"Throw away the crutch of knowledge and use the Knowing..." Thomas Elpel.

The Power of Plant Oils is a forum for learning about the therapeutic use of essential oils.
This 13 module course is a means of acquiring the knowledge and experience so you can KNOW the properties
and uses of the plants and their oils.

Please read this blog from the bottom up and check out previous posts to the right under Blog Archives.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012



A new Aromatherapy Certification Course begins Monday, October 8th at Sutter Medical Center in downtown Sacramento (28th and L). We will meet in the 7th floor boardroom. Although we have a nice sized class and the manuals have been ordered, I will still accept registrations until the first class. After that, registration will close and the next class will not begin until the Spring. Here's a note I penned on the Fair Oaks class page. The sentiments still apply:

Dr. Lisa Moore
"I believe in experiential education with as much interaction and hands-on work as possible. We sample essential oils of all grades and types, pass around plants for students to touch, taste, and smell, and I encourage full participation from everyone in the class. Each person chooses two essential oils to research and present to the group. We have mini quizzes at the beginning of each lesson and a final exam at the end. This should prepare students to take and pass both the certification examination given by the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy and the national registration examination offered by the Aromatherapy Registration Council.

"This class is for you if you are interested in acquiring an in-depth aromatherapy education to help you with patients or clients. It is specifically designed for heath care professionals who want the technical expertise to use essential oils in a clinical setting."

The good news is that more health professionals are becoming interested in learning about and applying aromatherapy in their work. The hospitals are starting to notice the benefits of essential oils and want to incorporate them in some areas of their facilities. Let's hope the interest continues to grow, especially in light of the recent outbreak of MRSA at a few area hospitals :-( 

If you'd like to join us, please click on the tab to the right or go straight to the registration page here.


I'm happy to report that the free-to-the-public presentations at Sutter hospital have been well received. The last one was "Natural Solutions for Stress and Adrenal Fatigue" and it included nutritional and essential oil recommendations for the effects of stress. The next one, which is scheduled for November 20th, is "Boosting the Immune System with Essential Oils". Here are the details:

Location: Sutter Medical Center, downtown, 28th and L, Buhler Building, room 220.
Date: November 20th, 2012
Topic: Boosting the Immune System with Essential Oils
Contact person: Theresa Johnson, Sutter Resource Librarian (916)733-3880

I plan to expand the stress presentation to a full, three hour workshop with more essential oil information. This should come together in February of 2013.


We still have room in the first of many (I hope) aromatherapy journeys to locations where essential oils are grown, harvested, and distilled.  The first one will take place from October 19th through 23rd to Sedona, Arizona. We will visit with Max and Clare Licher who specialize in distilling native, Southwestern plants for their essential oils. Saturday, the Lichers will teach us about the traditional uses for these plants as we travel to the surrounding locations to gather the raw materials for distillation. On Sunday, we will fire up the still and watch the glorious alchemy take place! Monday, we take a trip to the Grand Canyon area for more study of the native plants, including Mexican arnica, and to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Tuesday is a short, private hike to the Red Rocks of Sedona and native ruins.


Date: October 19th through 23rd
Workshop cost: $375.00 including the Grand Canyon day
Extra costs: Approximately $150.00 for ground transportation and the private tour.

Please contact me for more information, to register, and to coordinate travel details: 530-613-0831.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Alzheimer's and Rosemary Oil.

Integrative Medicine: Hopes developing for Alzheimer's treatment

Special to The Bee
Published Thursday, Mar. 22, 2012

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, there are some additional unusual therapeutic holistic regimens that may be of benefit in improving cognition. Two new scientific studies in the past couple of months have shown some benefit in helping brain functioning amid Alzheimer's: one on meditation, the other on rosemary oil aromatherapy.

For the study on meditation and Alzheimer's, researchers enrolled 15 older adults with memory problems that ranged from mild age-associated memory impairment to mild impairment, on a Kirtan Kriya mantra-based meditation course. Participants meditated 12 minutes per day for eight weeks. The control group listened to classical music for the same amount of time over eight weeks.

Early findings showed a surprising, substantial increase in cerebral blood flow in the patients' prefrontal, superior frontal and superior parietal cortices, and also better cognitive function in the group that performed regular meditation.

In the rosemary oil aromatherapy study, the investigators tested cognitive performance and mood of 20 people, who were exposed to varying levels of the rosemary aroma. Using blood samples to detect the amount of 1,8-cineole (a measure of the aromatherapy rosemary oil in the bloodstream) the researchers applied speed and accuracy tests, and mood assessments to judge the rosemary oil's effects.

Results indicate for the first time in human subjects that concentration of 1,8- cineole in the blood is related to an individual's cognitive performance – with higher concentrations resulting in improved performance. Both speed and accuracy were improved in the study in cognitive functioning.

What do these two studies tell us about Alzheimer's? The brain is a complex organism, with many complex mechanisms that lead to optimum functioning. Early trials show that aromatherapy and meditation improve blood supply and enhance cognitive skills. Ongoing data are showing us that we have much power to help treat Alzheimer's integratively, keeping in mind that environment, exercise, health, lifestyle, meditation, music and smells can be all be beneficial in improving brain function.

Drs. Kay Judge and Maxine Barish-Wreden are medical directors of Sutter Downtown Integrative Medicine program. Have a question related to alternative medicine? Email adrenaline@sacbee.com.

NB: In our study of the olfactory system, we cover information on the connection between olfaction and dementia. People with all forms of senility, from mild dementia to full-blown Alzheiimer's, typically exhibit a loss of the sense of smell. This inhibits their ability to take in familiar scent-chemicals that identify people and possessions - hence, they forget who their loved ones are, and they forget where they live.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Herb Jelly

Here's a recipe I heard about from the African basket lady (Regina) at the Citrus Heights Farmer's Market today. It's made with Pomona's Pectin and apple cider or juice. The original recipe calls for dried Rosemary, but Regina says she made a great batch of jelly using dried Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) instead. She cautions not to use French lavender (Lavandin) because (as we know) it's too high in camphor.

Lavender or Rosemary Apple Jelly

4 cups apple cider or apple juice
4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons dried lavender or rosemary
4 teaspoons Pomona's pectin
2 teaspoons calcium water (from the Pomona's pectin box)
1/2 cup honey

Heat apple cider or juice in a medium size pot with apple cider vinegar and calcium water. Bring to a boil, add herbs, turn off and let steep for 30 minutes. Mix the pectin thoroughly with the honey. Strain out the herbs, add pectin/honey mixture and bring just to a boil. Take off burner, spoon into sterilized jars and process via the hot water bath method for about 5 minutes.

If you'd like to make the above recipe using essential oil (s) instead of the dried herb, modify the recipe as follows:

Same ingredients, but substitute one or two drops of therapeutic quality Lavandula angustifolia or Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil. Be sure to choose an essential oil that you KNOW has not been adulterated or extended with chemicals of any kind (check out Young Living Essential Oils).

Heat the cider or juice in a medium size pot with vinegar and calcium water. Bring to a boil. Thoroughly mix the pectin in with the honey and add to the hot juice. Bring just to a boil again and then take pot off the burner. Add one to two drops essential oil and mix thoroughly. Spoon into sterilized jars and process as above.

Let me know how you like it! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Art and Science of Blending

For tonight's aromatherapy certification class, we will be studying the Art and Science of Blending Essential Oils. Blends may be used for therapeutic purposes, as natural fragrances, or for household uses. Medically, the anti-microbial benefits of blends are reported to be more pronounced than with single oils.

Here is some information on using essential oils for your pleasure, rather than for their therapeutic properties, though happily, one can hardly escape their beneficial effects on one's health.

Perfume Recipes

Firstly we start with the base. You can use alcohol or a carrier oil but a mixture of both is ideal. An odorless spirit such as Vodka is the best choice along with Jojoba. Jojoba has a long shelf life and once it's on the skin it tends to dry out leaving your wonderful scent behind.

As Jojoba is the most expensive carrier oil I recommend that while you are experimenting you use one of the cheaper, odorless carrier oils such as almond oil or apricot kernel oil. Once you are happy with your experimenting, you can then blend using jojoba oil.

Equipment you will need:

Measuring spoons
Small funnel
Small colored bottle


Measure 1 teaspoon of your carrier oil (jojoba, almond or apricot kernel) and 1 teaspoon of alcohol (Vodka), using the small funnel, into your bottle.

Add the essential oils from your chosen recipe one drop at a time. You may need to use a dropper if your essential oil jars do not already have dropper measures built in.

Shake the mixture well after adding each drop.

Put the lid on tightly and store in a cool, dark place for a minimum of 12 days shaking at least 3 times each day.



2 drops Bergamot
1 drops Jasmine
1 drops Rose
2 drops Sandalwood

2 drops Basil
1 drops Geranium
3 drops Melissa
2 drops Sandalwood

2 drops Black Pepper
3 drops Patchouli
4 drops Rosewood
3 drops Ylang Ylang

2 drops Basil
3 drops Bergamot
1 drop Coriander
4 drops Petitgrain

2 drops Benzoin
3 drops Frankincense
1 drop Geranium
3 drops Orange

Self belief
2 drops Ginger
3 drops Myrtle
4 drops Rosemary
3 drops Verbena

Wedding nerves
4 drops Jasmine
2 drops Lemon
1 drops Patchouli

Arabian nights
3 drops Coriander
1 drop Frankincense
3 drops Juniper
4 drops Orange

Egyptian empress
2 drops Cinnamon
3 drops Lime
4 drops Rose
5 drops Ylang Ylang

Morocco mystique
3 drops Bergamot
2 drops Palmarosa
3 drops Rose
4 drops Sandalwood

Perfumes will smell different on different people and on different skin types; don't be disappointed if you don't like them all. Experimenting with these recipes is all part of the fun. You can always give them away to a friend as a gift!

All recipes from www.essential-oil-recipes.com.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brandied Cherries with Cinnamon Bark

Here's a great recipe for something unusual and quick you can make with fruit from the Farmer's Market. The recipe calls for cherries, but I had enough liquid left over to make a small jar of brandied apricots, too. I plan to use the cherries and apricots on top of honey vanilla ice cream, but the recipe says to use them in cocktails instead of marachino cherries.

One drop of cinnamon bark essential oil is plenty to give you just the right amount of spice. I dropped it onto a spoon before mixing it into the warm, honey liquid, that way, if more than one drop came out, I wouldn't have an overly spiced jar of cherries!



1 lb pitted Ranier cherries (or a mixture of black cherries and Ranier)
1 cinnamon stick (about 3” long) or 1 drop cinnamon bark essential oil
1 ¼ C honey
1 cup brandy
1 C spring water

Put cherries and cinnamon stick (if using) into a 1 qt sealable glass container, such as a mason jar.

Warm honey, brandy, and water in a small saucepan until the honey is thoroughly dissolved. Add one drop cinnamon bark essential oil (if using instead of the cinnamon stick).

Pour liquid over cherries and let cool to room temperature (1 or 2 hours).

Seal jar and chill until cherries have shrunk and absorbed liquid, and are flavorful, at least one month and up to 4 months.

Brandied cherries and apricots.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lavender Time!

It’s that time of year again: Lavender is budding and blooming in the lower elevations, and preparing to burst forth in the foothills. The bees are delirious with joy and drunk with pollen.

It’s time for the aromatherapy class I teach to take their field trip to The Lavender Farm in Lincoln next month, or perhaps at the beginning of July, depending upon when plants are in full bloom and distillation of essential oils begins. I’d love for them to witness a lavender distillation (especially Lavandula angustifolia, also known as English lavender). Lesa Hertel, of The Lavender Farm, will demonstrate distillation techniques, teach us how to make wreaths and wands, and tell us the history of her farm.


Shh! Here’s a secret recipe for Lavender Shortbread Cookies. I am baking some today to take to this Wednesday’s Aromatherapy certification class at Sutter Downtown Hospital in Sacramento, CA. (We are studying Essential Oil Safety this month.) Unless they read this blog, or unless you spill the beans, it should be a nice little surprise treat. Here’s the recipe for you to try:

Honey Lavender Shortbread

Makes 30 cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour (or unbleached white)
¾ tsp salt (sea salt)
½ tsp baking powder
1 TBsp dried or fresh lavender buds
6 oz unsalted butter (organic), softened
2 TBsp honey
½ cup confectioner’s sugar (organic)


1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and lavender in a medium bowl.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, honey, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

3. Spoon dough out onto a large rectangle of parchment paper to form a log. Transfer dough to refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1-2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the log of dough into ½ inch slices. Place the slices on sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, and bake 8 minutes, or until light golden brown.

The recipe is from www.seriouseats.com/recipes . The author obtained it from chef Tina Casaceli at Milk and Cookies Bakery in West Village, Manhattan. (Suggestions in parentheses in the recipe are mine.)

Another way to enjoy lavender: