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, Sara

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 an aromatherapist?

   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.  
   APP- 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 aromatherapy certification.

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 of it.
   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 information.

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 Aromatherapy”.

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 click here.

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 resource.

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 Herbal Studies Course and learn about the seasons, the therapeutics, and the history.

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.

   The most 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
or botany?

   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 Certification 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 experience.

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 different ways.

11.) Where do you see our profession in 5 years, 10 years?

   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 that?

   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 oil techniques.

  • Rene Gattefossé – my search for his 1937 book is documented in The Aromatherapy Book and then I had it translated and eventually it was republished.

  • Roland Hunt who wrote the Fragrant 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 The 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
    and hydrosols.
3. Educate the public and consumers to purchase locally distilled hydrosols/oils and to
    conduct distillation and aromatherapy classes.
4. Help all members of the organization reach a larger market through public education,
    private consultation, distillation classes and via information from "The AROMATIC
    NEWS, News from The Aromatic Plant Project" and to help promote their products
    and crops.

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.

   1. Holistic nature of aromatherapy- treats the entire person
   2. 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 many ways.

   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 glycerin.

   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.

   Of 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 stimulant tea.


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 coil.

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.

Rose says 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...


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.

Many 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.

Rose 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 year.

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 clear depression.

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.

Peppermint 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.

Rosemary grows 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 0-448024578 2. The Herbal Body Book; (Frog, Ltd., 2000) ISBN 1-583940049
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)
    ISBN 0-96208381X
8. Part 1 - Seasonal Herbal: A Reverence for Nature; (Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1988, 2007)
    ISBN 0-962083828
9. Part 2 - Medicinal Herbal: Caring for the Body with Herbs; (Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies,
   1988, 2007) ISBN 0-962083836
10. Part 3 - Reference Herbal: From History to Aromatherapy to Garden to Materia Medica; (Institute of
      Aromatic & 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
15. 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
18. Women's Health Care, A Guide to Alternatives; (Reston Publishing Co., 1984) ISBN 0-835987809
19. Aromatherapy — 21st Century: Aromatherapy Course - Home & Family; (Institute of Aromatic &
     Herbal Studies, 2005, 2007)
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)
23. Advanced Botanical Perfumery Workbook; (Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 2007)
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)

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