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Where does aromatherapy stand on supplements?


I doubt if I can speak for the profession as a whole but I an many of those I know think that if one has a healthy diet, containing plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables then supplements are not needed.

There are of course exceptions to this. If a person is anaemic due to some a genetic difficulty in absorbing iron then of course take supplements. What I don’t see the point of is the routine taking of supplements where there is no evidence that they make any difference at all. Take vitamin C. A deficiency will lead to the individual being more prone to infections and when fighting an infection it may be worth taking extra however as any excess over what we need is excreted through urine within a few hours there is no point in taking a high dose once a day. Better to take smaller doses three times a day or better still make sure you get enough through diet! Taken in diet, most vitamins and minerals are absorbed more slowly so we do not get the peaks and troughs of levels in the body that occurs with supplements.

I must make it clear that I am talking here about those of us who self diagnose and decide we need a supplement. I am not talking about the use of folic acid and sometimes iron in pregnancy, though even here it is possible to get enough through diet.

Sadly, as a species humans have by and large lost the ability to know what we need in our diet. If you observe cows grazing in a herb rich meadow over a period of time you can see that they will eat different herbs when they are in calf and different ones again when the calves are suckling. They have an instinct that tells them what is needed.

This is why I am not going to the complementary therapy trade show Camexpo this weekend as last time I went despite there being some good massage workshops, a large proportion of the show was taken up by firms trying to sell one supplement or another, many with claims that were clearly not provable in a way that would not be allowed in marketing to the public.

Perhaps things have changed? I hope so and one year I will probably go back to check this out. Until then I am going to carry on eating fresh fruit and veg from my allotment here in Cambridge, along with honey my bees provide me with and continue using essential oils in my own personal life as well as in my work.

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