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What the nose knows the body experiences





Gloria Gilbère

First-Hand Solutions Second-Hand Reactions








A regular column by Gloria Gilbère N.D., D.A.Hom., Ph.D.



Gloria Gilbère is an internationally respected traditional naturopath, homeopath and doctor of natural health. Author of the bestselling books 'I was Poisoned by my Body' and 'Invisible Illnesses', she restored her own health after suffering from leaky gut syndrome, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and now successfully helps others do the same. She focuses on finding drug-free solutions to 'invisible illnesses' such as these which she refers to as Multiple Allergic Response Syndromes (MARS™).


You can now benefit from Gloria's wisdom and experience by visiting us at The Environmental Illness Resource regularly to read her latest column!



Monday, February 11th, 2008:


What the Nose Knows the Body Experiences: Aromatherapy, Incense, Candles, Potpourri


by Gloria Gilbère, N.D., D.A.Hom., PhD., Wholistic Rejuvenist



In recent years, the popularity of aromatherapy – the use of scent to induce certain moods or states of mind – has increased exponentially. Common ways we release fragrance into the environment include burning scented candles or incense or using potpourri in either a sachet or a ceramic pot with a candle beneath to heat it.


Candles – Blowing Toxic Smoke


Like other fragrance products, candles, incense and potpourri can release many chemicals and are barely regulated, if any. According to one U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), candles, when burned, emit small amounts of organic chemicals such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and naphthalene).


Candles are also a source of indoor air pollution, according to the EPA, leaving black soot deposit (BSD) on floors and surfaces. Scented candles create the most soot.


BSD is primarily made up of elemental carbon, but may also contain phthalates and volatile organic compounds like benzene and toluene, which can cause cancer and neurological damage. BSD can be inhaled while airborne, but may also settle on surfaces like floors. BSD is especially attracted to electrically charged surfaces such as freezers, plastic blinds, TVs and computers. Children ingest BSD after touching the floor or other surfaces and then putting their hands in their mouths. BSD, when inhaled, can lodge deep in the lungs – lowering respiratory tract or alveoli (very tiny tissue inside the lungs).


Lead can also be found in BSD, which is sometimes used in metal candlewicks, particularly those made in foreign countries. When burned, these wicks release lead dust in the air, which children can inhale or ingest, along with the soot. The dangers to children from lead poisoning are well known, including impaired learning and brain damage.


Though a voluntary industry ban on lead in candlewicks was instituted in 1974, many candles on the market today still contain lead. Public Citizen, a consumer group, petitioned the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban and recall all candles with lead-containing wicks in 2000, and the agency is moving forward with the rule-making procedure on this issue. In the meantime, look for reassurances of lead-free wicks on labels before you buy a candle and avoid candles with stiff, metal wicks, opting for those that are made of cotton.




Incense is another source of indoor air pollution. When burned, incense sticks release particulate matter into the air. The tiny particles are easily inhaled into the lungs and can irritate airways. Several studies have linked exposure to incense smoke with cancer, asthma and contact dermatitis (skin irritation). One study reported that children whose parents burned incense during pregnancy or while nursing had a higher risk for leukemia. Carbon monoxide and benzene are also released when incense burns, as well as fragrance chemicals like musk compounds, for which there is little toxicity or health data, though they are persistent in the environment.


The burning of candles or incense also releases polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are released, according to a study reported in the New Scientist. PAHs are common outdoor air pollutants (they also result from gas and diesel fuel burning) that may cause cancer and low birth weight. One Taiwanese study collected air samples from inside a temple where incense is burned regularly and compared them with samples taken outside and from a busy intersection nearby. The PAH levels from the temple were 19 times higher than the outdoor samples, and slightly higher than at the intersection.


Potpourri and Mothballs


Potpourri is usually a mixture of dried leaves, flowers, spices and other organic materials bundled in a cloth sachet. It's also sold loose for use in baskets or small ceramic pots. While potpourri is often a safer option for scenting a room, some commercial sachets may contain paradichlorobenzene, a pesticide used in mothballs and a possible human carcinogen. Be sure to read labels! A potpourri made from organic ingredients and essential oils is a pleasant, healthy alternative to synthetic less-expensive products. It’s much more healthy and cost effective to stay healthy than to get well, naturally.

View the very BEST Environmental Illness Videos!

1. Your Health is Governed by Your Environment | Prof. BM Hegde | TEDx Talk

2. Demystifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

3. Social Determinants of Health - An Introduction 





Dr. Gloria Gilbère is a traditional naturopath, homeopath, doctor of natural health, a Wholistic Skin and Body Rejuvenist and creator of a certificated course by the same name that is taught all over the world. She is internationally respected as an authoritative influence in the causes, effects and drug-free solutions for Leaky Gut Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Chemically Induced Immune System Disorders.


She is author of 9 books including: “I was Poisoned by My Body”, “Invisible Illnesses ”, "Nature's Prescription Milk: Discovering the Healing Powers of Goat-Milk Products ” and “Pain / Inflammation MATTERS ”


For details regarding:

  • Personalized consulting via telephone worldwide or at her office in Sandpoint, Idaho, USA;
  • Health education travel programs and lectures;
  • Certificated Wholistic Rejuvenation (WSBR™) classes for skin, spa, and health care professionals;
  • To purchase products used and recommended by Dr. Gilbère, her books, a list of her speaking and educational forums, and an archive of her articles, visit her website at



Learn more from Gloria's books:



I Was Poisoned By My Body, The Odyssey of a Doctor Who Reversed Fibromyalgia, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - Naturally!cover

I Was Poisoned By My Body, The Odyssey of a Doctor Who Reversed Fibromyalgia, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity - Naturally!


» Buy Now


Invisible Illnesses

Invisible Illnesses

» Buy Now


Pain/Inflammation Matters: Recipes for Life

Pain/Inflammation Matters: Recipes for Life

» Buy Now







The information provided is not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cures for any condition, disease or disorder. It is presented as educational and investigative material and the consumer assumes full-responsibility for using any product, procedure, protocol or therapy.

Gloria E. Gilbère, LLC, and its representatives, does not warrant and shall have no liability for information provided in this newsletter or on this website, intended or implied. Consult your health care professional for medical-related conditions or concerns.




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View the very BEST Environmental Illness Videos!

1. Your Health is Governed by Your Environment | Prof. BM Hegde | TEDx Talk

2. Demystifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

3. Social Determinants of Health - An Introduction