Trevor Stokes on Aromatherapy and Behavioral Disorders

Trevor Stokes on Aromatherapy and Behavioral Disorders

Essential oils can be great allies when working with children who have ADD, ADHD, and other disorders. However, this isn’t always as straightforward as many Pinterest boards will lead you to believe. Sylla learned this firsthand when she helped design and carry out a study on the subject.

In 1997, Sylla teamed up with Trevor Stokes,  Ph.D., a psychologist who was also a massage client of hers. At the time, Trevor was a professor at the University of Florida. He also worked with children who had behavioral and emotional disorders. Together, the two of them produced a study that examined aromatherapy’s effects on children with behavioral and emotional disorders.

A few years ago, we interviewed Trevor Stokes about this study and working with Sylla.

In this video, you’ll learn:

  • How Sylla and Trevor began to work on this project (and the outcomes!).
  • How they used essential oils to help kids do their homework and stay in bed throughout the night.
  • Why there isn’t always one right oil.

Just so you know, this video was shot a few years ago, but the information is still valuable! You can also read their research paper in full below.

DOWNLOAD the paper Trevor and Sylla co-wrote called Psychosensory Aromatherapy Research Project.


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Sweet Orange Exploration

Sweet Orange Exploration

Common name: Sweet Orange
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
(C. aurantium var. dulcis, C. aurantium var. sinensis)

Part of the Rutaceae family, Sweet Orange is derived from the peel of the sweet orange fruit. A byproduct of orange juice production, the peel is most often cold-expressed, but it can be steam-distilled as well. Big areas of production include Portugal, China, and the United States.

Looking at the biochemical class, Sweet Orange is a monoterpene because of its high limonene content. It’s very similar to Lemon. There’s up to 89% d-limonene* and a-pinene in Sweet Orange. It has a little bit of alcohol in the form of linalool, with a few other aldehydes (octanal, citronellal) and ketones.

The Sweet Orange fruit was used in traditional medicine. The essential oil was not, but we have found that Sweet Orange oil has some useful properties. These include: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, choleretic, fungicidal, nervous sedative, lymphatic stimulant, and tonic-digestive (stomachic, carminative).

In terms of skincare, it is useful with its antiseptic properties. Sweet Orange is said to aid chapped and fissured skin. It strengthens the epidermis and increases circulation. However, it can make any open wound burn. AVOID USE ON SENSITIVE OR DAMAGED SKIN.

Mentally, Sweet Orange energizes, yet harmonizes the physical and mental, gives courage, and counters worry. Tested at a low dose, it is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing in most people. (Older oxidized oils or those with high d-limonene increase the potential for sensitization.)

Diffused in the air, it makes the perfect, inexpensive, bright, clean environmental blend by itself—shown to be especially relaxing for children. It can also be diffused with other oils. In public places, it refreshes and provides a nice atmosphere. If you’re concerned about complaints, simply diffuse it with a bowl of fruit to create the perception that it’s coming from that. Everyone loves Orange!

Sweet Orange is perfect for kids’ rooms as well. They seem to like it, and it has been shown to decrease anxiety in school-age kids. See how orange essence helps reduce anxiety in school-age children with diabetes.

We recommend that you DO NOT use Sweet Orange in the bath. It should be used in the air only. Note: Sweet Orange has properties similar to Bitter Orange, but Sweet Orange is milder and useful for children.

According to Tony’s book, oranges are the most extensively produced citrus crop in the United States and Brazil, with Brazil leading the way. Despite the high limonene content of Sweet Orange, the characteristic smell of Orange is probably due to its oxygenated fractions. For many years, this weighed heavily towards aldehyde C10 (n-decanal), but recent thinking suggests that aldehyde C8 (n-octanal) may be more influential.  

In perfumery, Orange oils are often used in citrus blends, air fresheners, and in cheaper perfumes. Though they are also found in oriental top notes, along with tropical and fruity blends.

Sweet Orange oil can also be produced by distilling the fresh peel, or by distilling the oils separated during the juice-pressing process. (These are sometimes separated by centrifugation or other physical means.)

From Tony’s book: “Orange essence oil is the oily layer separating from the aqueous juice layer when oranges are pressed for juice (Gaffney 1996).[1]”

Watch as Sylla compares her Orange samples, including Orange essence and Blood Orange. You can also see what happens when Orange oil oxidizes.

We hope you enjoyed this segment on Sweet Orange! Let us know what you like and dislike about Sweet Orange and how you’ve used it.

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Patchouli Meditation

Patchouli Meditation

Patchouli has a round, full-bodied smell. It is deeply resinous, herbaceous around the edges, with a deep core and a full heart.

Patchouli can bring forth a sense of protection and let us know that it’s okay to ask for help. This oils teaches us about the value of becoming vulnerable and how that leads to a reclamation of our power.

There is a sense of being drawn-in with this scent, inviting us on an inner journey, which offers necessary lessons for our next steps in growth. Often, growing means stretching beyond what we thought capable and exposing ourselves to what we might not be quite ready for. Patchouli helps us get grounded in our bodies and reconnect with our source of inner-knowing.

As you inhale Patchouli, consider a question that you need to answer. Feel your breath move through your body, and feel the support of the earth underneath you.

Connecting with your heart, ask yourself these questions, and listen intently for your true answers:

  • What empowers me to be my best self?
  • What gets in my way?

Let Patchouli help you relax into being who you are, stand up with confidence to resistance along the way, and know that you are forever shrouded in its loving arms.


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Patchouli Salve Recipe

Patchouli Salve Recipe

For a soothing skin treatment, a refreshing scent, or a perfume fitting for the “boho” crowd, crunchy moms, and even old hippiestry our Patchouli Salve Recipe.


1 gram of beeswax
5-6 grams of oil (olive, coconut, or an infusion)
1 cup Calendula infusion
1/2 oz beeswax (pastilles, shaved)
Patchouli of your choice


Melt the 1 gram of beeswax in a double boiler/water bath.

Once the beeswax is melted, add the 5-6 grams of oil. This ratio may vary depending on your oil! This combination seems to make it so that the salve melts easily yet retains its shape.

In a double boiler, melt the pastille beeswax into Calendula (or use olive oil).

Once all is melted, remove and cool off.

Add 15 drops of Patchouli.

Pour into tins or jars.

And there you have your Patchouli salve! We hope you enjoyed playing with Patchouli.

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Become a full member of the Inner Sanctum and enjoy new content like this each month, while getting to enjoy our vast collection of resources. You can receive 20% off a full-year subscription. (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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