understanding therapeutic grade essential oils and their benefits

The UTI Dilemma

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearing House, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most common type of infection in the body and accounts for more than 8 million visits to health care providers in the US each year.  Although UTIs are more common in women, older men are also at risk and more likely to be hospitalized as a result.  Enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and diabetes increase risk factors for men.  Increasing rates of diabetes are also putting more women at risk, and for both men and women, increasing resistance to antibiotics is a factor. Symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, feeling a need to urinate more frequently but producing only small amounts, sometimes bloody urine, general fatigue.  If the UTI is not dealt with, symptoms may become more serious and include fever, nausea and intense pain in the lower back and kidney area.  If you experience these symptoms, prompt attention is needed.

Most UTIs are caused by E. coli (Escherichia coli). Many women suffer recurrent infections, with 20% of young women who have experienced a UTI being likely to have another.  With each recurring UTI, risk of chronic infections increases. While in general UTIs are non-life threatening and easily treated if they are caught early, complications do arise.  In addition to strains of bacteria becoming more resistant to antibiotics, many of the antibiotics used to treat UTI can have very harmful side effects.

For example, one commonly used drug, Nitrofurantoin (also marketed under names such as Macrobid, Macrodantin, Furodantin, etc) has been on the market for more than fifty years despite the fact it has been well-known to cause serious side effects including multiple fatalities. In February 2010, my 86-year-old mother was treated for a UTI.  She was prone to chronic infections and had been successfully treated many times in the past so this did not seem to be a major concern.  At the time, she had gone to the Emergency for other reasons and happened to have a scan of her lungs done, which showed both her lungs to be clear and healthy.  This proved to be important later on.  I had spent some time with her regular doctor going through her list of medications and getting everything adjusted, so for several months she was doing quite well.  But, we missed the Nitrofurantoin which had been prescribed at the Emergency room, and as she had been treated for UTI many times before, I did not realize she was being given something new.

By June she began to suffer a chronic cough and her energy levels began dropping.  Her regular doctor happened to be out and she was seen by someone else who diagnosed her with bronchitis.  Her condition worsened and did not respond; her regular doctor was still away so she was referred to a specialist who diagnosed Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  Still her condition continued to deteriorate until she began to need oxygen, and soon had to have it all the time.  In August she was hospitalized and after a week of being seen by several different highly respected physicians who all believed she had pneumonia, a prominent lung specialist came in who pointed to the Nitrofurantoin as the cause of her trouble.

The drug was stopped but the damage was done.  The scan of her lungs compared to the earlier scan in February showed a shocking difference – both lungs were now a complete mass of scarring, utterly destroyed by the Nitrofurantoin. While we hoped that stopping the drug might allow enough improvement for Mother to survive with care, this did not happen.  She did show some minor improvement but the scarring in her lungs was unchanged.  Ultimately she suffered another oxygen crisis and was hospitalized again in October and placed on a respirator.  As her condition continued to deteriorate, we were forced to turn off the machines and let her go.  Only then did she waken from the sedation to see us all standing around her bed, but she was unable to speak to us or breathe on her own at all, but we could see in her eyes that she understood what was happening, and with tears rolling down her cheeks, finally passed away, all due to the effects of the Nitrofurantoin.

Although of course we filed reports and complained to the FDA, nothing was done and I continue to read stories similar to my mother’s of people dying from this drug.  Apparently the deaths are considered acceptable since the reported numbers of such instances are claimed to be low in proportion to the overall numbers of instances in which the drug is prescribed.  In all liklihood however, these statistics are misleading.  Symptoms usually do not appear until months after the drug has been prescribed, in many cases, even after it has been stopped.  When they do, as in my mother’s case, they are often confused with some common respiratory ailment.  Mother was misdiagnosed by several doctors, even in a hospital ICU setting before a specialist finally happened along who pointed to the real cause.  Moreover, I was surprised to find that the majority of doctors, nurses, and health care professionals treating my mother were completely unaware of Nitrofurantoin’s dangerous history, even though it has been widely published in medical journals.

Another popular drug commonly prescribed for UTI, Ciproflaxin has recently been linked to as many as 1000 deaths, not to mention the unpleasant side effect of  having one’s tendon rupture suddenly, even months after the drug has been stopped.  These side effects may occur in people of all  ages. The truth is, the safety of many of  these drugs has NOT been adequately tested. If an infection does occur, either for yourself, a child, or elderly loved one who may not be able to monitor the side effects of medications, it is important to realize that everyone is different.  It is up to you to find out and know potential side effects of medications prescribed, and not assume that just because your doctor prescribes something he or she already knows you won’t have side effects.  Your doctor depends on your help in this area,  and to help others, if you do experience any negative effects with a prescribed drug, these should be reported.

Most UTIs have been found to be caused by E. coli.  Cleansing habits, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate rest, and a healthy diet are all important factors.  An alkalizing diet and avoiding sugar will also help.  UTIs can be easily avoided, but if they do occur, must be respected as something which can turn deadly and the drugs prescribed may be far more dangerous than the UTI itself if not monitored carefully.

As with many things, pure therapeutic grade essential oils can support healthy kidney function.   Thyme (Thymus vulgaris CT thymol), Oregano (Origanum compactum), Mountain Savory (Satureja montana),1:4 dilution; Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) 1:1 dilution; and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT Cineole) 1:1 dilution are among several that  may help to support a healthy urinary tract.

Blends which may be supportive of urinary tract health include:

– Melrose – Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia); Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia); Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT Cineole); Clove (Syzygium aromaticum).  1:1 dilution

-Purification – Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus); Lemongrass (Cymogogon flexuosus); Lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida); Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT Cineole); Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia); Myrtle (Myrtus communis) 1:1 dilution

– Thieves –  Clove (Syzygium aromaticum); Lemon (Citrus limon); Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum); Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata); Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT Cineole) 1:4 dilution

Oils may be applied topically by diluting 1:1 or 1:4 (one part essential oil to one or to four parts vegetable oil) as noted.

Oils listed by the FDA as GRAS for dietary supplement may also be taken internally in a clear vegetable capsule.   For individual oils, 3-4 drops, filling the rest of the capsule with olive oil or vegetable oil up to 3 or 4 times per day.   Be aware that many companies or brands may claim their oils to be pure, organic, or therapeutic grade.  Young Living is the only company that monitors the entire Seed to Seal process not only on their own farms but with every partner around the world they use as a supplier.  Also Young Living is the only company who does both third party testing as well as testing in their own laboratories and does the most extensive range of testing – not only for purity but to ensure maximum therapeutic standards are met.  Young Living has compiled a reference library of over 280,000 essential oil compound reference – the largest such library of its kind anywhere.  Internal use of other brands of essential oils is not recommended.

Another Young Living product, K & B Tincture, contains extracts of various herbs which may be soothing to the bladder and help support healthy kidneys.  It contains Juniper Berries, Parsley extract, Dandelion root, Roman chamomile, and Royal Jelly is included for its rich content of minerals, B5 and B6 vitamins, and amino acids. Pure therapeutic grade essential oils which have been extensively tested are included in this tincture as well.  Clove (Zyzgium aromaticum), Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and Juniperus scopulorum); Sage (Salvia officinalis) for supporting metabolism and strengthening vitality; Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) for  helping support digestion; Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens); and Roman chamomile (Chamamelum nobile) for supporting the liver.

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

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.




The Fearmongers – Essential Oils Safety Part 2

Essential oil safety seems to be a huge topic with widely varying answers, and with a rapidly growing interest among those who seriously wish to use them for therapeutic purposes, it is a valid question.  However, it does not need to be nearly so confusing, and certainly does not need to deter people from enjoying the benefits of high quality therapeutic grade oils. It is important to understand the different schools of thought in the application of essential oils.  The German model relies primarily on inhalation as a way to receive the benefits of essential oils.  The British model takes a very conservative approach of using very diluted oils for massage.  They have a long list of oils which they believe should NEVER be used for any reason, and generally frown upon applying the oils neat (undiluted) or taken orally unless under the direction of a licensed healthcare professional. The French model, however, embraces application of essential oils through both neat (undiluted) and diluted topical application, internal use through ingestion and suppositories, and inhaling or diffusing the oils.

Most Aromatherapists in the U.S. are trained according to the British model, and the prominent National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) relies heavily on this school of thought.  Generally, they do not recognize therapeutic grade oils but tend to adopt safety precautions that do not distinguish between the many classes and grades of oils available, and make the assumption that the general public is likely to come to great harm using essential oils if they do not adhere to this very conservative philosophy.    Much of the fear-mongering results when these ideas are posted widely on various blogs and forums as broad generalizations and promoted as being widely accepted by leading authorities.  The inherent implication is that any other school of thought is automatically wrong regardless of reasoning.  Unfortunately this very narrow approach has little basis in fact and is very confusing for those who are simply and honestly trying to learn what essential oils may have to offer. One often repeated theme is advising people to purchase only from small dealers and not from MLMs or large corporations due to integrity or quality concerns.

Here is what Dr. Daniel Pénoël, M.D. one of the foremost authorities on the therapeutic use of essential oils has to say about Young Living, the world’s leading essential oils company which also happens to be MLM:

“Many companies have jumped onto the “aromatic bandwagon” solely for commercial reasons.  They simply do not know the meaning of “genuine” when it is implied to essential oils.  They market products that are made solely for what I call “recreational fragrancing….” 
     Gary Young, the founder and president of Young Living Essential Oils, understands the huge difference ….  His goal has been to create a means for producing therapeutic-grade essential oils-oils of the very highest quality-on a very large-scale.  While in most cases emphasis on quantity means decreasing quality, this is NOT the case with Young Living!
     To be able to certify completely the high-grade of his oils, Gary Young has also taken the ultimate step: He has developed his own farms and his own distillations techniques to guarantee the therapeutic quality he seeks.  He has become a true pioneer in developing these operations in the United States.  I wish everyone could see firsthand the Young Living aromatic farms.  From the nurseries, the fields, the distilleries, the lab, and the production department, it is an incredible and unforgettable experience!  Everything Rose-Marie and I wanted to see was shown to us, without concealing anything or any place.  For example, we saw the Bulgarian Rose essential oil with its special wax seal, the hallmark of a genuine essential oil superb quality.
     As always, I brought my own therapeutic-grade essential oils for the seminar, but I had no problem using the Young Living oils as well.  I found them to be top quality, definitely deserving the term, “therapeutic grade.”  Young Living was the first company to import the new Australian essential oil called “Rosalina” (Melaleuca ericifolia) to North America.  It was imported from one of the highest-grade, organic producers in Australia and sold out in just two days-a testament to its superior quality.”  Dr. Daniel Pénoël, M.D

Another common theme in fearmongering is that all representatives of MLM essential oil companies recklessly recommend, advocate and prescribe unsafe practices and uses of essential oils for the sole purpose of trying to sell the oils or sign up distributors.  It is interesting that many of these generalizations often come from small private aromatherapy practitioners who stand to gain customers of their own products and services by frightening them away from the MLM companies.  Sadly, these kind of practices are harmful for all essential oil companies, and for everyone who wishes to enjoy essential oils.

In fact, Gary Young of Young Living was the first health company leader willing to actively work with the FDA to achieve full compliance.  Young Living was audited by the FDA in January of 2015 and was the only health company in 7 years to receive a grade of 100% compliance for the company website and materials.  Young Living is actively working to make its members aware of what they can and cannot say while sharing their products to remain in compliance with FDA rules.

The truth is that a wide range exists in both MLM and large and small companies of experts truly knowledgeable in the many uses of essential oils.  Whether the company is large or small, MLM or not, really is not the defining factor.  It is also not accurate to portray that independent distributors who practice applying certain oils undiluted or ingesting them orally are doing so out of blatant ignorance and/or greedy motive, or that all or even the majority of respected authorities frown on such practices.  Such a philosophy completely ignores the French model of teaching about essential oils, which has been in existence much longer than the British model has, and is sustained by a large body of current and ongoing scientific research which has worldwide respect.

Aromatherapists aligned with NAHA and the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) continue to warn loudly about undiluted application or oral ingestion and imply that anyone advocating or daring to do this without the explicit guidance of a licensed healthcare professional is engaging in something highly dangerous. While it is true that essential oils can be very potent and powerful when properly grown and distilled for therapeutic purposes, they are not drugs.  If an essential oil is on the FDA GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) List, this means they have a very long history of safe use when used as intended, going back more than 50 years.


Influential author and educator Robert Tisserand is often widely regarded as the father of modern aromatherapy, and to him we are certainly indebted for the English translations of Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy, the first aromatherapy book written by Dr. René-Maurice Gattefossé  in 1937, as well as Dr. Jean Valnet’s 1964 book, The Practice of Aromatherapy, which Tisserand also translated.  A native of Great Britain, Tisserand began practicing spiritual healing on his friends at the age of 17, and was fascinated the next year when his mother returned from Paris with an autographed copy of Valnet’s book.  He began selling essential oils out of his bedroom apartment four years later, and founded his essential oils company in 1974.  He still serves as a consultant for this company, now known as Tisserand Aromatherapy. His 1977 book, The Art of Aromatherapy, became an international best seller.  Later he become increasingly concerned with essential oils safety and his most recent updated version of Essential Oil Safety:  A Guide For Health Care Professionals is widely considered the go to book for answers.  Although Tisserand himself is neither a physician nor a chemist, and in fact does not claim any degree on his website, his intensive research and years of personal experience with the use of essential oils have gained him a worldwide reputation.  He has won many awards and presented at numerous conferences.  Tisserand, who came to the U.S. in 2000,  generally represents the more conservative British view, however even he notes in the first edition of his Essential Oil Safety, “We are aware that a book such as this could have the effect of presenting essential oils as generally dangerous substances – this is certainly not our intention. On the contrary, there are several instances where we have shown that supposed dangers do not in fact exist.  The majority of essential oils turn out to be non-hazardous as they are used in aromatherapy.”   Many aromatherapists have placed undue emphasis on Tisserand’s safety statistics without fully understand the context.  He notes, for example, that the text is largely drawn from the toxicology reports from the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials.  In other words, the safety issues apply primarily to oils of fragrance grade.  The testing was also mainly done using the LD50 levels for laboratory mice or rats.  This means that the test rodents are given increasingly large doses until half of the ones tested die – that dose is considered to be LD50.  These doses, incidentally, are generally much larger even than a human would use (consider a human weighing maybe 150x as much as a large laboratory rat) let alone a dose that might be appropriate for something as small as a rat or a mouse.  Tisserand states, “Toxicologists increasingly acknowledge that giving excessive doses of a substance to a genetically in-bred mouse living in a laboratory may not have great relevance to the human situation.”

Yet, numerous postings from the aromatherapy community continually refer to cases of poisoning and fatality from self-dosing of essential oil, yet none of them ever cite the source  where the records of all these so-called poisonings and fatalities from essential oils may be found.    If one searches for these, it is very difficult to find anything.  One however is a study published in the Feb 2001 Paediatrics & Child Health Journal .  This simply reviewed charts of calls to the Ontario Regional Poison Information Center, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto between Dec 1995 – March 1997.   Reading through the article, it is evident that virtually all of these cases referred to very young children accidentally ingesting various cold remedy products such as cough syrup or vapor-rub, composed of synthetic or lab-created ingredients or isolated chemical components of essential oils.  It really does not refer to even fragrance grade aromatherapy oils, much less pure unadulterated natural oils of therapeutic quality.  Most of these involved “camphorated” products or cold remedies  with menthol and eucalyptus – note that all of these are synthetic, laboratory engineered products which, even if they contain any real essential oil it is combined with many other synthetic chemicals.  Even so, of 244 calls made by parents and caregivers, only 29 callers reported the child actually showing any symptoms while at home, nevertheless a total of 76 children were referred to an acute care facility. None of these 76 children died and all cases resolved spontaneously.  Only two children briefly experienced seizures, one a 14 month old boy from ingesting an unknown quantity of 20% camphorated oil and a 19 month old girl from ingesting 50 ml  of Vick’s VaporRub (an amount comparable to more than 3 large 15 ml bottles of essential oil), but these also fully recovered without any lasting effects.

Tisserand notes that virtually all cases of serious poisoning from essential oils result from ingesting undiluted oils in quantity much higher than therapeutic doses.   Of the few cases he is able to cite, most refer to over the counter preparations such as cold remedy products, yet the essential oil is invariably blamed as the culprit even though it is invariably synthetic or lab created and combined with many other synthetic chemicals.  For example, Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) which contains 98% Methyl salicylate and thus is often pointed to as one of the most toxic of oils, began to be widely adulterated and created synthetically more than a hundred years ago.

Dr David Stewart, PhD, author of more than 200 publications including the excellent book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple,  is also a Registered Aromatherapist (RA) with the nationally recognized Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC), which is endorsed by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists (NAHA), of which he is a member.  He has also served on advisory committees to the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). He has testified as an expert on health matters before state legislative committees, U.S. congressional committees, medical licensing boards and courts of law throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada.  Dr. Stewart earned his PhD in Geophysics, which employs techniques  and knowledge  of chemistry, mathematics, and  physics in studying nature of the earth and its environment and understanding the complexity of dynamic behaviors.  He has won many awards and presented lectures around the world and has appeared on television in 44 countries.  Dr. Stewart provides an excellent understanding of the chemical differences between natural and synthetically created oils, as well as explaining the important relationship of numerous minor trace components in the whole pure oil which laboratory chemists cannot duplicate.  While it is true that all synthetic or laboratory manipulated forms of Wintergreen oil or Methyl Salicylate are highly toxic, the whole pure oil properly distilled for therapeutic effect, and used correctly is not.  Also, as Dr. Stewart explains, the true pure oils are easily metabolized by the body and do not cause harmful cumulative effects in the way synthetic substances do.

That said, it is important to understand that blanket generalizations are almost always misleading.   The British model generally states that ALL oils should ALWAYS be diluted and NO oils should EVER  be ingested or applied neat.  This belief is so firmly adhered to among those who follow this model that it is widely reported that MLM companies advocate blanket advice to ingest or apply neat any oil you want whenever you please  just because they may have encountered a representative of an MLM has provided information on a particular instance where a particular oil might be used neat or ingested.  This simply is not a fair nor accurate statement.  

The Essential Oils Desk Reference  (EODR) published by Life Science Publishing for instance is a massive work detailing specific information on the therapeutic oils offered by Young Living.  This includes safety precautions, recommendations for dilution, and the FDA GRAS list and guidelines for when and how certain oils might be used as a dietary supplement. It is an excellent and valuable resource for anyone genuinely interested in learning about essential oils,  however, followers of the British model will generally not even consider it, believing oral ingestion or neat applications should not be advocated under any circumstance. NAHA members and followers also state that Raindrop Therapy, developed by Gary Young in the 1980s and which calls for the neat application of specific oils dropped on the spine  undiluted in keeping with the French model, is highly dangerous.  The Raindrop practice does call for neat use of certain oils for which dilution is normally recommended in other applications, but it is necessary to view this in the context of its particular usage rather than automatically dismissing it as “wrong” or “dangerous” because it deviates from the British model. 

In order to perform the Raindrop Technique on others, one must become a Certified Raindrop Technique Specialist which involves a minimum of 72 hours of intensive training including formal classes.  Board Certified Raindrop Specialists must undergo 164 hours of training.  Additionally, for those not already having some type of certification as a healthcare professional which would license them to legally practice massage, additional training and licensing to become a Licensed Spiritual Healer is required.  Those who practice Raindrop must agree to use only Young Living essential oils for this purpose to ensure that oils adulterated with potentially harmful chemicals are not used.  Young Living does more quality testing of their essential oils than any other company, conducted at both their own laboratories and confirmed by third-party labs, and they maintain a strict “Seed to Seal” quality commitment, monitoring the entire planting, growth, harvest, distillation, and bottling phases regardless whether the oils are grown at their own farms or by some of their worldwide partners.  

It interesting that so much passion is stirred up by this topic among aromatherapists of the British model who insist such practices are completely unsafe,  when toxicity of many commonly used cosmetics and skincare products is far more widespread.  An article in The Huffington Post for example, reports over 10,000 toxic ingredients typically found in favorite beauty products, many of which are described in this Guide to Less Toxic Products.  In a new study, Environmental Defense found several favorite makeup brands contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and lead which are not listed on the labeling.

It is also interesting that if consumer safety is the true and genuine concern, that such effort is being made to frighten and discourage people away from exploring therapeutic uses of essential oils.   In the paper Death by Medicine by Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; and Dorothy Smith, PhD, shows the number of in hospital patients having adverse reactions to prescribed drugs is 2.2 million per year, and further, the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is 783,936 per year – which makes the American medical system the leading cause of death and injury in the U.S. 

Essential oils can be used very safely with a little care and common sense.   Since different people have different levels of sensitivity, caution is always advised to learn how your body may respond to different oils.  It is important to seek relevant safety and usage information specific to a particular oil and the company you are purchasing it.  Even if an oil is pure, there may be different species and sometimes different chemotypes of the same species resulting in major differences of the chemical constituents.  Adulterated, Extended, Synthetically derived,  or “nature-identical” oils do NOT behave the same or have the same safety considerations as a genuine pure oil properly grown and distilled for maximum therapeutic benefit.  And, just because an online store provides a link to download the GC/MS or other quality test for a particular oil is not necessarily any assurance that it is an actual test of the particular oil you are buying.  Most quality oils are distilled in small batches and tests can differ widely according to batch, source, growing conditions, distillation parameters and a variety of other factors so these would have to be updated far more frequently than would be practical to be an authentic representation of the results for a particular oil you receive in most cases.  For those who have a health condition, and/or questions about safely using an oil for a particular circumstance, consulting one’s healthcare professional is certainly recommended.  Essential oils are not drugs although they are very powerful and can have many beneficial therapeutic applications when carefully produced for this purpose.

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 prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. 

Scare Tactics – Internal Use of Essential Oils – Safe or Not?

Many blogs, Facebook posts, and emails are currently making the rounds, warning against taking essential oils internally. One for example, provides the comparison of drinking a single drop of chamomile oil to drinking 30 cups of chamomile tea in a day, and of course you wouldn’t drink that much tea so why would you drink a drop of the oil? First of all, let’s be clear. Essential oils are very concentrated, it is true. However, even assuming you know the source, and that the oil is pure without synthetic additives, a great many factors affect their therapeutic properties and actions. Seeds must first be carefully identified and selected from the correct species. Optimal conditions for planting, soil, weather, growing and harvesting are necessary, not to mention correct distillation procedures. Oil distilled from the same plant can have very different properties depending whether it is distilled from needles or leaves, bark, stems, buds, fruits, or flowers. Wide variation may also result if you simply harvest it on a different day or different time a day, or if you use different distillation parameters.

Chamomile tea is generally made from steeping the dried flowers and leaves in hot water. Is the chamomile tea you are drinking even the same species as the essential oil in question? Did it even come from the same locality? German Chamomile essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers and Roman Chamomile from the flowering tops. If you think about this at all, you will quickly realize that steeping a few dried chamomile flowers in hot water for a few minutes is hardly the same thing as the complicated process of correctly extracting a pure therapeutic oil through steam distillation. The fact that the oil is more concentrated really has nothing to do with it – you wouldn’t drink 30 cups of water in a day either!

The FDA has a very long list of essential oils on their GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) list, and/or listed as Flavoring Agents (FA), most of which were added due to a long history of safe use prior to 1958, which of course assumes it is really the pure oil. For that, you have to know who you are dealing with. But the essential oil dealers who do put synthetics in their oils are no worse than all these other companies putting the stuff on grocery shelves for you to consume, or the Pharmaceutical companies patenting these drugs. You just have to use common sense, know your supplier, and if you are serious about using essential oils, it is good to consult knowledgeable experts and try to learn everything you can.

When you begin to understand what it takes to produce some of these oils, you begin to realize there is no way some of these places offering them for extremely cheap prices can even be pure, much less therapeutic, but we have also been unfortunately conditioned to think cheaper is better. But you get what you pay for, and when it comes to your health, things like essential oils and natural supplements and healthy foods are important; you are not saving money by wasting it on cheap oils. Then there are those who, admitting the FDA has such a list of GRAS essential oils, complain that the dosages are not also listed. However, essential oils are not drugs. We are, unfortunately, very conditioned to trusting all these synthetic prescription drugs as safe, and we believe items in the grocery and drugstore are safe for human use and consumption, because we assume if they were not, the FDA or someone would not allow them to be there for sale, or would not allow doctors to prescribe these drugs. So it is funny how we trust those things but tend to be afraid of natural things.

Well, it is right to be cautious  with the essential oils because you want to be sure it is what it says it is and not something adulterated with harmful synthetics or chemical additives (which is common among essential oils you may find for sale in the health food store or other online places, even though the label may claim they are “pure” or “therapeutic”). Most of these do say NOT to take them internally, and that causes people to be afraid. But often the reason for these disclaimers is  because they know or suspect the oil they are selling as “pure” is not really pure but has harmful chemicals in it, and they of course don’t want to get sued.  So they would like to give you the impression that the oil itself is not safe rather than admit they adulterated it, or don’t have enough confidence in the testing they are able to afford, to be sure it is not.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, there were more than 17,000 cases of poisoning reported for children under 6 during 2012. Cosmetics and personal care products topped the list with 2692 cases, followed by pain medications with 1760. Other top causes in descending order included cleaners, foreign bodies, topical medicines, vitamins, antihistamines, batteries, plants and mushrooms, antimicrobials, arts and crafts, pesticides, and finally cough and cold medications with 419 cases. For adults 20 and older there were more than 13,000 cases reported with pain relievers topping the list at 2705, and sedatives and hypnotics second with 1966 cases. Following in descending order were cleaning substances, cardiovascular drugs, antidepressants, alcohols, food products/poisoning, pesticides, cosmetic and personal care products, antihistamines, stimulants and street drugs, and finally hormones and hormone agonists with 593 cases. Essential oils are not on either of these lists. Although essential oils are not drugs, it is true that they are very potent, concentrated substances and need to be treated with respect. Young children are quite capable of ingesting almost anything they can get in their mouths. This could range from anything like bugs, dirt, garden or household plants, unsecured medications, personal care products, and cleaners, to small parts of toys or other objects. A 1953 article by J.O. Craig discusses cases of toxicity in Edinburgh and Aberdeen occurring in the 20 year period between 1931-51. Of 502 cases of childhood poisoning, 74 were said to involve volatile oils, and of 454 deaths involving poisoning, 54 were said to be caused by volatile oils. The death of anyone is a tragedy, and any deaths involving children are especially heartbreaking. 

Whether or not essential oils may be safe to ingest is not the real question. Virtually everyone keeps large quantities of all kinds of substances in their homes which, if accidentally ingested by a child, could be potentially very harmful, even lethal. These may include all kinds of prescription or over the counter medications, vitamins, soaps, cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics, and the child’s own toys. People need to be responsible and vigilant where children are concerned, plain and simple. One case described by Craig refers to a five-year old boy being given a teaspoon of camphor oil for a cold when the mother said she had intended to give him olive oil. It seems more likely that she was confusing camphor oil with castor oil which was a common home remedy and since the boy got sick she was afraid to name either camphor or castor and said she meant to give him olive oil. The child experienced vomiting, sleepiness and confusion, but although he was admitted, no specific therapy was given and he fully recovered without any ill effects within 24 hours. Other incidents refer to Oil of Wintergreen or Methyl Salicylate, and Oil of Turpentine. It appears that most if not all of these cases involved synthetic versions or chemicals, and all cases were accidental with large quantities consumed. As very concentrated and potent substances, essential oils have a long history of needing only a single drop to a very few drops, however they are used.

Many of the warnings being passed around seem to imply that people are recklessly drinking essential oils by the bottle and that serious illness or fatality from use of essential oils, particularly ingesting them is a common thing. Some suggest that anyone who advocates ingesting an essential oil is only trying to get you to go through bottles of essential oil faster so they can make more money. This kind of talk has no real basis in fact and only serves to scare people unnecessarily.

The FDA states there are over 2 million Adverse Drug Reactions and 100,000 deaths each year. These are drugs properly prescribed by doctors and used as intended. They are the 4th leading cause of death overall, killing more people than pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents, and automobile death. As for money, at least 11 major pharmaceutical companies brought in more than $85 million apiece during 2012. This number pales in comparison to the huge payoffs the FDA is collecting, however. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992 authorizes the FDA to collect fees from companies that produce certain human drug and biological products. PDUFA established three types of user fees – application fees, establishment fees, and product fees. According to the FDA 2012 PDUFA Financial Report, in FY 2012, FDA collected $699.8 million in prescription drug user fees, spent $636.9 million in user fees for the review process, and carried a cumulative balance of $178.5 million forward for future fiscal years. 

A 2012 article in the Huffington Post points out many food additives that are causing a host of health problems, even numerous fatalities, which the FDA has failed to protect us from even when large bodies of evidence about harmful effects continues to mount. In fact, when the safety statistics of essential oils is compared with these food additives and prescription drugs, incidence of adverse reaction to essential oils are quite rare, and when sifted down usually prove to be caused by one of the following: 1) fragrance grade oils of questionable purity and quality 2) synthetic, adulterated, or extended oils, and 3) isolated compounds. Pure essential oils have a very long history of safe use going back thousands of years. Given these statistics, the idea that certain individuals or companies are trying to encourage a harmful practice of ingesting oils to get customers to consume a few more drops of oil each month so they can rack up large profits is rather absurd.

That said, since very few truly pure therapeutic grade essential oils exist while increasing numbers are labeled as such, it is well to be cautious. Individuals are all different and may respond to oils differently, so it is a good thing to get familiar with each new oil to try to learn how your body responds. It is also important to understand that synthetic, adulterated, or extended oils, or isolated compounds are simply not the same as a pure oil. Even when the oils are pure and properly distilled, there are often different chemotypes and there may be considerable differences in oils that were grown in different localities, or sometimes even different batches. A few companies, such as Young Living do have high quality therapeutic grade oils, many of which are on the FDA’s GRAS list and have been safely ingested by thousands for many years as a dietary supplement. I personally use several regularly for internal use and have never had any problems with internal use of these essential oils which have been listed by the FDA for dietary supplement. Young Living carefully oversees the entire Seed to Seal process at all of their nine farms around the world, as well as the many produced by partner growers in other worldwide locations. Young Living rigorously tests all oils in their own labs which have some of the most extremely sophisticated testing equipment in the entire world. In addition, all oils are further tested by highly regarded third-party labs for verification. Thus they are able to produce batches of oil year after year with a high degree of consistency. Young Living also offers a wide range of training with many books, introductory classes, and training sessions regularly held across the country so people can easily learn and direct others to appropriate materials on the safe and beneficial use of essential oils.

If you have questions about internal use of essential oils, consulting your doctor or healthcare professional is always recommended, especially for those who have health conditions and/or may be taking prescription medications. Do your research and first of all make sure you are dealing with a reputable company who has a long track record of high quality standards and has the means to personally monitor all phases of the growing and distilling process of their own or partner producers, and who conducts rigorous testing. While many feel that dealing with smaller companies is safer, be aware that a number of the smaller companies usually have far fewer resources and funding at their disposal to carry out extensive testing or personally monitor the growers and distillers who supply them.

Do your homework and be sure your supplier does have an active relationship with their growers and distillers and are not simply repackaging and selling you oils they broker simply by placing phone or online orders without any real knowledge of how the oils they are selling are grown and distilled. If you wish to use oils internally, be sure you buy from a supplier who is confident enough regarding the quality of their oils to be able to definitely tell you how their customers are using the oils, point you to supporting educational material, and not simply offer some vague response like “we cannot say, it is up to you whether you want to ingest the oils.” Be sure to carefully research any oil you may wish to use internally, and that you understand the properties of the specific oil you are using and that you follow the recommended use guidelines and are fully aware of any potential concerns that may arise, and know what to look for.

Oils taken internally should always be diluted by taking with food, such as a drop taken in at least 4 oz of liquid, a spoonful of honey, piece of bread, etc.  They may also be taken by placing in clear vegetable capsules, and diluted with olive oil, for example, adding 2-4 drops of the essential oil and filling the rest of the capsule with olive oil.  However, this may vary depending on the oil being used and what you are using for.  Be sure you have done adequate research and know the recommendations for the specific oil you are using.  

In closing, it may be said that safe use of essential oils or any other product you would consume or apply topically is always something you should pay attention to, and not just assume that it is safe because it is available for purchase.  It is important to pay attention and to realize that not all oils are created equal and while oils from one company may be safe, oils from another may not.  Know your source.  Also make sure you have information specific to the species of oil and the supplier you are getting it from.  Avoid all oils which may have synthetic additives and do not simply rely on a label that says “pure”, “organic”, or “therapeutic”.  It is important to understand that synthetically manipulated oils and compounds are not the same as pure unaltered oils and they do not work in the same way.  Although some Aromatherapists see no difference in the safety of synthetic vs natural compounds, the isomers (shape or arrangement of the molecules) are not the same.  Synthetic versions are also lacking in many minor trace components which may seem unimportant, however they can have a huge impact on the property of the whole oil.  For example, as Dr. David Stewart points out in his book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, sulfur compounds probably occur in most essential oils but usually in concentrations of only one part per million (ppm) to less than one part per billion (ppb). These are too low to be detected by Gas Chromatography, however they will almost always affect the fragrance of an oil. The scent of grapefruit is caused by a sulfur compound thioterpineol, a tiny amount of less than one ppb. Dr. Stewart explains that one ppb is equivalent to five drops in an olympic swimming pool – yet its presence dominates the scent of grapefruit.  This is just one illustration of why these minute components can be very critical to how an oil works and while laboratories can isolate a few of the main molecules, they cannot reproduce the myriad of components that occurs in the natural oil.  These minor components can govern many different properties of the whole oil, and thus safety of a synthetically altered oil or a lab created synthetic copy of one of its compounds is entirely different in safety than the natural substance.

Your supplier should be able to provide substantial information on their quality and testing standards.  Organoleptic testing (touch, taste, smell) is simply not enough, there are very few people in the world who have the natural ability and added training to be an expert “Nose” in regard to essential oils.

At the same time, there is no reason to use scare tactics.   Sources of pure, therapeutic grade essential oils do exist, and genuine oils of this class used within their recommended guidelines can be very safe as well as beneficial.

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and their properties and safe use, 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.

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.


Candida – The Master of Punishment and Reward

Candida (Candida albicans), as a fungus, is a bizarre  life form that is part animal, part vegetable, and part bacterial in nature.  They are eukaryotes, which comes from a Greek word meaning “true nut”.   The main part of their outer cell wall is composed of chitin, similar to what vegetables have, giving it a tough, rigid form.  The “nut” part is the membrane sac composed of lipoprotein (fats and proteins) which is the same cellular structure humans and animals have, and a nucleus at its center, which contains the DNA.   Candida can produce asexually, like bacteria, or sexually, clone itself, and alter its shape by rearranging its chromosomal structure into at least 7 different forms in order to ensure its ability to survive.  When it switches to invasive form, it becomes multi-cellular, growing hyphae or long root like structures which puncture the intestinal wall and allow it to feed – not just on sugar, but other nutrients the host should be getting.  In other words, if you have a Candida overgrowth, the Candida is stealing your nutrition.  These Candida colonies cover themselves with a thick protective biofilm which can grow up to 450 μm thick and make the colony very difficult to dislodge.  It is further protected by its tough cell wall.  

These very adaptable creatures further have the ability to simply hibernate when their food supply is inadequate, and come back out again when you consume sugar or carbohydrates – which explains why you can feel an intense rush of returning symptoms  so suddenly if you have been trying to follow a Candida diet and then eat something you shouldn’t.  When you eat sugar, the Candida ferments it and forms Acetylaldehyde, the same product that results when alcohol is broken down by the liver.  Acetylaldehyde combines with two key neurotransmitters, dopamine and seratonin, which act as chemical messengers, relaying nerve signals through the brain.  These are further broken down into morphine like molecules which occupy the same receptor sites as beta endorphins, and are highly addictive.  Next to directly consuming alcohol, production from Candida is the second major cause of Acetylaldehyde entering the brain.  Dopamine regulates a number of things including the sensation of feeling pleasure and stimulates one to seek pleasurable behaviors such as food, sex, or drugs that release dopamine, and is responsible for the strong cravings of addiction.   Serotonin also does many things, and is responsible for regulating appetite and sexual behavior as well as mood, aggression and ability to sleep.  Serotonin is also critical for proper function of the gastrointestinal tract muscles, immune function, and the cardiovascular and renal systems.  

Initially, Acetylaldehyde will release a flood of serotonin in the brain, resulting in a euphoric feeling of relaxed inhibition.  Needless to say, if you have Candida overgrowth and consume alcohol, you are getting a double whammy. However, ultimately, elevated amounts of Acetylaldehyde result in a vicious cycle of neurotransmitter depletion and displacement that play havoc with your brain chemistry and produce intense, uncontrollable cravings.   The Candida very effectively set you up for an unending roller coaster ride, rewarding you with a rush of opiate like feel good hormones when they get what they want – a feast of sugars and carbohydrates – and then punish you with uncontrollable cravings as their supply runs out and they demand more.

According to Dr. William Crook, author of 14 books and most famous for his pioneering work in studying yeast overgrowth, numerous people suffering from  with depression,  fatigue,muscle and joint pain headache, and digestive problems have been repeatedly misdiagnosed and/or have taken many tests which  find nothing wrong, but in fact they have Candida.  When the patient is treated with anti-fungal drugs, yeast spores often remain circulation in the blood-stream sometimes for years, even for decades, and can cause re-infection at any time.  As part of their growth process, Candida also secrete toxins, digestive enzymes, and fungal acid into the tissues of their host, feeding not only on sugar but on the amino acids of protein molecules they derive from the host’s tissue.  At least 79 different species of Candida endotoxins have been identified, including some which are neurotoxins that can cause damage to the central nervous system, depression, mood changes, aggression, and neurotic behaviors.  Candida further punish you by emitting these toxins when they die, known as “die-off reaction” or “Herximer effect”.  This can include symptoms such as:

  • sinus congestion, sore throat, cough
  • itching or skin rashes
  • fatigue, aches in muscles and joints
  • headaches
  • gas, bloating, digestive upsets, IBS like symptoms
  • heart palpitations, low blood pressure, fever, chills
  • blurred vision
  • anxiety or depression
  • intense cravings

These are built-in survival mechanisms of the species by discouraging the host from actions which kill the yeast, reduce their food supply or alter their comfortable living environment in which they want to continue to stay and grow and propagate.  The host is left in a constant state of putting up with unpleasant discomforts due to the Candida’s presence, which seem to intensify both when trying to get rid of the Candida, or if one slips back to forbidden foods  when temporary relief is obtained following a rigid and difficult to stick with Anti-Candida diet.  There also are differences of opinion with different Anti-Candida diets as to which foods are or are not allowed.  It will take some experimentation to find out which things work the best in your situation, but awareness is key, and even if you don’t have a Candida infection, being aware and taking preventive measures can help you avoid this very unpleasant and difficult to eradicate experience.

Some Anti-Candida diets for instance do not allow grains while others do.

In fact, thinking you are making healthy choices by trying to eat whole grain breads and cereals can feed the Candida just as easily because they are more difficult to digest.  Even many popular “natural” cereals are laden with GMOs.  (GMO refers to Genetically Modified Organisms, meaning any living thing which has had its genes modified by adding a gene from an unrelated species.) Wheat is the third leading crop in the U.S. and the U.S. supplies about 10% of the world’s wheat.  Many countries will not accept crops that are GMO, so for wheat growers, the topic is a sensitive one.  The FDA has not approved genetic modification of wheat and America’s wheat crop is supposed to be non-GMO, except last year some escaped  GMO wheat seed from biotech research giant Monsanto that mysteriously appeared in the field of an Oregon farmer eight years after testing was supposed to have been over with.   In spite of this fiasco, Monsanto has persisted with their experiments of unapproved GMO wheat and has just proclaimed the first ever GMO wheat crop will soon be ready, where it is growing at an undisclosed field in North Dakota.   Monsanto owns 90 – 95% of the seed companies out there.  However, even if our wheat is not GMO, it has been so intensively hybridized during the past 60 years to create hardier, more profitable crops, that its nutritional profile has completely changed, resulting in a myriad of health issues. These wheats contain phytic acid which prevents proper absorption of needed minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.  They contain lectins which cause inflammation and insulin resistance. They contain amylopectin A, which raises blood sugar faster even than table sugar. Two slices of whole wheat bread will spike blood sugar more than eating a candy bar. They contain gliadin a protein within gluten which we cannot fully digest, contributing to Leaky Gut Syndrome.  Corn is the largest US crop, and 90% of it is GMO, and 80% of it is controlled by Monsanto.  94% of US soy (90% controlled by Monsanto), and 95% of the sugar beets (which come from Monsanto and represent more than half of the sugar in the US) are also GMO.

Also thanks to Monsanto, use of the popular herbicide Roundup (glyphosphate) which they created has tripled since 1997, and is the excuse for all the “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered crops.  Last May, the Environmental Protection Agency adopted new standards allowing glyphosphate in oilseed crops such as flax, soybeans, and canola to be doubled to 40 ppm.  This is more than 100,000 times the amount needed to induce breast cancer cells.  The EPA also increased allowable levels of glyphosphate in food crops from 200 ppm to 6000 ppm.  Organ damage has occurred in animals as low as 0.1 ppm.  Glyphosphate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer is the word’s best selling herbicide, used in over 150 crops in over 90 countries.  A recent European study tested volunteers from 18 countries, all living in cities, and who had never before touched or handled glyphosphate.  Yet 44% of those tested had glyphosphate in their urine.  In a bizarre twist, the Supreme Court has just decided to side with Monsanto whose patented GMO seeds are finding their way into the crops of small organic farmers and contaminating them. Not only are these farmers unable to sue Monsanto for damages to their crops, instead Monsanto has filed more than 100 lawsuits against these farmers for growing their patented seed – which the farmers did not want, did not plant, and had no intention of growing.  But the Supreme Court agreed these farmers have to pay royalties to Monsanto for using their patented seed. Monsanto owns 1676 seed and plant patents and 40% of US cropland or 151.4 million acres are planted with Monsanto’s GMO glyphosphate laden crops.  64 countries require GMO labeling, but the US does not, largely due to Monsanto’s influence. What does all this have to do with Candida?  Well, as it turns out, glyphosphate causes radical disruption of the life cycle of the bacteria in your boy – and it preferentially attacks the good bacteria, allowing Candida and other harmful species to take over.  

However, as increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of these facts, the struggle with Candida is not entirely lost.

Here are some key points to remember:

  1. Candida attacks and remains in individuals with a weakened immune system.  Therefore, doing everything you can to build up and strengthen your immune system is key.  Whatever diet you choose to follow, make sure it allows for adequate nutrients, and take additional supplements as needed.  Take a fiber supplement and drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins, and try to plan your schedule to ensure you get enough uninterrupted rest each night.
  2. Candida feeds on sugars and carbohydrates, including complex carbohydrates.  To get Candida under control, these foods must be minimized as much as possible, making every effort to avoid GMO foods which favor Candida.  Foods to avoid include soy, corn, canola, cottonseed, beet sugar, Hawaiian papaya, crookneck squash, and some varieties of zucchini, unless labeled 100% USDA Organic.  Focus on adequate amounts of protein, healthy fats and  fresh, preferably organic low carb alkalizing vegetables, and healthy fats.  Avoid processed, boxed, canned, and packaged foods.
  3. Avoid using glyphosphate weed killers on your lawn, garden or crops and support organic growers.  New studies conducted in Mississippi and Iowa found glyphosphate  present in 60 – 100% o all air and water samples.
  4. If you eat meat or dairy products, choose sources from quality organic grass-fed individuals
  5. Help support intestinal function and  balance of healthy bacteria by consuming daily: 1-4 oz aloe vera juice, 1-4 oz Young Living NingXia Red, 2 – 4 T daily of pure, preferably organic coconut oil, Redmond Clay, Young Living Megacal, 8 oz plain organic Kefir, 2 T of organic sauerkraut, and if possible 8 oz home-made bone broth (made from quality organic grass-fed beef bones or free range chickens).
  6. To help support an intestinal environment that favors beneficial bacteria:
  • 2-4 T pure organic coconut oil
  • Young Living brands of : Lemongrass,(Cymbopogon flexuosus), Thyme, (Thymus vulgaris, CT thymol), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia).  Take 2-3 drops of any two oils from this list (which are on the GRAS list for dietary supplement ) combined with pure organic olive oil in clear vegetable capsules, then rotating to two others the next time, up to 4 times per day.
  • Young Living essential oil blends of Thieves {Clove† (Syzygium aromaticum), Lemon† (Citrus limon), Cinnamon† (Cinnamomum verum), Eucalyptus† (Eucalyptus radiata), and Rosemary† (Rosmarinus officinalis CT 1,8 cineol).; DiGize {Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and J. scopulorum), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), Anise (Pimpinella anisum), and Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin); Longevity {Thyme (Thymus vulgaris CT thymol), Orange (Citrus aurantium), Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)}; and ImmuPower {Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Mountain Savory (Satureja montana), cistus (Cistus ladanifer), Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), Frankincense (Boswellia carteri), oregano (Origanum vulgare), Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) and idaho tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) may also be used.  For blends, take one at a time, 4-6 drops with olive oil in clear veg caps, up to 4x day, rotating with other blends or singles.
  • Young Living MegaCal and/or Young Living Alkazyme formula will help maintain and support proper pH balance of the digestive tract.
  • Other helpful supplements include Garlic Oil, Pau D’Arco, Black Walnut, and Grapefruit Seed Extract.  Try to rotate these.
  • drinking water with fresh lemon will also help alkalize and cleanse the system

Go slowly with diet and anti-fungals at first to minimize die-off effects.  You will need to experiment and find which foods seem to be your personal triggers and avoid those at least for a time.   Some you may be able to add back in later, however all sugars, GMO and processed foods should be kept as minimal as possible.  Organic foods wherever possible are worth the effort, and/or fresh produce from your own garden or other small local growers.  For me, switching to organic full fat milk made a huge difference, especially if it is from grass-fed cows.  If you can find a good source of raw milk, even better.  Raw or organic goat milk is also an option.    Avoid heavy and/or difficult to digest meals as these will provide a ready source of food for Candida and encourage a Candida population explosion.  For sweets, try minimal amounts of dark chocolate, at least 72% cacao occasionally.  Organic raw  honey, organic maple syrup, and organic blackstrap unsulphured molasses from pure cane sugar may be used occasionaly as sweeteners in small amounts.  Many Anti-Candida diets suggest avoiding fermented foods but some of these such as organic apple cider vinegar, plain organic kefir, organic sauerkraut or other organic fermented vegetable can be very helpful.  Remember that meats and cheeses tend to be acid forming foods and should be eaten in moderation and balanced with alkalizing foods.  It will take time and patience and persistence, but balance can be restored.  However, if your struggle is seemingly endless despite diligently trying your best, it also possible you may have SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) either instead of, or in conjunction with, Candida.  Most of the symptoms for SIBO are very similar to Candida.

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.


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.


The Truth About Wintergreen Essential Oil

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), is not a mint in spite of its strong flavor that is often popular in chewing gum toothpaste, and mouthwash.  It is actually a member of the Ericaceae, or heather family which has nearly 12,000 species among its members.  Wintergreen has origins in both China and North America and is steam distilled from leaves and bark.   It is an anticoagulant, antispasmodic, highly anti-inflammatory, lowers blood pressure and has analgesic/anesthetic properties beneficial for all types of pain.  Its leaves were chewed by Native Americans to increase respiratory stamina.  It was also used as a substitute for Black Tea during the Revolutionary war.

Wintergreen contains over 90% Methyl Salicylate, which is a powerful  pain reliever and which led to its artificial manufacture as an ingredient in creams and liniments more than 150 years ago.  Gradually, synthetic Methyl Salicylate began to replace pure and natural Wintergreen Oil because it is less expensive to produce.  It is still frequently identified as “oil of wintergreen” on labels, even though it is synthetic.  However, the pure chemical Methyl Salicylate is very different from pure and natural therapeutic grade Wintergreen essential oil.  Even though Methyl Salicylate is the dominant component of Wintergreen essential oil, accounting for over 90% of its makeup – the properly distilled essential oil still contains hundreds of other trace biochemical compounds which affect its balance and therapeutic properties.  Moreover, natural Methyl Salicylate as found in pure Wintergreen essential oil is easily absorbed by the body, is not toxic, and does not accumulate in the system.  Synthetic Methyl Salicylate does accumulate in the body, and can reach toxic levels.  It is important to understand that most over the counter drugs are not reviewed and approved by the FDA, but they can be marketed if they comply with applicable regulations and policies.  This results in confusion on both sides of the issue as many people are unaware of the possible risks of synthetic “oil of wintergreen” or Methyl Salicylate  in popular over the counter joint and muscle creams – at the same time, much information is circulated that all Wintergreen essential oil is dangerous and toxic, an opinion held by many Aromatherapists.

Methyl salycylate is the same ingredient in aspirin, and wintergreen essential oil would be considered toxic for adults if they consumed 30 ml at once – not surprising since this would be the equivalent of taking 171 aspirin.  For children, a proportionately much smaller dose, 10 ml, would be toxic.  However, all true pure essential oils are very potent, especially if properly distilled for therapeutic properties and require only one drop to at most a very few drops at a time for any person.   In these minute quantities it is considered by the FDA as a Flavoring Agent or Food Additive, and safe for that purpose, but common sense is required. Essential oils should be kept out of reach of children, the same as any medications or personal care products which could be accidentally ingested.  One should also be aware that its blood-thinning properties may be enhanced if used in conjunction with aspirin or common blood-thinning drugs such as Coumadin (Warfarin).

For topical use Wintergreen is considered a hot oil and should be diluted, one drop essential oil to four parts vegetable or other carrier oil.  As much of the Wintergreen oil sold is either synthetic or extended with synthetic additives, special care should be taken to obtain it from a trusted dealer of pure therapeutic grade essential oils.

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.