INTERVIEW FOR NAHA
on Tue, 23 Oct 2007
with Jeanne Rose
Jeanne, since time is of the essence here are the
questions. If you are uncomfortable with any of them just let me
know. I want some of the new people reading the NAHA journal to
understand what an effort you have made to pave the way in
education, as an author, and to preserve the future through the
Aromatic Plant Project. If there is anything you want to share with
the readers of NAHA, that was not asked here, feel free to add it.
Thank you so much for sharing your time and your talents. Blessings,
Dear Sara, Thank you for the opportunity to share
this information. Here are my answers.
1. QUESTION: What kind of training is needed to be
No legal standards of training exist now and most aromatherapists are licensed in other fields. But I believe that
students should have a good basic foundation in aromatic botany and
the value of the environment in relation to the aromatic therapy.
Aromatic Plant Project is a non-profit educational organization
dedicated to the local production of quality essential oils and
hydrosols and to the development of high standards of aromatherapy
teaching and practice. It is a good resource for ethical teachers.
APP and other organizations are currently developing standards for
2.) What is the most important message about
aromatherapy you would like to share?
Education is a gift open to
all. Educate yourself. Educate yourself every day in every way;
learn the language of the plants, the
Vocabulary of Odor©, the
environmental impact of your use of plant essence. I like to say,
“Education is a physical need and mental right”, so take advantage
Regarding aromatherapy certification courses, IF IT SOUNDS
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY IS. If it costs more than about $375
a weekend it is too much. If the home-study course costs more than 3
figures and you get less than 400 pages, or the words are font size
16 with lots of headers, it is too much money for not enough
3.) As you look back on your career as an
aromatherapist and herbalist, what would you change?
I would have
considered more the impact of working but not investing, I would
have saved money for my old age, now that I am older, and I am still
working and have no retirement. All self-employed women should heed
these words and save now – as much and more than possible. Learn
about stocks, bonds and annuities – learn about savings plans. There
might be no one left but yourself to take care of you and your
financial needs when you are past menopause. This may not be what
you expected to hear, but it is some words of advice that I know are
important and I do not think enough women consider this aspect of
life. I heard these words myself and chose to ignore them.
Also, I would have trademarked and Copyright some of
my best ideas – Bruise Juice for instance is a fabulous medicinal
oil. I made it in 1969, called it that, given classes, taught people
and written about it in
Herbs & Things. Now there are other people
calling their product Bruise Juice and in the past 37 years, many of
them learned about it from me. I sure wish that I had copyrighted
and trademarked that name and also the name, “The World of
Trademark your best ideas – you never know what
might happen in the future.
“The World of Aromatherapy” is the title
of the book that I edited, and gave that name to the first NAHA
Conference that I organized in 1996 at the Palace Hotel here in San
Francisco. It was my idea (the title) and now I wish I had a
website, etc. – it’s a great name and the book is still available.
For a copy of this wonderful book, see
4.) Is there any experience as a author that once
baffled you and now you can say, I get it!
No. Anything that baffled
me such as new information, contracts, evil publishers, — I
investigated until I understood it. My friends call me an “academic
enthusiast”. I like learning, I like finding the answers. As an
author, I could not understand those contracts, so I found out. As
an academic, I wanted to relearn my chemistry – so I took a college
course in 1997. Whew! That was hard – I was 20 years older than the
instructor and he was 20 years older than the rest of the students.
It was a good exercise for the mind.
Now I am studying the “History
of the English Language” – one wonders how anyone learns how to
speak our language – it is really difficult. So I invested in all 22
volumes of the OED – Oxford English Dictionary. What a fabulous
5.) What words of encouragement can you offer to
those just starting in aromatherapy?
Educate yourself. Take real
classes with really good teachers who are hard on you. The more you
learn the more that you will want to learn. Remember that the plants
are there to help you; their essence is there to nourish you. Get to
the core of aromatherapy by learning about the plants, how the scent
is extracted, learn about the chemotypes of the essential oils –
revel in the ecology of your natural surroundings. Take the
Studies Course and learn about the seasons, the therapeutics, and
6. Compared to the products of 5 years ago, or even
20 years ago?
Twenty or so years ago (1982), I had just stopped
making products for my company, New Age Creations (started in 1967).
Many products were available that I felt were truly natural. With
the advent of more technology; ‘natural’ ingredients are being
divided, separated, isolated, and the component, not the pure herb
or ingredient is being used. This, as far as I am concerned, is no
longer natural. There are tons of petroleum-based products that are
touted as ‘natural’. Most of what we use, we don’t need.
important ingredient skin care is good soap and hydrosol. A nice
clean pure simple soap. I used to like all those colored soaps with
stuff in them – the older I get the more I am attracted to simple
pure white soap with a clean odor that is made from vegetable oil
(coconut and olive) and lye and lightly scented with a really pure
essential oil for the scent and the therapy.
When soap is made
correctly this is the perfect ingredient. I use that same simple
soap as a shampoo. I also use really simple things like vegetable
oil (olive oil) directly as a moisturizer. I use many kinds of
hydrosol as a toner. I still make my own bath salts and also use
Moor mud baths. KIS is my motto [Keep It Simple].
Those skin care
regimes that use greasy or oily bases, as skin cleansers just don’t
work. My only concession to modern stuff is the occasional
conditioner after shampoo. I don’t dye or process my hair and it is
still very dark. Like my mother, I have a simple white streak at the
temple and this is
my … 70 years. It is all that Rosemary Shampoo
and Rosemary/Seaweed baths that I have used that keeps my hair dark
and healthy and my skin smoothe.
I think we have a plethora of skin
care/aromatherapy products that are unnecessary and redundant.
Also, the 2nd most important beauty ritual is THE
BATH. Do you know that there are some homes that are no longer even
built with a bathtub? I use
hydrosols in my bath.
7. In your opinion, what do you feel is the biggest
mistake that consumers make when buying aromatherapy products or in
selecting aromatherapy certification courses?
JR: Buying too much
and not reading the label. If you can't pronounce the words or
understand them they are probably synthetic. Read the answer to
question 1 about certification. My
Aromatherapy Studies Course is
certified by several different agencies.
8.) Are you concerned that most aromatherapists do
not have much experience with plants
Yes, I am very
concerned. I would like people using aromatic therapy to also know
the plants, after all the plant, the hydrosol, the essential oils –
together — make the most powerful therapeutic and helpful substance
for physical and emotional healing.
I am not sure why people calling
themselves aromatherapists are so reluctant to learn botany; it
truly is interesting. I suggest that they come to my
Class in May – we take a 4-hour adventure into the Botanical Gardens
and identify 50 plants and compare the actual plant with the
essential oil, its odor and hydrosol. It is truly a revelatory
9.) How do you think we could get Aromatherapy
licensed by individual states like Massage Therapy?
Some of the
courses are licensed by various agencies. Mine are licensed by the
Board of Registered Nurses, accepted by ABMP and NCBTMB as well as
several states including Nevada and Texas.
10.) Do you think state licensure would offer more
credibility to the profession?
There is some licensure available.
Both my Herbal Studies Course and
Aromatherapy Studies Course have
various licenses. My courses are already accredited several
11.) Where do you see our profession in 5 years, 10
I sure hope that it is more Essential Oil Therapy and less
‘let us play with the oils’. Elizabeth Jones thinks that our study
should be called Essential Oil Therapy to differentiate it from
‘plug in synthetic oil fragrance’, and I agree with her.
12.) When you first began making your own
aromatherapy products did you believe you could make a living do
Yes, my original company was called New Age Creations and I
made Bruise Juice© and I still make Bruise Juice. Mostly, I make my
living by teaching weekend Seminars.
13.) As a beginning aromatherapist, who or what
inspired you to the career you now have?
Marguerite Maury, née König
(1895-1968) was born in Austria and developed anti-aging essential
Rene Gattefossé – my search for his 1937 book is
The Aromatherapy Book and then I had it translated and
eventually it was republished.
Roland Hunt who wrote the
and Radiant Healing in 1937
Mrs. C.F. Leyel wrote
7 Magical Herbals
in the early part of the 1900’s.
Mrs. M. Grieve whose wonderful
book, Modern Herbal, I obtained in 1967.
The 6-volume set of
Essential Oils by Guenther.
14.) After meeting you, I know how passionate you
are about the Aromatic Plant Project, what positive effects has it
had on the environment?
The mission of the APP is to support local
and organic production of aromatic plants; to provide resources for
growers and distillers; to ensure high quality aromatherapy products
and to educate consumers as to the appropriate and beneficial uses
of these aromatic products. We have had a positive influence on many
farming areas, growers, taught many distillers, encouraged some
large companies to invest more in their natural world. For a small
organization, we have had a powerful impact.
1. Keep the land as
land and support American Agriculture.
2. Create a larger market for
authentic United States-grown and distilled essential oils
3. Educate the public and consumers to purchase locally
distilled hydrosols/oils and to
conduct distillation and
4. Help all members of the organization reach
a larger market through public education,
distillation classes and via information from "The AROMATIC
News from The Aromatic Plant Project" and to help promote their
15.) Everyone leaves a footprint on the earth, how
do you want to be remembered?
Let’s see, on my columbarium niche it
should say, ‘she’s gone to the Olitory, won’t be back’. Make sure
you spell it correctly.
She was known for helping women realize
their full potential, helping them focus on what they wanted to
achieve and educate themselves in what they were trying to
accomplish. Jeanne believed in the power of knowledge through
disciplined reading, and was always saying, "The answers are right
there if only people would read!" Jeanne worked tirelessly to teach
others about the power of essential oils, hydrosols, herbs and
good-sense natural medicine.
OR here is some personal stuff.
Jeanne Rose loved her work, her house, her library
and her garden. She loved sweet scents, heroic dogs, beautiful
silverware (Love Disarmed), elegant classic cars (especially those
from 1956), Boodles martinis, fancy waters, oysters, tomatoes, old
paperweights, 500-year old herbals, stylish shoes, hand-made
Christmas tree ornaments, the Girl Scouts, deep baths, copper
distillation, antique quilts, linen sheets, featherbeds, Cowboy
boots, pop-up books, football, rodeo, Lacrosse, 3-meter board
diving, and vintage champagne. She loved her children, Amber A. Rose
and Bryan L. Moore. She loved her friends, all of her ex-boyfriends
and three or was it five ex-husbands. She loved her doctors and her
nurses. She loved to read, to study, and to learn everything about
everything. She loved her garden and especially her Lemon Verbena
tree. She loved the fine arts, graceful buildings, ballet, Golden
Gate Park and the California Academy of Science. She loved San
Francisco, the old Enrico’s Sidewalk Cafe and Graffeo coffee.
16.) QUESTION: Is it necessary to see an aromatherapist to receive aromatherapy treatment?
A. While essential
oils and hydrosols can be effectively used by the layperson, it is
in fact both a specific science and a deeply complex art.
Holistic nature of aromatherapy- treats the entire person
Synergies are not necessarily blends
Van Cleef Interview. “Various qualifications prevail
for what makes a plant an herb, but a general, widely accepted
definition includes any plant with medicinal, savory or aromatic
qualities. Concoctions made from these plants can be prepared in
Aromatherapists use only the essential oils of the plant,
which are collected by distillation, and herbalists use the plant
material itself -- leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, roots, and bark.
One of the most basic ways to prepare any of these herbs is as an
infusion, a turbo-charged tea. To do this, break up 1 to 4 ounces of
the herb into small pieces, pour 20 ounces of boiling water over it
in a nonmetal pot -- ceramic, enamel or glass. Let it steep for 5 to
20 minutes, strain it and use by drink it, add it to your bath or
rinse your hair or skin with the infusion.
Rinsing your face with a
lavender infusion, for example, will reduce puffiness, and a
mouthful of infusion of lavender or peppermint makes a refreshing
mouthwash. Rose says she liberally applies herbal infusions to her
plants because they're good for them as well.
Herb waters or
hydrosols are another variation. These also make good rinses for the
face. You can use this recipe with the leaves and/or flowers of all
your herbs. Crush 1 cup of rose petals in 1 cup of water. (Again,
use a nonmetal cup.) Add another cup of water, and heat to a boil.
Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Store this in an airtight
bottle in your refrigerator.
To make an herb moisturizer, add 2
tablespoons of herb water to 1 tablespoon of lanolin or vegetable
In the bath, these herbs can be used separately or in
creative combinations. Toss a handful of herbs into the foot of an
old pair of panty hose, tie it in a knot and toss it in your
bathwater. Rose says that after she had twice inadvertently plugged
up her bathtub, she stopped tossing loose herbs into the tub.
course, teas can also be made from all your herbs. Simply add 1
teaspoon of crushed, fresh herb to 1 cup of boiling water. If you
want to avoid caffeine, rosemary with lavender makes a good herbal
Sitting in the back of Rose's small garden
on Carl Street is a 30-liter copper still she calls "the Bear." It's
a beautiful handcrafted piece of equipment she uses to distill
essential oils from plants for her aromatherapy work.
Apart from the
still on "The Beverly Hillbillies," I've never seen one before, and
it's quite an astonishing sight to stumble on one in the midst of
crowded apartment buildings with the N Judah car roaring by out
front. (Yes, this is the same kind of still you can use to make
liquor with, and Rose is quick to point out that it's legal to make
liquor, as long as you don't sell it.)
Distillation occurs when
plant material in the still is boiled or steamed. The heat causes
the plant-cell walls to break down and release the essential oil in
the form of a vapor, which then passes through a condensing coil,
where it cools and returns to liquid form in a vat at the end of the
The amount of plant material you use varies from plant to
plant. It takes 10 pounds of juniper berries to make half an ounce
of essential oil, whereas 1 pound of cloves will yield 2 ounces of
oil. The oils you get from distilling are a condensed form of herbalism. While you use ounces and teaspoons of herbs in herbalism,
you use only drops in aromatherapy.
Rose says essential oils are
"the scent of the plant in liquid form." These "volatile oils"
contain the plant's healing properties, and, once extracted, they
last many years.
According to Rose, there was a time when all women
knew how to distill plants for medicinal uses. This woman's art died
out in the Victorian era, and she's hell-bent on bringing it back by
teaching classes and writing books on the subject.
distillation is easy, and I believe her. But it's a big leap from
making a cup of herbal tea to spending $695 on a still. Maybe if we
pooled our tax refunds...
OUR BACKYARD PHARMACY
According to Rose, even in a
small San Francisco backyard, we can grow plenty of plants to
replace the junk in our medicine chests. Because so many herbs do
well in pots, container gardeners can get into the act, too.
useful herbs are tremendously easy to grow and, originating in the
Mediterranean region, they thrive in our climate. They're also
beautiful, and though aesthetics are not the primary focus of an
herbalist's garden, herb gardens are gorgeous gardens indeed.
suggests that a beginning herbalist start with only a few plants.
Grow them, learn to use them in a few simple recipes and slowly
increase your repertoire by adding a new herb to the garden each
Some of those plants include:
Lavender [Lavandula angustifolia (officinalis)], one
of the heavy hitters in the herbal world. It is a mood-lifting scent
alone makes it a valuable addition to any small garden. Lavender
flowers are effective against headaches, promote sleep and help
Lavender likes well-draining soil and full sun, is
highly drought tolerant and grows very well in San Francisco.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) leaves are a key
digestive aid and have a calming effect on the stomach.
is famed for its invasive qualities, but it can be controlled if you
limit the amount of water you give it. Mint likes its soil moist, so
cut back on the water and you'll retard its growth. It grows in full
sun and light shade.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaves were the
Valium of the Middle Ages. Lemon balm has antidepressive properties
and relieves anxiety, migraines and insomnia.
Lemon balm has the
same cultivation requirements as peppermint; it's from the same
family. It also likes rich and moist soil and will do well in full
sun or part shade.
Roses (Rosa gallica) are grown for their petals and
rose hips, or seeds. Rose petals are used in body preparations and
perfumes, while rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Many gardeners find that the Rosa gallica, the
apothecary rose, can tolerate less water than the modern hybrids,
which require regular deep soakings. These plants all like full sun
and good drainage.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaves and flowers
have myriad uses, and Rose says that if you're going to grow only
one herb, this is it. In fact, with one rosemary bush you can make a
good shampoo, hair rinse, dandruff cure, toothpaste, appetite
stimulant, memory enhancer, muscle relaxant, digestive aid, douche,
dream stimulant, embalming herb and headache remedy -- and rosemary
is thought to have antiaging properties as well. Be mindful when
using essential oil of rosemary, however: Too much of the highly
concentrated oil taken internally can be poisonous.
very well in the Bay Area. It takes very little water or care and
grows best in full sun with good drainage.”
Jeanne Rose's Web site and many articles are at
Books by Jeanne Rose include:
1. Herbs & Things
•Jeanne Rose's Herbal; (Perigee Books, 1972; Last Gasp, 2001) ISBN
The Herbal Body Book; (Frog, Ltd., 2000) ISBN
3. The Herbal Guide to Food; (North Atlantic Books,
1989) ISBN 1-556430566
4. Ask Jeanne Rose; (Keats Publications,
1984) ISBN 0-879833157
5. Kitchen Cosmetics; (North Atlantic Books,
1978, 1990) ISBN 1-556431015
6. The Modern Herbal; (Perigee Books,
1987) ISBN 0-399513949
7. Herbal Studies Course in Three Parts;
(Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1988, 2007)
8. Part 1 - Seasonal Herbal: A Reverence for Nature;
(Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1988, 2007)
9. Part 2 - Medicinal Herbal: Caring for the Body with
Herbs; (Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies,
1988, 2007) ISBN
10. Part 3 - Reference Herbal: From History to
Aromatherapy to Garden to Materia Medica; (Institute of
Herbal Studies, 1988, 2007) ISBN 0-962083844
11. The Aromatherapy
Book: Applications & Inhalations; (North Atlantic Books, 1992) ISBN
1-556430736 12. Aromatherapy Studies Course; (Institute of Aromatic
& Herbal Studies, 1994, 2007)
13. The World of Aromatherapy; (Frog,
Ltd., 1996) ISBN 1-883319498
14. Herbs & AT for the Sex Organs;
(Frog, Ltd., 1994) ISBN 1-88331917X
375 Essential Oils &
Hydrosols; (Frog, Ltd., 1999) ISBN 1-883319897
16. Herbal Body Book
II; (Frog, Ltd., 2000) ISBN 1-879687046
17. The Natural Formula Book
for Home & Yard; (Rodale Press, 1982) ISBN 0-878573992
Health Care, A Guide to Alternatives; (Reston Publishing Co., 1984)
19. Aromatherapy — 21st Century: Aromatherapy
Course - Home & Family; (Institute of Aromatic &
20. Blending Essential Oils; (Institute of Aromatic &
Herbal Studies, 2000, 2007)
21. Distillation, A Workbook; (Institute
of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 2000, 2007)
22. Lavender, Lavender,
Lavender; (Sequim Lavender Growers Association, 2003)
Botanical Perfumery Workbook; (Institute of Aromatic & Herbal
24. Hydrosols & Aromatic Waters; (Institute of
Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 2007)
25. SPA/SKIN Workbook; (Institute
of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 2003, 2007)
26. Ritual works!;
(Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 2007)
All rights reserved 2007. No part of this article may
be used without prior permission from Jeanne Rose.
© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose,