A 15-milliliter amber bottle was passed around the classroom of 15 attendees of the basics of essential oils workshop. Each took their turn taking a whiff off the aromatic content — a therapeutic grade peppermint essential oil. Some dabbed the oil on their wrists, while others raised their brows and nodded their heads after inhaling the scent.

The workshop was hosted by Throckmorton Library Sept. 26 and taught by Chemika Mercer, a North Carolina essential oils expert. Mercer was chosen to lead the class through recommendations of library personnel during the planning process.

Ron Jackson, coordinator for workshops and adult programming at the library, said this is the second time the library has organized a workshop on aromatic oils.

“We saw that this class was pretty popular with people,” he said. “(Mercer) did a good job on the first workshop with us and she seems to be knowledgeable on essential oils.”

Mercer encouraged the attendees of her workshop to be empowered with essential oil knowledge, to be more healthful and to get away from chemicals, toxins and additives as much as they can.

“It’s important for me to get the word out to take responsibility on your health and to read labels,” Mercer said.

While Mercer is not a fully trained aromatherapist yet, she is working on getting her certification through CARE Therapy in Mooresville, North Carolina

Tomekia Bartee, wife of Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremiah Bartee, Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 202; sat in the back of the class with a friend she brought with her. Bartee heard about the workshop through the post newspaper and showed up because she recently started dabbling in essential oils and wanted to learn more about it.

The biggest takeaway she got from the class was the difference between hot and cold oils.

“I never understood the difference,” Bartee said. “Learning that was interesting and that’s why (Mercer) said to not use hot oils on younger children.”

For Bartee, coming to the workshop was important because previously she had only been self-educating. She’s been trying to incorporate the use of lavender essential oil to help with her children’s sleep and focus.

“I want to make sure what I was getting and doing is accurate and useful for my children,” she said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot and learned some new things.”