I am a “nerd”, or some might say an “info-hound” by nature. So when I heard that Robert Tisserand, an international speaker, educator and consultant who somehow manages to track all the published essential oil research ( and I will add, I think he probably never sleeps ) – then digests and integrates it, and presents it to the rest of the alternative healing community, and the general public at large – I was “in”.
Robert manages to take so much information, heavily weighted in chemistry, biology, pharmacology and holistic healing principles and of course his own 40 years of experience in the field of aromatherapy, and make his workshops fun and funny, while at the same time extremely informative.
Day one started with a quick overview of the secondary plant metabolites, and what the purpose of essential oils in the plants themselves are, then we rolled along into some essential oil chemistry concepts, essential oil constituents and methods of extraction – and surprise, just to set the record straight, pre -10th century, there were NO distilled essential oils; plants were infused in fats or oils, but no distillation was going on. It was not until the 1500’s when printing started that the information on how to distill spread throughout Europe. Other methods of extraction such as Select CO2 and Total CO2 were explained, and chemotypes, contamination, adulteration, standards and oxidation of essential oils demystified.
Now here is where the fun began for me – we started talking SKIN. Transdermal, transcutaneous, percutaneous, along with absorption and permeation. My ears really perked up! One amazing slide after another showing corneocytes, and stratum corneum layering, with the amazing lipid matrix (of water and lipids) acting like the “mortar” between the building blocks of the cells!
Robert reminded us that when we consider essential oils and the skin, we need to talk about transdermal absorption of particular constituents and not essential oils in total. And that while there are synergistic effects amongst an individual essential oils constituents, often individual constituents have varying absorption rates and rates of “risk” as allergens.
Day two began with photoaging, free radical damage and prevention, UVA and UVB’s, which lead to the clear explanation and myth-busting about using essential oils for SPF protection. And while some essential oils have been shown through research to have low to moderate sun protection, the only true “barrier” protection is zinc oxide.
Plowing forward through skin cancer info, and anti-aging, the skin microbes like fungus and biofilms, then galloping along through acne and Alopecia areata, sensitive skin, dermatitis and psoriasis…. I cannot even mention it all there was so much, and so exciting!
Finishing the workshop with another myth debunking topic, “phototoxicity” was perfect, and Robert made sure he provided the facts! Yes, you can have a phototoxic reaction on a cloudy day; there is no risk of phototoxic reaction with a “wash off” product such as a soap or shampoo; and once and for all Sweet Orange essential oil is NOT phototoxic, and “distilled” citrus oils are NOT phototoxic either.
The slide presentations that went along with the lecture were perfect, and my summation of the two days almost does not do it justice because this workshop was packed with data. To watch Robert teach is a joy, and his commitment to Aromatherapy education and research is beyond reproach. I am honored to have attended this workshop, and pleased to know I may now “officially” add Robert to my list of amazing mentors!
Robert will be offering this workshop, with even more information, as a 9 part webinar – for those who cannot travel, or for one reason or another might prefer that format. And while it is “still in the oven” so to speak, anyone interested should sign up for his newsletter by going to www.roberttisserand.com and looking for “Join Our Mailing List” to get up to the minute information.
Additionally, I want to take a moment and say Robert has also finished writing the new, second edition of “Essential Oil Safety” – which is a must have guide for any practitioner. It is available right now as a pre-order on Amazon, and a link is additionally available on Robert’s website homepage.
I want to take a moment to thank Marla Bosworth, of Back Porch Soap Co., for hosting Robert Tisserand’s workshop in NYC and doing a smash up job keeping things flowing along smoothly and well organized.
For more information on Robert Tisserand and his book:
Till next time, wishing you aroma joys !