In working with Fragonia, it is important to know the chemical constituents and the properties associated with them. Possible uses for these constituents can be found in many publications, including Mark Webb's book ‘Bush Sense’, and are as follows:
- a-pinene - anti-inflammatory
- limonene - anticancer, antiseptic, bactericide, expectorant, fungastatic, sedative, viricide
- 1,8-cineole - antibronchitic, anticatarrh, antiseptic, antitussive, CNS stimulant, expectorant and respiratory anti-inflamatory. Increases dermal uptake by up to 95 times.
- linalool - antiseptic (5 x phenol), bactericide, fungicide, perfumery, sedative, spasmolytic, viricide
- terpenen-4-ol - antiallergic, antifungal, antihistomanic
- a-terpineol - antiallergenic, antiasthmatic, antiseptic, antitussive, bactericide, expectorant
- geraniol - antiseptic, cancer preventative, candidicide, fungacide, perfumery, sedative
Perhaps one of the most exciting attributes of Fragonia is its unique composition, not only in the balance of the molecular groups - the oxides, the monoterpenes and the monoterpenols, but also the balance of the individual chemical components within one of these groups. It is possibly this balance which gives Fragonia, to quote Dr Daniel Penoel, “the unique power of harmonisation and rebalancing” and which "helps to release many of the old blockages from an emotional perspective" and “make peace”.
Dr Penoel quotes from a patient of his that “thanks to the use of Fragonia, I was able to create the conditions of peace and harmony within myself, through the process of opening my heart and letting go of the accumulated negativity over the years. Fragonia cannot replace my psychotherapy sessions, but, for me, it triggered and accelerated an important phase of my healing adventure, by removing inner obstacles to my change and progress”.
An interesting observation is the link between these results being obtained at an emotional level, with the work being done by an Australian aromatherapist, Karen Wallwork. Karen has been working extensively with Fragonia and at a physical level, believes the oil “is a regulator/balancer, working for stalled, stuck, congestive, interrupted conditions - whether it be blood, mucous etc”.
This is a fascinating area for further studies. Clinical and anecdotal results to date indicate some significant effects in this area. If practitioners can be aware of the possibilities, then feedback of results, both negative and positive, will be most valuable.
Preliminary testing for anti-microbial activity was carried out by Christine Carson, Tom Riley and Kate Hammer at the School of Biomedical & Chemical Sciences at the University of Western Australian . This research was organised by Chris Robinson, a botanist with Ag West, and made possible through the Great Southern Development Commission. Previously, this Department had done much of the scientific test work on tea tree oil - Melaleuca alternifoloia. Testing on Agonis species was carried out on four different types of bacteria as well as the fungus Candida albicans (thrush). Results suggested that “the anti-microbial activity of Agonis species was similar to that of Melaleuca alternifolia with the added benefit of possessing a more pleasant fragrance”. Fragonia was shown to be as effective against Candida albicans as tea tree oil.
In 2004, further in-vitro anti-microbial testing was conducted by the School of Biomedical & Chemical Sciences on a wider variety of bacteria . This confirmed that Fragonia has significant anti-microbial activity, similar to that of other recognised anti-microbial essential oils, including tea tree oil. Although terpenen-4-ol (a monoterpenol) is the major active anti-microbial agent in tea tree oil, it is likely that the numerous other monoterpenols present in Fragonia contribute to its antimicrobial activity, namely linalool, a-terpineol and geraniol .
Very promising clinical trials are confirming these anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, including work done by Karen Wallwork. Karen was able to successfully treat a case of chronic bacterial tonsillitis using Fragonia hydrosol and cream. To date, she has been able to successfully replicate this protocol. Karen also reports positive feedback from a client of her's who uses Fragonia hydrosol as a nasal spray for chronic sinus problems.
In-vitro anti-inflammatory studies conducted by the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia found that “Agonis oil inhibits secretion of the IFNY, involved in the inflammatory response to tissue injury or infection, which could support the notion that this oil has potential anti-inflammatory properties”.
This is supported by positive clinical feedback. Again, from Sue Lavall's patient: “several weeks ago, I sprained my left knee and at one stage it felt very hot and sore. I applied Agonis fragrans (Fragonia) oil neat to the knee and within a few minutes it had cooled the knee to almost normal temperature”.
1,8-cineole (an oxide) has a long history as an effective expectorant (namely in eucalyptus oil) and which comprises approx. 30% of Fragonia. Referring back to the functional groups, both limonene (a monoterpene) and a-terpeneol (a monoterpenol) are also listed as expectorants.
Through his clinical work, Dr Penoel has reported great success in the use of Fragonia with the respiratory system, from the ENT areas through to the lungs, with the monoterpenols supplying the anti-infectious action against most common bacteria, and the cineole aiding in the breakup of the mucous secretions.
One area of interest to Dr Penoel is the use of Fragonia in immune enhancement through skin application. He says “the action of aromatic molecules, in the field of infectious pathology, is generally known to be partly in connection with increasing the self defence system of the organism. In the case of Fragonia, this mechanism of action appears to be as important as its intrinsic anti-infectious properties”. Due to the gentleness of Fragonia, he advocates a couple of drops applied daily on the groin area, under the armpits, and on the side of the neck, areas where the lymphatic nodes are located.
Clinical data is showing promise in using Fragonia to relieve minor pain, and in particular the pain associated with arthritis. In fact the oil seems to provide relief to muscle and joint pain within quite a short time after topical application to the affected area. This could in part be the para-cymene, which is used as an ingredient in pharmaceutical preparations that are specified for muscular aches. Dr Penoel believes that “para-cymene is only one part of the explanation of the analgesic effect of Fragonia as there are other essential oils with a higher content in para-cymene that do not work as well as Fragonia.” He is referring to the combined synergistic actions of the constituents within an oil which increase its efficacy.
INFLUENCE ON THE FEMALE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
Initial promising research has been carried out by Karen Wallwork. Use of a Fragonia cream applied either to the abdomen or brow showed improvement with menstrual pain, depression, fatigue, insomnia and breast tenderness.
Both Dr Penoel and Karen Wallwork have successfully used Fragonia to mitigate the effects of jet jag. This may be linked to the influence of Fragonia on the pineal gland.
To summarise the potential uses of Fragonia:
- Emotional balance - overall affect of creating peace and harmony in the mind and body, especially for sensitive patients and for those going though difficult times in their lives.
- Anti-infectious oil.
- Anti-inflammatory oil.
- Immune reinforcing/balancing action.
- Analgesic relief from muscle and joint pain.
- Relieving menstrual pain and associated symptoms.
- Alleviating jet lag
In working with essential oils, although the chemical constituents give a strong indication of the properties one can expect when working with an oil, Dr Penoel's following comment is noteworthy:
"I am convinced that the global action of the set of the molecules, in their unique balance, must have a role to play in the overall effect of the oil. This is the superiority and the secret of Nature in its complexity and intelligence. The single molecular approach is not to be rejected, but it needs to be integrated in a more global and ‘living’ way of thinking. All aromatherapists will understand this".