Essential Oils with Dr. Daniel Pénoël
by: Noel Cunnington
In November and December 2005, Dr. Daniel Pénoël (a French medical doctor picture left), visited Perth, Melbourne and Sydney for a series of workshops on “Aromatic medicine”. I was fortunate enough to attend his Sydney seminar, along with 150 other aromatherapists, health care professionals, and keen essential oil users. His 2 and a half day seminar was an amazing introduction to the French school of aromatherapy. In this bulletin, I want to share with you some of the highlights from Dr. Pénoël’s seminar.
In the world of aromatherapy, there are 3 schools of thought. The first is the British school, which teaches the dilution of essential oils, and its application -often through massage – for relaxation and balancing. The majority of Australian aromatherapists are trained in the British system. Secondly there is the German school, which relies on the aroma of the oils, rather than direct application. And thirdly, there is the French school, which treats essential oils as a valid form of medicine, to be used as in any other medical protocol – internally, by injection, topically (undiluted), rectally, and vaginally. As Dr. Pénoël said, “In my country, we’ve given millions and millions of clinical treatments with essential oils.” It is from this medical application of essential oils that the term “Aromatic Medicine” was derived.
Dr. Pénoël described the differences between the 3 schools very humorously, when he said: “The German system of aromatherapy (smell) is comparable to platonic love. You cannot make babies with platonic love. The English system is like flirting. You still cannot make babies. The French system of aromatherapy is like “The Full Monty”, and it will make babies!”
In France, Doctors trained in aromatic medicine will often prescribe essential oils in preference to antibiotics. But first, they will conduct an “aromatogram”. This is a simple test involving taking a sample (e.g.. a swab) of a patient’s diseased area. This swab is sent away to a laboratory, and tested with a wide variety of essential oils and allopathic drugs, to see which is the most effective against the specific disease or condition.
There are many cases where essential oils are more effective than antibiotics. However, in the case where an antibiotic proves more effective, the doctor still needs to weigh up the potential side-effects of the antibiotic (such as its long-term effects on gut flora), before deciding which treatment should be undertaken.
If essential oils are the chosen treatment, the doctor will supply the patient with essential oils, and instructions on where and how to use them, and in what proportions to mix them up. This means that patients are more involved in preparing their own mixtures and remedies than in traditional allopathic medicine.
It was fascinating to hear Dr. Pénoël’s strategy for fighting an infection using essential oils. He begins with a mix of oils where the “stronger” oils are in higher concentration. The “stronger” oils are those with higher percentages of phenols (such as Oregano). These phenols are very aggressive against many infections (viral and bacterial). However, because of the potential irritation that the phenols can pose to the stomach and intestines, after a week’s use, Dr. Pénoël then “ramps down” the proportion of oils containing phenols, and increases the proportion of other less-irritating oils.
He explained that he may start with a mix of 70% Oregano and 30% Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree oil), and after a week move to 30% Oregano and 70% Melaleuca alternifolia (and continue on this mix for another couple of weeks). In his use of essential oils internally, Dr. Pénoël always includes a vegetable oil along with the essential oil in a gel cap, because the vegetable oil helps to transport the essential oil into the intestinal tract.
Another example given by Dr. Pénoël was how he works with tonsillitis, using the molecule Terpinen-4-ol, which is present at about 40% concentration in Melaleuca alternifolia. Dr. Pénoël demonstrated how he puts a tiny bit of high-quality, unadulterated Tea Tree oil on his hand (on a point between the thumb and 2nd finger doctors on top of hand, which is a special acupuncture point), and then he licks the oil off.
“I now have millions of billions of molecules of terpenen-4-ol which have been blended in my saliva. I bring my saliva back to my tonsils……[and I have] changed the breeding ground of the medium which exists in my throat at this infectious stage. You have changed the pH of your saliva.” He went on to explain that this makes the saliva more acidic, which inhibits the growth of the infection.
Dr. Pénoël then described how he will swallow the Tea tree oil at this point, so that it will reach his stomach, small and large intestine to become an “aromatic healing saliva”. He stated that in addition to this indirect action, the Tea tree oil also has a direct action because “the terpenen-4-ol in the Tea Tree oil also attacks the bacteria itself. It penetrates through the cell wall and membrane, into the cell wall, and destroys the bacteria.”
One of the most interesting things I learned from Dr. Pénoël’s seminar was about frequency of application. He shared that when one of his patients is fighting an infection, he instructs them to take a smaller amount of essential oil more often, so that the molecules are consistently in their blood stream. For example, in a simple case of tonsillitis he instructs his patients to lick the Tea Tree oil from their hand every minute for 5 minutes, then every 5 minutes for 15 minutes.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Dr. Pénoël was discussing important oils for a first aid (emergency) kit, when he said: “The #1 problem we face in our daily life in emergencies is pain. We want to find a molecule which is endowed with the capacity to stop the pain, instantly. One molecule which can achieve this is menthol (contained in Peppermint essential oil)…..So in your emergency kit, use Mentha piperita (Peppermint).
But don’t use peppermint on a large area of the body. It’s OK to use on a small area of the body. It must be used neat, exactly as it’s been extracted from the plant. Use just a few drops neat, and the pain will go away almost immediately. This is because peppermint has a cooling action, so it blocks/inhibits the pain transmitters….[After applying Peppermint oil], you will suddenly feel the cold more. This means that although the outside temperature may be warm, your body feels as though it’s had ice placed on it (so it has a similar effect to putting ice on pain).”
Natural Home Health Care with Essential Oils by Dr. Pènoël
Dr. Pènoël is a native French man and as a Medical Doctor, he uses essential oils in the treatment of his patients. He advises his patients to take essential oils internally, against all the advise of the English school of aromatherapy. The results speak for themselves. In this marvelous volume, Dr. Pènoël demonstrates just how you can use Essential oils as a drug free alternative for health. What distinguishes the oils that Dr. Pènoël uses is that they are therapeutic grade essential oils and the majority are organically grown.
Dr. Pènoël spent sometime with his wife Rose-Marie, in a medical practice in Adelaide, South Australia. Here he met Abby who had been suffering from chronically blocked sinuses for many years. As these things go, Abby was due for an operation, the final resort, to alleviate the problem when she met Dr. Pènoël.
Given just two weeks to turn Abby’s condition around, Dr. Pènoël launched on an intensive aromatic care program. This involved essential oils, of course, but demanded the dedication and co-operation of his patient, Abby and her parents.
Needless to say Abby was much improved and the surgery was cancelled. The book has photographs of Abby and reproductions of her X-rays before and after her treatment with Dr. Pènoël. You can judge for yourself the effectiveness of his protocol.
Dr. Pènoël goes on to give recipes and protocols for some common ailments. Since all circumstances are unique, we suggest using common sense when integrating any new health system and especially essential oils.
For anyone seeking a drug free alternative to mainstream medicine, this book is an excellent place to start. At times the English is a little stilted but this does not detract from the wealth of information it contains.
With oil, Noel Cunnington