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Does black pepper cause cancer?!

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 16, 2011

Updated February 28, 2014

What's interesting, to me at least, is that I had spent the better part of the day documenting how and why some of the chemical constituents in Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) essential oil actually inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells. I usually check the internet last - and for a reason. It usually is full of contradictory information, lots of fluff and I particularly hate those "information-based" sites that have far more advertisements than anything resembling researched, evidence-based information. Most of them are just repeating what they've seen on other websites and/or some of the million aromatherapy books on the market place today. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of very good books on the subject of essential oils and aromatherapy. I use mine often and greatly appreciate the time and effort that must have gone into the research and information the authors have shared with us. We do have a list of "resources" where we list the books I have used over the years that are definitely well worth purchasing. I need to update that, but I don't recommend a book unless I have actually read it and feel that it's worth recommending.


I noticed, however, as I did a search for black pepper, I came up with quite a few sites telling me that black pepper (the spice) was in fact "pathogenic and carcinogenic." One website in particular also included in that category cayenne pepper, vinegar and garlic and "hundreds of other condiments that are likewise pathogenic and carcinogenic." Okay - I'm thinking whatever. I checked, however, and they are not the only websites out there stating the same thing! This one article was dated 1980, but this website had a current blog and frankly some other inaccuracies about some subjects that I am familiar with. Of course they are talking about the pepper berry itself that we all use as ground pepper along with our salt shakers, not the essential oil. They also said this information was "according to the University of Kentucky." So I did a search trying to find the abstract for this information. Of course all I got was more links back to this particular website.

Black Pepper actually fights cancer!

I was originally researching the essential oil of black pepper and I'll talk more about that in a minute. But while doing so, I came across many articles (with references this time) stating that black pepper as a spice has a principal phytonutrient called piperine. According to scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, they found that when piperine is combined with curcumin, an anticancer extract of the turmeric herb, it stopped the growth of cancer-forming cells. "High concentrations of the two extracts completely inhibited breast-cancer-forming stem cells." The information published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (1), is the first to suggest these dietary compounds could prevent cancer by targeting stem cells. I wasn't able to determine at this point what "high concentrations" consisted of, but there were many references to this phytonutrient's ability to inhibit cancer cells. I'm assuming that is also why there are a lot of supplements now available for both curcumin and piperine.

Now I have to admit, I could not find piperine mentioned anywhere as a chemical constituent of the essential oil of black pepper. I'm not a molecular biologist but I'm sure someone can enlighten me as to the correlation. I do know that we aromatherapists often assume that the plant (spice in this instance) and the essential oil have the same properties - and they usually do, but not always.

Black Pepper essential oil fights cancer!

What I did find, however, is that the essential oil of black pepper does contain chemical constituents that have been researched and shown to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. Let me start by mentioning that some of the main chemical constituents of black pepper are b-caryophyllene, limonene, sabinene, a-pinene and b-pinene. One study found that the common active principles that showed results as having anti-cancer properties were α-pinene, γ-terpinene, 4-terpineol, α-terpineol, τ-cadinene, τ-cadinol and caryophyllene. "Both caryophyllene and α-terpineol showed important antiproliferative effects."(2) Limonene has also been researched and has been shown to inhibit cancer cells. Limonene is found in high percentages in many essential oils, but more about that in another blog when we talk about some of the citrus essential oils.

However, in another study they found that among the tested constituents the highest activity of inhibition was found when a-humulene was applied to cells.(3) A-humulene is also another name for a-caryophyllene.It is an isomer of b-caryophyllene and they are both often found together as a mixture in nature.

In a third study, three constituents were found to be active against the two cell lines tested. They were linalool, b-caryophyllene and alpha-cedrol. The authors of this study also stated: "Interestingly, beta-caryophyllene and linalool exhibited comparable IC(50) values to the commercial drug vinblastine on the ACHN cell line."(4)

So, as excited as I was with this encouraging information, I still was wondering where the misinformation about the black pepper spice originated. I found what might be the answer in Robert Tisserand's classic book on essential oil safety where he mentions that the chemical constituent safrole was banned in the United States in the 1960's after it was discovered that injecting large amounts of this isolated constituent caused liver cancer in lab rats.(5) Apparently, black pepper has "trace" amounts of safrole. After this study, sassafras use was eliminated since it contains approximately 80% safrole.

Bottom line? Black pepper as a spice and black pepper as an essential oil have been shown in repeated studies to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells! Black pepper is listed as a safe, nontoxic essential oil. To find out more about some of the safety cautions and usage for black pepper essential oil, see our Essential Oil Database, and/or our product description. Even before discovering this important information, black pepper essential oil would be included in one of my top five oils for a home medicine kit.

Thanks for listening!

1. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, DOI: 10.1007/s10549-009-0612-x

2. Lampronti I, Saab AM, Gambari R (2006) Antiproliferative activity of essential oils derived from plants belonging to the Magnoliophyta division. International Journal of Oncology 29:989-995. http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijo/29/4/989. Accessed August 14, 2011.

3. Loizzo MR, Tundis R, Menichini F et al (2007) Cytotoxic activity of essential oils from labiatae and lauraceae families against in vitro human tumor models. Anticancer Research 27:3293-3299. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17970073. Accessed August 14, 2011.

4. Loizzo MR, Tundis R, Menichini F et al (2008) Antiproliferative effects of essential oils and their major constituents in human renal adenocarcinoma and amelanotic melanoma cells. Cell Proliferation 41:1002-1012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19040575. Accessed August 14, 2011.

5.Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential Oil Safety, A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London, England; 1995



Meet AnnAnn's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health and nutrition. Ann is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

Natural Aromatherapy Toothpaste

By Aromatherapy Recipes Holistic Healthy Body
on August 12, 2011

Homemade Toothpaste - a better alternative?


How many of you actually use a "pea-sized amount" of toothpaste when you brush your teeth - and how many of you are sure your kids don't swallow any of that stuff? The warning is clearly there on that tube of toothpaste - look for yourself. And "in case of accidental ingestion, call the poison control center." I know, me either. I have always watched closely when my grandkids brush their teeth, but good grief how can you possibly get your teeth clean with a "pea sized" amount? Dr. Mercola has an interesting article on this and I've shared the link below.

Now I've always had sensitive teeth and gums - hated, hated, hated (did I say hated?) the every six-month trip to the dentist. I've never really paid a lot of attention to the toothpaste I used, probably usually the most inexpensive. I've also never really believed the advertising hype about whiter, brighter, etc. While working on something else the other day and had a bottle of glycerine sitting close by from a batch of cream made earlier in the day, I decided to make myself a new, better, really truly whiter, brighter, cleaner, chemical-free, fluoride-free toothpaste. You know what? It works great and my gums are no longer sensitive and they don't ache periodically through the day. Here's my simple recipe. I think you can get the ingredients in any drug store.

Baking Soda
Glycerine (vegetable)
Lemon (Citrus limonum) essential oil, organic
Hydrogen Peroxide (the low % that's readily available)
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Essential Oil
Xylitol (powdered - easily found in health food stores)

You can make it in whatever size you'd like. I would suggest a small jar that you can close since the essential oils will evaporate more quickly otherwise. I simply put a small amount of baking soda in a small dish, added enough glycerine to make it into a thick paste, then added a little bit more hydrogen peroxide for a thinner paste, but thick enough to stick to your tooth brush. I then added about 1 to 2 drops of each essential oil. I added the xylitol just until sweet enough - not too sweet. It's very good for your teeth and kills oral bacteria that causes dental decay.

The lemon essential oil is a well known whitener, it tastes good and it really does work to brighten your teeth. The baking soda gently scrubs your teeth and actually makes them sparkle. The glycerine is a preservative, plus it makes the mixture sweet imparting a pleasant taste. The peppermint can be used or not, but I like to add it because it makes my mouth feel clean - and it is clean. The peppermint is also a powerful antibacterial that will help eliminate plaque. And, of course, the hydrogen peroxide is another antibacterial ingredient - you could also optionally add this one, depending on whether you have any sores or problems at this time.

Additionally, if you have any sores in your mouth, depending on what the root (pun intended) cause, you could switch the peppermint to cinnamon leaf (Cinnamonum verum) essential oil. Go lightly and test as you go with cinnamon as it is a skin irritant and must be diluted quite a bit - but it has amazing antiviral properties. Watch for a blog soon about herpes viruses (I know yuck, but someone has to talk about it, why not me!).

That's it - simple, cheap and seriously cleans, deodorizes and contributes to both teeth and gum health. Not worried about swallowing any of this stuff since it's good for me anyway. I admit I haven't tried this out on my grandkids yet, but I think they'll like it because it's naturally sweet from the glycerine content.

What about you - do you have sore, aching gums and teeth? Have you tried a toothpaste that you particularly like and why? Do you have your own handmade recipe? I'd love to hear what everyone else uses.

Thanks for listening!


Ylang-ylang for High Blood Pressure

By Ann C Wooledge
on April 28, 2011

Can Ylang-ylang reduce blood pressure?


Interestingly, I received on two consecutive days questions about the use of essential oils and their potential affect on someone's blood pressure. I knew from a post-surgical emergency with my husband several years ago that, yes, they can. After that fairly scary incident (and I don't scare easily after working in the ICU for 10 years), I decided to do more research and see if this was an isolated case or if this was common. First, let me just say that aromatherapy information on the internet has become extremely contradictory and often just plain ridiculous. This blog, of course, is on the internet, but I would urge you to consider the certification and/or education of any author of this information, whether they have an international aromatherapy affiliation such as NAHA or AIA and/or how many years of experience they've had in the use of essential oils. These little miracles of nature are concentrated and powerful and can be very useful when used correctly.

What is a normal blood pressure?

If you're reading this article, you probably already know what your blood pressure readings are and/or what they should be. These proposed ideal numbers have fluctuated somewhat over the years (not as drastically as cholesterol!), but basically the top number (systolic) should be no greater than 120, and the bottom number (diastolic) should be no greater than 80; i.e., 120/80 mmHg. I've provided links below that give good information about hypertension, which is not the subject of this article. 

What causes high blood pressure?

I know - I said this article wasn't about hypertension, but it's very important to understand the causative factor for any blood pressure that falls outside of the normal range - regardless of whether it's hypotension (low blood pressure) or hypertension (high blood pressure.) While doing additional reading concerning the use of essential oils for blood pressure, I continuously found that a lot of practitioners attributed hypertension to anxiety and treated it accordingly. This is not the only reason for high blood pressure, and most certainly is not the reason for chronic hypertension. We had what we called "white coat hypertension" in the hospital on a regular basis - the patient was anxious when seeing the white coat of a physician. In this type of situation, yes, a calming essential oil such as lavender would be very effective. But, blood pressure can also be caused by the fact that heart muscle is damaged, the blood vessels are damaged, there is too much fluid retention - many reasons that are, I believe, outside of the realm of aromatherapy practice. You should have seen your doctor by now and you will probably be on pharmaceutical medication. I'm not a fan of pharmaceuticals, but they are advantageous in many situations. However, a quote from Dr. Allen Roses, a vice president for Glaxo Smith Kline: "The vast majority of drugs - more than 90 % - only work in 30 to 50 % of the people."  Those are not very good odds considering the very high numbers of side effects.  Most cardiologists will tell you that treating hypertension with drugs can involve frequent drug changes, all of which have side-effects, many of which do decrease your quality of life. Again, this is one of those times that any efforts to use essential oils to lower blood pressure, must be done with the approval and cooperation of your physician, in conjunction with an experienced clinical aromatherapist.

That being said, there are case studies showing that the use of certain essential oils have, in fact, resolved high blood pressure. We don't know, however, the causes in most of these cases, but some are obviously due to anxiety or fear. We all know the flight or fight response that causes us to have increased heart rate, but high blood pressure is not so obvious and can be a "silent" killer with no side effects or symptoms. Which is why I am adamant that anyone who is trying to control hypertension or change their medication for any reason should be able to keep a very close track of their blood pressure at home and continue to monitor at least four times a day. Your doctor who gives you a beta blocker to take at home probably won't tell you that or that you should also keep constant track of your heart rate as beta blockers, such as Metoprolol, can also cause your heart rate to decrease, sometimes drastically.

My Case Study:

My husband, Warren, went in for outpatient nasal septum repair for a broken nose from an old injury. Past medical history fairly benign except for back skeletal problems and what I call a "creeping" blood pressure. We went to the hospital where I had worked as a nurse for 12 years and I knew and trusted most of the nurses on staff there. He went through the surgery fine, came back to the outpatient cubicle where I was waiting and it was immediately apparent that his blood pressure was very high. I don't remember the exact number (it's written down somewhere...) but it was over 220/120 - not good. I also knew the anesthesiologist who was covering him that day and trusted him from years of working with him. He began to order a strong IV (intravenous) beta blocker, which was the routine drug of choice in that situation at that time. Normally, we would give 5 to 10  mg doses and check the blood pressure, and repeat maybe 3 times. We reached the maximum dose that could be given fairly quickly (I thought) as I sat and watched what I knew to be a hypertensive crisis and that is was very dangerous. After many doses and what seemed like forever to me (Warren was pretty much sedated at that point), the anesthesiologist wanted to admit Warren to the hospital. I frankly didn't.  He (the anesthesiologist) had worked with me and knew I was a cardiac nurse and could take good care of him at home. He gave us a prescription for an oral beta blocker. Now, in this situation, the blood pressure could probably have been due to pain and anxiety, but Warren has had high blood pressure in the past, but not nearly this high. For this reason, I was concerned about why it was staying so high for so long. Also, by this point, he had been given enough pain killers to knock him out and getting him out the door and into the car was not easy. Point being, pain and anxiety were not the issue causing the hypertensive crisis. Nevertheless, we got him into the car, got the prescription filled and went home. I immediately began to rub his feet and hands with a dilution of jojoba oil (closest at the time) and Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) essential oil. I got out my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff and took his blood pressure about 5 minutes later. It had already come down into the 150/90 range - still not so good though. I didn't try lavender, though I'm pretty sure that would have helped with the pain and anxiety.  I also put the ultrasonic diffuser by his bed and began to diffuse the Ylang-ylang as well. It did finally come down to a normal range within an hour or two. He never did have to start the blood pressure medicine. Why?!

Why Ylang-ylang?

Why did I, in this time of panic and fear, grab immediately for the Ylang-ylang? Most aromatherapists have read that Ylang has been used in other case studies for blood pressure, in what we would call anecdotal cases. It had worked well and I had read that British midwives used it to help reduce hypertension in pregnant women. Just let it be said that we (aromatherapists) don't mess around with hypertension in pregnant women unless we know it works. It's also true that Ylang can be a great oil for reducing anxiety. However, you will also read in many of your aromatherapy books that it is also a stimulant. I'd often wondered about that obvious contradiction, but simply hadn't taken the time to find out why. 

One of the unique things about the distillation of Ylang-ylang is that when it is distilled, it is done in varying distillation times and different "fractions" are produced resulting in different grades and completely different chemical constituent compositions. There is a declining quality of the oil based on the time of the distillation process. Now just skip to the next paragraph if you're not the least bit interested in essential oils, but are interested in hypertension.

The best Ylang-ylang is the first batch produced. I am adding an updated note from a comment from Robert Tisserand, who is one of the foremost experts in all things pertaining to essential oils, where he said in his own blog dated February 2014, "The only essential oil with several grades is ylang-ylang. It is distilled for 18 hours – an unusually long time. Extra is the oil from the first hour of distillation, First is the next 3 hours, Second is the next 5 hours, and Third is the last 9 hours." When I originally wrote this blog in 2011, I referred to information from Sue Clark in her book Essential Chemistry for Aromatherapy, "The most expensive is the first produced, with a time scale of up to 3 hours. This is called Extra Superior and contains the smallest and most volatile molecules." This is followed by Extra grade with a time of an additional hour; Grade 1 is an additional 2 hours, with increasing grades up to grade 3. Confusing!? As you look at different books and experts (and non-experts), you may find even more conflicting information. I usually go to Robert as my final "correct" source and for good reason. 

While resourcing our supply of Ylang, usually I am also presented with the choice of "Ylang Complete", which is the complete distillation of the flower, meaning it contains the 3 grades in one oil. The "Extra" grade is, of course, more expensive and in my opinion smells the best as there is a distinct difference in the quality of the fragrance. The Extra is from the first "minutes" of the distillation and is supposed to be of the finest quality, but quality regarding what? Fragrance? Well, definitely, but there are other considerations besides fragrance. I also discovered that the Extra grades have a higher concentration of benzyl acetate and a higher percentage of linalool, both of which are chemical constituents known for their relaxing qualities. The lower grades have increased sesquiterpenes, specifically caryophyllene, with increasingly higher percentages from Extra to Grade 3. Caryophyllene, it has been suggested, could be what causes the harsher fragrance of Grade 3, and it also may be why there are grades of Ylang that are more stimulating than relaxing.  If you take a look at the oils that have the highest percentage of sesquiterpenes, they include oils such as black pepper, which I've personally discovered on many occasions increases blood flow and decreases inflammation - both of which are contributors to improved blood pressure levels. Is there a correlation here? I don't know, but I think it is an area of aromatherapy that could/should be explored. 

 picture of pills and essential oils 

Ah, but back to my story!

The grade I was using that day was Grade 1. So, that being said, the Grade 1 was obviously enough to bring the blood pressure down in this particular instance. There are other instances. According to Jane Buckle's very comprehensive book, Clinical Aromatherapy, Essential Oils in Practice, Freund (1999) completed a non-published study specifically looking at blood pressure and Ylang-ylang. It was a controlled and well-done study that showed that the group being administered Cananga odorata (I don't know which grade at this point and that would be helpful) experienced a 50% greater drop in systolic and diastolic pressure than did the control group. The Cananga odorata group also had a 50% greater reduction in stress levels. Now I'm impressed with that 50% reduction!

Other oils that have been suggested for reducing blood pressure include most of the oils we already recognize as being relaxing, including Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), and Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana.)

Now promise me you won't immediately go out and buy yourself some Ylang-ylang. First of all, you will need the assistance of a professional clinical aromatherapist in conjunction and cooperation with your medical doctor. I think it's a valid option, but an aromatherapist would need to take a complete medical history that would include any current medications, pharmaceutical or over-the-counter, including herbs or supplements that you are taking. And, as stated previously, frequent monitoring of your blood pressure is important and, as is usual with pharmaceuticals, you would need to wean off of any current medication. Let me know if you have any questions or comments. So, as the commercials that I hate the most say - "ask your doctor, he'll tell you what's best for you."

Thanks for listening!



Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health, nutrition and skin care. Ann was a Critical Care Registered Nurse, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

See our disclaimer statements here.


Excellent resources to learn more about hypertension:






Bowles, Joy. The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils. 3rd ed.  Crows Nest, NSW 2065, Australia: Allen & Unwin; 2003

Buckle,Jane. Clinical Aromatherapy, Essential Oils in Practice. 2nd ed. New York, New York: Churchill Livingston; 2003.

Clark, Sue. Essential Chemistry for Aromatherapy. 2nd ed. New York, New York: Churchill Livingston; 2005

Price Shirley, Price Len. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007

Up Tight and Out of Sight? Try Bergamot!

By Ann C Wooledge
on March 15, 2011

Are you up tight and out of sight?! Try Bergamot Essential Oil!

Then maybe you need some Bergamot.

When I was younger, much younger, this term was familiar and frequently used due to Stevie Wonder's well-known song with that title. It's a happy, encouraging tune with really great lyrics. As I was delving through all of the different news and comments today from many different sources, it occurred to me that there were at least two predominant themes running through all of them - trust (or lack thereof) and fear. I was feeling those things myself - who could I trust to give me accurate information? I was somewhat fearful for our future, but more than that I was becoming more and more depressed over the helpless situation in which the people of Japan were finding themselves. I could no longer look at the video's at all the destruction and loss of life and property. 

At the same point in time, I was also trying to focus on my continuing work on our Essential Oil Database, alphabetically of course, and the next oil up was Begamot. It amazed me (once again) that God's timing is so perfect. I'll tell you why.

Bergamot essential oil has been one of my favorite "go to" oils for years now for lots of different purposes, but mainly just because I love the fragrance. It reminds me of a couple of my favorite perfumes, Jessica McClintock (the more expensive one) and Muguet des Bois by Coty (much cheaper and found at Walgreens, but a favorite when I was a teenager.)  The pure essential oil of Bergamot, however, doesn't just smell very good, but it also has many amazing properties that are well-documented. I can personally attest to at least a few of them. Bergamot is an anti-depressant (who doesn't need that right now), it is uplifting, it is calming and relaxing and great antidote for insomnia, which is something I've struggled with for years.Yes, there are really many essential oils that have these properties, but something that is very special about Bergamot is that it is a light, clean, fresh and uplifting fragrance - which makes me think of spring. I need to think of spring - and hope and renewing energies in the earth. I bet you do too. I love spring and anything that remotely makes me think of spring and bergamot essential oil has always done that for me. I hope it does for you.

So - if you want more information about this very special essential oil, you can find a short version in our "description" tab under the product itself and be sure to look under the "Usage/Safety" tab as well, or you can read the detailed version in our ever-growing essential oil data base (okay I'm only still in the B's - but I'm getting there!) There are many different ways you can take advantage of the benefits of this oil. Today, I simply placed a couple drops on a kleenex and set it on my desk - simple yet effective. I've provided a few recipes under our "description tab." It's very effective in an ultrasonic diffuser, which really is my favorite and most effective, plus economical way to use essential oils.

God bless to all of you and please continue to pray for the people of Japan who face a much less hopeful spring than we do.

Thanks for listening!






Bergamot (Cirtrus bergamia) essential oil

By Ann C Wooledge
on March 15, 2011

Bergamot Essential Oil (Cistrus bergamia) Profile



Bergamot contains predominantly the aromatic constituents of linalol, limonene, and linalyl acetate. It belongs to the Rutacaea family as do all the citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, sweet orange and tangerine. All of the citrus oils we offer are obtained through cold pressed methods, and no steam distillation was employed to produce these oils. There are some distilled citrus oils on the market, lime being one that we will be offering soon. This oil is cold pressed from the peel.

Central Nervous System: Reported to be antispasmodic, a very effective antidepressant, used often and reliably for anxiety, and is effective for insomnia. The literature available agrees that this oil is very balancing, uplifting, enhances emotional control and reduces hyperactivity. Since it is considered to be somewhat sedating and tranquilizing, it has been used successfully to lower blood pressure that is caused by anxiety.

Gastrointestinal: Antiseptic, stomachic (tones the stomach improving its function and appetite), known to be an effective vermifuge (expels parasitic intestinal worms in humans and animals), and has also been reported to help regulate the appetite of overeaters. Bergamot is reported to be anti-toxic and to relieve flatulence. Bergamot is widely used in many major foods, most notably in Earl Grey Tea. It is interesting to note that the bergamot fruit is inedible, but the essential oil has many culinary uses. It is the characteristic flavor of Earl Grey tea and is used as a fragrance for pipe tobaccos..

Urinary: Reported to be “strongly” indicated for all urinary tract infections including cystitis and urethritis.

Skin/Dermatological: Very good treatment for oily skin, acne, eczema, psoriasis, boils, scabies or varicose ulcers. Also reported to be an effective deodorant, parasiticide, insect repellent, soothes insect bites and increases wound healing. Bergamot is referred to as a “rubefacient” oil, meaning that it can dilate capillaries and thereby increase blood circulation, which also means it is probably not a good choice for someone with rosacea for use in facial products. See safety/cautions below.

Reproductive System: Reported to be an effective treatment for vaginal infections, cancer (uterine). However, it has been recommended not to use this essential during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Respiratory: Reported to be effective for halitosis, relieves mouth sores, sore throat, tonsillitis and infections of the mouth.

Safety/Cautions: Bergamot contains furocoumarins, notably bergapten, which causes skin sensitization and skin pigmentation when exposed to direct UV light for up to 12 hours. It can and has caused severe burns when used on sensitive skin that is subsequently exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays.  We previously carried a bergapten-free or sometimes referred to as FCF, furanocoumarin-free oil, but the last shipment just didn't have the fragrance we expect in a good bergamot oil, so we opted to purchase the unrectified oil because the samples we received were amazIng. I think the best so far. The maximum concentration for most oils in concentration with a carrier is somewhere around 5%, but the IFRA recommends Bergamot to not exceed 0.4% in products that will not be washed off. We follow those guidelines in our products that contain Bergamot.

Bergamot, as are all cold-pressed citrus essential oils, prone to oxidation which will degrade the oil and make it more likely to cause allergic reactions and lose some of their potency. We keep our bergamot refrigerated and suggest that you do also. If unable to refrigerate, then keeping it in a cool, dark location will be okay. The shelf life, of course, will depend entirely on how you store and handle the essential oil. 

Avoid in cases of liver problems. Not for use when pregnant or nursing, some sources say not for use just during the 1st trimester. Possible skin irritant – dilute well.

IMPORTANT: All of our products are for external use only without a consultation with a qualified professional aromatherapist.

We also suggest you have a good working knowledge of the use of essential oils or consult with an aromatherapy professional prior to use. In addition, Essential Oils must be properly diluted before use in order to avoid any damages to property or adverse physical effects (including injury or bodily harm). Please read our Disclaimer before using our products.


Looking for Lip Balm?

By Aromatherapy Recipes Natural Home Aromatherapy
on February 28, 2011

 Looking for lip balm that works?

Me too - in the past that is. 

I've seen, made and used a lot of different brands and recipes for lip balm over the years. We used to sell them and the ones I have left over are still the best I've ever used. The recipe in this article is very close to what we use, it doesn't contain lanolin which eventually just dries out your lips - ever wonder why you have to keep putting it on over and over again? The beeswax is needed to help the lip balm keep its shape, but also it has amazing protective and moisturizing properties. Coconut oil is well known for its ability to heal and lubricate. You can use a blend of essential oils or a single oil such as peppermint (go lightly here - test as you go) to add additional healing properties. This one is easy - I probably should put our lip balm containers for sale on the website - hmmm. The reason we don't sell them anymore is because making 1 or 2 is easy, but making many is time intensive and they are difficult to label and package. So - I think finding some good DIY at home recipes is a good idea. Thanks to Natural Home for sharing this recipe!


Please let me know if you try it and how it worked. Let me hear from you if you think we should sell the lip balm containers on the website. We will be carrying certified organic carrier/vegetable oils and shea butter as soon as we can get the product pictures done - so you will have an easy source for the ingredients for this recipe plus many others we will be sending along your way.

Thanks for listening!


Basil Essential Oil - Profile

By Ann C Wooledge
on February 16, 2011
1 comment

Basil Essential Oil (Ocimum basilicum)

basil sweet essential oil profile

Ocimum basilicum, or sweet basil,  is not to be confused with the Holy Basil that is used extensively in ayurvedic medicine. That type of basil is very effective as a herb known as Tulsi Basil - but entirely different than sweet basil essential oil.  When I first started working with essential oils and taking classes about aromatherapy, I found a lot of confusion when I tried to both purchase basil essential oil and researching this very effective oil. At that time, I was completing my research paper for my certification and had decided to make a blend that would help me stay awake as I drove back to Lincoln in the morning following a hospital night shift in Omaha. I read that basil essential oil was very effective as a mental stimulant.  I realized after much searching that there were many different chemotypes available and not everyone selling essential oils bothered to tell you what chemotype they carried. In fact, at that time, I didn't realize there were different types. I heard terms such as Spanish or Mediterranean. Before taking my certification classes, I had actually purchased a fairly large amount of what was called Basil Essential Oil from a large company who uses the term "essential oils" in the name of their company - so I assumed they would know what type they had sold me. I learned that "Spanish" might be more effective as an insect repellent, which we were also testing. So I emailed this company with the Lot number and asked them what "type" I had received since it wasn't listed on their website. They told me they "didn't know."  Do not buy from companies who "do not know." Let it be said Wingsets did not start sell essential oils until I had used them for years and until after I became certified. We don't buy in bulk or much less sell essential oils unless we know a lot more about them than that. 

You can read the detailed discussion of basil essential oil in our Essential Oil Database, or you can read the more simplified version in our product description. None of these essential oils actually have the same odor that we are familiar with in our culinary basil, but the Linalool seems to be closer. I love this oil for many reasons and use it frequently in my customized blends. It is fairly inexpensive, with the Linalool chemotype being somewhat more expensive and this is the type we offer.

If you have any questions about this oil, please post them here or send me an email.

Thanks for listening!




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