Few mainstream medicine enthusiasts will want me to share this post with you. First, they’ll say it’s because they have an aversion to all things quackery. Then, they’ll have a change of heart and try to classify essential oils as “medicine,” of which nobody else can give advice on because these oils are used to “prevent or treat disease” – along with carrots, garlic, herbal tea, and wheat grass.
Then, they’ll make an exception for reading package inserts and make up one on the spot to warn you about the potential atrocity that could result from you using something natural that has little to no side effects and is responsible for zero hospitalizations and deaths each year. While they’re busy scaring your socks off, they’ll forget to tell you they’ve had no training on essential oils and have no clue what they’re talking about.
No worries. I’m not going to diagnose you with a disease today, nor am I going to treat you. I’m not going to try to sell you essential oils either. I’m just going to sell you on them because really, life just seems incomplete without a good essential oil in your back pocket.
I know what you’re thinking…what are my qualifications for speaking on this “trend?” No worries guys. My quack degree in quack medicine taught me everything I needed to know, and what I didn’t pick up in one quack school I picked up at another, and what I didn’t pick up there, I picked up from Google University. Rest assured, you are in good hands.
Pleasantries aside. Let’s talk.
Essential oils are not a trend. They’re not voodoo, woo woo, or foo foo. They’ve been around a long time, are mentioned over 188 times in the Bible, were referenced in Chinese manuscripts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and were even used during the time of the ancient Egyptians as medicine. People survived the bubonic plague thanks to this stuff. No joke.Essential oils are not a trend. They're not voodoo, woo woo, or foo foo. Click To Tweet
An essential oil is a volatile liquid carefully extracted from a plant that’s used medicinally for all sorts of health imbalances. Once carefully extracted these oils can be used for inhalation, ingestion, absorption, and are used for all sorts of household and personal products like laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, and lotion. It’s the chemical properties in these oils that provide the benefit and once applied to the skin these benefits hit the blood stream within three seconds.
Essential oils are amazing. They’re powerful, and they’re safe when used appropriately. You shouldn’t take my word for it though. Let’s put on our “Google goggles” and take a stroll through the US National Library of Medicine where we will find a whole list of studies you probably never knew existed:
- You’ll find over 163 studies on the anti-inflammatory, chemo-preventative, anti-arthritic, and pain-relieving properties of boswellic acids contained in Frankincense oil (which is ironically used in both European and Middle Eastern hospitals).
- Scientific studies show that Myrrh inhibits the growth and function of cancer cells, is anti-inflammatory, relieves pain, heals and prevents infections, and kills dangerous microbes.
- In Berlin, Lavender oil pills are a clinically proven herbal alternative to pharmaceutical antidepressant medications, without the side effects. A case series conducted by the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité – University Medicine Berlin, showed that Lavender oil used in conjunction with antidepressant medication significantly reduced agitation, anxiety, and depression.
- Here’s a study from the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology showing the same and another from International Journal and Psychiatry in Clinical practice, and 38 other studies you can sift through if you get bored. But let me save you some time…lavender is always superior to the placebo, always shows benefits, and doesn’t have adverse reactions. “Lasea” or “Silexan“ for anxiety, depression, or restlessness anyone?
- Forget the flu vaccine. Studies on Melaleuca (Tea tree) oil show that it inhibits the influenza virus effectively and without increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s. It also inhibits fungal growth and can knock out candida like your kid can knock back a bag of skittles. Seriously. That good. This should come as no surprise to anyone considering the aborigines have been using tea tree for centuries to heal cuts, wounds, and skin infections. (The rest of us have secretly been using it too). Did I mention that Melaleuca is one of those remedies that shows promising effects against antibiotic resistant bacteria, is anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-everything else?
- IBS or gastrointestinal disease? How about some Peppermint oil? A few years ago my husband brought home an article from the peer-reviewed American Academy of Family Physicians Journal that was pretty impressive. A systematic review of five clinical trials showed that peppermint oil significantly relieved IBS symptoms like pain, stool frequency, and gas.
- Aflatoxins are among the most carcinogenic substances known to man. The USDA describes aflatoxin as a “cancer-causing poison produced by certain fungi in or on foods and feeds, especially in field corn and peanuts. “Be afraid. Be very afraid of aflatoxin. Unless you’ve got some Oregano. After sifting through the studies on Oregano oil, you’ll want to bathe in it, wash your food in it, and add a little more to whatever it is you’re eating.
- Studies show that Clove oil is effective at inhibiting the growth of Aspergillus, a mycotoxin that’s responsible for various diseases that kill about 600,000 people worldwide each year. Lemon oil can prevent carcinogenic oral strep. The Korean government-funded a study on Ylang Ylang that showed it could reduce high blood pressure and high cortisol levels. Neroli has been shown to relieve menopausal symptoms and increase sex drive.
- Eucalyptus has been shown to be an effective natural antibiotic against several infectious diseases and is an effective preventative tool used against the diseases we vaccinate for. Tumeric oil prevents cancer. Research on Melissa essential oil suggests it would be a great alternative treatment for diseases associated with inflammation and pain.
I could go on. There are hundreds of oils and even more studies, but you get the picture. Do you know what you won’t find in these studies? Adverse reactions like death, brain damage, SIDS, meningitis, gastrointestinal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bronichitis, or fevers. You won’t find a package insert that’s 8 pages long because you’d have to make up 8 pages of adverse reactions that don’t exist.
I know…you feel a little misled that you were told pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, and anything else that contains a carcinogen, neurotoxin, or hazardous waste were your only options for whatever it is that ails you. I did too. Then I realized that essential oils had been used since the beginning of time, are without the long list of negative side effects that accompany every single medication, and are corroborated by clinical trials and studies from all over the world…except for here really.
This shouldn’t surprise you. We are behind the times and refuse to acknowledge a potential treatment or cure that could come from something other than a pharmaceutical and we prohibit any company from claiming that something natural, like an oil (or even a carrot), could have some protective health benefit.
But, for the sake of full disclosure, here’s what an essential oil isn’t:
It’s not a magic “pill” or a quick-fix. It’s not a substitute for living a healthy lifestyle and for making smart decisions. If you think you can use an essential oil for acne but you continue to eat foods high in dairy, sugar, and bad fats, your acne probably isn’t going to go away. If you think you can down a box of donuts and take an essential oil to melt inches, you’ll be disappointed when your pants don’t fit. If you think you can take an oil for your crohn’s disease (like I did mine) but you continue to eat foods that contribute to gut disorders, your crohn’s probably isn’t going to go away.
Essential oils are just one of the many things we should have in our bag of tricks for prevention and for those sticky situations we will inevitably find ourselves in. So while everyone else is waiting for the one-pill-cures-all that will never exist and is looking to “prevent” disease with hazardous wastes, or wipe out their immune system with antibiotics…you and I can just take a walk on the side of woo and pick up an oil.
Photo Credit: MichelleBulgaria via Morgue File