March 01, 2019


You and Your Health: AroMed Aromatherapy

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March 01, 2019


Andrews brings natural healing 'renaissance' to the mall

  • BERLIN — Lauren Andrews, owner of AroMed Aromatherapy and CBD Shop in downtown Montpelier, has opened a second store in the Berlin Mall, just five miles away.

    Why open a second store so close to the first? Andrews believes that many Berlin Mall customers don’t shop in downtown Montpelier and could benefit from the products sold in her store.

    “We have a loyal and ever growing fan base at our State Street, Montpelier store, but recognize that people in other central Vermont towns like Barre, Berlin, Northfield and Williamstown, don’t have easy access to CBD (cannabinoid) and other organic, plant-based health and body care products. We wanted to remedy that,” she said.

    According to Andrews, AroMed has the largest selection of organic “essential” oil remedies and CBD offerings in central Vermont. CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid made from the industrial hemp plant.

    Andrews, a registered nurse and clinical aromatherapist, is a recent graduate of the University of Vermont’s Cannabis Science and Medicine Certification Program. UVM was the first medical school in the nation to offer a professional certificate in cannabis and medicine. The seven-week, online professional certificate was “designed for physicians, dispensary personnel, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, edible creators, regulators, and bud tenders,” according to the program website.

    Andrews also received her aromatherapy certification from Andrea Butje, founder of Arrowhead Institute, and studied with Robert Tisserand, author of “The Art of Aromatherapy and Essential Oil Safety.”

    “We offer 100 percent pure, organic and sustainably wild-harvested essential oils, therapeutic synergies and Vermont CBD products,” she said.

    Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being. Proponents say the inhaled aroma from these oils stimulates brain function and promotes whole-body healing.

    AroMed makes many of its own products from hemp oils purchased from Vermont farmers and from oils it buys directly from the suppliers in India, South Africa and other locales.

    “I was uncomfortable buying from middlemen. I was concerned about adulteration, misleading marketing slogans and overpricing,” Andrews said.

    Prior to opening her Montpelier store in 2013, Andrews worked for 13 years at the psych unit at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin. That work convinced her about the need for alternative treatments for mental health and stress-related illnesses and led her to research what she said is a “compelling and growing body of scientific evidence supporting the use of essential oils in clinical settings.” What she learned, she said, is essential oils and aromatherapy have “beneficial impacts” on a wide range of problems ranging from respiratory illness and skin problems to mild depression, anxiety and insomnia.

    CBD has similar wide-ranging benefits, she said.

    “CBD has been shown to have significant and far reaching medical benefits that address anxiety, muscle and joint pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, insomnia and more. These chronic conditions can so negatively affect a person’s quality of life, and any measure of relief can make a huge difference,” she said.

    The American Medical Association urges caution when using alternative medicine such as aromatherapy and CBD products, suggesting patients who choose alternative therapies should be educated about hazards that might result from postponing or stopping conventional medical treatment.

    Jessa Barnard, executive director of the Vermont Medical Society, which represents Vermont’s physicians, said VMS has not taken an official position on aromatherapy but generally supports the AMA position that well designed, controlled research should be done to evaluate the efficacy of any alternative therapy and that herbal products should contain accurate labeling and disclaimers.

    Andrews agrees that more study is needed but says the federal government classifying cannabis a “schedule one” drug, on the same level as heroin, makes independent study difficult.

    Another problem, she said, is deception on the internet. Some of the CBD products sold on the internet are fake and could be dangerous, she said, which tarnishes reputable retailers like her store.

    “All of our CBD and essential oils are third-party tested to ensure purity and potency. Our customers deserve that level of accountability and transparency that is sorely lacking in the general marketplace. The CBD market is the ‘wild west,’ as CBD is largely unregulated. It is a buyer-beware market,” Andrews said.

    Andrews also offers workshops on the benefits of aromatherapy at the Berlin Mall’s HUB space, a free space for community events.

    “There is a welness-driven renaissance of sorts happening at the Berlin Mall, with Planet Fitness bringing in hundreds every day. The mall’s close proximity to multiple medical practices that are already referring their patients to us, along with Central Vermont Medical Center and Blue Cross, made the decision to open at the mall relatively easy. There is undeniable convenience that customers can benefit from,” she said.

    One of the biggest differences between products she sells and traditional perfume is all her products are natural, whereas most perfumes are made from synthetic materials.

    “Synthetics can cause respiratory and skin problems. Everything we make and sell is 100 percent natural,” Andrews said.

    March 01, 2019


    Green Wave: Vermont Women in the Booming Cannabis Industry

    Green Wave: Vermont Women in the Booming Cannabis Industry
    by Michelle A.L. Singer

    Cannabis is a dynamic and rapidly expanding industry in Vermont. It’s also the fastest growing in the country with sales expected to reach $6.7 billion in total this year. Women are at the forefront of this burgeoning industry, nationally and locally, in every aspect—as growers, advocates, scientists, herbalists, and business owners.

    In Vermont, the legalization of marijuana for personal use in July 2018 gave the people already growing hemp (legalized in 2013 with Act 84) and dispensing medical marijuana (legalized in 2011 with Act 86) a boost from a new crop of enthusiasts growing their own plants and starting to make their own products. The cannabis industry is not yet regulated or taxed by the state, which means that while people can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, they can’t sell it.

    CBD: The Healing Compound

    There is, however, a cannabis product that people can, and are, selling: cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD, a compound found in both hemp and marijuana (both members of the genus Cannabis), is known to have healing benefits but is not intoxicating like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound that gets you high. THC is present in marijuana (Cannabis sativa or indica), at 5 to 35 percent, but occurs minimally in hemp (a nonpsychoactive variety of C. sativa), at less than 1 percent. Hemp is often bred to contain high levels of CBD, and people are rushing to make products with it that are legal, beneficial, and profitable.

    Lauren Andrews, owner of AroMed in Montpelier ( and one of the first people in the state to sell CBD products three years ago, says, “It’s going to be huge. In five years, it’s going to be like craft brewing in Vermont.”

    Lauren Andrews, of AroMed, Montpelier,
    has opened a new store in the Berlin Mall.
    photo: Jan Doerler
    July 28, 2016


    March 25, 2015


    AroMed Aromatherapy in the news

    Nurse Offers the Healing Powers of Essential Oils by Nat Frothingham

    Lauren Andrews Photo by Michael Jermyn

    Lauren Andrews
    Photo by Michael Jermyn

    MONTPELIER — Registered Nurse Lauren Andrews is the founder and clinical aromatherapist at AroMed Aromatherapy in Montpelier.

    Andrews is also an experienced psychiatric nurse who graduated from Norwich University Nursing School and her training includes 500 hours in clinical aromatherapy. She has also worked at Vermont State Hospital and at Central Vermont Medical Center.

    In a recent face-to-face interview with The Bridge, Andrews said, “I truly believe we have an innate ability to heal ourselves and aromatherapy can support that.”

    Well, what exactly is aromatherapy?

    Andrews describes it this way. “Aromatherapy is a form of plant medicine, closely aligned to herbalism and chemistry. It is the therapeutic use of naturally extracted plant oils designed to assist the body’s natural ability to balance, regulate, heal and maintain itself.”

    Then Andrews provided the following specific example of how chemical constituents in the extracted plant oils support certain body systems. “For example,” she said, “the plant chemical 1.8 cineole found in eucalyptus is very effective at supporting the respiratory system.”

    Andrews went on to discuss the use of essential oils. “We are seeing aromatherapy strategies being used in a various clinical settings — in psychiatric settings, nursing homes, emergency departments and oncology units and practices.”

    Patient reactions to the use of essential plant oils has been positive. Said Andrews, “Patient satisfaction rates are typically high. Lavender can effectively help those suffering from agitation, anxiety or insomnia. Citrus oils can increase appetite in nursing home settings and ginger can help those dealing with chemo-induced nausea in oncology settings with no negative side effects.”

    It was during her time at the psych unit at Central Vermont Medical Center that Andrews discovered the efficacy of essential oils. At the time, she was doing psycho-social work with a range of patients. These patients were contending with problems of substance abuse and anger management. In her work with these patients, she discovered that the use of essential oils could have beneficial results when targeted to certain systems in the body such as the respiratory system, the digestive system, or nervous system. Andrews has seen beneficial impacts from using essential oils to deal with respiratory illness, skin afflications, mild depression, anxiety and insomnia.

    I asked Andrews about what appears to be the increasing incidence of cancer and depression.

    “Our lives can be hectic,” she replied. “And when we experience ongoing stress, we see an increase in stress hormones in the body, which makes it more challenging for our immune systems to work optimally. The best thing we can do to support our well-being is to find ways to relax.” She mentioned meditation, yoga, a walk in the woods. “Many are discovering that essential oils work beautifully in this capacity,” she said.

    Then Andrews went on to talk about the chemicals we are putting into and on our bodies. With body care products, she said, “If there’s an ingredient on the bottle that I don’t recognize, I don’t use it and I don’t sell it. About 10 percent of what we apply to our skin makes it into our bloodstream and has to be metabolized. We humans co-evolved with plants. Doesn’t it make sense that we would turn to plants to address our emotional and physical concerns?”

    Andrews had this warning about synthetics. “Synthetics can cause respiratory problems. Synthetics can also aggravate skin sensitization responses and hormone dysregulation in some people.” Andrews said that her customers and students are aware of the synthetic chemicals found in body care and cleaning products. She is convinced that these chemicals are at the core of some of the medical issues that we face. “At AroMed,” she said, “everything we make and sell is 100 percent natural. We have blends that address pain, sleep, skin problems and anxiety. We also have remedies that improve children’s health and women’s health.”

    Andrews has over 75 organic and ethically, wild-harvested essential plant oils that she buys from suppliers and distillers across the world. “I’ve got oils from Guatamala, France, South Africa, India, Somaliland and more. I was uncomfortable buying from middlemen. I was concerned about adulteration, misleading marketing slogans and overpricing. I made the decision to buy directly from small organic growers and distillers. I want the suppliers in those communities to benefit from my company’s purchases.”

    Not unsurprisingly, Andrews reports that February and March can be difficult months for many people. “At this time of year,” she said, “people are coming in because they have low energy. They’re having difficulty with motivation. Essential oils can be very effective in uplifting one’s mood, increasing energy and focus.”

    Lauren has upcoming, full-day workshop on Saturday, April 9 titled “Sunrise to Sunset: Everyday Aromatherapy.”

    For further information, visit AroMed’s online store at The AroMed storefront is located directly behind the fire station on Main Street in Montpelier. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.

    Posted by thebridge on in 2016 Issues, Features, March 17 — April 6, 2016, News & Features