The Wonders of Aromatherapy

MyAntidote Pharmacy offers preventative care through alternative treatments and essential oils

To those who aren’t familiar with aromatherapy, here’s what you need to know. ‘Aromatherapy’ derives from the word ‘aroma’, which means fragrance or smell, and ‘therapy’ which means treatment. It is an ancient therapy known for its natural way of healing a person’s mind, body, and soul. Countries like Egypt, China, and India have used this as a popular complementary and alternative therapy for at least 6000 years. Today, essential oils can be found easily and there are options ranging from candles and perfumes to spa treatments and meditation classes.

Dr. Hanisah Azhari, an experienced pharmacist, owner of MyAntidote Pharmacy and a Professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), shared some valuable insights about aromatherapy during an exclusive interview with White Coat 360. MyAntidote Pharmacy acts upon their tagline “Not just a pharmacy, but a remedy”.

Dr. Hanisah Azhari, an experienced pharmacist, owner of MyAntidote Pharmacy and a Professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

The pharmacy focuses more on prevention as well as treatment by managing symptoms and diseases at its early stage through alternative treatments and remedies based on research. Let’s get to know what this expert says about aromatherapy!

White Coat 360: In general, how does aromatherapy take effect?
Dr Hanisah Azhari:
Aromatherapy uses essential oils as the primary therapeutic agents, extracted from the various parts of plants. The standard production of essential oil is through steam distillation where the plant will be compressed and hot steam is forced through the raw material, opening the cavities and carrying the essential molecules of the plant in which the oil is held, and volatilising the oils. This method helps to produce 100 percent pure essential oil which has 20 to 30 types of aromatic molecules that contain therapeutic benefits.

One of the safest and easiest ways to use aromatherapy is through diffusion. Essential oils are diffused with water to ensure that aromatic oil molecules are released into the air for inhalation.

White Coat 360: What are the benefits of aromatherapy?
Dr Hanisah:
The therapy of these oils is known to relieve the stress, rejuvenate and regenerate the individual for the next day. There is an increasing trend to use this therapy in treating diseases and sleep disorders. Their organic character acts in a supportive manner by providing a feeling of well-being. These aroma molecules are very potent organic plant chemicals that make the surroundings free from disease, bacteria, viruses, and fungus. It’s also important to note essential oils are powerful and need to be diluted before use.

The therapy of these oils is known to relieve the stress, rejuvenate and regenerate the individual for the next day. There is an increasing trend to use this therapy in treating diseases and sleep disorders.

White Coat 360: What are the therapeutic properties of essential oils?
Dr Hanisah:
Their versatile properties of anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory nature, along with being an immune booster are well-documented by many scientists. Essential oils extracted from plants exhibit promising anti-microbial activities against most bacteria, filamentous fungi and yeasts. Lavender is also one of the most famous essential oils used for sleep disorders.

White Coat 360: What are the diseases or symptoms that have been treated with essential oils at MyAntidote Pharmacy?
Dr Hanisah: MyAntidote Pharmacy has been treating many eczema patients with aromatherapy. We have also treated children with secondary eczema infection who experienced long-term suffering. We have also made an eczema blend composed of four to five types of essential oils as well as soap containing essential oils and neem leaves. The treatments that we offer for our eczema patients are both in and out, physically and mentally. We aim to treat their gut, brain, skin, and immunity rather than treating only the affected outer layer of the skin.

White Coat 360: What do you think about the patients’ perception of aromatherapy so far?
Dr Hanisah: Patients who have believed in alternative treatments expressed their interest to use essential oils. However, the majority of the walk-in patients have shown less interest in aromatherapy, as they prefer steroid medicines.

Our essential oils are made in-house, depending on individual preferences. With a 90 percent success rate after the launch, the custom-made essential oils have gained enough attention from existing patients. They are exclusive and available only at MyAntidote Pharmacy upon consultation with our health specialists. We intend to produce the essential oils more safely by importing quality plant extracts from certified suppliers. As a certified professional, I will ensure to guide my fellow pharmacists during the making process.

White Coat 360: As an experienced pharmacist, how do you define a healthier community?
Dr Hanisah:
We consider health as a treatment. People seek medical attention only when the root cause gets worse. Proper treatment can help to prevent diseases at an early stage. We can’t deny the fact that the existing healthcare system has provided enough medical attention to every patient. However, a community pharmacy also plays a massive role in preventing diseases and managing minor ailments.

Although Malaysia lacks aromatherapists, aromatherapy is proven to be an excellent treatment in other developing countries.

In conclusion, Dr Hanisah believes independent pharmacies must take a step forward by specialising in various pharmacy related services to ensure the public is aware of the importance of visiting independent pharmacies.