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understanding therapeutic grade essential oils and their benefits


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Forgotten – Essential Oils and the US Government’s Little Known Role – Essential Oils During the Past Century Part III

What was happening in America with essential oils during the time when the Gattefossé brothers were discovering their therapeutic benefits?  The first Pharmacopeia in America was published by the Medical Society of Massachusetts in 1808, followed by  the very first United States Pharmacopeia, published in 1820.  The idea of a National Pharmacopeia was first proposed when Dr. Lyman Spalding  submitted the idea to the Medical Society of the County of New York.  The founding U.S. Pharmacopeial convention was held in Washington D.C. for the purpose of creating a system of standards and a National Formulary.  Essential oils were included in these works.

At the time René-Maurice Gattefossé applied lavender oil to the severe burns he suffered in a lab explosion, a number of essential oils  had been in regular use by U.S. doctors for more than a hundred years.  At that time, the United States Pharmacopeia was revised every ten years. During the first hundred years oils were included as individual pure volatile oils with directions for steam distillation, as important components for medicated waters, medicated spirits, liniments, ointments and other compounds.  About 10 oils were included in the 1808 Pharmacopeia of Massachusetts.  A few of the less common oils would come and go but overall the number of oils climbed over the years, peaking in 1890 with around 44 oils mentioned.  However, by this time, synthetic and artificial forms of wintergreen were included, and the 1900 version included several more synthetic forms and isolated components of volatile oils. By 1910 the number of individual pure distilled oils had tapered off to about 35 while synthetic and artificial versions and isolated components continued to increase. Later, the publications of the United States Pharmacopeia and the National Formulary were joined into one volume and published annually.

In 1900, Congress transferred 400 acres of the historic Arlington estate in Virginia to the Secretary of Agriculture for use as a general experimental farm. The Pentagon is now located on this site. This became one of several sites where the U.S. Government conducted what they referred to as “drug plant investigations”, which would continue for more than 50 years, managed by the Bureau of Plant Industry which was established in 1901.  The U.S. Government was in fact growing medicinal plants for research purposes, and among The Bureau of Plant Industry’s other projects studying various crops, farming methods, plant diseases and so forth, the project for drug plant investigations specifically included a number of experimental stations, ranging from botanical gardens to small farms used for the cultivation of aromatic plants, which they steam distilled to produce essential oils. Some were researched for perfume, fragrance, and food flavorings, while others were recognized by the government for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. Several government reports and bulletins were published mentioning details of cultivating aromatic plants for producing essential oils, and the methods and equipment for distilling them.

In 1906, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt with the Pure Foods and Drugs Act, which prohibited interstate commerce in foods or drugs which were misbranded or adulterated. While the law was intended to protect the consumer from unnecessary and potentially harmful additives to foods and drugs, the FDA sometimes had their own way of regulating this.  One of the early problems they sought to solve began in 1907 with the certification of food colors. Merchants had begun a practice of injecting foods with dyes to enhance their appearance and make them more appealing to the consumer, and to cover up defects.  Dyes were also added to drugs.  Some of these dyes were quite harmful and so the FDA, instead of forbidding the practice of adding these chemical dyes, they decided they would screen them all and certify which ones could be used.  In 1928 they certified more than 600,000 pounds of dyes permitted for use in foods and drugs. (The Arlington Experiment Farm, U.S. Department of Agriculture Handbook for Visitors, 1928). This was thought to be a great improvement because the certification rules were so strict.

Dyes were then also added to cosmetics and the practice of using FDA certified dyes continues today.  A huge list of these dyes which the FDA has removed from the list or added further restrictions due to safety issues and problems discovered after they had been in use for some time may be found on the FDA’s Color Additive Status List.  The FDA collects substantial fees for color additive certification which are regulated under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations Section 80.10  They get paid by the pound for these certifications and just in the quarter from Oct 1- Dec 31 2015 certified more than 6 million pounds of dyes added to foods, drugs, and cosmetics.  In recent years, the safety of dyes remaining on the FDA’s approved list has come into question. The Global Healing CenterCenter for Science in the Public Interest,  Dr. Oz and Dr. Mercola are just a few who warn of the dangers of several dyes the FDA still allows.

The more extensive Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. This law required FDA approval before any new drug could be brought to market, and also prohibited false therapeutic claims.  Through the years, the FDA has developed a very broad interpretation of this law which includes prohibiting therapeutic claims that are true, and by defining any random product as a drug if you intend to use it for something they consider a disease.  This also includes a long list of words which could be associated with various diseases.   For instance, if you use something to help with inflammation or joint pain, in the eyes of the FDA that product is likely to be considered to have become a drug.  In 2010 for example, the FDA sent a warning letter to Diamond Foods declaring that their walnuts had become drugs due to therapeutic claims they had on their website based on extensive scientific research.  The FDA collects substantial Application, Product, and Establishment Fees for each new drug. In addition, Product and Establishment Fees are assessed annually.  In 2014, the most recent year for which a financial report is available, the FDA collected more than $796 million in prescription drug user fees. 45 new drugs were approved by the FDA for 2015.  FDA approved drugs, used as prescribed, are, according to their own website the 4th leading cause of death in America. 

Meanwhile, in 1939, the work of the Arlington Experimental farm was transferred to the Research Station at Beltsville, Maryland.  By 1952, the Bureau of Plant Industry had a 14,000 acre Agricultural Research Center at this location with 2100 employees, of which more than 900 were scientists. Experiments on growing aromatic medicinal plants and distilling their essential oils were still being conducted at this time.  The next year, 1953, the Bureau of Plant Industry became part of the Agricultural Research Service, (ARS) which continues to the present.    Both the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Agricultural Library are filled with peer reviewed clinical studies which have been done on various medicinal and therapeutic uses of essential oils.  Some of these studies are done by ARS scientists.  The interest in scientific research on essential oils and the growing body of evidence that they do have valuable therapeutic uses continues to expand despite the FDA’s proclamation that only a drug (approved by them, and at great expense paid to them) can be used to prevent, treat, cure, or mitigate a disease.

Unfortunately, the essential oil research and experiments conducted by the U.S. Government were little known and mostly buried in obscure government reports and bulletins which few average citizens had access to, or took the time to wade through them if they did.  With the development of the pharmaceutical industry, the major focus became isolating active compounds of various essential oils believed to be responsible for medicinal effects, and creating synthetic versions which could be approved  by the FDA as new drugs.  Synthetic versions were also often used for food additives and flavorings, as well as for perfumes and fragrances.  Thus, despite the government’s role, the essential oil industry in the U.S. was following a very different path than the one in France influenced by the research René-Maurice Gattefossé.   Pure essential oils were very scarce in the U.S.  Their therapeutic properties were largely forgotten, and the  development of aromatherapy would take many decades before finding its way to the U.S.

Next:  The Research of Dr. Jean Valnet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

 

 

 

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

 

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Handling Blood Sugar Challenges

Maintaining healthy blood sugar  is becoming increasingly difficult for more and more Americans as highly processed and genetically modified foods become more and more a part of the mainstream American diet.. The US Department of Health and Human Services National Diabetes Information Clearing House estimated in 2011 there were 18.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes and another 7 million undiagnosed.    A more recent 2013 poll revealed 1 in 8 Americans have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.    There are a number of things which may help people regulate their blood sugar:

1)Limiting carbs and sugar is generally not enough to keep blood sugar under control unless you do some other things as well.  Make sure you do not skip meals or go long periods without a meal or snack.  Best approach is try to spread balanced nutrition between at least 5 small meals/snacks per day.

2)Avoid genetically modified (GMO) foods as they cause inflammation and blood sugar issues which tend to aggravate diabetes and heart disease . GMO means the genes have been altered in a lab by inserting genes or DNA of an unrelated species.  Some of these, rice for instance, have been modified by adding human genes. Since labeling of GMO is not required the best thing you can do is try to look for things which specifically say they are not GMO, especially look for the Non-GMO project badge.  Almost all the corn  and soy in the US is GMO so unless it specifies on the label that it is not GMO it probably is.  This also includes things like various cooking oils, corn starch, and baking powder which you find in almost all processed foods. Popcorn comes from a different seed and has not been genetically modified – yet – however it is still nice to see this on the label.  Orville Redenbacher is starting to provide this information. Half the sugar in the US is from GMO sugar beets so when you do use sugar, pure cane sugar is better.  Many companies are beginning to respond to consumer concerns and providing non GMO versions of favorite products.  Early this year General Mills released non-GMO Cheerios

 3)Magnesium deficiency – up to 80% of Americans are believed to be deficient in magnesium.  According to Dr. Morton Walker, studies confirm the connection between magnesium and diabetes, and that magnesium is needed to help regulate and control blood sugar.

4)Essential oils – Several pure, therapeutic grade essential oils such as Young Living’s may help maintain blood sugar levels that are in normal range:

  •  Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and Juniperus scopulorum) may help support the circulatory system and  the kidneys.  It is important to maintain these systems in a healthy state for promoting excretion of toxins, purifying and detoxifying.
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) may help maintain blood sugar levels in the normal range,  and supports healthy circulation.
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)  has been researched at Cairo University for its effects in lowering glucose and insulin levels. A high quality therapeutic grade Coriander oil may help support healthy pancreatic function
  • Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) has one of the highest of all ORAC scores, 1, 078,700 µTE/100g according to the Essential Oils Desk Reference 5th edition.  Clove may be helpful in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
  • Cinnamon  Bark (Cinnamomum verum) –  supports the cardiovascular and immune systems and helps maintain healthy blood sugar.
  • Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis, CT cineol) helps support the liver and the immune system.
  • Dill (Anethum graveolens) has a very long medicinal history dating back to the Papyrus of Ebers.  Therapeutic grade Dill oil may help support pancreatic function,  and help maintain blood sugar levels in the normal range
  • Ocotea (Ocotea quixos) which comes from Ecuador may help calm body’s internal response to irritation.  Also helps maintain blood sugar levels in normal range.

5)Stevia – the best natural sweetener and substitute for sugar which does not have the harmful side effects of many other substitutes such as aspartame and Splenda.  Stevia may help rebuild glucose tolerance and normalizes blood sugar fluctuations.

6)Glycemic Index – To further minimize blood sugar fluctuations, it can be helpful to consult the   Revised Table for Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.  There are many tables out there with conflicting information.  This one is the best. The glycemic index (GI) is a numerical system of measuring how much of a rise in circulating blood sugar a carbohydrate triggers–the higher the number, the greater the blood sugar response. However, the GI only gives you an idea how quickly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar.  The Glycemic Load (GL) offers a more extensive picture by taking into consideration the amount of carbohydrate that is in a serving of food.  Be aware however that it is important not to rely on these numbers alone as all carbohydrates ultimately turn into sugar.  However, when these are considered along with spreading nutritional intake through the day into at least five small healthy meals or snacks, blood sugar variations should stabilize significantly.

7)Adequate protein – maintaining adequate protein in the diet will help control sugar cravings.  A high protein diet however, can increase strain on the kidneys.  Be sure to keep enough quality protein in the diet without going overboard.  The American Diabetes Association recommends maintaining usual protein of 15 – 20% of daily energy intake if kidney function is normal.

8)Fiber – according to the USDA, adequate fiber intake is considered to be at least 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories consumed. Adequate fiber intake is important for stabilizing blood sugar.  95% of Americans do not get enough fiber.

9)NingXia Red – Young Living’s outstanding juice supplement NingXia Red  is high in antioxidant and provides a natural pure source of vitamins and minerals.  It helps support a healthy immune system and maintain blood sugar levels within normal range.   NingXia Red is highly concentrated and should be consumed in amounts of 1 – 4 oz per day.  It has a low glycemic index and contains no processed high fructose sweeteners.  In addition to the powerful NingXia wolfberries (Lycium barbarum), from the NingXia province of northern China which are included as a whole wolfberry puree of fruit, juice, seeds, and peel, the NingXia Red formula contains carefully selected blueberry, cherry, aronia, pomegranate, and plum fruit juices with therapeutic grade essential oils of orange, yuzu, lemon, and tangerine, patented grapeseed extract, and sweetened with pure and natural calorie free stevia extract.

10)Keep a journal of what you eat, time of day, how you feel etc.  If you miss a day or a few days, don’t give it up, just pick it up again.  You will begin to notice patterns with what you are eating and this information will be very helpful.

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and their properties, please visit The Oil Well

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

If this information has been helpful you may click the donate button to contribute a small amount toward the cost of research.  Thank you!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.