oilwellessentials4health

understanding therapeutic grade essential oils and their benefits


Essential Oils and the FDA

Essential oils are volatile, fragrant substances, derived from roots, bark,  stems, leaves, flowers, buds, seeds and other aerial plant parts.  Food, according to Webster’s dictionary, is defined as “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy.”    A drug, according to Webster is, ” a substance used as a medication or in the preparation of medication.”  The Food and Drug administration (FDA) goes by the definition of the  Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,  which is  (1) :  a substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary (2) :  a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease (3) :  a substance other than food intended to affect the structure or function of the body (4) :  a substance intended for use as a component of a medicine but not a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device.  The FDA proclaims its responsibility is to protect the public health by regulating the safety of foods, drugs, cosmetics, biological products and medical devices.  This is admirable, but a huge task.  The lines get blurred because the FDA decides things are drugs not by whether they are drugs but how they are marketed and what the “intended use” is.

For example, the FDA says in regard to essential oils, which are generally considered as cosmetics, “This principle also holds true for “essential oils.” For example, a fragrance marketed for promoting attractiveness is a cosmetic. But a fragrance marketed with certain claims, such as assertions that the scent will help the consumer sleep or quit smoking, meets the definition of a drug because of its intended use. Similarly, a massage oil that is simply intended to lubricate the skin and impart fragrance is a cosmetic, but if the product is intended to treat diseases or conditions, such as relieving arthritis  pain, it’s considered a drug.”

The problem with all of this is that in order to protect the consumer , the FDA must make methodical, makes arbitrary decisions, the effect of which may also limit peoples’ ability to educate and inform themselves, and severely limit their access to natural health options in favor of promoting synthetic patented pharmaceuticals which are big business.

According to Jeffrey Dach, MD, there is plenty of scientific research supporting the health benefits of eating cherries, but the FDA considers cherries to be unapproved drugs, and accordingly sent threatening letters to a number of fruit companies warning them not to mention any health benefits of cherries or they would pursue legal action.  In 2010, Diamond Foods received an FDA Warning letter concluding that walnuts are drugs because of links to scientific studies and proven research Diamond had listed on their web page about some of the benefits of walnuts.  This letter states, “Based on claims made on your firm’s website, we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease.”     At the same time the FDA advocates a Heart Healthy Diet and links to the American Heart Association’s recommendations for Healthy Diet Goals which includes four servings of nuts per week.  There appears to be no documented evidence that a single person has ever died because they ate walnuts or cherries believing them to be good for their health.  However, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000, authored by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health reported 106,000 deaths per year.  This was  actually a reprint, as the study was first published in 1996.  In case one thinks this is old information, the FDA’s own records of reported Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) admits to 98,518 deaths and 573,111 serious outcomes  (Serious outcomes include death, hospitalization, life-threatening, disability, congenital anomaly and/or other serious outcome) for 2011.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, 25% of Americans are now taking Statin Drugs to lower their cholesterol despite over 900 studies proving the adverse effects of statin drugs.    Many statins such as Zocor and Lipitor cannot be taken at all with grapefruit juice – not even three days later – because the reaction, which inhibits a substance in your small intestine that helps break down medications, could cause too much of the drug’s active ingredient to enter your bloodstream with potentially lethal effects.  Yet even though the drugs may be labeled with some warnings, many are not aware of the seriousness or the reason for them.  In fact, a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal mentions that grapefruit-drug interactions have been on the increase, as many as 6 new drugs per year and over 85 total drugs may cause interactions. A study on the popular drug Avandia, prescribed for Type II diabetes, showed a 30 to 40% increased risk of heart attack.  Yet the FDA allows this and other drugs with similar well documented harmful effects to be continue to be marketed while instead endeavoring to suppress knowledge of potential health benefits of natural substances such as essential oils, or foods such as walnuts or cherries with claims they are drugs.

Many essential oils are on the FDA Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, or as FDA approved food additives and flavoring agents.  According to the FDA, this means “a substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.”    The Code of Federal Regulations, 21 CFR 170.30 (b) also allows a substance used in food before 1958, through experience based on common use in food to be defined as GRAS.

As Aromatherapy products, essential oils are generally regulated by the FDA as cosmetics unless specific health claims are made which would cause the FDA to view a particular oil as a drug.  The cosmetic title of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act has not been significantly amended in more than 70 years, and consists of only one page as compared to 112 pages regulating foods and drugs.  It is important to note that cosmetic products are not required to list all the ingredients, particularly those considered trade secrets and fragrance.  “Fragrance” in the ingredients list on a label usually indicates some or all ingredients are synthetic.

An essential oil may be labeled as “pure”, “organic”, “wildcrafted, or “therapeutic”.  These terms mean little unless you know the company, know the source, and have a clear understanding of what they mean by these descriptions.  They do not tell you, for instance, whether expert botanists have been hired to correctly identify the correct species and seed selection.  They say nothing of soil conditions, whether the seeds were planted at the optimal time,  were free of disease, had the needed water and weather conditions during growth, and were harvested at the right time of day.  There are many variables, and they are different for each oil.  There is no standardization in the US for essential oils, and neither the FDA or any other official organization in the US which certifies whether an essential oil is pure or has therapeutic properties.  Neither does AFNOR (Association Francaise de Normalization), a standardization system of the French government with a membership of some 3000 companies, or The ISO (International Organization for Standardization), a worldwide federation of standardization bodies from 130 countries of which AFNOR is one member, representing France.  These misconceptions are easily perpetuated when information is copied on the internet from one site to another, even when the original company is not making such claims, or have defined the terms they are using, but copied information is taken out of context.  Young Living, for example, the world’s leading and the world’s longest running producer of high quality therapeutic grade oils, was the originator of the term “therapeutic grade” in describing their own oils which were defined as “Young Living Therapeutic Grade” or “YLTG”.  When they began producing essential oils for this purpose, there were very few essential oils available in America except fragrance grade, most of which were, and still are, extended or adulterated for lower cost production.  Other companies, seeing a high demand for therapeutic grade essential oils have since sought to join the market.

Another myth  that many of these companies are passing on to the customers is to create the impression that any average person can discern the purity of an oil by smelling it. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this theory.  There are many tasteless and odorless chemicals that can be, and frequently are, used to extend and adulterate essential oils, and other artificial means of enhancing the fragrance which will not show up on any but the most sophisticated testing equipment.  FDA labeling requirements again do not adequately represent this as the structure of an essential oil is such that even very tiny amounts of trace components, whether real or synthetic, will affect both the purity of an oil and any therapeutic action it may have.

For example, an oil could be labeled “100% pure Frankincense” and it may be all Frankincense but could be adulterated or extended with multiple species, or it could be improperly distilled.

If one is truly interested in therapeutic properties of essential oils,  it is important to know the company, and find one which adheres to the highest standards and state of the art testing.  
To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may 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 click the donate button to contribute a small amount towards 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.
 

 

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Essential Oils and Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

One of the risks of hospital stays or visits to other healthcare settings is contracting MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Infections. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics updated for 2013 indicate at least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected each year with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. In a medical setting, MRSA can cause life-threatening pneumonia or infections of wounds or surgical sites, or in the bloodstream. MRSA infections are easily transmitted from person to person by direct contact with the skin, clothing, utensils or other objects, or general area touched or used by an infected person. They may often begin at a wound or surgical site, or location where medical devices such as catheters and IV lines are placed. MRSA infections are generally very resistant to most drugs and antibiotics, making them difficult to treat. Studies show that about 33% of people carry MRSA in their nose without any sign of illness. A number of serious infections can result if staph enters the bloodstream, resulting in a condition known as a condition known as staphylococcal sepsis.  Even though incidence of MRSA infections have decreased slightly in the last few years due to more awareness, they are still a serious problem, tied to overuse of antibiotics for both humans and livestock.

Certain therapeutic grade essential oils can help maintain and support balance of healthy body systems. RC, a proprietary Young Living blend contains  several species of Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus globulus which helps support a healthy respiratory system.  Eucalyptus radiata may help support the ears, nose and throat as well as healthy lung function.  It is may help calm irritation.  Eucalyptus australiana ,  Eucalyptus citriodora, are also calming and may help provide bronchial support.  Also included in this blend are:  Myrtle (Myrtus communis)  which supports the respiratory system.  It is very gentle and may be used for this purpose with children older than two years of age.  Pine (Pinus sylvestris)  may be useful in helping support the respiratory system.    Spruce (Picea mariana)  helps support the nervous system as well as the respiratory and immune systems. Marjoram (Origanum majorana) provides support to the muscles and respiratory system.  Lavender (Lavandula angustiolia) helps support circulation, soothes irritation, and is calming.  True pure therapeutic grade Lavender is very soothing, cooling, and gentle for topical application, however most brands of Lavender oil are extended or adulterated.  Young Living Lavender is the highest quality and reliably safe to use in this regard.  Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)  helps support healthy circulation and normal lymph function.  It is soothing and relaxing as well as refreshing, also helping to support the immune system.  Peppermint (Mentha piperita)  is excellent for supporting the sinuses and respiratory function. It also has a long history of being soothing for digestion.

Lemongrass, (Cymbopogon flexuosus) may support digestion and detoxification.  It also supports lymph flow, circulation, and healthy joint and cartilege function.  Other oils which may help maintain a strong immune system include  Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora),  Mountain Savory (Satureja montana) Melissa (Melissa officinalis), and Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum).

It is very important however, to ensure that one uses only the highest quality therapeutic grade oils which have undergone extensive testing with state of the art equipment, and matched against a comprehensive library of documented therapeutic components to ensure these constituents are present in the required amounts.  Young Living is the first and by far the oldest company in the U.S. which has a history of producing high quality therapeutic grade oils for more than 20 years.  They have compiled an essential oil reference library with more than 280,000 compound references, much larger and more extensive than any other of its kind, and are the only essential oils company in the world using instruments matched and calibrated to those at the National Center for Scientific Reserch in France (CNRS) by Dr. Herve Casabianca.  Young Living is also the only company who hires experienced botanists and other trained experts to personally verify the entire Seed to Seal process from selecting the correct species of plant for seeds, planting, growing, harvesting, distilling, and bottling for both their own farms and partner growers and distillers all over the world, instead of simply relying on the word of remote suppliers that their standards have been met, or soil sample tests which may or may not be from the actual crop in question to verify that no chemicals or pesticides were used.  Young Living oils are also tested at both their own and third-party labs with far more testing than used by any other company, and they continue to lead the way in cutting edge research regarding the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. More than fifty U.S. hospitals use Young Living oils exclusively, and the list continues to expand.

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 to you, please consider a small donation to defray the costs of time and research:

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may benefit 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

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.


So much Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the most popular of all essential oils, due to its beautiful, classic fragrance which has long been popular for many personal care products, soaps, shampoos, and perfumes.  A member of the Lamiaceae or mint family, it has sources in Utah, Idaho, and France among others, and is steam distilled from the flowering tops.  Some of the key constituents of properly distilled therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil are Linalyl Acetate (24-45%) and Linalool (25-38%).  Caution is advised as these two ingredients in particular are often synthetically manufactured and used to extend Lavender oil, which may still be labeled as pure but is much cheaper to produce resulting in more profits for the manufacturer.  Labs have perfected these synthetic substitutes to have a lovely lavender fragrance pleasing to most consumers who are convinced that if it smells nice you are getting a high quality pure product.  Unfortunately, this is really not true, but the myth is further perpetuated by some Aromatherapists and companies  who try to teach consumers that their own nose will tell them if the oil is high quality or not.  However, very few average consumers have any experience or frame of reference to judge this by, and the only thing they really understand is whether a fragrance is pleasing or not.  They might be able to describe a fragrance as sweet, flowery, pungent, etc, but they cannot tell accurately whether synthetics are present, and the message being put out leads them to expect that if they are, they would be able to smell some obvious or unpleasant “chemical” quality.  In fact, many synthetic additives use to adulterate or extend popular oils such as lavender are odorless and tasteless.  So popular is Lavender essential oil that the amounts sold and added to perfumes and personal care products far exceeds the amount of real Lavender grown and distilled for essential oils, which points to the synthetic origins of many of these products.

Many Lavender oils are also often extended by blending with various less expensive hybrid species of Lavandin (Lavendula x hybrida), which is usually high in camphor.  However, Tasmanian Lavandin has a chemistry very similar to true Lavender that is low in camphor and high-resolution Gas Chromatography (GC) must be used to show this difference.  Yet if synthetic Linalyl Acetate is added, even GC testing can’t tell whether the compound is synthetic or natural, only that it is present.  In this case, Chiral Column GC testing, which allows the chemist to identify structural differences of the same compound, is necessary to determine whether the oil is pure or synthetic.  Very few essential oils companies will go to this extent to determine purity in their testing.  Most simply choose to rely on the word and reputation of their suppliers.

Over the 30 year period 1967-98, the production of true lavender oil in France dropped from 87 tons to only 12 tons, while worldwide demand over the same period grew more than 100 percent.  According to the Essential Oils Desk Reference, Fifth Edition, for every kilogram of pure essential oil produced, it is estimated that between 10 and 100 kilograms of synthetic essential oils are created.

Synthetic Linalyl Acetate is very different from the pure and natural form found in true Lavender oil.  The synthetic form is mildly toxic to humans and toxic to fish.  Synthetic  Linalool as it is sometimes called, is also potentially harmful.  It can lead to depression, slowed motor activity, and cause respiratory issues among other things, yet it is a common ingredient in many soaps, shampoos, lotions, creams and many other personal care products.

Some labels may refer to an ingredient as “nature identical”.  This is a clever marketing ploy that misleads people into thinking they are getting a natural product when in fact, “nature identical” simply means it is a laboratory created synthetic product with a molecular structure which may copy that of the main constituents found in the natural product.  However, no such product is truly “nature identical”.  A chemist may build these synthetic copies using 5 to 15 of  the key components and think he has done a complex thing, but in truth a natural essential oil has literally hundreds of biochemical constituents, in trace amounts, all of which play some role in the overall therapeutic balance, even if the percentage seems to be negligible.  There is no way for a laboratory to duplicate this complexity.  If you were baking a cake and your recipe called for 2 cups of flour, 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp baking powder, do you think it would be ok to leave out the baking powder because it is a small amount compared to the other ingredients?  What would happen to your cake if you did?  Well, this is the logic that is followed in trying create synthetic imitations of essential oils in the laboratory. Some of them have gotten clever enough that it takes state of the art testing to tell the difference and thereby many companies and suppliers are able to pass off inferior products on the unsuspecting consumer, all for the purpose of increasing their own profits.

Natural Linalyl Acetate and Linalool as found in true Lavender oil on the other hand, have been studied for their anti-inflammatory properties.  Pure therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil may help promote a more relaxed sleep, at the same time supporting strong mental focus and concentration when awake.   Young Living’s St. Maries Lavender, grown on their St. Maries farm in the pure clear air of northern Idaho, is especially delightful with a luxurious fragrance and soothing qualities.   For these oils it is very important to ensure you have a trusted source of high quality, carefully tested therapeutic grade oils.  To learn more about therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may 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 you like this report and would like to make a small donation to help defray the costs of time and research, you may click the donate button here:

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.