Muña: An overview of ‘Minthostachys’ spp., South America’s mint

Introduction Plant extracts used to heal disease and disorders date back to ancient times. The earliest apothecaries that relied heavily on plant extracts surfaced among ancient civilizations including the Babylonians in Mesopotamia (4000-5000 BC), and also among the Egyptians, Greeks, Aztecs, and the Inca, who occupied the South American region of the Andes (Van Wyk…

Exploring Aromatherapy as a Form of Traditional Aromatic Plant Medicine in Peru

Abstract This study was the first of its kind carried out in Peru to identify and understand the use of aromatic plant medicine (APM) as a form of traditional medicine, within the context of aromatherapy practiced in North America; and to determine sustainable processes and conservation status of Peruvian aromatic medicinal plants. Informants (plant-medicine healers…

Atlas Cedarwood (‘Cedrus atlantica’) essential oil: Exploring alternatives

The majority of essential oil-based literature published prior to 2013 include a profile on Atlas cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica G. Manetti) essential oil. The conservation status of Atlas cedar (C. atlantica) is never noted in these profiles, because there was no conservation status for this species until 1998, when it was then categorized as a species…

Rosewood (‘Aniba rosaeodora’ Ducke): Time to Take Heart

Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora Ducke), also known as Cara-cara, Pau rosa, Bois de rose, Palo rosa, and Palo de rosa, is a tree found in Brazil (Amapá, Amazonas, Pará), Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, and Peru (Figure 1). It can reach a height of 30 m (98 feet) with a diameter of 2 m…

Threatened East Indian Sandalwood (‘Santalum album’) Thrives in Australia

Many essential oil-bearing plants, as of 2016, are facing extinction (see Conservation of Essential and Carrier Oil-Bearing Plants) primarily because the demand for their essential oil outweighs the supply of plants. Often times, a low supply results from unsustainable practices such as overharvesting, smuggling, killing entire communities of mature and immature plants, and not replanting…

The Essence of Pollination

Who would have thought that one could draw a connection between the world of *aromatherapy and chemical ecology1. To communicate, species across the five kingdoms (Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Protista and Monera) use some of the air-borne chemicals that make up essential oils, which are used in aromatherapy. As a chemical ecologist and a certified and…

Peru Trip 2017 Photo Gallery

These are photos taken while I conducted humanitarian, educational, and conservation work in Peru this year. The trip was a huge success! Shipibo and Quechua communities are now implementing North American aromatic plant medicine in their healing practices, aromatic plant medicine was given to communities who have limited access to plant medicine, and whose plant…

Update on Kelly’s Work in Peru

Thank you again to those who supported this campaign! I have some good news for you; we did it! All objectives were met and then some. Eighteen semi-mature to mature wild rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) trees were found and there is hope that this land can be secured so Peruvians will have a constant source of…

Conservation of Essential Oil- and Carrier Oil-Bearing Plants

I have been passionate about this topic for many years and have incorporated it into my work as a scientist and as a registered and certified essential oil therapist. Although there are some measures in place to address these issues germane to aromatic plant medicine, awareness of them is just beginning to surface in North America…

Help conserve rosewood ‘Aniba rosaeodora’

Rosewood essential oil is extracted from the wood of the rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) tree. According to the IUCN (Varty, 1998), the conservation status of this tree is endangered and “populations throughout the species range have seriously declined because of rosewood oil extraction. Where there has been exploitation, population(s) [are] devoid of mature trees and significant signs of…