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Guidelines Aroma Forum International e.V.

1. Definitions and terms

1.1. Essential oil

In the DIN EN ISO Natural aromatic raw materials – vocabulary (ISO 9235:2013 + Cor 1:2014); trilingual version EN ISO 9235:2013 + AC:2014 the essential oils are defined.

Here is an extract from this standard:

2.11 Essential oil

Product obtained from a vegetable, natural raw material (2.19), either by steam distillation, by a mechanical process from the peel of citrus fruits or by dry distillation after separation of the aqueous phase, if necessary by physical processes.

Note 1 to the definition: The essential oil may be subjected to physical treatments, which do not result in any change in its composition (e.g. filtration, decantation and centrifugation).

Note 2 on the term: ISO/TC 54 decided at its 27th meeting in 2010 to introduce the term “essential oil of…” instead of “oil of…” for all standards published by this committee. This exchange will be introduced gradually during the review of the standards and for all new drafts.

2.12 Essential oil obtained by steam distillation

Essential oil (2.11) obtained by steam distillation with addition of water to the distillation unit (steam distillation) or without addition of water to the distillation unit (directly with steam)

This standard can be purchased, many terms are defined there.

1.2 Phytotherapy

The official national and EU definition:

Phytotherapy is the healing, alleviation and prevention of diseases up to and including health problems caused by medicinal plants, their parts (e.g. flowers, roots) or components (e.g. essential oils) as well as their preparations (e.g. dry extracts, tinctures, pressed juices). Phytotherapy is a special type of therapy and belongs to the group of natural remedies which the doctor must know about after the license to practice medicine. They are recognised by the legislator.

Aromatherapy is a subarea of Phytotherapy.

1.3 Aromatherapy

Is a subspecialty of Phytotherapy. As a result, aromatherapy is used to cure, alleviate and prevent diseases, i.e. specifically for therapy. Aromatherapy is accordingly used by therapists with regard to the medicine of doctors, alternative practitioners (Heilpraktikergesetz §1 Abs. 1 HeilprG), by psychotherapists (Psychotherapiegesetz § 1 Abs. 3) and veterinarians. The term “aroma therapist” is not protected by law. Therefore, every aroma therapist can call himself. Notwithstanding this, only physicians, alternative practitioners and psychotherapists, veterinarians as well as veterinary surgeons work therapeutically.

Consequently, the designation “aroma therapist” is only meaningful and appropriate for therapists.

1.4 Aroma care

“Aroma care” is body, mind and soul care with 100% natural, essential and fatty vegetable oils, the aroma care products composed of them as well as hydrolates. In the health care professions, aroma care is a naturopathic/complementary care method that covers the inpatient and outpatient areas of health promotion and preventive care. In the field of activity of self-responsible care and in the accompanying support agreed with therapists, aroma care is applied in a targeted manner within the care process either olfactorically via the sense of smell/the nose and/or percutaneously via the intact skin.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Maria Hoch 2013

Aromatherapy, a branch of Phytotherapy, can be applied to both sick and healthy people, i.e. also in the privacy of your home. It is successfully used in all areas of health and nursing care, health care, paediatric care and care for the elderly. The special feature of aroma care is the low dosages of essential oils of 0.5 %-2 % in the aroma care oil mixtures (i.e. in fatty vegetable oils) in contrast to aromatherapy. Aroma therapists often work with much higher dosages.

1.5 Aroma culture

The origin of the aroma culture lies in ancient scent cultures of the Near and Middle East. The “time-honoured knowledge” is integrated into the current aroma culture. We consciously perceive plant scents through the senses of sight, smell, taste and touch. These sensory experiences are integrated into life in an aesthetic and cultural design. In aroma culture, scent perception and scented experiences are combined with artistic elements from painting, music, literature, theatre, dance as well as table culture and smoking, thus promoting well-being and improving the quality of life.

2. Basic rules for the aroma practical application

2.1 Professional training

The profound training in aroma care/aroma therapy or permanent further education and training in the form of basic/basic and advanced seminars, specialist aroma seminars (e.g. use of essential oils for dementia, pain, children, etc.) are indispensable prerequisites for successful aroma practical work (aroma therapy, aroma care and aroma culture) and thus form the core principles of our association (see below chapters 5 and 6).

For more information, see training guidelines/aroma seminars

2.2 Hygiene guidelines

It is understood that the current hygiene guidelines are adhered to during the aroma-practical work.

3. Use of essential oils

How can essential oils mainly be used, how are they marketed?

3.1 As a commodity for room scenting

Essential oils for odour enhancement, for use e.g. in fragrance lamps, diffusers, on fragrance stones etc., here the GHS (Globally Harmonised System) applies for the classification and labelling of chemicals, i.e. among other things the hazard pictograms are listed on the labels.

3.2 As medicinal products for aromatherapy

(See Definitions and terms, point 1.3).

An essential oil as a medicinal product must be labelled according to the German Medicines Act (AMG), prescriptions are only prescribed by doctors and alternative practitioners (see point 1.3).

3.3 As a cosmetic product for aroma care and other purposes

For example as aroma care oil (mixture of low-dose essential oils in fatty vegetable oil) in accordance with the labelling requirements of the Cosmetics Ordinance; INCI and best before date. The objective is on the one hand the skin caring character of the aroma care oil and on the other hand also the prophylaxis and accompanying support in the therapy (see point 1.4).

Aroma care: Essential oils (cosmetics) – mixed with emulsifiers – can be used for washing, partial and full baths (see point 2). Cosmetics may be used by everyone.

3.4 As food

Food law is binding here. Accordingly, the essential oil is declared as food.

3.5 As a medical device

In this context, the MPG (Medical Devices Act) forms the basis. An essential oil as a medical device is registered via the DIMDI (German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information). The products are freely available in pharmacies and drugstores.

4. Recommendations for use

4.1 Aroma maintenance

4.1.1 Application via the sense of smell/sense of smell using room scenting (see points 2.1 and 3.1)

4.1.2 Application percutaneously via the intact skin/mucosa (see point 2.1)

Essential oils are not applied purely on the skin and mucous membrane.

They are applied through the skin e.g., as rubs, rubs, aroma massages, wraps, compresses, oil compresses.

Essential oils (cosmetics) – in emulsifiers – can be used for washings, partial and full baths (see point 2)

The application is carried out by means of aroma care oils, which contain a small dosage of 0.5%-2% essential oils (see point 1.4). The specialist market offers corresponding aroma care products of the best biological quality.

In exceptional cases, isolated essential oils are also suitable for undiluted application on the skin. We expressly point out that in this respect, a sound training or relevant specialist expertise is required.

4.2 Aromatherapy

4.2.1 Application via smell/room scenting by means of room scenting (see points 2.1 and 3.1).

4.2.2 Use as a medicinal product – (cf. point 3.2) Issuing a prescription as a therapeutic percutaneous (e.g. ointments), oral (e.g. drops/capsules), anal (e.g. suppositories) or vaginal (e.g. ovulas/vaginal suppositories). The respective prescription is prepared by the pharmacist.

4.2.3 Percutaneous application as a cosmetic via the intact skin/mucosa (see 3.3 and 4.1.2)

Application via the skin/mucosa can be used for daily skin care, as an accompanying support (e.g. in pain therapy) or as a prophylactic measure (e.g. as decubitus prophylaxis, pneumonia prophylaxis) on the skin as an embrocation.

4.3 Aroma cooking

Food oils are used in the flavouring kitchen (see 2 and 3.4)