Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Aromatherapy & Essential Oils

Botanicals & Herbs

Research Sites: Essential Oil and Plant

Organic Products


Cosmetic and Personal Care Formulations

FDA Labeling Requirements

Business Ethics


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. ~ What ingredients are considered natural colors?
A. ~ The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the arm of the federal government which regulates the use of color additives in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. “Natural” color additives are classified by the FDA as “Exempt from Certification”. These colors come directly from plants or animals such as seeds (annatto), roots (turmeric), vegetables (red cabbage, beet juice), algae (beta carotene), insects (carmine), fruits (grape juice), etc. These exempt colors are regulated by the Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 Part 73. There are 28 such natural colors permitted for use in cosmetics.

Q. ~ What ingredients are considered artificial colors?
A. ~ Coal Tar Dyes, FD&C and/or Lake Colors are considered artificial colors. Mineral pigments are not considered artificial colors.

Q. ~ What about ingredients that don’t fit the NIRC “Natural” Criteria, because while they are originally made from natural raw materials, they undergo significant processing or refining?
A. ~ Those ingredients are often called *naturally sourced*; “as having come from, in part or in whole, a natural organic source at one time. These ingredients are far from natural, but they may have naturally derived components as their original source.” [Reprinted with Permission; Essential Wholesale]. “Naturally sourced” ingredients don’t count toward the percentages of natural ingredients in a natural product since they more closely fit the definition for synthetic.

Q. ~ Is there such a thing as “Natural Soap”?
A. ~Please refer to our article Is there such a thing as Natural Soap?

Q. ~ Is glycerin a natural ingredient?
A. ~ It depends. The glycerin formed during the process of making soap, is the result of the saponification process. In cold and hot process soap making, that naturally occurring glycerin is left in the raw and finished soap. That glycerin would be considered part of the “true soap” rather than a separate ingredient. It occurs as a result of the natural biological process.

However, the process necessary to remove glycerin from raw soap, is not considered minimal processing. It requires more processing that that which could take place in a household kitchen, stillroom, on a farm, or vineyard. Glycerin removed from raw soap and sold as a single ingredient, is not natural, however it would be considered naturally sourced.

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Aromatherapy & Essential Oils

aromatherapy research featured

A collection of scholarly articles on essential oils and aromatherapy in PDF format



aromaplantThe Aromatic Plant Project is an educational organization and assists people in finding the correct essential oil and hydrosol distillers and distillation equipment for their needs. They are a non-profit educational organization here to support American Agriculture and its natural products.


Your Source for Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Information
Your Source for Aromatherapy and
Essential Oil Information

AromaWeb offers over 250 pages of aromatherapy and essential oil articles, essential oil profiles, recipes, as well as important safety information. A very important web site to visit to learn more about the safe use of essential oils!

agoraAGORA – The Aromatherapy Global Online Research Archives is a unique non-commercial, website, contributed to by about eighty people world-wide. Their mission is to promote the serious, intelligent and SAFE use of essential oils for healing the body, mind and spirit.

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

NAHA – The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy is a member based non-profit association devoted to the holistic integration and education of aromatherapy into a wide range of complementary healthcare practices including self care and home pharmacy.

Aromatherapy Organizations Around the World

Aromatherapy Organizations Around the WorldAround the world aromatherapy practitioners are represented by an amazing collection of aromatherapy organizations working towards the advancement of aromatherapy. Here is a list of international and national aromatherapy organizations from NAHA.


Aromatherapy Publications

The International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy Today

Read a wonderful article about aromatherapy in this article which originally appeared in Vegetarian Times [PDF, reprinted with permission]:  Scent of a Woman: Aromatherapy comes of age by Barbara Tunick

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Botanicals & Herbs


Herbal Monographs & Miscellany – A large collection of public domain PDF files containing extensive monographs and herbal e-books.


American Botanical Council

American Botanical Council. At the American Botanical Council, we are passionate about helping people live healthier lives through the responsible use of herbs, medicinal plants. We are an independent, nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information for consumers, healthcare practitioners, researchers, educators, industry and the media.


Health Canada

Large database of single ingredient monographs.



American Herbalist Guild
American Herbalist GuildThe American Herbalists Guild was founded in 1989 as a non-profit, educational organization to represent the goals and voices of herbalists specializing in the medicinal use of plants. Our primary goal is to promote a high level of professionalism and education in the study and practice of therapeutic herbalism.

Herba Polonica

herba polonicaThe quarterly edited since 1955, publishes the scientific articles – experimental and review papers – related to all aspects of cultivation, breeding, phytochemical, clinical and pharmacological research on medicinal plants. It is the only Polish journal publishing scientific articles connected with medicinal plant and phytotherapy.



A Modern Herbal
first published in 1931, by Mrs. M. Grieve

Free online Index of more than 800 varieties of herbs and plants, word search of the text, recipes, and an index of poisonous plants.

European Union monographs European Medicines Agency – European Union herbal monograph comprises the scientific opinion of the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) on safety and efficacy data concerning a herbal substance and its preparations intended for medicinal use. The HMPC evaluates scientifically all available information including non-clinical and clinical data but also documented long-standing use and experience in the European Union.

nihNCCIH Policy: Natural Product Integrity

NCCIH is committed to the rigorous scientific investigation of natural products used in complementary and alternative medicine. This Policy establishes guidance on the information required by NCCIH for different types of products used in both mechanistic and clinical research including complex botanical products, complex animal products, probiotics, refined products, and placebos.

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Research Sites: Essential Oil and Plant

Pubmed : The PubMed search system provides access to the PubMed database of bibliographic information, which is drawn primarily from MEDLINE and PREMEDLINE. In addition, for participating journals that are indexed selectively for MEDLINE, PubMed includes all articles from that journal, not just those that are included in MEDLINE. Finally, PubMed also provides access to the molecular biology databases included in NCBI’s Entrez retrieval system. It is expected that access to additional National Library of Medicine databases will be added in the future.

CAM on PubMed : CAM on PubMed, a database on the Web developed jointly by NCCAM and the National Library of Medicine, offers citations to (and in most cases, abstracts of) articles in scientifically based, peer- reviewed journals on complementary and alternative medicine. It contains 220,000 citations, has links to full text, and allows searchers to limit retrievals by publication type. Look for the Alerts and Advisories, treatment information, resources, links to other organizations (FDA, AHRQ, ODS etc.).

The PLANTS Database : The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories. It includes names, plant symbols, checklists, distributional data, species abstracts, characteristics, images, plant links, references, crop information, and automated tools. PLANTS reduces costs by minimizing duplication and making information exchange possible across agencies and disciplines.

HerbMed® : an interactive, electronic herbal database. Provides hyper-linked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource for professionals, researchers, and general public, provided by the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

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Organic Products

Learn more about organic ingredients and organic product labeling efforts by visiting the web sites for these organizations;

Organic Consumers AssociationOrganic Consumers Association

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics.

Organic Trade AssociationThe Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for the organic industry in North America. Founded in 1985, OTA is the leading voice for organic agriculture and trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers, and others.

Read about the organic labeling of cosmetics in this article which originally appeared in Vegetarian Times [PDF, reprinted with permission]:  Organic personal care products defined by Vicky Uhland

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Non-GMO Project

non gmo projectThe Non-GMO Project offers North America’s only third party verification and labeling for non-GMO (genetically modified organism) food and products.  There mission is to preserve and build sources of non-GMO products, educate consumers, and provide verified non-GMO choices. Everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms.

irtInstitute for Responsible Technology

The most comprehensive source of GMO health risk on the web.

gmoBefore the FDA decided to allow GMOs into food without labeling, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.

GeneWatchGeneWatch UK is a not-for-profit group that monitors developments in genetic technologies from a public interest, human rights, environmental protection and animal welfare perspective. GeneWatch believes people should have a voice in whether or how these technologies are used and campaigns for safeguards for people, animals and the environment.

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FDA Labeling Requirements

Cosmetic Labeling Guide

Cosmetic Labeling & Label Claims Overview

Labeling Regulations Applicable to Cosmetics

Aromatherapy Product Information

Food: Ingredients, Packaging & Labeling

H.R.4432 – Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014

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Business Ethics

Business Ethics – The online magazine of corporate responsibility

Green America – Economic action for a just planet

Global Exchange – International human rights organization

Business Ethics Pledge – create a moral code of business ethics based on honesty, integrity and quality.

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