Essential Oils Are More Than Just "Scents"

Essential Oils
An assortment of essential oil bottles surrounded by freshly picked flowers and herbs 
Too often, I hear individuals refer to both essential oils and fragrance oils as "scents." This mostly happens when listening to individuals that don't really grasp the difference between both types of oils.

Although essential oils are concentrated and highly aromatic, referring to essential oils as "scents" is rather inaccurate, especially within the scope of holistic aromatherapy. Essential oils offer a broad range of therapeutic properties than span beyond merely "scenting" a product. Many essential oils are anti-bacterial or anti-viral and some essential oils like Roman Chamomile contain constituents that act as a natural sedative. In the field of holistic aromatherapy, essential oils are often selected not only for their particular aroma (i.e. floral, earthy, herbacious, etc.), but also for the specific constituents and therapeutic properties that they possess.

The word "Essential" contains the phonetical sound of "scent," (e+scent+ial) and that may also confuse some individuals. But just like the word "essential" contains more than "scent," so do the oils that they describe.

Fragrance oils are synthetic and don't offer the anti-viral, antibacterial and other array of therapeutic properties that essential oils offer. The purpose of fragrance oils is to add scent to personal care or home fragrancing products.

The term "scent" (i.e. "I just bought several new scents for my candlemaking project") is best left to referring to fragrance oils or perfumes that have no purpose other than to add "scent" to something.

For more information, read the following articles on AromaWeb:

What Are Essential Oils?
What are Absolutes?
What are CO2 Extracts (CO2s)?
What are Carrier Oils?
What are Infused Oils?
What are Resins?
What are Hydrosols?
What are Fragrance Oils?
What is Aromatherapy?
View more articles...

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Plagiarism: Are You Breaking the Law Through Your Web Site?

PlagiarismI founded AromaWeb in 1997, and since that time, I have lost count of the number of times that I have discovered my articles, other writings or my photos on other sites or in print magazines without my permission. Over the years, I have also discovered a couple sites that have taken virtually all of the pages of AromaWeb and republished them on their own sites for their own gain. I would like to thank AromaWeb advertiser Marge Clark of Nature's Gift for looking out for AromaWeb and letting me know of a very recent incident of a site that registered a similar domain name and hijacked virtually all of AromaWeb's 400+ pages. They went so far as to change all instances of my registered trademark AromaWeb to that of their domain name. I am still in the process of pursuing recourse hence am not disclosing the domain name or other details on this situation.

Just two days ago, a kind visitor to AromaWeb alerted me to a European print magazine that has reprinted one of my articles without my permission. Over the years, quite a few other AromaWeb advertisers and visitors have alerted me to instances of my work being plagiarized, and I am most grateful to each and every one of you for your help. Those of us that spend countless hours studying, researching and writing within the field need to look out for each other.

Most individuals are taught what plagiarism is at an early age when they are still in secondary school. Yet with the amazing ability that we have to copy digital media like DVDs and mp3s/audio files and the ease that we have in copying and pasting text and photos from Web sites, way too many individuals (even "professional" print journalists) are using those copy and paste keys to grab and republish someone else's photos or text without express permission. Doing so is ILLEGAL, regardless of the intent to make a profit or not. Just because it's easy to pull the trigger on a gun (an analogy to selecting copy and paste functions with the click of a finger) doesn't mean it's legal to do so in all situations.

If you operate a Web site or blog and do not have a grasp of what plagiarism is or have used text or photos that you've found elsewhere on the Web or in books, you are likely infringing upon someone's intellectual rights, and you put yourself and your company not only at financial risk, but you also risk severely ruining your reputation. It doesn't matter if the site that you copy from does not have copyright notices in place, and it doesn't matter where you took the text unless they expressly have given you permission or clearly state that it's ok to reprint/republish their work. Google Images and Flickr aren't sources of photos that you can freely use. Just cause they make it easy to find photos doesn't mean that you can legally reuse them.

This post isn't intended to teach you all the legalities involved on the subject (I'm not a lawyer), but is intended to raise awareness to the seriousness of plagiarism and make you stop to think that you are stealing from hardworking people (like me). If you're plagiarizing or aren't sure if you are, do some research on the subject, learn how to seek permission and properly credit sources and actually learn how to write.

If you are the type of individual that grabs text and/or photos without permission and republishes them on your site or blog (or even in forum posts), think twice. The one you'll wind up harming the most is yourself. Read on to find out why...

Situation #1
In addition to owning AromaWeb, I am the marketing manager for Natural Sourcing and its trademarked properties including From Nature With Love. Not everyone realizes that I'm the same Wendy Robbins that works for Natural Sourcing. A few years ago, on behalf of Natural Sourcing/From Nature With Love, we were looking for a qualified writer to act as a copyrighter/online content coordinator. After reviewing a number of resumes, I found a few that stood out above the rest, and one particular woman caught my attention as a strong candidate for the position. As I do with those candidates that peak my interest, I asked for writing samples. She submitted a few that she claimed to write. Upon reviewing them, I discovered that one of her submissions was an article that she plagiarized from AromaWeb, an article that I had written and published years prior. I did not immediately bring the plagiarism to her attention and I instead casually wrote her back asking her for the history of each article she wrote. I discovered by her own admission that she used MY article within her own teaching materials and apparently even had MY article published within a particular magazine. I did not pursue legal action against this woman as I think her loss of being considered for this promising position and the humiliation that she surely should have against her conscience should be enough punishment, but I will publically state here that should I discover that she is continuing to use my work without permission, I will actively and aggressively protect my legal rights, pursue financial compensation and will no longer choose to be discreet about who she is.

Situation #2
On one particular day of a hectic week, I was looking forward to spending a quiet hour or two relaxing over a few magazines as I awaited a car repair. I had been getting acquainted with the editors and an assistant editor or one trade magazine in particular on behalf of Natural Sourcing and was looking forward to getting a strong feel for the publication, and brought this particular magazine with me to read. A couple weeks prior, I had spent quite a bit of time answering the questions of one of the assistant editors of this publication regarding natural exfoliants. As I cracked open the issue that I had brought along with me, I noticed that there was an article on aromatherapy written by this same assistant editor that I had just recently assisted. To my dismay, there were quite a few instances within the article that very closely resembled material that I had written for AromaWeb years prior. Because the matter is not resolved to my satisfaction, it is best that I do not elaborate in detail publically aside to say that I am pretty confident that this assistant editor did indeed lose her job over this incident. Taking other individual's work may seem like an easy way to get ahead, but it's usually the dishonest individual that winds up suffering the most and losing face.

Situation #3
It broke my heart to discover one of AromaWeb's most prominent advertisers had at least one of my articles displayed verbatim on her site. It's been a long time since this particular occurrence, and she did resolve the situation to my satisfaction, but from the moment I discovered her plagiarism, I no longer would accept her as an advertiser upon AromaWeb. I was financially compensated for her plagiarism, and I had refilled her position immediately, but it was nonetheless a losing situation for her as she lost a prominent position on AromaWeb.

Situation #4
I discovered that a site had taken AromaWeb in its entirety and republished it directly on their site. This company apparently thought that they could get away with simply ignoring my demands to take down their copy of AromaWeb. I won't disclose all the details of what transpired, but I will say that the very first thing I arranged was to immediately have their hosting company remove their entire site.

Situation #5
One of the content writers at my last employer had severely plagiarized another site. Apparently, she didn't think anyone else in the company would realize it. I couldn't but help notice that her text was identical to a herbalism site that I had recently been to. As difficult as it was to know this woman would probably be fired once I brought this to the attention of my boss (and she was), there's no way I could have ignored the situation and allowed that woman to put the entire company at risk by her solitary actions.

There are more instances, but I'll stop with these.

I am NOT a lawyer and I cannot offer legal advice. But I do have quite a bit of experience in dealing with the plagiarism of my work. I hope this post will help bring more awareness to the seriousness, harm and negativity that plagiarism causes. Plagiarism not only sabotages and dilutes the efforts of hardworking authors, but it also causes them added time and aggravation in having to pursue the protection of their intellectual property. Plagiarism also will wind up ruining the reputation of those that include plagiarized material on their site. Word gets around. Especially with tight knit communities like the aromatherapy industry. Think twice. Then think again. Then just don't do it.

I would like to encourage you to please link to this post and spread the word, but don't plagiarize it. ;)

Stopping to Smell the Roses

Lavender and a Rose Surrounding a Sprig of Rosemary
Lavender and a Rose Surrounding a Sprig of Rosemary  
I was in a typical rush this evening between errands, texting my daughter off at college, helping two of AromaWeb's valued advertisers and taking out the trash (hmmm a line from Liz Phair's song Extraordinary just popped into my head) when my blooming roses caught my eye - and nose. Now that's my kind of aromatherapy.

I still consider myself a novice gardener of just a few short years. This year, my time for gardening has been much more limited, and I'm thrilled that my plants have been fairly forgiving. As much as I silently groan about some of the stereotypical aspects of living in Metro-Detroit, I can't help but love the four seasons and enjoying roses and many of my other herbs/plants well into the Fall months.

Shown above are lavender, a rose and a sprig of rosemary that I picked moments ago. I just had to share! Are you making time to stop and "smell the roses?"

Music to My Ears

Ashley Through the Years   

It breaks my heart when I hear my daughter, Ashley, cry. I was so blessed that she slept through the night as a baby. She had a cheerful disposition and rarely cried. But there is one time that she cried... the first time... that was the happiest sound I have ever heard...

At 9 weeks before Ashley's due date, I spent quite some time in a labor room on magnesium sulfate as they tried to stop the contractions. It was the second time I was hospitalized due to early contractions, and I got to know most all of the staff by name. They were super, even making and signing a really sweet Nicest Patient Ever poster that they hung in my labor room.

My contractions were not subsiding, and they finally had to take me off the magnesium sulfate. Dialated already to 4, they explained that it was likely that Ash would be born that day. Two special care nurses came into my labor room, stood on each side of my bed, taking my hands in theirs, told me what to expect and then caringly told me that there was a 10% chance that my baby may not survive. I had been to the special care unit of the maternity ward previously and could clearly visualize the premature infants hooked up to the respirators and other special care equipment. After the nurses left my bedside and I had a moment of privacy to shed a few tears and emotionally prepare myself, I prayed asking that my baby be given more time to develop... Within the hour, my contractions didn't just slow down, they stopped. Completely. I would later learn that the doctors were completely mystified that the contractions completely stopped. I remained in the hospital for a few more days as I developed pneumonia from having been immobilized for so long. After they quickly got that under control, they started to give me steroid injections to help strengthen Ashley and sent me home with strict instructions, a portable turbuteline IV pump and with a regular visiting nurse and monitoring equipment.

Ash continued to keep trying to make her debut into the world early. A couple weeks later on what would become her birthday, there was no way to stop the contractions. With a crowded delivery room filled with medical care personnel, Ashley greeted the world. It was Good Friday that year...totally appropriate. Things happened so quickly... I delivered Ashley naturally, but I had been on complete bedrest prior to her birth and couldn't attend birthing classes. I didn't know the ideal way to "breath" and didn't know how to "push." Once my doctor saw Ash's head, she told me to push as hard as I could. I did. Surprising my doctor who had to catch her fast, Ash made her complete debut in a matter of seconds... I was suddenly out of pain. I wondered if that meant my baby was born. But it was quiet in the room. My doctor was doing something, but I couldn't tell what. Those seconds of wonder felt like years. Then suddenly, for the first time, I heard my little girl cry. Loud! :) That was music to my ears as it instantly indicated that she could breath on her own. My little preemie was strong, healthy and weighed in at a whopping 5lb. 12 oz. Adorable, fuzzy and a little jaundiced, the jaundice was the only thing of concern.

That was 18 years ago today, March 29, 1991. Ashley was born on Good Friday that year, brought home already two days later on Easter and baptized 6 weeks later on her original due date, which happened to be Mother's Day that year.

I am immensely blessed to have a healthy, beautiful, funny, intelligent and creative daughter who is now an amazing young woman soon to head off to college out of state.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I held my tiny little girl in my arms and had the wonder, excitement and fear of learning how to best take care of her... but at the same time, it feels like just a moment ago. As Ashley graduates from high school in May, I have a newfound excitement and fear for her as she sets off to take on the world and the new challenges that are in store for her.

I have been especially grateful to have essential oils at my disposal during times of transition, stress, insomnia or grief. If you in the midst of your own transitions or major life events, visit the Emotional Well-Being section of AromaWeb's Recipe Box area for a selection of blends and recipes that can help support you.

Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

Back when I was pregnant with Ashley, I had not yet discovered aromatherapy. Pregnant women must be especially cautious when using essential oils, especially for those that have high risk of going into early labor. Some essential oils are known abortifacents, which means that they can stimuate contractions and promote early labor. Gentle oils like lavender and neroli, however, can help keep an anxious, expectant mother relaxed. For more information, see AromaWeb's Aromatherapy During Pregnancy article.


As I write this, AromaTalk is still in its infancy stage. In addition to sharing aromatherapy tips and information, I look forward to also sharing complementary health information and food for thought on a variety of topics.

I love learning. My daughter knows I love learning as much from her as she learns from me. We can learn from anyone. I've even learned a thing or two from my dog, Bailey. He turned nine the other day. In reflecting on these fast-flying nine years with him, I realized that one of his unique traits might make for an interesting blog post.

Bailey will drink out of his water dish, but he has to be starving before he'll nibble out of his food dish.

The size, shape or material of the bowl doesn't matter. Plates aren't his fancy either, unless I'm holding the plate for him. Despite his reluctance to eat out of his bowl, he always wants the comfort of knowing it's full. He also does not like to eat if I'm not around. It took me what seemed to be forever to put all the little "clues" together...

Through trial and error, I discovered that all his little finicky behaviors surround his need to be given nourishment directly from me. Hand feeding him isn't always possible (I do have to work to pay for his food, after all), so I've created a compromise. He will eat small portions of food set directly in front of his bowl, but he needs to see me actually touch his food and place it there for him. If he isn't sure, he will scratch at his food while looking at me with those needy eyes until I go over and touch his little pile of food that rests in front of his bowl. Then, he'll eat happily.

I get a kick out of this unique need of his, and though it sometimes can be distracting, I have never wanted to break him of it. It makes him even more special and precious to me. It enforces the bond between the two of us, and adds to his personality and charm.

I chuckle at myself for how long it took me to put all the pieces together in how to best feed him. For as much as I want to notice every unique quality and the needs of those I hold precious in my life including my beloved little companion, sometimes I can be oblivious or it can take awhile to figure out how to best help... and sometimes those we love can't directly tell us what they need, don't realize they need to help us help them, or are too embarrassed to tell us.

Every once in awhile, someone will criticize his need to eat in this way as if it's "wrong" for him not to eat directly from his bowl. Far too often, we criticize each other's uniqueness or try to make others conform to our culture's "norms" instead of expressing interest in learning what is going on for the other individual, to be understanding, nurturing or doing what we can to support each other. And a sad pattern that happens far too frequently is that we have far less tolerance for another person's oddities if he/she shows no compassion for our own. With only knowing these facts about my little champ, you possibly might picture him to be picky about every little thing instead of seeing him as the generally calm, happy-go-lucky, charismatic little guy that he normally is.

There is no truth to the saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Bailey turned nine the other day. A couple months ago, I easily taught him how to consistently jump on my lap and automatically turn around and scooch down next to me on my recliner instead of directly on my lap when I'm reading. He may have been as fed up with me accidentally bonking him on the head with my book as I was. ;) If I wanted to, I could train Bailey to eat out of his bowl, but something unique about him would be lost in the tradeoff.

Bailey indirectly reminded me of something we should all remember. If we can't look beyond someone's unique traits or differences, we might miss out on seeing many other beautiful traits.