducted what they referred to as “drug plant investigations”, which would continue for more than 50 years, managed by the Bureau of Plant Industry which was established in 1901.  The U.S. Government was in fact growing medicinal plants for research purposes, and among The Bureau of Plant Industry’s other projects studying various crops, farming methods, plant diseases and so forth, the project for drug plant investigations specifically included a number of experimental stations, ranging from botanical gardens to small farms used for the cultivation of aromatic plants, which they steam distilled to produce essential oils. Some were researched for perfume, fragrance, and food flavorings, while others were recognized by the government for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. Several government reports and bulletins were published mentioning details of cultivating aromatic plants for producing essential oils, and the methods and equipment for distilling them.

In 1906, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt with the Pure Foods and Drugs Act, which prohibited interstate commerce in foods or drugs which were misbranded or adulterated. While the law was intended to protect the consumer from unnecessary and potentially harmful additives to foods and drugs, the FDA sometimes had their own way of regulating this.  One of the early problems they sought to solve began in 1907 with the certification of food colors. Merchants had begun a practice of injecting foods with dyes to enhance their appearance and make them more appealing to the consumer, and to cover up defects.  Dyes were also added to drugs.  Some of these dyes were quite harmful and so the FDA, instead of forbidding the practice of adding these chemical dyes, they decided they would screen them all and certify which ones could be used.  In 1928 they certified more than 600,000 pounds of dyes permitted for use in foods and drugs. (The Arlington Experiment Farm, U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook for Visitors, 1928). This was thought to be a great improvement because the certification rules were so strict.

Dyes were then also added to cosmetics and the practice of using FDA certified dyes continues today.  A huge list of these dyes which the FDA has removed from the list or added further restrictions due to safety issues and problems discovered after they had been in use for some time may be found on the FDA’s Color Additive Status List.  The FDA collects substantial fees for color additive certification which are regulated under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Section 80.10  They get paid by the pound for these certifications and just in the quarter from Oct 1- Dec 31 2015 certified more than 6 million pounds of dyes added to foods, drugs, and cosmetics.  In recent years, the safety of dyes remaining on the FDA’s approved list has come into question. The Global Healing CenterCenter for Science in the Public Interest,  Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola are just a few who warn of the dangers of several dyes the FDA still allows.

The more extensive Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. This law required FDA approval before any new drug could be brought to market, and also prohibited false therapeutic claims.  Through the years, the FDA has developed a very broad interpretation of this law which includes prohibiting therapeutic claims that are true, and by defining any random product as a drug if you intend to use it for something they consider a disease.  This also includes a long list of words which could be associated with various diseases.   For instance, if you use something to help with inflammation or joint pain, in the eyes of the FDA that product is likely to be considered to have become a drug.  In 2010 for example, the FDA sent a warning letter to Diamond Foods declaring that their walnuts had become drugs due to therapeutic claims they had on their website based on extensive scientific research.  The FDA collects substantial Application, Product, and Establishment Fees for each new drug. In addition, Product and Establishment Fees are assessed annually.  In 2014, the most recent year for which a financial report is available, the FDA collected more than $796 million in prescription drug user fees. 45 new drugs were approved by the FDA for 2015.  FDA approved drugs, used as prescribed, are, according to their own website the 4th leading cause of death in America. 

Meanwhile, in 1939, the work of the Arlington Experimental farm was transferred to the Research Station at Beltsville, Maryland.  By 1952, the Bureau of Plant Industry had a 14,000 acre Agricultural Research Center at this location with 2100 employees, of which more than 900 were scientists. Experiments on growing aromatic medicinal plants and distilling their essential oils were still being conducted at this time.  The next year, 1953, the Bureau of Plant Industry became part of the Agricultural Research Service, (ARS) which continues to the present.    Both the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural Library are filled with peer reviewed clinical studies which have been done on various medicinal and therapeutic uses of essential oils.  Some of these studies are done by ARS scientists.  The interest in scientific research on essential oils and the growing body of evidence that they do have valuable therapeutic uses continues to expand despite the FDA’s proclamation that only a drug (approved by them, and at great expense paid to them) can be used to prevent, treat, cure, or mitigate a disease.

Unfortunately, the essential oil research and experiments conducted by the U.S. Government were little known and mostly buried in obscure government reports and bulletins which few average citizens had access to, or took the time to wade through them if they did.  With the development of the pharmaceutical industry, the major focus became isolating active compounds of various essential oils believed to be responsible for medicinal effects, and creating synthetic versions which could be approved  by the FDA as new drugs.  Synthetic versions were also often used for food additives and flavorings, as well as for perfumes and fragrances.  Thus, despite the government’s role, the essential oil industry in the U.S. was following a very different path than the one in France influenced by the research René-Maurice Gattefossé.   Pure essential oils were very scarce in the U.S.  Their therapeutic properties were largely forgotten, and the  development of aromatherapy would take many decades before finding its way to the U.S.

Next:  The Research of Dr. Jean Valnet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

 

 

 

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

 


The Real Story of René-Maurice Gattefossé – Essential Oils During the Past Century Part II

Many who have tried to have find information online about essential oils may have heard something about René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist who used lavender essential oil when he suffered severe burns in his lab.  As has been pointed out by Robert Tisserand, who edited the English version of Gattefossé’s book, the story has become somewhat embellished on may blogs and websites from the original version given by Gattefossé himself, though true in the main points.  A few other details have been mentioned, such as the fact that Gattefossé was the first to use the word “aromatherapy” and wrote a book about it.  Yet most accounts seldom explore the matter further.

Who was René-Maurice Gattefossé, and why did he have lavender essential oil in his lab? Born in 1881 in Lyon, France, he was the third child born to Louis Gattefossé, who founded Gattefossé Establishments in 1880.  The business of Gattefossé Establishments was to produce essential oils, petroleum oils, raw materials for making perfumes, and other drugstore products.  Thus René-Maurice had spent literally his whole life immersed in a world of essential oils and fragrances.  As his older brothers joined the family business, he was soon to follow, attending the University of Lyon and obtaining his degree in chemical engineering.

An older brother, Robert, who had studied mechanical engineering, was deeply involved in the research of essential oils, devoting special study to the aromatic plants of southern France and the island of Corsica, where he had completed a term of military service.  He provided his observations to his brothers, which was instrumental in influencing René-Maurice and another brother, Jean, who was a botanist and chemist.

In 1907, when René-Maurice was 26, Louis Gattefossé retired from the business and the brothers took over, forming a partnership with their mother called Gattefossé & Sons. René-Maurice’s oldest brother Abel managed the administration and trade aspects of the business while the other brothers continued to research aromatic plants, their chemistry and various properties.  Later that year, the President of Agricultural Unions Southeast requested René-Maurice to research the production of in  Haute-Province, as picking wild lavender was not able to produce sufficient quantities to meet the demand. He was asked to launch a series of conferences and begin calculating the value of lavender cultivation and begin organizing plantations and distilleries.  The campaign was very successful, increasing both the quality and prices of lavender, and boosting the Gattefossé business due to improved conditions for local families and workers.   It was during this time René-Maurice learned to isolate the aromatic molecules of the essences and also first began to realize the therapeutic properties of lavender.

The brothers established a European journal of perfumery in 1908 called “La Perfumerie Moderne” of which René-Maurice was editor in chief.  It was quite popular and translated into several languages. 1910 was an eventful year in which Louis Gattefossé died.  In the earlier part of 1910 René-Maurice spent time traveling to other parts of Europe to investigate the distillation of other aromatic plants.  The company also expanded its trade to Indonesia, China, and Japan.  On July 25, 1910, the day his son Henri-Marcel was born, René-Maurice was working in his lab when an explosion occurred.  Of this he wrote, “In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, both my hands were covered with a rapidly developing gas gangrene.  Just one rinse with lavender essence stopped the ‘gasification of the tissue’.  This treatment was followed by profuse sweating and healing began the next day.” Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy, 1937.

Gas gangrene is a potentially life threatening medical emergency which may cause death within 48 hours.  It is most often caused by the bacteria Clostridium perfringens, which can infect a wound or injury.  The onset of infection occurs quite suddenly and generally spreads so rapidly that drastic changes may be observed in the skin within just a few minutes.

Meanwhile, Robert Gattefossé had also married, and welcomed the birth of his son Abel, named after his oldest brother when World War I broke out in July 1914.  He had to rejoin his command in the Eastern Marshes.  René-Maurice, despite being very near-sighted, served also and was assigned to the 109th Territorial Infantry as a motorcyclist.  He was the first of the brothers to be wounded in 1915 at the front in Artois and was sent home to support the war effort as a chemical engineer.  He was also able to resume is post as editor in chief of La Perfumerie Moderne.  Abel was killed in action in 1916.  Robert after a year and a half of service in most unhealthy districts, developed swamp fever and a serious liver condition.  He spent almost two years in various hospitals being treated, continuing to work on his writing and authoring an important work, Perfumery Throughout the Centuries.   Robert did not recover, however, and died from his war caused illnesses in 1918, leaving his younger brothers to carry on his research as well as their own.  René-Maurice and his younger brother Jean published an article in the Chemist and Druggist,  and reprinted in The  National Druggist, Vol 52, January 1922 discussing “The Medicinal Use of Essential Oils”.

Over the next several years, the Gattefossé company continued to diversify, adding product lines for cosmetics, synthetic perfumes, insecticides, veterinary dressings, and more.  In addition to this work, René-Maurice continued to write books and articles on the therapeutic uses of essential oils, attracting several doctors to collaborate in this research.  It was at some point during these years that he first began using the word “aromatherapy”, which was a new concept in the use of essential oils.  His son Henri-Marcel, joined the company in 1932, having also studied chemical engineering. The Gattefossé company began forging relationships with physicians, developing pharmaceuticals as well as cosmetics and personal care products.

René-Maurice published his classic work Aromathérapie in 1937 which was the culmination of his essential oils research, and included clinical observations by several doctors.  He wrote a second edition of this work in 1942, but it was never published as antibiotics had gained prominence by that time.  In the late 1940s he purchased some property near St. Denis, intending to cultivate such aromatic plants as rosemary, thyme, and lavender, creating a botanical garden for the distillation of pure essential oils with no pesticides.  His last book, Formulary of Perfumery and Cosmetology was first published in 1950, not long before his death. René-Maurice died suddenly in 1950, while visiting his brother Jean in Casablanca, Morocco.   His son Henri-Marcel kept the Gattefossé business which still continues today as a family run company with a presence in 60 countries around the world.  Next – Part III will look at essential oils in the United States and the little known role of the U.S. Government in essential oil research and production.

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

 

 

 


Essential Oils – Forgotten Wisdom or Simply a Fad? An Overview of Essential Oils During the Past Century Part I

On the surface, this question is easy to answer. Essential oils are here to stay. Their history goes back thousands of years and they are still here because they have never been quite forgotten.

According to a recent study published by Zion Research, the global essential oils market is poised for rapid growth and expected to reach $9.8 billion during the next four years (by 2020), increased from an estimated $5.5 billion in 2014. Another study conducted by Grand View Research confirms the trend, projecting the market to reach $11.67 billion by 2022.

Essential oils have been used to support health and wellness around the world for thousands of years, and were also an important part of Biblical tradition. The high demand of essential oils for the flavor and fragrance industries during the last century resulted in many companies marketing a wide range of oils.  With no standardization, many inexpensive oils claiming to be pure are actually extended or adulterated with synthetic chemicals or cheap substitutes. Consumers have been confused by different marketing terms such as pure, organic, therapeutic grade, certified pure therapeutic grade, or even clinical grade.  In the United States there is no authoritative independent body at this time which grades or certifies the quality of essential oils.  These are all marketing terms, defined by the companies who sell them.  Oils from one company labeled as therapeutic grade are not necessarily the same as oils labeled therapeutic grade by a different company.  Oils labeled “certified” therapeutic grade simply means that company certifies (attests, assures, states it is true) that their oils are therapeutic grade. Clinical grade is yet another marketing term which implies these oils are superior because they have clinical studies, doctors use them, etc.  But again, there is no grading system. Other oils labeled as pure, organic or therapeutic may have just as many or more clinical studies, used by doctors, etc.  For anyone seriously interested in using essential oils, especially for therapeutic purposes, it is important to learn as much as you can about essential oils, and the suppliers from which you obtain them.  Increasing concerns about essential oil quality have led to higher standards and more testing.

In this series, we will attempt to focus on the history of essential oils during the past century, the various pioneers, researchers, doctors, scientists, and some of the top essential oils companies leading up to the present.  As essential oils continue to grow in popularity, it is certain they are here to stay.  Coming next, The Real Story of René-Maurice Gattefossé.

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.