July 23, 2014
Guest Post by Sara Raynor, Essential Wisdom & Nutrition
Essential Oils are becoming a hot topic these days; and, whenever there is a lot of excitement about something, there will always be some negativity. There will also always be opportunists–people who profit from sensationalism and misinformation.
The first thing I want you to remember is that you are in charge of your health. Nobody can force you to do anything, not even your doctor. If you approach your health with prayer, wisdom and reverence, you will find solutions. Healthcare requires a lot of faith, so give it to the One who created you and trust His path for you.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” — Matthew 7:7
I have seen a few articles lately that warn against the “dangers” of using essential oils internally, or even topically. There are different schools of thought on the use of essential oils; so, it’s important to distinguish them and their basic philosophies.
- German: Emphasizes inhalation. Focuses more on the aromatherapy and the effects of essential oils on the limbic system. Dr. David Stewart calls this the “central brain”.
- British: The focus is on the use of highly diluted oils in concentrations of 5% or less in a carrier base. Mostly for the use in massage. “There are no reports of toxic effects from using essential oils this way.” (Clinical Aromatherapy by Jane Buckle, 2003, pg 77)This model acknowledges there are some instances where undiluted use is warranted. This is a traditional and conservative perspective that attempts to minimize potential risks while optimizing benefits.
- French: Starts with the belief that pure, high-quality, unadulterated oils are safe to take orally or applied topically (some undiluted). The oils that require dilution are diluted and those that don’t require dilution are not diluted. “French Aromatherapy literature contains many references to using oils internally…. generally 1 drop is always enough when ingesting essential oils.” (The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt PhD. pg 133)
My personal background is in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. I also worked in a medical lab for over 8 years, including some time inside a hospital setting. I have done a lot of personal research before deciding on Young Living Essential Oils.
I have also done a lot of research into other subjects and have found a terrible amount of misinformation come out of false conclusions from the gathering of data. It is sometimes hard to discern truth from fiction. Even the experts get it wrong sometimes, so definitely be careful what advice you take from non-experts.
It is important to note that websites dedicated to generating traffic for monetary gain rely on sensationalist headlines on hot topics to draw people in. They rely on pure numbers (traffic) to get hits on their ads to make money. It is very easy to manipulate information to back up a sensationalist headline and hardly requires any education.
It is also far easier and more legally safe to be a naysayer. Then there are blogs (like this one) that legitimately wish to share information and personal experiences. We use real references and testimonials whenever possible to bring you relevant information you can relate to, so that you can decide for yourself.
Yes, we make money if we refer you to Young Living, but we also serve the members in our organization, and others who want to learn more about a particular topic, whether or not they ever order through us.
When scrutinizing an article, look for an overuse of medical jargon. This is intended to make you feel uneducated. If you do a lot of skimming, or if you skip over parts you don’t understand, you are more likely to be swayed into believing that the author knows what he/she is talking about. People who genuinely have a desire to teach you something will attempt to communicate information to you in a way that you will understand and appreciate.
If you have ever taken a Basics of Essential Oils class, you know that we cover the fact that synthetic wintergreen is toxic, while plant-derived wintergreen is not toxic. Specifically, it is the Methyl Salicylate that is toxic when isolated, taken out of the plant, and reproduced synthetically.
Why is it so important to note that it is isolated? Even though we say that an oil is 80% this and 10% that, there are hundreds of constituents in each oil in minuscule, but important amounts, some of which have not yet been identified. Each constituent contributes to the synergistic nature of the oil. You cannot judge an oil by one of its constituents. They work in harmony.
Many people are more familiar with the concept of food before vitamins. If we get our vitamins through the food we eat, we absorb more of them because of the balance of properties. God’s creation is quite perfect; we cannot improve upon it!
If we take a pill, we only absorb a small portion of the total content in the absence of the other necessary biological chemicals. If you ingest a bunch of calcium, for instance, without the other vitamins, minerals and enzymes that naturally occur in food that has calcium in it, you are going to have side-effects. It is the same with essential oils, just magnified because they are so powerful.
Our body recognizes essential oils because we share enough biology with plants that our system recognizes what to do with them. It can use what it needs and is able to dispose of what it does not need by elimination pathways already in place. Our bodies do not recognize a single constituent of an oil because that is not how it is created in the plant.
It seems likely that those who try to isolate one constituent of an essential oil for a medication are either convinced in their superiority over our Creator, or, in an effort to make money, they want to patent the technique. God knew what he was doing when he created essential oils and we can’t possibly make them better.
This takes us to the issue of toxicity. A toxin is simply something that does damage to your body. Anything can be a toxin in the right amount. Even drinking water can be toxic in the right circumstances.
Chemicals, including medications, are toxic when our bodies cannot eliminate what (a chemical or a part of it that breaks off in the body) they do not need. It is unlikely that pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, when used properly, in the proper amounts, could cause damage because our bodies know how to eliminate them.
That is why the source of the essential oil is so important. This is why we have to use wisdom and not do anything we aren’t comfortable with. Ingesting an essential oil is not always better. Dr. David Stewart puts it best in his book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple:
“Swallowing the oils to be assimilated through the digestive tract results in a major portion being destroyed by the stomach acids. Hence, a greater quantity of oil is required when swallowed than when simply held in the mouth. However, some oils are too strong to be held in the mouth so that when internal administration is desired, swallowing them in capsules is an effective alternative…. All pathways for oils to enter your body are effective.” (p2)
60% or more of the oil ingested gets destroyed in digestive tract, so you have to take more in a capsule to equal what could be absorbed under the tongue or topically through the skin. ??There are some cases when you want an oil to be absorbed quickly and efficiently, and some cases where you might like the effects to last longer.
If you have a blend of oils you like to use for pain, and if you have pain all over, you might take it orally. On the other hand, you might be able to use less oil if, for example, you apply it directly only where your knee hurts.
Some people have reported that oils for pain have longer lasting effects if they are diluted before they are applied, even though the initial pain relief comes in less than a couple minutes. Because diluting essential oils with a fatty oil causes them to absorb at a slower rate, dilution is a method of time-release, so you can use that to your advantage. You may want other oils to act more quickly, such as those that help normalize blood sugars. You would then apply these under the tongue, as long as the bottle and your reference guide suggested that doing so was appropriate.
Which oils and how you use them are ultimately up to you, but don’t fear them. Search for knowledge and for answers. Verify information from respected sources. Trust your friends who use oils in their own families. The thing about Young Living is that few people are involved just to sell oils. In fact the reverse is true; many of us got into selling them by an accidental paycheck. Because we use them and love them so much, we want to share our stories with the world!
If you decide you only want to diffuse them, go for it. If you want to learn more about how to use them safely by topical and oral application, get a good reference guide and go forth with confidence!
The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple by Dr. David Stewart
Healing Oils of the Bible by Dr. David Stewart
Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higle
Sara is a stay at home mom and devoted wife. She is also a Biology nerd who loves to learn and teach. Scientific knowledge has only strengthened her faith, and learning about essential oils are not an exception! Sara loves to learn about and enjoy God’s creation and share her knowledge in a way that is uplifting and helpful to others. Visit her at Essential Wisdom & Nutrition!