Efficacy Safety Sustainability

What is Botanica2020?

Botanica2020 is the fifth edition of an international and independent conference series that showcases excellence in clinical aromatherapy and related herbal therapeutics. It brings together researchers, aromatherapists, herbal medicine practitioners, allied health professionals, aromatic and medicinal plant growers, distillers and suppliers from around the world for three full days of education, trade show, networking and rich collaborations.

Botanica is the brainchild of Rhiannon Lewis, director of Essential Oil Resource Consultants and editor of the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy. The first conference edition - botanica2012 - came about as a result of her desire to create an independent professional platform where both clinical aromatherapy and herbal medicine could affirm and celebrate their mutual plant connections - thereby enhancing communication between these two distinct but related disciplines. Since then, every two years, the event has continued to expand in terms of its content and international reach and is now established as the leading clinical aromatherapy conference worldwide.

Botanica2020 was to be the first conference edition to be held on mainland Europe; previous events were held at universities in Dublin, Ireland and Brighton, England.

For 2020, due to the ongoing uncertainties concerning COVID-19 spread, botanica2020 will be conducted as an entirely virtual conference and trade show using a cutting edge professional conference platform 18th-20th September.

A busy virtual international trade show will run alongside the days of the conference enables sourcing of quality products, suppliers and business opportunities with live interactions conducted with exhibitors.

Building community, fostering mutual respect and forging rich and lasting connections between all conference participants is a hallmark of the botanica conference series. Here, excellence in education is delivered in a warm and convivial atmosphere that is atypical for professional events of this calibre. This “Essence of Botanica” is where plant passionate professionals come together to share their knowledge, skills and expertise and make lasting relationships with like-minded professionals from the world over irrespective of their status, affiliations or credentials. The high percentage of returning participants attest to botanica’s success. Maintaining these rich connections is an important part of botanica2020 and will be possible over the days of the event in a dedicated virtual networking lounge on the conference platform.

As a means to providing equal opportunities, at botanica2014 Rhiannon initiated the botanica bursary scheme, raising funds to enable participants with limited finances to attend future events. To date, almost 50 bursary places have been awarded thanks to fund raising and generous sponsorship. For botanica2020 a further 18 bursary places have been awarded following independent assessment of all bursary applications.

The themes for Botanica2020 are Efficacy, Safety & Sustainability.

With the themes of Efficacy-Safety-Sustainability as the framework of the 2020 conference content, expert speakers and researchers from different countries will present their work.

Efficacy: botanica2020 provides the platform for demonstrating efficacy of essential oils and other plant medicines for a range of health complaints. Presentations of clinical research combine with those of information gained through practitioner experience to demonstrate the full scope and potentials of botanical remedies. Due to the current crisis a special focus in the Efficacy session will concern infection control.

Safety: With increasing public exposure to the potentials of essential oils and the boom in aromatherapy applications, there has been a parallel rise in the need for education and awareness of potential hazards to ensure safe practice. At botanica2020, issues of safety to the public, to the therapist and to the producer are all given exposure along with discussion of our professional and collective responsibility to promote safe use of all plant medicines.

Sustainability: Driven by the exponential surge in world demand for essential oils and the high level of commercial interest in medicinal and aromatic plants and their extracts, it is urgent to discuss specific sensitive pressures placed on some plant species along with issues of sustainability, professionalism and ethical practices related to growing, harvesting and transformation. Presentations from experts in the field of conservation, ethical practices and sustainability are important features of botanica2020.

Meet the Organiser

Rhiannon Lewis has been active in the field of clinical aromatherapy for the past 30 years as a practitioner, author and educator. Her interest in essential oils and related plant extracts effectively dovetails with her passion for making a difference to health and quality of life using plant medicines.

The botanica conference series is a natural extension of Rhiannon's work – aiming to promote the safe, effective use of essential oils and related extracts and to encourage their use in clinical settings alongside mainstream healthcare. To this end, she is also host and organiser of another international educational event held every two years at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, focussed on the use of essential oils specifically in hospital, hospice and elderly care settings. She is also a long-time and active member of the organising committee of Phyt’Arom Grasse – a bilingual aromatherapy and herbal medicine conference based in France.

Rhiannon's background in healthcare (nursing), education and publishing has enabled her to effectively share her knowledge, experience and skills with professionals working in diverse clinical settings around the world.

Her overriding goal is to demonstrate measurable improvements in health and quality of life using evidence-based, safe, effective aromatic interventions.

Rhiannon is motivated by the potential of essential oils and plant extracts to improve health and quality of life. She is driven by the desire to make evidence-based information accessible to therapists who are looking to integrate essential oil use alongside regular medical care. She is passionate about promoting the field of clinical aromatherapy and herbal therapeutics worldwide.

Based in Provence, France, as director of Essential Oil Resource Consultants, Rhiannon hosts residential classes in advanced clinical aromatherapy near her mountain home as well as travelling internationally to lecture on a range of subjects concerning clinical aromatherapy and essential oil science.

Since 2004, Rhiannon has been editor of The International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy : the only professional aromatherapy publication in the world with a clinical focus, taking an evidence-based approach to help and inspire practitioners to use essential oils and related products in a range of healthcare settings. The IJCA is a main sponsor of botanica2020.

Rhiannon’s contribution and deep dedication to the field of aromatherapy has not gone unnoticed; in 2000 she was made a fellow of the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (UK) ; in 2009, she received an Outstanding Achievement award from the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (USA) and in 2019 she received the Lifetime Achievement award from the same organisation AIA (USA).

Meet the botanica2020 support team

Rhiannon is supported in the organisation and running of the conference by a competent team of conference ambassadors based in different countries as well as a professional conference organiser based in the UK. The ambassadors act as local points of contact for delegates as well as helping to promote the event, this team provides an invaluable link between the main organiser and the event. Additionally, on site in Slovenia, Rhiannon is supported by an enthusiastic and indispensable team of locally based aromatherapists.

Participants are encouraged to get in touch directly with their local conference ambassador.


UK & Ireland

Vivienne Campbell


Slovenia & CroatiaMelani Kovacmelani@dropsmith.com


Wendy Belcour


German speaking countries

Eliane Zimmermann


The Netherlands

Madeleine Knapp Hayes



Ann Harman


Brazil & South America

Carla Scarpeli Vescovi


Canada (East Coast)

Danielle Sade


Canada (West Coast)

Pat Antoniak


Hong Kong/ PRC

Caroline Fan



Sandi Nye



Deby Atterby



Asli Yazicioglu


Hungary, Slovakia, Romania

Gergely Hollodi


Russian speaking countries Kate Sibilevakatesibilev@gmail.com