Add as bookmark

Letters to the Editor Issue 11

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 11 - April 1996

Book review – Aromatherapy for Health Professionals

I would like to thank Mr. Tisserand for his broadly favourable review of the book Aromatherapy for Health Professionals and while doing so would like to defend some of the information which he criticises adversely and correct some areas where it appears he has been mistaken. It was, as he so rightly says, a mammoth task to put together such a broad and ambitious book, especially in view of the paucity of available information in many areas (e.g. rheumatism, arthritis) and on occasion we thought it better to act on the basis that a little information, although not rigorously tested, was better than no information.

Mr. Tisserand says that there is much good and accurate material in the book but he has mistakenly come to the conclusion that we the authors have used an unfounded concept (the connection between functional groups and pharmacological properties) as a cornerstone of the whole text: this is a gross exaggeration as it occupies only 24 column centimetres out of 11,000. Moreover, in the book, we preface this theory with the words

It is extremely difficult to judge the probable effects of an essential oil solely by knowing its principal chemical constituent(s) ... The whole oil has to be considered in all its complexity, the mixture of possibly hundreds of different types of molecules, their molecular energy and the overall synergy. There is no simple direct relationship between any one of the chemical constituents and the therapeutic effect – or even the hazard – of the whole essential oil. (p23)

It is also stated (on the same page)

Such understanding [of the chemistry] makes it evident that certain compounds may have certain effects – ‘may’, because, as stated above, there is no direct link between even the major components of an essential oil and the complete oil.

... we use whole essential oils and not isolated molecules.

... the therapeutic qualities given ... are general familial characteristics

and, in Mr. Tisserand’s own words ‘there is undoubtedly some truth in these ascribed properties’.

Mr. Tisserand says that several oils are classed in the book as being toxic, neurotoxic and abortifacient purely on the basis that they contain significant amounts of ketones and goes on to agree that many of the oils listed are undoubtedly toxic, but states that there is no evidence that either davana oil or turmeric oil are toxic. Be that as it may, the decision to include these oils in the hazardous list was not taken purely because they contain ketones, but consideration was also given to the fact that eminent French doctors and aromatologists regard these two oils as being neurotoxic and abortive, and surely it is better in this case to regard them as hazardous until these ketone rich oils have been shown to be safe. If Mr. Tisserand has knowledge of relevant tests on children and pregnant women showing that they are indeed safe I would be very happy to hear about it.

I am happy that Mr. Tisserand agrees with us when he comments that an oil does not deserve to be classed as toxic simply because it contains ketones; in fact on p41 this is set out at some length, including the following

‘... certain oils high in ketones are not considered toxic ...’

‘One frequently repeated statement is that all forms of ketones are neurotoxic, but this is not so’

ironically quoting Tisserand himself (1985 p61) – which he seems to have missed.

Mr. Tisserand supposes that some information was taken from another book on safety whose author has misunderstood the IFRA guidelines: this was not the case, for I am quite capable of making my own mistakes. The information referred to was supplied to me some time ago by a perfumer and included in the book without being checked – my fault alone.

The comment in the book suggesting that it is safe to expose the skin to sunlight 1 hour or more from application of bergamot oil was based on our practical experience (problem free) using the normal dose used in aromatherapy massage over the last nineteen years. But perhaps this topic is not as clear as Mr. Tisserand states; it is known that the horny layer is the major barrier to the penetration of psoralens and that the flow of psoralen through the horny layer is dependent on the carrier used. Other tests have shown that the interval between applying psoralens and the phototoxic effect to be 30-45 min (tested on guinea pig and human skin) and a different test indicated a time interval up to 75 min. In the test to which the reviewer no doubt refers bergamot oil in ethyl alcohol was used; aromatherapists do not use alcohol as a medium for application. Tests using Paraffin Molle Flavum (PMF) as the carrier resulted in increased speed of penetration through the horny layer and produced a shorter period in which phototoxicity persists. Our practical experience suggests that the fixed oils used as carriers in aromatherapy are nearer to PMF than to ethyl alcohol. From the foregoing, it is at least arguable that we have not, as the reviewer states, committed a faux pas and that our approach based on practical experience may have some merit: there is room for debate, at least until tests appropriate to the aromatherapist rather than the perfumer are carried out. This topic will be further addressed in the new edition, already planned.

I do take exception to the remark that second hand information was used in the book. What does this mean? Who is able to write a book on such a complex subject as aromatherapy where all information has been gained at first hand? As he himself writes in his review, the book does include hundreds of references; there is plenty of information (in vitro) on the antiviral, antiseptic and antibacterial properties of essential oils, but there has been virtually no properly conducted research on, for example, analgesic, diuretic effects and complaints such as rheumatism, arthritis, etc. Where no ‘scientific’ evidence is available then good quality anecdotal experience has been used – or else it would have been a very thin (and practically useless) book; throughout the book, only the writings of eminent (mainly French) practitioners (including doctors) have been used to give these other properties: unreferenced consumer books on aromatherapy have not been used.

Trial and pilot studies are all that aromatherapy has to offer so far in the way of results on the use of essential oils, and it is surely better to give this information than fall into the easy trap of copying from herbal books and the vast array of ‘guesswork’ aromatherapy books available today.

All’s well that ends well; the reviewer praises the book as a very useful resource which is valuable and comprehensive, which is gratifying.

Len Price

Acceptance – the cure for all allergic reaction!

All psychological and physical illnesses, growths etc. are allergic in origin i.e. they are resistances to something, be it painful memories that destroy your illusions of the World (family situations) or repulsion by and expulsion of its contents – that is the physical components that make up life or existence (substances as opposed to objects and ideas).

Allergic reactions are the conscious rejection of stimuli, as is demonstrated by the fact that when you are asleep they cease to exist i.e. when you are relaxed your resistance is down: A broken leg is a broken leg whether you are awake or asleep but coughing, wheezing, sneezing etc. disappear when conscious control goes and you slip into dreamland (non-resistance ensures that you don’t break your leg in the first place!).

Psychological problems become physiological if ignored; that is mental symptoms become chemical imbalances then organic disturbances or growths, with persistence of effect or severity of reaction to stimulus.

On the mental front alcohol and other sedative drugs (tobacco etc.) are used to suppress (resist) feelings of sadness (acceptance of the situation – that is defeat), which leads into apathy because of the resultant failure to do anything about it. Acceptance allows us to let go of the past and start again. Alternatively such substances can be used to force back feelings of anger (rejection of rejection) – again failure to accept the situation exists, along with failure to do anything about it; that is leave or change your attitude to it by accepting defeat and abandoning hope of changing the opinions of others, to one more favourable to you and instead rebuilding your own self esteem by severing all ties with the past, in your mind at least.

The cure for all allergic reactions, mental or physical, is acceptance of that which you are refusing to acknowledge the existence of; so that you can move onto something new instead of defending yourself from something old (past fear).

Tony Sandy

Slipshod Homework

On reading ‘The Argument For Food Combining’ by Jan Dries, (Positive Health, Feb/Mar, 1996), I found myself at first happily agreeing with many of his opening statements, especially with “someone who really makes an effort with food combining should achieve constantly perfect digestion”.

Later, in his section Bad Combinations, Jan states that the combination of protein and starch is “one of the most common bad ones”.

Then came the bombshell:

“The protein-starch combination was particularly favoured by the old school of nutritionists (including Drs Hay and Shelton, and others).

“Indeed, Dr Hay based his entire theory upon this very combination, wrong as it is, and it was later adopted also by Dr Shelton. Why they should have done so, and so misguidedly, demands an explanation.”

This extraordinary statement is the complete opposite of the truth. Drs Hay and Shelton consistently maintained that the protein-starch combination was responsible for much digestive trouble and should be avoided.

On page 3 of his book, however, from which this article was extracted, Jan proceeds to contradict himself by attributing to Dr Hay a completely different version: “that a combination of high-protein, high starch foods had appalling effects on the digestion”.

It is surely Jan’s contradictory and untrue statements which “demand an explanation” — as such they are unforgivable in an author at any time but particularly so where a world-wide reputation such as that of Dr Hay is concerned. Moreover, they cast serious doubt on the veracity of anything the author writes.

Jan’s slipshod research is evident in the date he gives for “Dr Hay’s first publication”, – 1939. This date is very wide of the mark, and I should know; two years earlier, 1937, was the date of my own first publication, The Hay System Menu Book, which Dr Hay asked me to write and for which he wrote the foreword.
Moreover, his most important book A New Health Era explaining the Hay System was published in the UK in 1935 and earlier in the USA.

Jan’s slipshod research is again clearly evident in his misinterpretation of Dr Hay’s classification of foods as alkaline-forming, acid-forming and neutral; these terms referred to their end-products of digestion – not to any pH value as Jan infers.

And it is yet once again very evident in the wrong statements he attributes to “the old school” with regard to the starch-protein rules.

According to Jan they claimed that “gastric juice becomes neutral if starchy foods such as bread and potatoes are eaten”, and that “starch is only digested in the mouth”!

With his strong sense of humour Dr Hay would have laughed at such totally ridiculous attributions to “the old school”.

From the foregoing it will be seen how easy it is for perfunctory research to be responsible for distortion of food combining rules. This is especially true of the starch-protein rule which many sceptics and orthodox nutritionists brand as ‘a load of rubbish’!

At this point, therefore, in fairness to food combiners everywhere and to Dr Hay in particular, a brief explanation of the starch-protein rule is necessary.

Dr Hay taught that starches require an alkaline condition in the stomach for about 30 to 40 minutes after their preliminary digestion by ptyalin in the mouth.

The sceptics claim, however, that this is not possible in a stomach which is always acid; for many years the teaching has been that the highest levels of acidity are in the resting stomach.

But a number of authorities disagree with this belief, including the physiologist A.H. James. In Physiology of Gastric Digestion (Arnold, London, 1957 ) he states: “The highest acidities of all are reached during the digestion of food and not when the stomach is empty”.

This fact supports Dr Hay’s contention that if no protein accompanies a starch food entering a resting stomach, the amount of hydrochloric acid is insufficient at first to fully neutralize or overcome the alkalinity of the saliva present.

I found further support for Dr Hay’s protein-starch rule when researching Food Combing For Life: medical textbooks teach that acidity rises as food is eaten. Moreover, R.G.S. McDowal in his Textbook on Physiology and Biochemistry (42nd edn. John Murray, London) states that acidity rises higher when meat is eaten than when food consumed is bread.

It would appear, therefore, that when meat and bread are eaten together, the extra acidity which accompanies the digestion of meat is sufficient for the first 30 to 40 minutes to neutralize the alkaline saliva which always accompanies chewed food and which is necessary, according to Dr Hay, to prepare the starches for subsequent digestion in the small intestine.

“The Argument for Food Combining”, with all its errors, should be a warning to sceptics everywhere of the danger of drawing false conclusions from slipshod homework – especially so with regard to the Hay System which for millions of people worldwide has proved a life saver for nearly 100 years.

Doris Grant

Vivienne Bradshaw Writes

I enclose part of a letter I wrote this week which I thought you might find interesting. The individual concerned had his amalgam fillings removed, in an effort to get well, some time ago but has been stuck in poor health, chronic fatigue and candidiasis despite spending a lot of money on various treatments.

With 0% as dead and 100% as fighting fit, the person said that he had been at 15% for a long time and could make no progress. Since going on the detox protocol, he says that he is now at 45% (going backwards only for a couple of weeks when he didn’t take the detoxes or the required amount of water). Since returning to adequate intake of both, he is back to 45% That seems pretty good progress in a few weeks after years of going nowhere.

Extract from letter:
I think that in dealing with candida and similar problems, we get so involved in describing the individual trees that we do not see the whole picture (the wood). The technicalities of bacteria and fungi being synergistic are very important and most interesting but we are looking to the ‘soil’ population and not to the ‘soil’ itself where the problem lies. We get mixed up in thinking that the diet is the ‘soil’. I don’t believe that it is. The real ‘soil’ is not the inside temporary contents of the bowel but the body tissue down to cellular level. (This does not negate the need for a proper balanced diet).

I think the problem starts for some at conception and gestation; for some at birth and for others after that.

If a child is conceived by already toxic parents (also and/or smokers etc.) the ‘soil’ is already corrupt (that involves most of us already). Also, a child conceived to parents who are already immunocompromised because they have had antibiotics/ drugs/ hormones/ chemicals etc is yet another step removed from health. On top of this insult to ‘rightness’ most babies are drugged during labour, traumatised during birth, deprived of the essential continuity of contact with the mother/colostrum and breast milk and fed on polluted, enzyme dead wrong milk. To add to this, polluted indigestible food (which has to be chewed thoroughly) is force fed to toothless colicky infants (their urgent need to suck for comfort being misconstrued as hunger) and their immune systems directly compromised with vaccinations. Premature feeding of solid foods to a baby is a gross insult to its digestive system and causes long term sensitisations to foods which should be happily taken at a later date when the baby has teeth to chew properly and the accompanying enzymes to digest it. By this time, many infants are on their own courses of antibiotics anyway.

I believe that this massive insult and resulting sensitisation is at the root of dysbiosis. This is then further aggravated as the years go by and further drugs, hormones, vaccinations, insults and burdens are placed on an already overloaded body. (e.g. chronic dehydration, mercury fillings, root canal fillings, denture plates containing mercury, nickel braces, smoking, eating chemically polluted and denatured foods and drinking toxic laden water).

As adults in trouble, we wonder why going on an ‘anti-candida’ diet brings temporary respite at best or seems long term to do nothing. Candidiasis is stubborn because the reason for its residence in the first place has not been addressed. Most people inherit a poor start and take years of abuse before they have to take stock of their health but can’t understand why a month or two of ‘anti-candida’ treatment doesn’t fix all their ills.

We have to be like medical detectives and find the causes for our own individual cases. Because tissue is so chronically (long term) toxic, it is a case of tracking down and detoxifying the ‘foreigners’ from the past. Some toxins are common to us all, e.g. mercury, heavy metals from tap water, pesticides, cows milk etc. Some toxins are common to most of us, e.g. vaccines, cigarette smoke, anti-biotics, parasitic infestations etc. Some toxins are individual e.g. ‘recreational’ drugs, overdoses, bacterial infections etc.

A good idea is to list all the known ‘insults’. This will often involve questioning parents. Then start systematically detoxifying – ensuring that the body has adequate nutritional intake to deal with elimination and water to flush out. There may be a time of hit and miss if information is not adequate. Eventually, the ‘soil’ will no longer be appropriate for dysbiosis as this will have served its purpose of living off the toxic matter.

If we see the body’s mechanisms as unquestionably the best option to dealing with insults and work with it, we will learn much more and be guided to health more quickly.

If you can go back in time and write your own list of past insults (drugs etc.) then another detox could be available if items on the list have not been covered in previous detoxes. These can be made from a small sample of the original substance (by far the best way) or a homoeopathic version purchased from a homoeopathic chemist.

Vivienne Bradshaw


  1. No Article Comments available

Post Your Comments:

About Letters


top of the page