John has an IFA accredited Diploma of Aromatherapy, and a Certificate in Wound Management from the College of Nursing. He has also studied Botanical Medicine and essential oil chemistry.
Between 1999 and 2002 John ran a weekly clinic in a high-dependency ward
for 2 years and consulted at an ulcer clinic for six months in two large Sydney hospitals. He has also consulted to several specialist groups regarding skin reaction problems to new drugs and treatments. The following research was conducted primarily by John Kerr with assistance from various health care professionals.
The study was based on a long-held belief in the wound healing power of essential oils and aloe vera. Tested initially on an elderly patient, the results were encouraging and further tests with a number of patients followed. The active ingredients of the final formula were essential oils of Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender), Commiphora molmol (Myrrh), Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree), Matricaria recutita (German Chamomile), in a base of fresh Aloe Vera juice.Other ingredients were added to change the liquid formula to a lotion/gel to ensure it would stay on or in a wound. The concentration of essential oils was 12% which is considered high by traditional users of essential oils, combined with an 85% concentration of aloe vera juice. In 2002, a study was undertaken in 5 Sydney nursing homes involving over 100 residents. Formula Number 5 was applied to skin tears, small to medium pressure sores and venous ulcers. A scale (based on the Norton Scale) was devised to measure the results and to provide a common base line. The results were as follows –
Effective infection control – infected wounds cleared up quickly (except MRSA) Wounds that were not infected remained infection f ree. This result was expected due to the known anti-bacterial and anti-fungal actions of the particular essential oils. Further laboratory tests confirmed this anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action.
No side effects – there were no reports of any adverse reactions to the formula. There have been some subsequent mild topical reactions in a small number of people which is due to the preservatives. Reduced inflammation and redness – noticeable results within a short time following application with long term results. It is acknowledged that inflammation and redness are a normal reaction with wounds. The reductions were noted in long term wounds where the inflammation and redness were excessive.
Pain relief – those patients who were able to communicate noted a reduction in pain within minutes of application. They reported a ‘soothing cooling effect’.
Odour control – the aroma of the essential oils was pleasant compared to any wound odour and provided some immediate odour control. Once any infection was under control, odour relief was considerable.
Healing rate – most wounds healed in less than the expected time providing treatments were regular. This was measured by estimating the healing time by conventional methods and making a comparison.
Cost effective – the cost of using the formula was generally less than with comparable products. Wounds only required a light covering for effective results.
The formula kept the wound area moist enough to encourage healing and in may cases prevented maceration when applied to the peri wound area. It also reduced or removed any itching sensations often associated with wounds.
Research was conducted in 2003 at a leading Sydney hospital on 44 patients in a high depende ncy ward using aromatherapy massage treatments for pain relief. The results measured “perceived pain levels” prior to, and immediately after, the aromatherapy treatment. A drop in perceived pain levels of up 75% was recorded allowing some patients to significantly reduce their use of pain mediating drugs. The most successful essential oils used were those the patient liked the best, regardless of the supposed traditional aromatherapy indications. Reductions in stress levels and fatigue were also noted.
Relieving Severe Skin Reactions Caused by a New Drug
Patients participating in a trial for a new AIDS drug were experiencing severe reactions to the self-administered injection. Symptoms included pain and swelling at the injection sites, redness and itchiness. A blend of Lavender and German Chamomile at a 12% concentration in aloe vera gel proved to be successful for most of the patients to varying degrees from mild relief right through to a complete absence of symptoms. The best method of application was 20 minutes prior to the injection on the proposed site.