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May 28, 2007

Research Notes

Essential oils derived from five plant species, celery (Apium graveolens), caraway (Carum carvi), zedoary (Curcuma zedoaria), long pepper (Piper longum), and Chinese star anise (Illicium verum), were subjected to investigation of adulticidal activity against mosquito vectors. . . . The highest potential was established from caraway, followed by zedoary, celery, long pepper, and Chinese star anise. . .

So essential oils can kill adult mosquitos.

Posted by Rob on May 28, 2007 in Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Notes and News

We've been busy and a lot of stuff has happened. I'm going to work backwards in this post with a number of items, and then start a new post working forwards from way back there (if I get time).

  • The June Perfumer and Flavorist arrived in the mail on Friday. Among other things, it contains of an article by Brian Lawrence--Research Rebuttal: Estrogenic Activity in Lavender and Tea Tree Oils, Part II. Part I was in the May issue: it examined the biological activity of essential oils and their constituents, estrogenic activity and estrogenic activity test methods.  Part II reviews the composition and biological activity of lavender and tea tree oils; their topical application; commercially available EOs, and a safety assessment of EOs.  These articles appear to be information that the researchers who wrote the original paper implicating lavender and tea tree in gynecomastia should have read before they wrote their paper.
  • We've posted several times about Colony Collapse Disorder. It doesn't appear that any conclusions to its causes have emerged yet, but funding has been provided for more research, and there have been numerous blog posts and newspaper articles setting forth everyone's pet theories, including the fact that many organic beekeepers are not reporting any CCD may mean that non-organic sources may cause it (not proven, of course), speculation that varroa mites may be responsible (apparently disproved), and an article in the last few days that suggests that the most popular insecticide in the world may be implicated. Since most of these items are nothing more than speculation and there is no hard evidence yet, I haven't reported on them here. We'll let you know if any real evidence shows up.
  • An article on how to make "OpenCola", an open source recipe for your own Cola drink, using essential oils as flavoring, is making its way around the blogosphere. It uses orange oil, lemon oil, nutmeg oil, cassia (cinnamon) oil, coriander oil, neroli oil, lime oil, and  lavender oil as well as a number of less benign ingredients.
  • Bulgarian Rose Oil will hit a record output in 2007, according to this article/press release from a Bulgarian News Agency. Whether that will lower the price is unknown. High quality rose oil from the 2006 crop has been going for up to $8,000/kg.
  • Kate's Wellness Blog has an article on Lavender, with lots of good stuff and a few errors ("Lavender has the Latin name Lavare" for one).
  • Walmart is going to start selling a patented botanical, organic pesticide from EcoSMART, apparently a blend of essential oils that act by blocking the actopamine receptor neurotransmitter unique to insects, to paralyze the bugs in seconds. (It appears to be only in Texas, but you can probably get them direct from EcoSMART.)
  • The Green Options Blog has an article on Green Myth-Busting: “Natural” Beauty Products that debunks the myth that all Beauty products claiming to be natural or organic really are.
  • Another article from Green Options talks about ways of dealing with mosquitoes without using repellents such as DEET. It suggests several essential oils such as citronella, castor, peppermint, lemongrass, and clove oils. Wisdom of Healing Blog discusses the same topic but with more "real" information about oils that have been approved by the EPA. Funny that neither one mentions catnip oil, which is apparently 10 times more effective than DEET.
  • And yet another Green Options article talks about Natural Baby Products and reviews 5 that are on the market.
  • Robert Siedel, owner of The Essential Oil Company in Portland, is featured in an article in the Oregonian, "Businessman enjoys sweet smell of success."

That's it for now.  More coming soon.

Posted by Rob on May 28, 2007 in Notes and News, Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

FDA vs CAM Final Deadline

The final deadline for comments on the FDA vs CAM issue discussed here is May 29, which is coming up soon. If you haven't already commented, go to one of the links in the previous post to make your comments.

Posted by Rob on May 28, 2007 in Notes and News, Politics, Regulatory Issues | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2007

Essential Oils Reduce Dysmenorrhea

A Research Review in Herbalgram No. 74 [not on line yet] discusses a Korean research study "Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrhea in college students: a randomized placebo-controlled trial" that was published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine in 2006. The study involved 67 women who were (in the experimental group) received aromatherapy through abdominal massage using lavender, clary sage, and rose oils mixed with almond carrier oil. The placebo group received only almond oil massage, while the control group received no treatment.

The authors concluded that aromatherapy with this formula was effective in reducing the severity of menstrual cramps., and suggested that further research is warranted.

The Herbalgram peer review team pointed out the limitations of the study because the placebo, lacking odor, was not a true placebo. They also had a problem with the method used for blinding.

The full review should be on-line in a few days and will be linked here. As usual, obtaining the full original study online costs money.

Posted by Rob on May 9, 2007 in Aromatherapy, Massage, Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack