AromaPharmacokinetics: Full Course

AromaPharmacokinetics: Full Course


This is the FIRST-EVER official online course on the pharmacokinetics of essential oils!

In this 4-part 6.25 hours course, we will explore the pharmacokinetics of aromatherapy — how the body interacts with essential oil components and how these compounds are metabolized and excreted from the body. The course is broken up by the pharmacokinetics mnemonic ADME, standing for Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion (keep that fun fact in the back of your mind for the first quiz question! *wink, wink*). Each of these letters represents an important aspect of pharmacokinetics. This course will also differentiate pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Pharmacokinetics is not just a fancy term, irrelevant to aromatic practice; it is a vital aspect of aromatherapy and can enable practitioners to maximize the effects of their treatments. Not to mention, it’s just plain nerdy and exciting!

For instance: did you know that carvacrol, a key compound in essential oils such as oregano (Origanum vulgare), is excreted rapidly in the urine making it strongly indicated for urinary tract infections? Did you know that thymol, found in essential oils such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris), is metabolized in a way that increases its concentration in the lungs, making it exceptionally potent for lower respiratory tract infections?

Pharmacokinetics is of crucial importance to those seeking to fully understand the therapeutic dynamics of essential oils. Its implications for aromatic practice make it a compelling and vastly interesting topic. Studying the science of pharmacokinetics and aromatherapy deeply allows us to be the best, most informed practitioners and raise the bar of the profession!

This research-based and evidence-based course focuses on drug delivery and pharmacokinetics, especially as it applies to essential oil therapies. We will explore the various essential oil delivery methods including the oral, rectal, vaginal, olfactory, inhalation, nebulizer, and intranasal routes of administration, as well as relevant general dosing for each method of application.


This course will answer these questions:

  • Do essential oils cross the blood-brain barrier?
  • How much of an essential oil applied from a topical application is actually absorbed systemically?
  • How are essential oils distributed throughout the body?
  • How does the body eliminate essential oils from the body?
  • How can understanding pharmacokinetics of essential oils actually help us clinically?
  • Why do drug-oil interactions and contraindications occur? And how can we avoid them?
  • Can essential oils applied topically reach toxic levels in the blood?
  • How do essential oils cause skin sensitization reactions?
  • …and many more…

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the difference between pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics
  • Understand drug delivery and pharmacokinetics, especially as it applies to aromatherapy
  • Understand the acronym ADME
  • Understand how essential oils are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated
  • Appreciate the degree of first-pass metabolism with differing routes of administration
  • Overview the different phases of detoxification and differentiate between toxification and detoxification
  • Differentiate zero-order vs. first-order kinetics of elimination
  • Be able to understand how drug-oil interactions can occur, locate resources to identify such interactions, and appreciate how to avoid such interactions.
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of the various delivery forms – and best practices
  • Demonstrate specific examples of practical pharmacokinetics with clinical and therapeutic relevance
  • Differentiate the relative toxicity of essential oil components
  • Review briefly the chemical structures for select components
  • Understand the mechanisms behind skin sensitization reactions that can occur with essential oil components, and how to minimize such reactions
  • Define a pro-drug; and identify conventional and natural medicinal agents that are pro-drugs
  • Highlight the clinical importance of pharmacokinetics of essential oils with examples like thyme, wintergreen, and oregano
  • Discuss safety measures and therapeutic actions pertinent to clinical practice

Course Overview and Schedule

  • Lesson 1 | Introduction to AromaPharmacokinetics (2.5 hours)
    • Introduction to Pharmacokinetics
    • Mnemonic: ADME
    • Routes of Administration
    • First-Pass Effect
    • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Lesson 2 | Transdermal Absorption (1 hour)
    • Review of Skin anatomy and physiology
    • Factors Affecting Transdermal Absorption
      • Hydro-base vs oil-based topical applications
      • Application site
      • Absorption duration
      • Penetration enhancement
  • Lesson 3 | Distribution, Metabolism, Excretion (1.5 hours)
    • Distribution
      • Carrier proteins
      • Drug targets
    • Metabolism
      • Phase I and Phase II metabolism
      • Contraindications / Interactions
      • Toxification vs detoxification
    • Excretion
      • Therapeutic Window
      • Therapeutic Index
      • Half-Life and Elimination Kinetics
  • Lesson 4 | Misc. Essential Oil Applications (1.25 hours)
    • Skin Sensitization
    • Limonene
    • Perrilyl Alcohol
    • Thymol
    • Carvacrol
    • Methyl Salicylate and pro-drug

Course Content

  • Lesson 1 | Introduction to AromaPharmacokinetics 2h 30min
  • Lesson 2 | Transdermal Absorption 1h 00min
  • Lesson 3 | Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion 1h 30min
  • Lesson 4 | Misc. Essential Oil Applications 1h 15min


Timothy Miller ND, LAc, RA is a naturopathic physician, licensed acupuncturist, and registered aromatherapist. He is a graduate of the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) in Portland, OR.

Dr. Tim is a chemistry nerd. He is fascinated by the chemistry found in the natural world. Fueled by the abundant, potent, and unique components within aromatherapy, Dr. Tim has sought to understand how essential oils act on the body and identify which clinical applications are best incorporated into practice.

Dr. Tim first began his aromatherapy studies in 2005. He has since traveled the world to advance his understanding of essential oils and their clinical implications. Dr. Tim has studied with Rhiannon Lewis, Mark Webb, Gabriel Mojay, Kurt Schnaubelt, and Jeffrey Yuen. He has successfully completed a National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) approved course and has completed the requirements to become a registered aromatherapist. He is a member of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC).

Beyond his love of aromatherapy, Dr. Tim is an avid traveler and student of foreign languages. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching movies, and being in nature. Dr. Tim loves to learn new things and is driven by self-improvement and emotional intelligence.

Dr. Tim believes deeply in Docere and loves to teach. He is an international speaker, workshop leader and contributing author. He believes learning should be fun and makes every attempt to engage his students in a profound and meaningful way.

Dr. Tim has taken part in several podcasts discussing a range of topics. Please find them below:

1. AromaChemistry with Dr. Tim - NAHA's Beyond Aromatics Podcast
2. How to Fall in Love with Essential Oil Chemistry with Dr. Tim - Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy and Nyssa Hanger
3. Conscious Living with Dr. Tim - The Orson Wells Show
4. The Naturopathic Journey with Dr. Tim - Eight Billion Podcast
5. Don't Throw Away Your Shot with Dr. Tim - LabAroma Podcast

Continuing Education Approvals

  • Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists (CFA)

    6.25 CEUs total (up to 6.25 CEUs Category A) -Direct Approval
  • College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO)

    6.25 credits total (up to 6.25 credits Category A) -Direct Approval
  • National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA)

    6.25 CE credits total -Direct Approval
  • National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (Provider #1583) (NCBTMB)

    6.5 hours total (up to 6.5 hours Research) -Direct Approval
  • New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors (NHAND)

    6.25 CEUs total (up to 6.25 CEUs General) -Direct Approval
  • New York Sponsorship via National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NY NCBTMB)

    6.5 hours total -Direct Approval
  • Oregon Board of Naturopathic Medicine (OBNM) - (expires on May 20, 2025)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours General Education) -Direct Approval
  • Vermont Office of Professional Regulation (VT OPR)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours General) -Direct Approval
  • Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA)

    6.25 CPDs total (up to 6.25 CPDs Category A) -Assumed Approval
  • Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Medical Board (AZ NPMB)

    6.25 CMEs total (up to 6.25 CMEs General) -Assumed Approval
  • Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC)

    6.25 hours total -Assumed Approval
  • College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta (CNDA)

    6.25 continuing competence credits total -Assumed Approval
  • College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia (CNPBC)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours Category C - Educational Courses) -Assumed Approval
  • College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO)

    6.25 credits total (up to 6.25 credits Category B) -Assumed Approval
  • Colorado Office of Naturopathic Doctor Registration (CO ONDR)

    6.25 PDAs total -Assumed Approval
  • Connecticut Department of Public Health: Naturopathic Physician Licensure (CT DPH: NPL)

    6.25 hours total -Assumed Approval
  • Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC)

    6.25 CEUs total (up to 6.25 CEUs Category 2) -Assumed Approval
  • District of Columbia Health Regulation and Licensing Administration (DC HRLA)

    6.25 hours total -Assumed Approval
  • Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Professional & Vocational Licensing (HI DCCA)

    6.25 CEs total (up to 6.25 CEs General) -Assumed Approval
  • Idaho Board of Medicine: Naturopathic Medical Board (ID BOM: NMB)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours General) -Assumed Approval
  • Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KS SBHA)

    6.25 CEUs total -Assumed Approval
  • Maine Board of Complementary Health Care Providers (ME BCHCP)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours General) -Assumed Approval
  • Manitoba Naturopathic Association (MNA)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours Category B) -Assumed Approval
  • Maryland Board of Physicians (MD BP)

    6.25 hours total -Assumed Approval
  • Minnesota Board of Medical Practice (MN BMP)

    6.25 contact hours total (up to 6.25 contact hours General) -Assumed Approval
  • Montana Board of Alternative Health Care (MT BAHC)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours General) -Assumed Approval
  • North Dakota Board of Integrative Health Care (ND BIHC)

    6.25 credits total (up to 6.25 credits General) -Assumed Approval
  • Rhode Island Department of Health: Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline (RI DOH: BMLD)

    6.25 hours total -Assumed Approval
  • Saskatchewan Association of Naturopathic Practitioners (SANP)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours Category C) -Assumed Approval
  • Utah Naturopathic Physician Licensing Board (UT NPLB)

    6.25 CEs total (up to 6.25 CEs General) -Assumed Approval
  • Washington State Department of Health: Board of Naturopathy (WA DOH: BON)

    6.25 hours total (up to 6.25 hours Category 2) -Assumed Approval
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This course includes:

  • 6.25 hours on-demand video
  • 1 downloadable resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Certificate of completion (PDF)
  • Certificate available immediately
  • CEs / PDAs as outlined
This course is intended for
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