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Course CodeVHT104
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


  • Develop a basic understanding of the safe use of Aromatherapy oils; and their production.
  • Gain knowledge of using Aromatherapy in the home or for those working in a related discipline.
  • Know the botanical names of plants and how they are derived is an important part of Aromatherapy.

Most people know essential oils by their common names, such as Lavender, Thyme or Eucalyptus. For instance, there are several different types of plant that are commonly known as Lavender, and more than one of these plants are used to produce lavender oil. Oil distilled from True Lavender or Lavandula angustifolia, is the highest quality lavender oil. However, lavender can also be distilled from Lavandula x intermedia and Lavandula latifolia. All three smell very similar, and can even be confusing for an experienced aromatherapist, but the chemical composition of Lavandula angustifolia is far superior to the other two species and is a much better therapeutic oil.

Aromatherapy student comment:

"This course was very interesting, challenging and very worthwhile" N. Mills

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Plant Classification
    • the classification system used for naming plants and to be able to identify the family
    • genus and species names of plants used to produce essential oils
    • define aromatherapy and its history
    • understand how aromatherapy works, and the basic chemistry behind it.
  2. Introduction to Aromatherapy
    • define aromatherapy and its history and to understand how aromatherapy works
    • the basic chemistry behind it
  3. Essential Oils
    • identify a range of essential oils and their uses
  4. Safe Use of Essential Oils
    • ensure that essential oils are used in a safe and controlled manner.
  5. Carriers
    • identify what can be used as a carrier for essential oils and why they must be used.
  6. Growing and Harvesting Herbs for Essential Oil
    • identify methods which can be used to grow
    • harvest herbs used in essential oil production.
  7. Methods of Extraction
    • identify methods used to extract essential oils from plants.
  8. Hazardous Herbs and Oils
    • identify herbs and oils acknowledged as hazardous to people, and which should not be used in aromatherapy, or with great care.

What You Will Do

  • Undertake brief written report on what you understand about how plants are named
  • Give the scientific names of ten different plants from which essential oils are derived.
  • Give a brief summary of your knowledge of aromatherapy and essential oils.
  • Understand how herbs are promoted to the public in order to sell them.
  • Write an essay on the history of aromatherapy and essential oil use.
  • Suggest different blends that can be used for insomnia and other complaints
  • Suggest different blends that can be used for treating a head cold
  • Discuss a range of oils that would be suitable for a travel kit
  • Understand the use of aromatherapy for children.- List a range of oils that would be considered safe to use for children.
  • Write a short essay on ways in which essential oils can be used.
  • Understand the use of essential oils on animals.
  • List a range of types of vegetable oils appropriate for use in massage and indicate what types of skin the oils are good for.
  • Explain how oils enter the body and how a carrier will assist with this entry.
  • Submit the bath oil blends from a Set Task along with instructions on how to use them in the bath and what conditions they are good for.
  • Understand why some herbs tend to be collected in the morning, some before flowering, some during flowering, and others at various times of the year. What impact does this have on the essential oil?
  • From catalogues collected, explain why some oils cost more others.
  • Discuss different methods of oil extraction and list their benefits and disadvantages.
  • Comprehend what is the difference between an essential oil and an aromatic oil
  • Compile a detailed costing for processing herb materials to produce essential oils.
  • List a range of essential oils that are not safe for use in aromatherapy.
  • Discuss how essential oils can be used safely and ways in which they should not be used.
  • Understand which essential oils may not be safe for use during pregnancy. A great course for anyone wishing to learn more about the safe use of aromatherapy essential oils for healing and relaxation. This course provides an introduction to the safe use of Aromatherapy oils.
  • Essential oils are the backbone of Aromatherapy. Their effectiveness is dependent on their safe and proper use, as well as on the quality of the oil used. Oils work in a much more subtle way than many commercially prepared products and in many situations are more suitable for preventative treatment rather than cure.


Scent or fragrance can impact the body in many ways; but often more subtle ways than other senses (sight, touch, taste).

The human nose contains a complex system of nerve channels that connect into olfactory centres in the brain.

When chemicals (eg. essential oils from plants) are inhaled they have an affect upon an olfactory centre in the brain, known as the limic system. The limic system is associated with a range of basic drives including hunger, thirst, sex and also (subtly) emotions, memory, creativity, innovation, etc.

The olfactory area also affects the hypothalamus which in turn influences the pituitary gland which controls production of body hormones.  In these and other ways, fragrances can have a very real impact upon both human psychology and human physiology.

Thousands of Different Fragrant Chemicals

Different types of fragrant chemicals can have different affects. Not all are used, nor do all have potential for use in aromatherapy; but many do.


Terpenoids are just one group of fragrant chemicals found in plants. They are a vast group of compounds with more than 30,000 identified. They make up more than half of all plant secondary metabolites. They are volatile, aromatic hydrocarbons and may be considered polymers of isoprene, which has the formula C5H8.  As such, all terpenes have repeating 5-carbon isoprene units.

The simplest terpene is one isoprene unit and is known as hemiterpene. Terpene proper is two isoprene units bonded together and is denoted by C10.  Sesquiterpene has three bonded isoprene units and is denoted by C15, diterpenes (C20) have two terpene units, and so forth. Terpenoids are modified terpenes e.g. by the addition of oxygen.

A sesquiterpene lactone called artemisinin, which is isolated from Artemisia annua (sweet wormwood), gives rise to arteether. This is used as an anti-malarial medication. A few other derivatives of artemisinin have also been trialled for potential anti-malarial qualities. Diterpenes include taxol and giberrellic acid which regulates plant growth. Triterpenoids which are modified triterpenes (C30) include saponins, steroids and cardiac glycosides. Saponins are sugars bound to triterpenes and are found in ginseng, primula root, liquorice and sarsaparilla root.    


  • Anyone working in the Health Industry
  • Anyone working with herbs or herb products
  • Herb growers
  • Manufacturers of herbal oils
  • Health Therapists and support staff
  • Retailers of essential oils
  • Craftsmen/women