Fragrance versus Essential Oil

“It turns out that same qualities that make synthetic chemicals so valuable – their potency and durability, for instance – also make them dangerous (…) We have unlashed tens of thousands of man-made chemicals into the air, water, and soil without knowing what the effects will be on the world’s living creatures, including homo sapiens”
  – Dan Fagin and Marianne Lavelle, Toxic Deception

While the essential oils have drug-like effects on the mind and body i.e analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, calmative, they differ from drugs because of their:

Chemical complexity. They are so complex that it is very difficult for pathogenic bacteria to develop resistance.
Synergy and multifaceted actions. The plant has created several compounds whose purpose is to alleviate exactly the side effects that the isolated constituent produces in living organism. Bacteria, unlike pharmaceuticals, do not develop resistance to plant medicines. Plant medicines, contain thousands of complex compounds that work synergistically.
Reduced side effects (internally and externally). Virtually no whole plants are used in modern medicine. It produces a number of unpleasant side effects during treatment. Only when the whole plant is used, the side effects do to exist.

Did you know that over 60% of what you put on your skin, the largest organ on your body, gets absorbed into your blood stream? Synthetic fragrances are present in personal care products such as shampoos, hair tonics and sprays, skin care products, oral hygiene products, soaps, lipsticks, deodorants, sunscreens, perfumes and so on. They enter and accumulate in the body organs leading to dangerous side effects. They can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, asthma attacks, nausea, eczema, and a whole host of other sensitivities. Synthetic personal care products(PCPs) that contain estrogens or xenoestrogens are now proved to increase breast cancer and result in premature sexual development in girls, as it was revealed in a study in 2006.

A 1986 report by the National Academy of Sciences reports that 95 percent of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum and include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and many other known toxins and synthesizers capable of causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.

Although each essential oil interacts with the body’s chemistry and affects certain organs or body systems, when used with skill and appropriate knowledge, they do not present any harmful side effects.

Many artificial perfumes do contain natural, essential oils but typically it is a small percentage. Other ingredients of concern in fragrances are:
phthalates – a known carcinogen, health effects may include damage to liver/kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in girls and boys.
synthetic musks – they not only disrupt hormones, but but traces have been found in: fat tissue, breast milk, body fat and so on.

The unfortunate side of a synthetic fragrance is that the manufactured scent does not contain the therapeutic properties of their counterpart whole-plant based essential oils thus the true power and purpose of aromatherapy is lost.

“While normal cosmetics treatment is symptom-oriented and attempts to change the skin in one way or another, the goal of essential oils treatment is always the restoration of balance. Treatment with essential oils attempts to bring the metabolic functions back into balance. It is not the purpose of holistic essential oil cosmetics to encourage the expectation of miracles as promised by the cosmetic industry”

Naturals are much healthier and provide the scents for green living. Without harsh chemicals, natural fragrances are also more eco-friendly than synthetic counterparts whose chemicals can be an environmental problem. You are getting nature’s gifts in its purest form. People with chemical sensitivities and asthma won’t be as bothered like they are with synthetics and the aroma of the fragrance is provided by the aroma of nature.

The hormonal, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties of a plant are captured in the essential oil and the human body is able to use the plants vital energy to benefit itself.

I have come across some statements that it is much cheaper to synthesize substances in the lab than it is to get them from nature. But facts speak out for themselves. Stomach ulceration can cost up to $25,000 when treated by surgery, or $ a year with Tagamet. It can be treated for a little as $125 with the use of the medicinal plant liquorice(Glycyrrhiza glabra).

Current laws do not require the full disclosure of the synthetic chemicals that make up the fragrance oil. Therefore, it is critical to understand the potential adverse affects of cosmetic ingredients. Try then, to use cosmetic products created from natural, organic and ethically ingredients. Also, whenever possible, products that are certified organic by the UK Soil Association. Always seek for safer alternatives.


Hair care
Essential oils, nature’s botanical essences, can work wonders on your hair and scalp. They can be used to cleanse the scalp, strengthen hair, control irritation and dandruff, stimulate hair follicles, improve circulation and even promote hair growth. instead of using synthetic hair conditioner, DIY. My favorite recipe so far comes from

3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
8 Drops of  Essential Oils

Enjoy your soft, healthy, and chemical-free hair!

Facial cream
Buy natural base cream and add to it your favorite essential oils, according to your skin needs. It adds all the therapeutic qualities to the cream as well as the fragrance – giving you a “non-oily” way of applying essential oils. The total percentage of essential oil to a cream or lotion should not exceed 2%. If you are not sure how many drops of oil you should add, please refer to

Facial toner
Make your skin look, feel, and smell great with helpful essential oils

Essential oils toner for normal to dry skin Add a drop of Geranium, Sandalwood  and  Roman chamomile essential oils to 100 ml rose floral water. Use it as a toner for normal to dry skin.

Essential oils toner for oily skin Add True lavender (6 drops), Tea tree (4 drops) and Sandalwood essential oil (3drops) to 50 ml of distilled water. Store it in a spray bottle and shake it well before you use it on cleansed skin.

According to Battaglia (2003) there are essential oils that will benefit every type of the skin and that include Lavender, Sandalwood, Geranium, and Palmarosa.

Body scrub
Mix together delicious honey, sugar and essential oils. Simple as that!

  • ½ cup sugar (white sugar or brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup oil olive, coconut, almond are great
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • essential oils according to your preferences (10-20 drops)

Consider adding two spoons of Vitamin E, your skin will love it.

Homemade mouthwash
Use this great recipe from



Battaglia S, (2003) The complete guide to aromatherapy

Buhner SH (2002) The lost language of the plants : the ecological importance of plant medicine to life on earth Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont

Donovan M. et al (2006) Personal care products that contain estrogens or xenoestrogens may increase breast cancer risk Medical Hypotheses (2007) 68, 756–766

Neurotoxins at Home and In The Workplace (Report 99-827) Committee on Science & Technology Sept. 16, 1986.

Fischer-Rizzi, Susanne. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 1990.

Schnaubelt K. Advanced aromatherapy Healing Art Press, USA, 1995






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