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Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - General Information

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The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) (www.naha.org/) and the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (www.alliance-aromatherapists.org) are the two governing bodies for national educational standards for aromatherapists. NAHA is taking steps toward standardizing aromatherapy certification in the United States. Many schools offer certificate programs approved by NAHA. A list of these schools can be found on the NAHA Web site (www.naha.org/schools_level_one_two.htm). National examinations in aromatherapy are held twice per year.

The Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists has established standards for aromatherapy certification in Canada (www.cfacanada.com/). They also have standards for safety and professional conduct and a public directory of certified aromatherapists. Other countries may have similar organizations.

Although essential oils are given orally or internally by aromatherapists in France and Germany, use is generally limited to inhalation or topical application in the United Kingdom and United States. Nonmedical use of essential oils is common in the flavoring and fragrance industries. Most essential oils have been classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), at specified concentration limits, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (See the International Federation of Aromatherapists [www.ifaroma.org/] for a list of international aromatherapy programs.)

Aromatherapy products do not need approval by the FDA.

References:

  1. Wildwood C: The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy. Rochester, Vt: Healing Arts Press, 1996.
  2. Dodd GH: The molecular dimension in perfumery. In: Van Toller S, Dodd GH, eds.: Perfumery: The Psychology and Biology of Fragrance. New York, NY: Chapman and Hall, 1988, pp 19-46.
  3. Worwood VA: Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Non-Toxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends. Novato, Calif: New World Library, 2000.
  4. Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, Jäger W, et al.: Fragrance compounds and essential oils with sedative effects upon inhalation. J Pharm Sci 82 (6): 660-4, 1993.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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