Malte Hozzel, who founded the Oshadhi brand of essential oils, was recently interviewed for Sensa, a major Serbian magazine. Here are some excerpts from the article which give insights into his perspective into aromatherapy and its significance. There are a lot of practical tips here, and I thought you’d like to see it.
Dr Hozzel, what is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a modern version of plant medicine in its most compact form. It uses the powerful energy and biochemistry of numerous medicinal plants around the globe.
If plants, by means of essential oils, are able to defend themselves against parasites, fungi, bacteria, viruses — if they are able to communicate amongst themselves, attract pollinators, thermo-protect and energise themselves, it would have been strange if we as human beings would not have come to use this precious gift of the plant kingdom for our own well-being. Aromatherapy uses essential oils and also carrier oils from all kinds of traditions around the globe: and this made available in small bottles! We can truly say that for the first time in history (and this also due to our global connectedness) we have access to the traditional healing treasures of the world in our own ‘home-pharmacy’. So in many ways we can take personal responsibility for our own health and with them we can become guardians of our own well-being.
Aromatherapy has marked your whole life. How did the love begin, and what was the initial spark?
It is a love story which started in 1972, linked to my wife who brought home a bottle of Lavender oil from an organic food shop in the North of France. We were teaching Yoga and Meditation (TM) at that time, which also help you to become highly sensitive to beauty on all levels. We just could not believe it that something could smell so full, so much like Nature herself. And that started the aromatic journey, which continues to this day …
What is the link between aromatherapy and other systems of traditional medicine?
The principles of natural healing and the knowledge about healing plants is as old as mankind. And, as the ancient Ayurvedic texts describe, this was handed down from the sages, shamans, and yogis through the long corridor of time until we were ready to re-integrate it into our modern nature-based therapies. Aromatherapy – although modern in its present form – is definitely a part of traditional medicine. Very many of the ancient medicinal plants contain essential oils and would simply not have been used through the ages if they did not include a special ‘aromatic medicinal’ message. Could you think of a Rosemary, Sage, Lavender, or a Myrrh, Frankincense, Sandalwood etc. without their healing aromas?
From the times of Cleopatra through Avicenna, from Gattefosse and Jean Valnet to yourself and other aromatherapists of the present day, aromatherapy has traversed a long path. How do you see these different traditions and their contribution to the Science and Art of Aromatherapy?
It was certainly René-Maurice Gattefossé’s merit in early 20th century to systematically study the effects of essential oils and to dedicate his lifetime to not only understanding the chemical aspects of their compounds with regards to medical treatments, but also to venture into what we would call today psycho-aromatherapy. Dr Jean Valnet then made the use of essential oils even more practical during the French-Vietnamese war.
If we want to speak of schools, I would say that they all drink water from the same well – only the way they drink may be different here and there. The French school (the original of the modern schools) is more therapeutic, talking a lot about oral intake of essential oils. Many of these scientists have compared in their publications the utility of what they call the ‘eubiotic’ approach of medical aromatherapy versus the allopatic approach.
They point out the complex action of an aromatic molecule on the germ, the milieu and the immune system versus the extremely limited anti-bacterial properties of chemical therapies with their numerous unwanted side-effects.
Then there are the Germans with their strong olfacto-therapeutic approach – everything goes through the nose and the home must smell great: aroma-diffusion is the theme. And the British with their aromatic massage therapy complex. ‘Beware of oral intake! Do not believe the French! ☺ They want to ride the ‘safe road’ and do not want to listen to Hippocrates who said: ‘Everything is toxic, nothing is toxic, it’s all about the dosage’. But whatever theme you subscribe to, in the final analysis it is about individual choice, training, knowledge, personal experiences. These are the elements which participate in enriching the growing body of aromatherapy in the long run.
Where is aromatherapy most effective?
This depends on the problem we face. A viral infection, such as flu for example, would need a more specific, often internal, application of essential oils targeting the intruder with a ‘laser-beam’ strategy of powerful phenolic oils.
Oregano, Winter Savory, Clove Bud, Thyme thymol would be good choices. For energy problems, insomnia, burnout, depression etc. I would rather recommend handling by emphasizing massage with a wide variety of corresponding essential oils diluted into chosen carrier oils. It all depends often whether we are addressing long-term, medium-term or short term problems.
What are the major areas of clinical application?
In a sense, any type of clinical problem should already consider the use of essential oils. There are surprising success stories of using essential oils for treating even severe illnesses. You will find many testimonials online and a huge body of scientific research too. There are over 6,000 scientific research studies on essential oils at the moment – many of them to be found on internet. The Western scientist confirms the shamans of old. What the latter knew from tradition and vision, the other captures by finding the data and experiments. This brings up the question of course: Are scientific data more reliable than traditional knowledge recorded through thousands of years? But why not? This is such a great time for the meeting of modern and ancient!
Can aromatherapy deal with and assist humanity in alleviating the major plague of present world, i.e. stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression?
Yes, very much ! This is the most efficient field for aromatherapy. There are so many powerful oils to help. My personal opinion is that the reason why aromatherapy is experiencing such a boom of interest today everywhere lies at the door of the ‘modern plagues’ of humanity. Look for example at ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) problems in schools today. The European Union has authorized a new medicine called Intuniv for treatment. But why not use rosemary oil in regular classroom diffusion instead of these synthetic drugs invented by the pharma industry for ‘patent hoarding’? And the potential side effects of this drug? Better not speak too much about it (severe allergic reactions, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, fainting) Whereas the natural oil of Rosemary oil, side-effect free, can increase memory by up to 75% and substantially heighten alertness in children as well as in adults. (Published 8-April-2013 by Jenny Hope, Daily Mail)