Lora Cantele is a Registered Aromatherapist and Swiss Reflex Therapist, in addition to being an author. Lora is the co-author of one of the books in the AEOTA Recommended Reading List: The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness By Nerys Purchon, Lora Cantele. Her resume includes being the Editor/Publisher of The International Journal of Professional Holistic Aromatherapy (IJPHA), a peer-reviewed professional journal.

“During her tenure at the AIA (2006-2012) she successfully lead the development and implementation of AIA’s aromatherapy educational standards to take the level of aromatherapy education in the USA to new heights.”

The AEOTA is very pleased to include Lora’s book on our Recommended Reading List as well as to offer a file to download with updates to the book, for anyone who may already own this book.

To download the updates, just click the image below and download a PDF.


ARC announces “Raindrop” Policy

The Aromatherapy Registration Council hereby formally clarifies its prohibition on the use or the teaching of “Raindrop Therapy”.


Read the complete official Statement of Policy

To read the complete White Paper on Raindrop Therapy go to

Thank you to AEOTA Member, Kristin Barber, co-author of the White Paper, for her valuable contribution to our knowledge about the safe use of essential oils and practices.


Sensitization – “exposure to allergen that results in the development of hypersensitivity.” [1]

essential oil female back spa

So what is hypersensitivity? Is a hypersensitivity reaction the same as an allergic reaction?

Answer, yes. They are synonyms, BUT there are four different types of allergic reaction:
“a local or general reaction of an organism following contact with a specific allergen to which it has been previously exposed and sensitized; immunologic mechanisms gives rise to inflammation or tissue damage. Allergic reactions are classified into four major types: type I, anaphylactic and IgE dependent; type II, cytotoxic; type III, immune-complex mediated;type IV, cell mediated (delayed).”[2]

For the purposes of aromatherapy safety, any essential oil can become an allergen by using it undiluted on the skin; and this risk is there for all essential oils, including lavender. So while there are certain essential oils which have a known reputation for being potential allergens or with a reputation for sensitization, using any essential oil neat (undiluted) sets the individul up for a potential allergic reaction, leading to sensitization, and forever being allergic to that essential oil.


Robert Tisserand explains:


“Yes, sensitization is the process that takes place in the body that leads to an allergic reaction. They are not the same thing, but they are not totally different either. There are 4 types of allergic reaction, [3] but only two are relevant to essential oils. Type 4 (delayed hypersensitivity) accounts for 90% of allergic reactions. Type 1 is immediate hypersensitivity (generally not anaphylactic) and accounts for the other 10%. You could say the risk is potentially there for all essential oils, but this is a little unfair on the majority of oils, that have never been known to cause such reactions. I don’t like to assume risk that may not exist. The less you dilute the more you increase risk, but that doesn’t mean that undiluted copaiba oil is a greater risk than 1% cinnamon bark oil. It isn’t.”

To learn more, see the video which is a sample from Webinar 4 “Irritation and Allergy” from Essential Oils and the Skin 10-Day Series by the Tisserand Institute:

1. Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved
2. Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

Eighteen Years Later…

Who is Steering Eighteen Years Later?

“The “Purdue initiative” was the name given to a group of people involved in the aromatherapy industry who took the Aromatherapy program at Purdue in 1996 and 1997. The group showed concern for:

  • A perceived lack of education standards in the aromatherapy industry
  • Instances of unsafe practices
  • The prospect of the FDA regulating the sale of essential oils if the FDA perceived a need to act to protect public safety
  • The prospect of governmental regulation if the industry was not able to provide a self regulation system.
  • The lack of any independent credential available to a person in the industry.” [ref.]

Eighteen years later and the essential oil industry and the aromatherapy community are still facing the exact same challenges.

The education standards in the aromatherapy industry range from an afternoon of sales and marketing training in selling essential oils, to 30 hours for a Foundation Level set by NAHA to 100 hours for the exact same “Foundation Level” set by the AIA. And in reality, these standards are not enforced…people still refer to themselves as an aromatherapist with no actual training, and any multi-level-marketing salesperson can hand her classroom of recruits a certificate titled “Certified Aromatherapist” when they leave with their new sales kit!

Unsafe practices have led to liver failure, permanent scarring, sensitization, comas and even death. And the only national association in the USA in the field of aromatherapy, not only failed to keep records of injuries reported to them, they disbanded their safety committee entirely! Keeping track of this data has fallen to volunteers as a result!

The FDA has sent Warning Letters for medical claims ranging from life threatening claims such as marketing essential oils to treat cancer, to ones which are not only safe – but appropriate – like using tea tree for acne.  And yet the FDA DSHEA allows for the most hazardous and fraudulent marketing of essential oils as nutritional supplements to be ingested in water on a daily basis, and yet that is all completely legal.

The industry not only does not self-regulate effectively, but attempts to establish a realistic and appropriate system of self regulation, this American Essential Oil Trade Association, is viewed by some with fear. We have contributors who to this day, choose to remain anonymous because of threats made against them if they show us any public support.

Promoting SAFETY is characterized by some, as “fearmongering”. Empowerment is valued over education by big business. Our industry has completely lost the holistic aspect of holistic aromatherapy, essential oils are pushed like drugs…except it’s often friends and family we trust doing the pushing, or people with a reputable standing in the community; pretty bottles and slick packaging, instead of white powder in baggies.

The only measurable progress made in 18 years is an independent credential available to a person in the industry, that of Registered Aromatherapist™. The Aromatherapy Registration Council which evolved out of the “Purdue initiative” and the original Steering Committee which followed, has been successful in creating a standard, with recognized credentials and true meaning within the Aromatherapy Community. But, until the other titles people appoint themselves, such as Certified Aromatherapist, are also defined and credentialed, consumers are going to continue to assume anyone who refers to themselves as a Certified Aromatherapist, has some measurable and acceptable base of knowledge about essential oils and aromatherapy.  There needs to be some *thing* in between no education other than marketing, and the level required to sit for the exam and become a Registered Aromatherapist™.

A criteria needs to be set and a title which indicates a basic foundation of knowledge, established and trademarked. Someone who has a 30-hour basic foundation level understanding of aromatherapy and essential oil safety should be able to document that, by some standard which is recognized. But this is not the role of the AEOTA.  NAHA or the AIA should set some kind of criteria for the title Certified Aromatherapist, or come up with some other title and credentials which has meaning in our industry. Waiting 18 years is long enough.

About Dietary Supplements

Under section 201(ff)(2)(A)(i) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)](2)(A)(i)], a Dietary Supplement is defined, among other things, as a product intended for ingestion.

Dietary supplements are neither evaluated nor regulated for efficacy or safety under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. In addition, FDA approval is not required for dietary supplements to be marketed.

Topical products and other products that are not intended for ingestion are not dietary supplements.

Whether or not they are intended for ingestion, medical claims make a product a drug under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Act; meaning a dietary supplement with medical claims, is no longer a dietary supplements under section 201(ff) of the Act. Both Young Living and doTerra were warned by the FDA for selling essential Oil products which they marketed as dietary supplements, but which are offered for topical use and/or intended for inhalation.

A *true* dietary supplement will be formulated to provide nutritional benefits missing from the diet – that is why they are called dietary supplements – they supplement the diet. The FDA regulation DSHEA also allows products to be formulated for and marketed with claims that they will impact the structure or function of the body. What is a structure/function claim? This page answers that question: 

One thing I have read more than a few times, which is false, is that the FDA Mandatory Disclaimer mean the FDA has approved the product. It ACTUALLY means the opposite!

” If a dietary supplement label includes such a claim, it must state in a “disclaimer” that FDA has not evaluated the claim. The disclaimer must also state that the dietary supplement product is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” because only a drug can legally make such a claim. “

This is basically a consumer WARNING not a FDA endorsement!

Essential oils sold as “dietary supplements” are doing so in order to take advantage of two *loopholes*: many essential oils are Generally Recognized as Safe as food flavorings, and the laws regulating dietary supplements [DSHEA] allows them to be marketed with the structure or function claims which are not allowed for essential oils sold for topical or inhalation use. They are NOT selling them as “dietary supplements” because they actually supplement the diet in any way. No ones diet is missing essential oils. They do not contain vitamins.


Essential oils are occasionally ingested for medicinal/therapeutic purposes. Oral dosing has risks which often outweigh any potential benefits.

Dripping herbal essence of a vial over a spoon

Safety & Warnings

Website Update – October 9, 2014

oldtimesIn addition to our NEW Top Level Pages about Safety Issues, we will have a Category with this name and have a separate navigation set up on the right Sidebar to access these articles.

This layout will not only make this content better for Search Engine Optimization, but easier for consumers to find when they are seeking out more information on the safe and appropriate use of essential oils.