Welcome to a website that is a long time in the making, 
and which may be unique on the web. 
This is a lengthy intro page, and you can choose 
 to read my reasons for building this site, or skip to the bottom 
of the page to check the links on the subpages. 

My name is Anya McCoy and I love essential oils (EOs), 
and have collected and used them for  30 years.

  Like Fox Mulder on the TV show the "X-Files"
"I want to believe" .....

.......the claims of aromatherapy (AT), but the sheer silliness, pseudo science, dangerous claims and New Age nuttiness are pushing sales before science. I have spent three or four years on an aromatherapy list (idma) trying to find the responsible suppliers and practitioners, and I have found a few, but there are rare, like the finest rose otto. 

I'm trained as an ethnobotanist and horticulturist, and my love of EOs led me to start studying AT in 1979. Sorry to say, the books today are as bad as they were then, and the 'practitioners' are, ... well, read below, and make up your own minds... 

I want to keep this lighthearted, yet throw out the challenge. 

I am really trying to give a balanced approach to the aromatherapy industry.... I'm hoping that the comments of myself and others will work towards furthering the research, writing and uses of essential oils as a therapeutic medium.

Let's try to look at both sides now

To quote from a public email to me from Jade Shutes, FORMER President of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists (N.A.H.A.) and President of the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy (ITA) (posted on the IDMA aromatherapy list June 26, 2000):

" It is NOT illegal to practice aromatherapy,
it IS illegal to diagnose and prescribe.

So why in the heck are 'schools of AT' proliferating, such as Ms. Shutes IDA, none of which have scientists, educators, or other medical professionals at the helm? It's become a cottage industry in granting diplomas in which a person can 'practice' aromatherapy but NOT diagnose and prescribe."   The owners and 'teachers' of these schools fail to see the utter lack of logic in this conundrum. How the heck can you decide what essential oils to use if you can't diagnose or prescribe? Therefore, how can you 'practice'? The sheer lunacy of those contradictions has prompted this website.

2004 update: to read more about a movement to open an investigation about the alleged mismanagement of NAHA, please visit:

Let me also add that aside from the obvious con artists that dominate the field, many, many, good, well-meaning lovers of EOs are deeply involved in aromatherapy. They love the scents, the notion that the EOs may actually heal all sorts of psychological and physical conditions, and they want to advance the research, recognition and use of EOs as healing substances. I am one of them, yet I distance myself from those who accept, without discernment, the ridiculous books, the con artists' lies, the application of herbal modalities to EOs, and assorted nonsense that is promulgated in books and on internet lists and newsgroups.

Don't forget the title of this website is Aromatherapy Debunked and Defended. Please use the links, the critiques and the call for responsible research and publications as a springboard for your future use of EOs.

I have hundreds of oils, and I would love to think I could cure everything from alopecia and acne to cancer and shingles with them, but the AT books that make these claims are so flaky and poorly-written and referenced, they have been dubbed 'fairy tales' by me. Others call them *novels*. Somebody who wanted to get a book out, or give credibility to their clinic, so they concocted a silly fable about an EO  years ago, and like bad 'old wives tales', they are repeated so often that they become 'truth'.  This writer and lover of EOs doesn't buy such nonsense.

And you shouldn't, either.

What is aromatherapy
How is it defined? Who defines it?

We don't need no steenkin research! Oh, maybe now, in the year 2001, we'll try to design a research project.
There's not enough, most is 'in-vitro', and the AT organizations aren't funding it.

Can Chanel No. 5 make you feel elegant and sexy? Will sandalwood oil calm and center you? Does peppermint make you zingy?

Consumer and legal issues
What the FTC says about making false claims regarding environmental claims, and what I say about how to protect yourself on all AT matters.

Discriminating scents - before you buy
How can you be sure the EO you purchase is pure, or effective, or that you haven't been ripped of?
One of the best ways is to buy from a reputable supplier who can supply GC analysis data on demand.  Some tips.

Aromatherapy and Pets 
Should you use EOs on Fido or Fluffy? I don't know of too many sites that address the benefits or dangers of using EOs on pets, except for this cautionary one:
Lavender Cat

Bad books
Sad, but true, most AT books are bogus, written by journalistic hacks, hairdressers, and opportunists with wild and weird imaginations, who also lack research skills, and the ability to properly reference their 'information'. 

Good books 
Still waiting. And waiting. OK, maybe there's a couple. Please send your recommendations, but check my 'bad books' list first. I am open to reviewing new books if publishers wish to provide them for me, but please see my criteria listed on the Good Books page. "I want to believe."

Aromatherapy Debunkers
Most of these folks are involved in the aromatherapy industry, and are trying to improve its professionalism, responsibility, and forge a vision for the future.

Aromatherapy organizations
They're growing, they're disorganized, they don't support AT research, but, hey, they can party!

Hang out a shingle, or how to con a lot of people. Some schools have state accreditation, most due to providing CEUs for massage therapists. The majority are *not* state accredited. There are no universities or colleges offering degrees in aromatherapy, hence these AT schools offer 'certification'.  Definitely not a profession, despite their claims. 

On the other hand, many do offer good basic safety classes, an overview of the oils, and some other useful information. Caveat emptor.

Aromatherapy Lists and Newsgroup
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