Fundamental Chemistry - Tisserand Institute

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Fundamental Chemistry with Dr. E. Joy Bowles, PhD, BSc Hons

This three-part online course will help you understand the building blocks of essential oils. With her signature enthusiasm, Dr. Joy Bowles will introduce you to the world of organic chemistry.

As both a scientist and an experienced aromatherapist, she has a unique insight into how essential oils interact with our body on the cellular level, and will help you gain that insight through the amazing language of chemistry.

Understanding the molecular makeup of essential oils will help you make better therapeutic decisions, as well as accurate safety assessments. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn fundamental chemistry from the expert, and join us on our dedicated Tisserand Institute learning platform!

Registration Closes January 5, 2020 @ Midnight
Sign Up Soon to Guarantee Your Spot!

What You Will Get in the Course

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Three Weekly Lessons

Three Weekly Lessons

Three recorded sixty-minute sessions with Dr. Bowles



A dedicated forum to ask Dr. Bowles questions, plus previous Q&As.



Each session includes handouts and printable notes for you to keep.

Dedicated Group Discussions

Dedicated Group Discussions

Exclusive forum with Dr. Bowles, Hana Tisserand and students on the Tisserand Institute Learning Platform.

Constituent Profiles

Constituent Profiles

Printable and concise profiles of the essential oil constituents discussed in the course.

4 Extra Weeks!

Ongoing Course Access

Ongoing access to recorded sessions and course materials for 4 weeks after course completion.

When You COMPLETE the Fundamental Chemistry course you’ll receive

A Certificate of Completion of The Tisserand Institute’s Fundamental Chemistry course.

A confirmation that the course corresponds to 10 study hours

(Please consult directly with your professional organization for CPD credit.)

Fundamental Chemistry Certification

Essential oils are powerful health and wellness tools, and as such need to be treated with the respect they deserve.

Your Certificate of Completion will be evidence that you understand the fundamental principles of essential oil chemistry.

Course Breakdown:
What You’ll Be Learning Over 3 Weeks

  • What chemistry helps us to explain
  • Types of atoms found in essential oils
  • The bonding capacity of hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen atoms
  • Why most atoms form bonds to make molecules, and examples of molecular bonds
  • Using symbols to represent atoms and molecules, including simple carbon-based molecules [/fusion_toggle]
  • Types of molecules found in essential oils
  • Molecular features that have an impact on therapeutic properties
  • Overview of essential oil chemical families
  • The clinical significance of relationships between chemical families, such as alcohols and esters, phenols and phenyl-methyl ethers
  • Isoprene units and monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and diterpenes
  • The therapeutic properties of five key constituents: Limonene, Linalool, Terpinen-4-ol, 1,8-cineole, and Beta-caryophyllene
  • Summary of essential oils where these key constituents are typically found
  • Comparison of the therapeutic activities of these essential oils in relation to the proportion of their active constituents

About the Tutor: Dr. E. Joy Bowles, PhD, BSc Hons

Dr. Joy wrote the first course in essential oil chemistry in Australia in 1991, and her book “The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils” was published in 2003. It is used as a course text for many aromatherapy courses around the world. For her PhD, awarded in 2007, Dr. Joy investigated how essential oils might affect cognitive function in dementia. After several years on a diabetes management project in primary health care, she has returned to essential oil chemistry, creating training packages to disseminate the evidence-based therapeutic effects of essential oils. Helping people understand the chemistry and pharmacology of essential oils is one of her life’s passions. Joy has been talking to audiences in Europe, the USA and of course, her home country, Australia.

About her book, The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils: “This revised study of the chemistry and pharmacology of aromatherapy oils offers a practical approach to learning the basics of essential oils. Moving step-by-step at the molecular level through 89 essential oils, this work includes useful diagrams as well as techniques for oil extraction. Discussed are techniques for applying the benefits of aromatherapy to different body systems including muscles and joints, the respiratory system, and the immune system. An ideal handbook for those interested in aromatherapy as a holistic therapy, this work also provides many tips for how even the most simple applications of aromatherapy can improve one’s quality of life.”

Dr. Joy is currently working on a new edition, and the knowledge she will be sharing with us comes with a thorough layer of extra research!

Testimonials from previous students

It’s packed with very important and trustworthy information, and it is presented in a very nice and appealing way!! Makes me want to learn more, plus: never ever ever I would have imagined to smile so much during chemistry lessons! 🙂

I’ve been staring at these words for years trying to make sense of them and this is the first time I’m able to. Thank you! I have Joy’s book but have gotten MUCH more out of the course, especially being a visual learner. Everything is very well organized and easy to navigate, a big plus. You are both charming and knowledgeable which makes it more fun and less intimidating. I’d highly recommend this course!

This was the first time I felt I could grasp any part of chemistry, so many, many thanks! 3D models were crucial for understanding concepts. Really helpful to apply to EO deeper understanding and chemical constituents I see again and again. Only thing I’d like is to see a 3D tinker toy demo of a chemical reaction in action between molecules, to see exactly how electrons are exchanged, shared, lost, double bonds are broken, etc. (maybe two people needed for the interactive exercise!)

Thoroughly enjoying the course. Absolutely love chemistry and Joy Bowles is a great pleasure to have as an instructor.

Dr. Joy is very clear and organizes the material in a way that’s understandable for someone with absolutely no previous knowledge of chemistry.


Yes. Each lesson comes with printable handouts of the slides used in the lesson, and additional lesson notes. These are sent to you before each lesson and are for you to keep and refer to at any time.

Many of our students have commented that our courses helped them grasp what they learned elsewhere in more detail, or complemented their previous education. Some of our students are lifelong learners, and some are teachers.

We will let one of our previous students answer this one:

“The information presented is appropriate for all levels, and although I am just beginning my aromatherapy journey it all makes sense.”

Each weekly lesson is followed by a multiple choice quiz, and there is a summary test at the end of each course. Passing both the weekly quizzes and the final tests is a requirement for certification.

There will be five live Q&As: May 14, June 4, June 25, July 16 and August 6.  You can ask questions any time on our online platform.

Absolutely! In addition to the live Q&A sessions, you can post your questions in the dedicated student forums.

The lessons are recorded and released each week of the course. You can watch them anytime from the moment they are released.

We believe that safety should be at the core of any practice using essential oils. This is why we require those who wish to study Essential Oils for Healthy Skin to also pass our Essential Oil Safety Masterclass. This ensures that the knowledge you gain can be applied safely as well as effectively. Understanding essential oil safety from all angles helps you make safe choices for yourself, your family and/or your clients.

You will have access to all the recordings and course materials for at least twelve weeks weeks after the last lesson, so up to the end of October 2020. All the printable materials (notes, handouts, charts, etc.) are of course yours to keep for reference forever.

You don’t need to do the Safety Masterclass again, but we will open it for you as a sit-in to refresh your memory for no extra cost – you just pay for the Skin part. If you have purchased the Safety Masterclass before but did not get the Certificate of Completion, you can use this opportunity to do so. Please check your email for a message about how to proceed. 🙂

Essential Oils for Healthy Skin is an update of the Complete Skin Series, which was launched in 2014. It not only includes much new information, but it is now a certification course.  There are recorded lessons and live Q&A sessions, and you will need to pass the assessments to gain your certificate. This all happens on our new learning portal where you can interact with fellow students as well as ask questions in dedicated forums.

Because we have students from all over the world and of many professions we are not able to offer credits for specific organizations – there are simply too many. However, we issue a confirmation of CE hours gained on the course that you can apply with your professional organization and will be happy to assist with any additional documentation.

We have found that running classes on specific dates works best to help you finish a program. You join a class of students, and learn along with them. Many students help each other with queries, and of course our tutors are there too. That said, if you miss a few classes you should be still able to comfortably jump right back in and if you do fall behind you can request extra time. Of course this cannot be indefinite, but we do our best to help you get your certificate.