By 1994, I had so many books to look up information on specific oils, I decided to create a wall chart for quick reference. Thanks to my hubby who set up the chart format on his computer, I was able to began typing it all in. Then I cut and pasted the first sections on poster board. Once I had it all together it became four double-sided charts; someone said that it should be a book instead and I thought, “What a great idea!” At this time I took over my husband’s computer and home office until he kicked me out at which point I got my first laptop. After a year or more of research, consulting, compiling all books available at the time, and creating indexes and cross references I thought I was done. My daughter says this is all she saw of me during that time……
I had the pleasure of meeting Bernie Hephrun of Butterbur and Sage at the NORA Conference in 1994. *** Bernie suggested I consult Martin Watt who had just created Plant Aromatics and was there as attendee! I met him at the end of the evening of the last day. Once home I began faxing back and forth to Martin (this was before email), and planned a visit to England to work with him in person. He took me to Stonehenge, Avebury, and Bath. He freely shared the massive amount of research he had with me, and the wonders of his small village Blackmore, Essex. I loved the UK and I devoured all he could show me. It was Martin who helped me revise my book, allowing it to become what it is today.
I honor Martin Watt for his contribution to the aromatherapy world and my path. He helped me to become recognized as a revolutionary in aromatherapy.
Martin had me question a lot of the proclaimed uses for oils, pointing out there is no evidence or research on certain uses, and the confusion of herbal properties with essential oil properties.
He was outspoken about the quality of essential oils, having experience and insight into the industry prior. He helped us open our eyes. Martin says he may be one of the first to start saying that the aroma trade training and oil supply fields was run by “con-artists and tricksters.” Before him anyone who had their suspicions “kept their mouths shut tight for fear of rocking the boat.” He was the first to introduce me to fractionated coconut oil, which was not available at the time in the US, but has since become a standard carrier oil (thanks to Rob Brown of Lebermuth).
After working overseas with Martin, I brought Plant Aromatics back here as the first USA publisher/distributor and the AIA sponsored Martin’s classes on Medical Aromatherapy in Florida, Chicago and Boulder.
Martin Watt is important in aromatherapy for many reasons cited above but in addition, he was the first to do a big study on sensitization:a type of allergic reaction that can happen with over-use of any essential oil. Before he spread the awareness, the US aromatherapy community had no clue about sensitization and unfortunately, some still don’t. Today, many people are sensitized from early undiluted use. Worse still is the amount of people that have become sensitized from the recent widespread use of undiluted oils in such practices as “Raindrop Therapy” and “AromaTouch.”
Martin still resides in the UK, and has an active website (aromamedical.org) with his articles and links, such as the old IDMA internet list archives. This was an early email discussion group where many of us in aromatherapy originally connected. I am truly grateful he still patiently answers my questions now via email.
I thank you Martin. Because of you, my book became more than it was, and has now been useful to practitioners for many years.
**** shortly after posting this I received the sad news of Bernie’s passing from Martin. Bernie will one day have his own page here as tribute for those who made big contributions but having left us. Here is Martin’s tribute to Bernie.