Use only Therapeutic Grade Essential oils

In the last two posts, we looked at what might make an essential oil toxic. I concluded by saying that if you’re not using an essential oil that is pure, unadulterated and therapeutic grade, then it could be very toxic.

So what is a therapeutic grade essential oil?

A therapeutic grade essential oil should have the following qualities:

  • The plant from which the oil is distilled or extracted should be organically cultivated and grown.
  • The land on which the plant is grown, should itself be free of herbicides, pesticides and other toxic residuals.
  • The oil needs to distilled at the correct temperature. Very high temperatures may extract the most oil from the plant, but in the process damage the quality of the oil.
  • The oil must be pure and undiluted. And it most certainly should NOT be mixed with synthetics.

In an age where plants and their constituents are being heavily synthesized, and where most farmlands are contaminated by either heavy metals, pesticides or herbicides, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a producer of essential oils that adheres to such a strict regimen.

To date, I have only found one – Young Living.

Dr David Stewart goes a lot further than I do. He puts forward the following questions to those who claim to match or better Young Living’s Therapeutic Grade (TG) essential oils: [1]

  1. Does their company own any farms on which to raise herbs for oils? And if they do, are they new farms on land formerly polluted with herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals that contain residuals from the past, or are they farming land that is clean, which has never been cultivated or has been untilled for at least the last 50 years?
  2. Does their company have their own fully equipped testing laboratory to verify an oil’s composition?
  3. Do they have anyone on staff with a trained nose who can analyze oils by their smell? (There are less than 200 people in the world with noses sufficiently trained to discern the chemistry of a fragrance.)Gary Young can.
  4. If their company purchases oils from outside suppliers, do they visit the distilleries and farms of those suppliers periodically to observe if the herbs are grown organically, i.e. without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers?
  5. Do they know if the grower has a testing laboratory on the farm to determine when the crop is at its peak for oil harvesting?
  6. Do they know if the crops were actually harvested at their peak time and, if so, was there an inordinate delay in taking them to the still and into the cookers?
  7. Do they know if their distillery personnel understand the art and science of distilling, exactly how to pack the cookers, how to administer the steam, how to maintain minimum temperatures and pressures throughout the cooker, and how to continuously monitor the process throughout distillation to make sure the oil produced contains all of its components in the proper proportions?
  8. If their supplier makes a mistake in the distillation or harvesting processes that results in an inferior grade of oil, does that supplier sell the oil anyway or do they discard it?
  9. Do they know if the cookers in the distilleries of their suppliers have domed lids or cone shaped lids? Most stills use dome-shaped lids. Cone topped cookers deliver a better grade of oil than dome tops.
  10. Do they know if their suppliers supplement the distillation process with solvents to extract additional oil from the plant matter?
  11. Do they know if their suppliers bottle their oils directly from the distillery without modifying the composition of the natural oil by adding anything or taking anything away?
  12. Do they know if their company has tested their company’s oils side by side with Young Living oils in the same lab to make a fair comparison? And if so, where is the data?

As Dr Stewart points out, if the answer to these questions is “No” or “I don’t know” then how can one say for sure their essential oils are better than Young Living’s or for that matter therapeutic grade in quality?

Till next time

Cheers

Anthony

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1] The Raindrop Messenger, Official newsletter of C.A.R.E. (Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education) Vol 6, No 4 Jul-Aug 2008. To subscribe

Can Essential oils be toxic? Part two

In my last post I discussed how many aromatherapists (largely from the Anglo-Saxon world) avoided numerous essential oils on the basis that many essential oils contain compounds which are toxic to humans. I went on to point out that these compounds are toxic when in ISOLATION. Put together with other constituents which make up an essential oil, it’s a different kettle of fish all together.

I also pointed out that aromatherapy in the English speaking world relies heavily on research which uses perfume-grade essential oils and NOT therapeutic grade essential oils. Numerous perfume makers today (and I might add, so do many manufacturers of essential oils) utilise synthetic substitutes for many of the compounds found in essential oils. Perfume manufacturers aren’t alone in the use of synthetics. The pharmaceutical corporations are well known for taking something useful found in nature and developing a synthetic for it.

Bengay

Bengay is an ointment that has been used for over 100 years. It originally contained camphor, menthol and methyl salicylate, derived from essential oils. Camphor is found in Rosemary, Juniper and Sage oils, while Menthol is the main ingredient in Peppermint oil. Methyl Salicylate is the main ingredient in Wintergreen and Birch oils. The patent for Bengay is now owned by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

When in April 13th 2006, an athlete by the name of Arielle Neuman died, the medical examiner found that her body contained a lethal amount of methyl salicylate. Arielle had been applying Ultra Strength Bengay to her arms and legs. The Bengay packaging states that Methyl Salicylate forms 30% of the product. An open and shut case against Methyl Salicylate, and by extension any natural remedy using this compound, it would seem.

Except that the Methyl Salicylate found in Pfizer’s Bengay is SYNTHETIC. Dr David Stewart points out:  “Natural methyl salicylate, as found in wintergreen and birch oils, is of a specific isomer (molecular shape) and is easily metabolized by the human body. Its chemical formula and energy template harmonize with human tissue. It does not accumulate. It is not toxic like its synthetic counterpart. …Furthermore, the laboratory produced compound does not have the right energy template to harmonize with the human body. When taken into the body … the body does not recognize the compound, cannot easily metabolize it, and allows it to accumulate. Given enough over a length of time, lethal doses can accumulate…” [1]

Synthetic substances – “dead with the intelligence of a robot”

Wintergreen essential oil contains many other compounds besides methyl salicylate. These additional constituents work in a way that mitigate the natural methyl salicylate and render it safe. This effect is known as “quenching”; when the compounds in an oil help to tame the damaging effect of another compound in the oil. Dr Stewart also points out that “the molecules of methyl salicylate from a natural source are of a specific isomeric shape while the formula of laboratory-produced methyl salicylate can actually have up to nineteen different shapes. Since the shape of a molecule determines which locks (receptor sites) on cell membranes can be opened, the organs affected by the synthetic version are not all the same as those addressed by the natural version.” [2]

 

Dr Stewart described synthetic substances as being “dead with the intelligence of a robot”. What Dr Stewart is saying is that when a compound has been created through a living process (as in a plant and its essential oil), its energy field is like a life force with an intelligence. If a plant and its associated essential oils has been grown, then harvested and distilled with healing intent, then the constituents in that oil will contain vibrations in their subtle field (vibrations which a synthetic can’t hope to mimic) that cause them to work in harmony with the human body. This area carries us into the field of quantum physics, body/mind medicine and the subject of intent. Readers will also no doubt see parallels with Dr Masaru Emoto’s work with water. This is an important subject we will return to on this site, but for now suffice it to say that compounds found in nature, cannot be dissected, their particular constituents pulled out and copied without losing the ‘essential’ vibration of the original product. The whole truly is greater than the sum of the parts. The attempt to synthesize Nature’s efforts has had (and continues to have) significant consequences for us all.

This brings us back to our original question, can essential oils be toxic? And the best answer one can give to this, is that if you are using essential oils that are not pure, unadulterated and of a therapeutic grade, then YES, they can be very toxic.

In the next post, we’ll examine what you should be looking for in a therapeutic grade essential oil.

Till next time

Cheers

Anthony

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1] The Raindrop Messenger, Official newsletter of C.A.R.E. (Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education) Vol 6, No 1 Jan-Feb 2008. To subscribe

[2] Ibid

Can Essential oils be toxic? Part One

Some of you may have been told by an aromatherapist or naturopath, that certain essential oils may be toxic. Well some essential oils may be.  The question is which ones.  In order to answer this, we first need to understand our aromatherapist’s mind-set a little.

Three Schools of Thinking.

You may be surprised to know that there are 3 schools of thought in the field of aromatherapy.

The German school of aromatherapy teaches the use of essential oils via inhalation. The French school teaches the use of essential oils in anyway that’s appropriate – orally, rectally, through the skin and through inhalation. Gary Young has added a number of other ways to this school, including intravenously and hypodermically.

The British school of thought, which has largely influenced the American and Australian aromatherapist community, focuses more on the burning of oils (inhalation) and the dilution of oils.

Therapeutic Grade vs. Perfume Grade

At his recent visit to Sydney, Dr David Stewart (an aromatherapist and prominent researcher in the field of essential oils) [1] made reference to a number of British aromatherapy text books, such as Essential Oil Safety and Clinical Aromatherapy for Pregnancy and Childbirth. In page 45 of the latter book, a number of oils were listed as forbidden: cinnamon, calamus, cassia, fennel, clove, oregano, wintergreen, tansy and yes, Vanilla (incidentally, the bible makes reference to people being anointed with calamus and cassia thousands of years ago).

Dr Stewart made the following points about much of the British research in aromatherapy, much of which has a long impressive list of citations:

  • The research was conducted on animals (They’re far more sensitive to oils than humans.)
  • They will take one compound in the essential oil, which in isolation is toxic (but which in combination with other compounds in the oil, render it safe) and label the entire oil as toxic and to be avoided.
  • Much of the research utilizes perfume grade essential oils and NOT therapeutic grade essential oils (we’ll come back to this point later).

The Sum of the parts…

Let’s elaborate on the second point that Dr Stewart made, as it’s an important one. We’ll use a couple of examples.

The compounds Scatole and Indole are not very nice ones. Scatole in fact can be found in animal droppings. Yet the essential oil Jasmine has both of these. In fact perfume companies deliberately put Indole in their perfumes, as it intensifies the fragrance.

Another compound, Xylene (found in hazardous waste), can be found in Myrrh, another oil referred to in the scriptures. It was given to the Christ child by the 3 Wise Men. The point is many compounds are dangerous on their own, but when placed in combination with other compounds, have a totally different effect.

As Dr Stewart puts it, “one cannot deduce the properties of an essential oil by knowing the properties of its individual compounds as isolates… a compound that is highly toxic alone can be safe, non-toxic, and therapeutic when occurring as an ingredient in an essential oil. Many aromatherapists who fear certain oils have been trained in a school that teaches the fallacy that properties of isolated compounds studied in laboratories apply to the natural oils in which they are found. Thus, many aromatherapists avoid perfectly safe and therapeutically effective oils because a laboratory has found one or more compounds in the oil that, by themselves, are harmful.”(My emphasis) [2]

Synthetic vs. Natural

We now come back to Dr Stewart’s third point, that many lab tests are conducted on perfume-grade essential oils and not therapeutic grade essential oils.

 

The first perfume oils in the world were basically essential oils. Two thousand years later, there is very little in our perfumes that are natural or essential oil. Advances in chemistry over the last 100 years, have meant that the perfume industry relies largely on synthetics that attempt to mimic the best that nature has to offer. And it’s not just the perfume industry that relies on the synthetics.

To be continued…

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

 

[1] About David Stewart, Ph.D.

[2] The Raindrop Messenger, Official newsletter of C.A.R.E. (Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education) Vol 8, No 1 Jan-Feb 2010. To subscribe

Essential oils are great against bugs and insects

With summer ‘steaming’ along, I’m sure everyone is experiencing their share of ‘unwanted guests’ in the house. Aside from the regular cockroach that flies in, I’ve noticed a lot of ants around the house. I’ve been told that when there is a lot of rainfall (or the prospect of it) ants like to get out of the garden, go for high ground and yes enter your house.

We have a can of fly/insect spray in the house but of late I’ve been keen to avoid using it. These products are cocktails of various toxic chemicals, that I suspect, not only wipe out insects, but also leave an environmental residue and affect our health.

Essential oils provide an environmentally healthy alternative. They’re great as insect repellants and insecticides. In the event that you’re bitten by something nasty, they can also help you out there.

I’ve recently been trying out a peppermint oil based spray against the ants in the house. You buy yourself a pistol grip spray bottle and mix anywhere between 5-10 drops of peppermint oil (or more if you really want to get nasty) with water, shake the bottle up and start spraying/squirting. If you already have a line of ants  invading your house, just draw a line of oil across them and watch them  turn around.

Essential oils act as powerful insect repellants, but somehow when combined with water, they become insecticides. [1]

If your problem is mosquitoes, you may wish to try a home-made spray made from the Purification oil blend. Purification includes  Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Melaleuca, Lavandin and Myrtle. The following list comes from Dr David Stewart’s Raindrop Messenger newsletter. Hope you find it useful. This is a subject we will likely come back to. In the next post we’ll look insect bites.

Till next time

cheers

Anthony

 

ANTS
Peppermint
Spearmint

APHIDS
Cedarwood
Hyssop
Peppermint
Spearmint

BEETLES
Peppermint
Thyme

CATERPILLARS
Spearmint
Peppermint

CHIGGERS
Lavender
Lemongrass
Sage
Thyme

CUTWORM
Thyme
Sage

FLEAS
Peppermint
Lemongrass
Spearmint
Lavender

FLIES
Lavender
Peppermint
Rosemary
Sage

GNATS
Patchouli
Spearmint

LICE
Cedarwood
Peppermint
Spearmint

MOSQUITOES
Lavender
Lemongrass

MOTHS
Cedarwood
Hyssop
Lavender
Peppermint
Spearmint

PLANT  LICE
Peppermint
Spearmint

SLUGS
Cedarwood
Hyssop
Pine

SNAILS
Cedarwood
Pine
Patchouli

SPIDERS
Peppermint
Spearmint

TICKS
Lavender
Lemongrass
Sage
Thyme

WEEVILS
Cedarwood
Patchouli
Sandalwood

Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.

[1] The Raindrop Messenger, Official newsletter of C.A.R.E. (Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education) Vol 1, No 5 May-June 2003. To subscribe