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Essential Oils Positively Influence Genetics

The decisions you make every day influence your personal health. Whether you decide to have that donut laden with trans fat and sugar or choose to run on the treadmill for 30 minutes ultimately affects your long-term health. The more good choices we make each day the better our health and the lower our risk for disease. But what if your decisions today affected not only your health but the health of your offspring for generations to come. As weird as this may sound, the field of epigenetics suggests this may be something we should consider as we make our daily choices.

What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of potentially heritable (transmissible from parent to offspring) changes in gene expression that does not involve changes to DNA. Each of us has unique DNA contained in our cells ― unless you have an identical twin. Virtually every cell in our body contains all of our DNA and genes that make us who we are. Despite this similarity among most cells, difference cells perform different functions. Our brain cells act differently than our muscle cells, our skin cells perform different functions than our heart cells, and so forth. What differentiates their behavior is epigenetics. Epigenetics basically comprises the instruction aspect of our DNA that tells it what to turn on or off, up or down, and how and when to perform.

We inherit our genes from our parents and they cannot be changed. However, methyl groups (compounds made of carbon and hydrogen) are attached to genes that affect their expression ― whether genes are activated or deactivated (or turned up or down) to express a trait. The methyl groups are influenced in various ways, including eating, activity, and environmental exposures. So while epigenetics doesn’t alter our DNA, it does orchestrate what genes are expressed and when.

The exciting and emerging field of epigenetics continues to reveal how eating, activity, aging, disease state, and substances influence the human genome. Some experts believe that epigenetics will completely change the way we treat disease in the future.

How Essential Oils Influence Epigenetics

Landmark research awaiting publication, revealed that like other substances essential oils can influence the way our genes express. Through careful evaluation of billions of data points, it was discovered that essential oils fall into one of six zones of epigenetic influence: circulatory/respiratory, digestive/excretory, lymphatic/immune, muscular/reproductive, immune/nervous, and skeletal/integumentary. For example, helichrysum belongs to the skeletal/integumentary zone, orange to the muscular/reproductive zone, and myrtle to the circulatory/respiratory zone. By altering epigenetics, essential oils can profoundly influence the human genome and therfore human health.

To discover more about this exciting research read Synergy, It’s an Essential Oil Thing.

Hormones, Epigenetics, and Essential Oils

A woman’s hormones fluctuate each month during her fertility years and then alter again when her fertile years end. These fluctuations can lead to the uncomfortable symptoms of menstruation (cramps, minor mood changes, water retention, etc.) and menopause (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, etc.). Similarly, a man’s hormones (predominantly testosterone) tend to decline slowly after the age of 30, which can decrease performance and energy levels. Carefully balancing these hormones is key to healthy aging and well-being during our mature years.

Fortunately, this groundbreaking research revealed that certain essential oils play a role in overall hormone balance. While bioidentical hormones are an option for some women, an even better approach is to positively influence epigenetics in a way to improve the overall balance of all key hormones. The same can be said for males. Hormones are so tightly controlled within the body, that when one is deficient or excessive it cascades to the other hormones and soon you have a significant imbalance in multiple hormones. What the researchers found was that rosemary, lemon, vetiver, bergamot, clove, and tea tree essential oil positively affected the genes associated with female hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, and prolactin. For men, sweet basil, tea tree, bergamot, clove, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), and vetiver promoted positive expression of male hormones like testosterone. Knowing this allows us to create better balance of all hormones.

So the obvious question becomes how can we best utilize this research to promote normal hormone function in men and women? The following are essential oil formulas intended to do just that (added to a capsule for a systemic benefit):

Women: One drop each of rosemary, lemon, vetiver, bergamot, clove, and tea tree essential oils in a capsule morning and evening with food and water, six days per week.

Men:  One drop each of sweet basil, tea tree, bergamot, clove, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), and vetiver essential oils in a capsule morning and evening with food and water, six days per week.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a healthcare professional.

 

Ingesting essential oils; Safe or harmful?

Certain topics have been avoided among friends throughout history because of their controversial nature. Religion and politics are among these divisive subjects. However, more recently other subjects have divided friends and family including car brands and sports teams. There are also divisive subjects among essential oil enthusiasts, including choice of essential oil brand and whether or not it is safe to ingest essential oils. Regarding the latter, you have an entrenched group of traditionalists that want to maintain the status quo and a growing group of progressives that advocate oral ingestion. Blog posts and articles on both sides  fuel the fire of this discordant debate. All of this leads to a great deal of confusion for the consumer who just wants to enjoy the benefits of essential oils.

So, with all the conflicting information and the drama associated with the topic of ingesting essential oils what is the average consumer supposed to do? The purpose of this article is not to add fuel to the debate, but to provide an evidence-based perspective based on current scientific research.

Misguided Convictions, Proper Training, and Control

First of all, I respectfully submit that some of the traditionalists are misguided in their convictions against essential oil ingestion. For some, it is a case of continuing to do what they’ve always done. Change is difficult. Humans, in general, don’t like change and prefer what they are familiar with. Others have only received training from an “approved” school that doesn’t teach ingestion methods. These aromatherapists have not received the proper training to teach the ingestion method and therefore are not qualified to do so. Another group just wants to maintain control of aromatherapy. If individuals are empowered with the correct information they can use essential oils safely without resorting to an appointment with a certified aromatherapist. I understand this completely. They want to protect their bread and butter — their revenue stream. I tend to prefer empowerment. A knowledgeable essential oil user, empowered with the right knowledge, can realize better health naturally and safely.

 

Oral Administration in the Scholarly Research 

I was recently invited to contribute a chapter along with my colleague and friend Dr. Joshua Plant  on essential oils to a forthcoming medical textbook Nutrition and Integrative Medicine: A Primer for CliniciansAs part of this chapter, I completed a literature review of clinical studies that administered essential oils orally. A significant range of doses was used in the dozens of clinical studies I located depending on the purpose and the essential oil used. Doses ranged from 50 mcL to 3 mL daily. These studies safely administered essential oils orally with few, if any, adverse events. It is clear that members of the scientific community accept the oral administration of essential oils and recognize it is a valuable administration method.

Our Body is Regularly Exposed to Essential Oil Constituents 

Another aspect of this debate is whether our body is used to processing the constituents found within essential oils. Here are some of the constituents are body commonly encounters and is used to processing:

  • Limonene is a common essential oil constituent and found in citrus fruits (including their juice), carrots, baked goods, beverages, chewing gum and more. Indeed, orange juice contains a number of volatile constituents, with limonene being the most abundant at 376 to 741 mcg/mL.(1)
  • Linalool is found in coriander, rosewood, and lavender essential oils to name a few, but it is also present in apricots, papayas, and cranberries. Linalool is the most abundant volatile constituent in papaya fruits.(2)
  • Alpha-terpineol is another alcohol present in several essential oils (distilled lime, neroli, clary sage, cajeput, palo santo, etc.), but also found in cranberry juice.(3)
  • Eugenol is an abundant compound of clove bud and other spicy essential oils but also found in common foods such as coffee, mung beans, peaches, and bananas. Eugenol gives coffee its woody aroma.(4)
  • Even methyl salicylate (the dominant compound of wintergreen and birch essential oils) is found in tomatoes, peaches, and bilberries.(5)
  • West Indian lemongrass, rosemary CT myrcene, juniper berry, and blue spruce all have myrcene present in good to significant levels. Myrcene is considered the major constituent responsible for the “green hop aroma” of beer.

It is abundantly clear that we are exposed to, and our body is used to, processing very small amounts of essential oil constituents. Indeed, as Supercritical Essential Oils reports, many of these compounds have demonstrated significant beneficial properties.

The Unconvincing Argument Against Ingestion

It is also interesting that Robert Tisserand is the most commonly cited expert by traditionalists to support their anti-ingestion stance. This is despite the fact that he has been quoted in more than one article that he is not against oral administration. He believes — as do I — that a greater level of knowledge is required to ingest essential oils. His book Essential Oil Safety even lists oral dosage recommendations (“Maximum adult daily oral dose”) for many essential oils.

Other groups opposed to the ingestion of essential oils share documents filled with adverse reactions allegedly caused by essential oils. Self-reported adverse reactions is hardly credible due to bias, untrained diagnoses, and lack of complete information (concomitant use of other supplements or drugs, the health status of the individual, etc.). In reality, these reports equal a statistically insignificant number of adverse events compared to the number of people who regularly ingest essential oils.

The Evidence-Based Conclusion

It is time for the traditionalists to embrace the future of essential oils and stop ignoring the ever-increasing evidence that essential oils are not only safe to ingest but provide a potential not attainable through inhalation and topical application in some cases. Long-established organizations should modify outdated policies and stances against this practice and encourage schools and certification programs to adapt their curriculum to teach the proper way to ingest essential oils. If you are looking for a program that already teaches these guidelines, I invite you to check out my comprehensive essential oil certification program.

For more information on other aspects of this debate, including empowerment vs. control, potential, knowledge, and comfort level, see my additional blog post here.


References

(1) Dagulo L, Danyluk MD, Spann TM, et al. Chemical characterization of orange juice from trees infected with citrus greening (Huanglongbing). Food Chem. 2010;75(2):C199-C207.

(2) Flath RA. Volatile components of papaya (Carica papaya L. Solo variety). J Agric Food Chem. 1977;25(1):103-9.

(3) Hirvi T, Honakanen E, Pyysalo T. The aroma of cranberries. Zeitschrift fur Lebensmittel-Untersuchung und Forschung. 1981 Sep;172:365-7.

(4) Hendon CH, Colonna-Dashwood L, Colonna-Dashwood M. The role of dissolved cations in coffee extraction. J Agric Food Chem. 2014;62(21):4947-50.

(5) Stevens MA. Inheritance and flavor contribution of 2-isobutylthiazole, methyl salicylate and eugenol in tomatoes. J American Soc horticultural Sci. 1970;95:9-12.

Eradicating H. pylori Naturally

One of the most successful pathogens in human history is the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterium. It has manipulated cellular death pathways to ensure its survival and propagation, permitting it a prolonged existence and perpetual infections in humans. It is so successful that the CDC estimates nearly two-thirds of the human population has this bacteria living inside them.(1) While H. pylori has a long history of success and infection, it can be managed naturally with an evidence-based approach.

What is H. pylori

H. pylori (previously Campylobacter pylori) is a gram-negative bacterium that resides in the digestive tract and has a propensity for attacking the stomach lining — so much so it causes the majority of peptic ulcers (sores in the stomach and upper part of the intestine). H. pylori is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids (saliva, fecal matter, or vomit) of an infected person. It is also contracted by drinking contaminated water. Good hygiene is essential to avoid its spread.

Signs and Symptoms of Infection

One of the problems with H. pylori is that the majority of people who are infected don’t exhibit any symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur they generally present as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, belching, and vomiting. More serious infections may include diarrhea, dark or tarry stools, heartburn, peptic ulcers, loss of appetite, anemia (low red blood cell count), vomiting blood, and fatigue. It is also linked to an increased risk of gastric cancer depending on health status and other environmental factors.(10)

What is the Conventional Treatment for H. pylori

H. pylori is typically treated with “triple therapy.” This involves the simultaneous administration of two antibiotics to kill the bacteria with an acid reducer (esomeprazole, lansoprazole, omeprazole or pantoprazole). The acid reducer decreases stomach acidity to improve the action of the antibiotics. Side effects of triple therapy include diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomachache, headache, dark colored stools, vaginal itching/discharge, muscle weakness, mood changes, and yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Die-off Symptoms

Die-off (Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction) reaction is a term used to describe a reaction during the clearance of pathogens (bacteria, fungi, viruses, yeasts, etc.) from the body with antimicrobials. It is believed to occur when endotoxins produced by massive numbers of dying pathogens overwhelm the body’s ability to clear them out. This creates a toxic state that produces characteristic flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle aches, skin rashes, brain fog, and gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation). Die-off reactions usually occur when significant lifestyle changes are made: diet modification (switching from processed to whole foods — pathogens starve and die off rapidly), beginning probiotics (modifies the gut microbial balance to one with more good bacteria), or taking an antimicrobial substance (food, herb, supplement, or drug). This type of reaction will usually occur hours (1-2) to days (up to 10) after the lifestyle modification occurs.

The risk of die-off reactions may be reduced by backing off on the amount of the antimicrobial substance consumed, making a dietary change more gradually, or reducing the dosage of probiotics taken. In addition, a digestive enzyme (especially one with bromelain and proteases) may reduce reactions to whole foods added to the diet by facilitating better absorption of proteins and nutrients new to your body.

Eradicating H. pylori Naturally

  • Essential oils (2 drops each of clove, German chamomile, ginger, and lemongrass in a capsule, twice daily, one hour after a meal). Fortunately, scientists have revealed that a number of essential oils kill H. pylori — some at very low concentrations. Common essential oils that are effective against H. pylori include clove, German chamomile, ginger, and lemongrass.(2)(3)(4) Even more importantly, research suggests that some of the essential oils kill the bacterium without promoting resistance — a problem plaguing modern day antibiotics.
  • DGL (760 mg 20 minutes before each meal). This special form of licorice root has been relied upon for centuries to soothe stomach issues. It is very useful for ulcers and heartburn. One study concluded that the addition of DGL to triple therapy increased the elimination of H. pylori, particularly in people with peptic ulcers.(6) Another study demonstrated that licorice was as effective as bismuth (Pepto-Bismol) for H. pylori infections.(7)
  • Black cumin seed oil (1,000 mg after lunch and dinner). Black cumin seed oil and one of its active constituents thymoquinone are two of the most useful natural medicinals known. Scholarly research suggests that they are valuable for myriad health conditions and H. pylori is no exception. People administered 1,000 mg of BCSO (and 40 mg omeprazole), twice daily after meals, experienced reduced H. pylori counts comparable to triple therapy.(8)
  • Probiotics (15-50 billion CFU with evening meal). Results of clinical studies suggest that specific probiotics (Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus GG, L. johnsonni La1, and L. reuteri) reduce H. pylori counts in the digestive tract, improve triple therapy eradication rate, or reduce the side effects of triple therapy.(9)

Conclusion

Chances are you are infected with H. pylori, even if you are symptom free. This infection could increase the risk of adverse reactions during lifestyle changes and puts you at greater risk for peptic ulcer and gastritis. Conventional triple therapy is not without side effects and may not be the most effective therapy to eliminate H. pylori. Natural options including essential oils, DGL, black cumin seed oil, and probiotics are promising natural remedies to control this common infection. Talk to your doctor about these natural, evidence-based options if you know, or suspect you have, and H. pylori infection.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a healthcare professional.

Essential Oil Therapy Mobile App

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Amazing New Essential OIl App

New essential oil app empowers those who love essential oils to use them more safely and effectively! Get on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/aromatic-database/id1114709857?mt=8(Please note: A glitch is currently being investigated in the subscription process (subscribe button not working). This statement will be updated when this is corrected.) Get on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ebeor.app&hl=enLearn more: http://authorscott.com/essential-oil-therapy-mobile-appJust as an FYI: I subscribe to a similar app for herbs and dietary supplements and pay $159 annually for the subscription.**Sorry, had technical difficulties with the live stream, but here is a recording.**

Posted by Scott A. Johnson on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Evidence-Based Essential Oil Resource app is an authoritative resource on the clinical use of essential oils that includes information for over 100 botanical species of essential oils. The intent of the database is for professionals and laypersons to evaluate the evidence in support of essential oils for specific aspects of human health according to the strength of the available evidence. In addition, drug interactions, contraindications, and safety information is shared for each essential oil. For best results, this database should be used in conjunction with the book Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy, which contains comprehensive information regarding the safe and effective use of essential oils. This book provides the insight and evidence necessary for one to use essential oils as part of an integrative approach to medicine, including safety information, dosing, administration methods, and known drug interactions and cautions.
The Evidence-Based Essential Oil Resource database features:

  • brief descriptions of over 100 botanical species of plants and their native habitats;
  • short accounts of the historical use of over 100 botanicals, including traditional medicinal and folk-remedy use;
  • common names and botanical synonyms of plants;
  • efficacy ratings of essential oils (from one oil drop to five oil drops, with five being the highest) based on an in-depth, methodical review of the scientific evidence for more than 100 botanical species of essential oils;
  • drug interactions, contraindications, cautions, and safety information for each essential oil;
  • and links to the supportive research used to determine the essential oil’s rating and safety.

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Download the resource every serious essential oil user and clinician should have today!

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Salicylate Sensitivities and Essential Oils: What you need to know!

A common question I am asked is whether people need to avoid all essential oils if they have a salicylate sensitivity (SS). A number of blogs and websites include essential oils as something to avoid with SS, and many of these advocate avoiding essential oils completely. Hopefully, this post will help clear up the confusion and misinformation that is so widely spread on the internet.

What are salicylates and where are they found?

Salicylates are naturally occurring compounds found in many plants, foods (nectarine, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, asparagus, carrots, celery), spices (black cumin, paprika, thyme), herbs, medications (pain relievers, both topical and oral), fragrances, and other products. Plants produce salicylates to protect them against predators and diseases.

What is a salicylate sensitivity or salicylate intolerance?

Most people can handle the amounts of salicylates found in foods and other products without any adverse effects. It typically takes very large doses of salicylates to harm the average person. However, for those with a sensitivity or intolerance to salicylates, even a small amount can cause a severe reaction. These effects can be cumulative, meaning that a salicylate sensitive person may be able to tolerate small amounts of salicylates, but over time this build-up causes symptoms from excessive exposure. It is believed that only a small portion of the population is sensitive to salicylates, but some people with co-occurring conditions may be more likely to experience this unpleasant condition.

  • People with asthma (1)
  • Children with ADD/ADHD (2)
  • People who experience migraines, headaches, or itchy rashes from certain foods (3)
  • People with irritable bowel syndrome (3)

What essential oils have salicylates?

As reported in Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy, both birch and wintergreen contain significant amounts of methyl salicylate (a compound similar to aspirin), usually over 95%. These essential oils should obviously be avoided through any method of administration by those with SS. In addition, a few other essential oils have from 0.5% to 15% methyl salicylate: ylang ylang from Madagascar (I and II), clove bud, and clove stem essential oils. These essential oils should be used cautiously or not at all by people with SS. The same would go for any blends that contain high salicylate essential oils.

The takeaway 

As you can see, only a handful of essential oils contain enough methyl salicylate to be of concern. It is irresponsible to contraindicate all essential oils and forbid people with SS the opportunity to benefit from EOs just because of a few outliers that contain appreciable levels of salicylates. Those with SS should carefully read product labels (looking for the offending essential oils) to determine if they should use products that contain essential oils.

Do you know the anti-aging benefits of essential oils?

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We are just beginning to understand the anti-aging benefits that essential oils provide. Discover 5 scientifically proven anti-aging benefits of essential oils in this short quiz.

1. Telomere length is a key to the healthy lifespan of cells. Which of the following essential oils are known to elongate shortened telomers?

 
 
 
 

2. Which of the following essential oils are known to preserve telomere length, therefore expanding the cells healthy lifespan?

 
 
 
 

3. Which common compound widely distributed in essential oils activates the Nrf2 protein, which can determine longevity and protect against age-related diseases?

 
 
 
 

4. Elastase is an enzyme involved in the breakdown of elastin. Which of these essential oils is known to inhibit elastase activity, which may lead to tighter, more supple and flexible skin?

 
 
 
 

5. Which of the following essential oils reduces the appearance of wrinkles and aging according to preclinical research?

 
 
 
 


Surviving a World Overwhelmed with Toxins

Chemicals_Brain Development

CREDIT: GRAPHIC BY JULIE MCMAHON

Let’s face it. We live in a toxic world where exposure to harmful chemicals regularly occurs. These chemicals are pervasive in our air, water, and the products we use on our bodies and in our homes every day. It really isn’t realistic to avoid toxins in today’s world, but we can mitigate their harmful effects and reduce exposure to them through some reasonable actions and the use of essential oils.

In a new report, Project TENDR: Targeting Environmental NeuroDevelopment Risks, released July 1, 2016, dozens of scientists, health practitioners, and child advocates seek to draw attention to the damaging effects of chemicals to children. They particularly point out the host of chemicals that endanger child brain development. Some of the chemicals this panel is concerned about include lead, mercury, organophosphate pesticides, phthalates, flame retardants, and air pollutions produced by burning wood and fossil fuels.

The human brain continually develops into early adulthood, but the largest growth occurs during gestation when neurons are forming, migrating, maturing, and differentiating into specialized nerve cells. If exposure to chemicals disrupts this process, permanent brain damage can occur. In addition, the endocrine system is intimately involved in every aspect of brain development through the production and release of thyroid hormone. Many of these chemicals are known to disrupt endocrine system function (called endocrine disruptors), which puts developing babies at risk of reduced neuron formation, and reduced myelination of nerve cells. Reduced myelination is associated with developmental delays and behavioral disorders.

Fortunately, we have essential oils to help reduce the damaging effects of toxins and exposure to them by creating our own personal care and home cleaning products. Here are some examples of the protection afforded by essential oils from Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy:

  • Black pepper essential oil prevents chemicals from bonding to DNA, which may reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Geranium essential oil has been shown to protect neurons from toxicity caused by excess zinc.
  • Inhalation of lavender essential oil protects neurons from degeneration by increasing antioxidant levels and activity.
  • Lemongrass essential oil reduces the death of neurons caused by glutamate toxicity.

Take the steps today to reduce the toxic chemicals in your home, replacing them with natural essential oil-infused homemade products. And continue your aromatic lifestyle to realize the virtually unlimited health potential of essential oils. For more information about the harmful effects of chemicals and how to encourage normal cleansing and detoxification read my book Surviving A World Overwhelmed with Toxins, which includes a remarkable 48-hour cleansing protocol.

DIY essential oil bleach alternative

Chlorine bleach is one of the most common chemicals found in homes, but it is also one of the most corrosive and dangerous materials we regularly expose ourselves to. And our children suffer the most from its toxic effects because of their smaller size.

The dangers of bleach include:

  • Respiratory problems (including an increased risk of infections in children)
  • Skin burns
  • Sensory irritation
  • Headache or migraine
  • Asthma flares
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Vomiting
  • Creates a deadly gas when mixed with ammonia (in fact, mixing chlorine with dish soap can create deadly mustard gas used in chemical warfare)
  • Damage to the mucous membranes of the digestive tract
  • and much, much more

Don’t expose your family to chlorine bleach! Use a safe alternative made from just six ingredients found in Synergy, It’s an Essential Oil Thing.

3D-SynergyIngredients:

  1. Enough distilled water to fill half-gallon jug (after all other ingredients are added)
  2. 1.5 cups 3% hydrogen peroxide
  3. ½ cup lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon citric acid
  5. 20 drops of lemon essential oil
  6. 10 drops of thyme essential oil

Instructions: Add all ingredients except water to half gallon glass jug. Fill the remainder of the jug with distilled water. Shake well and use as you would regular bleach.

DIY Essential Oil Foaming Hand Soap

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces water
  • 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera juice
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
  • 5-10 drops of essential oils 

Instructions: Fill an empty foaming soap dispenser with 5 ounces of water. Then add the other ingredients in the order listed and shake vigorously. Use each time hands are washed.

For more essential oil recipes like this, see Synergy, It’s an Essential Oil Thing.

Essential oils: The unacknowledged and underutilized superheroes of the global superbug crisis

Health professionals, scientists, and world leaders are growing increasingly concerned as bacteria continue to build resistance to front-line antibiotics at an alarming rate. This concern was brought to the forefront by Professor Mark Woolhouse, of the University of Edinburgh, and Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, at a 2014 event hosted by the Royal Society in London. During the even Woolhouse and Farrar outlined the need for a rapid and immediate global response to the superbug crisis in order to prevent simple infections from becoming deadly.

In addition to presenting their recommendations at the event, the study authors published their commentary on this frightening crisis online May 22, 2014, in the journal Nature.(1) In this study, the authors point out that overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals has fueled a rapidly accelerating fire of antibiotic resistant germs. The authors specifically mention physician’s go-to drugs for Salmonella typhi (a bacterium that causes typhoid), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (a bacterium that causes tuberculosis), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (a bacterium associated with pneumonia, heart, bone, would, organ, joint, and bloodstream infections), multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli (a bacterial cause of diarrhea, anemia, and kidney failure), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (a cause of bacterial meningitis) are now largely ineffective.

The number of “Superbugs,” or bacteria that have adapted to become resistant to treatment with first-line antibiotics, has been growing at such a rapid pace that the treatment of many infectious bacteria-106583_1920 (1)diseases is reliant on only one or two drugs. Some strains of infections have even become resistant to all known classes of drugs. And without a viable remedy for superbugs, many current medical and surgical procedures would be impossible to perform and potentially deadly. This all adds up to a serious threat to public health.

These facts led the study authors to recommend the formation of a global organization to direct an international response. They assert that without a united effort to this worldwide concern one country’s actions could have universal ramifications. For example, the use of antibiotics is increasing in most developing countries due to unregulated, over-the-counter sales of antimicrobials of all kinds according to the authors. It’s no surprise that nations with the strictest policies on antibiotic prescriptions (Scandinavian countries) have the lowest superbug rates. The study authors further state that the international response to the crisis thus far has been meager and ineffective.

According to the study, the development of new therapies should be accelerated to prevent further resistance and combat existing superbugs. Mounting evidence suggests that the superhero of the superbug crisis may be pharmaceutical-grade essential oils. These potent botanical extracts possess substantial antibacterial properties — including against drug-resistant strains —  proven by numerous studies.

While scientific research surrounding the ability of essential oils to kill and prevent the spread of superbugs is continuing to accumulate, the medical community has been reluctant to integrate natural alternatives to combat this alarming crisis. Most of this boils down to money. Natural essential oils are not patentable, and therefore don’t provide windfall profits to greedy pharmaceutical companies. Because of this they continue to search for molecules they can isolate from plants and synthesize in a lab to create new drugs, rather than embrace the viable option right in front of their face.

Even more important than killing superbugs, evidence suggests that these menacing microbes are not able to adapt to essential oils and become resistant. This is largely due to the fact that essential oils naturally have varying percentages of the dozens to hundreds of constituents they contain. Therefore, the superbug is not exposed to an identical essential oil each time, thwarting its ability to adapt. Quite the opposite is true with synthetic drugs that produce the same molecular structure consistently, allowing for easy adaptation by bacteria.

isolated-1188036_1920A July 2012 study published in the journal Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy concluded that according to published research essential oils and their constituents are effective against many species of resistant bacteria.(2) Another study from the June 2013 edition of the Journal of Cranio-maxillo-facial Surgery reported that some common essential oils (lemongrass, tea tree, and eucalyptus) are consistently effective against multi-resistant bacteria associated with hospital-acquired infections.(3) This last fact is crucial for life-saving surgeries and procedures to be performed without acquiring a secondary infection that could be lethal. Other studies suggest that certain essentials oils could potentiate the action of antibacterial drugs when used concurrently.

Scientific research suggests that eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemongrass, oregano, tea tree, thyme and other essential oils warrant further investigation as potent antibacterial agents to prevent the further spread of superbugs. These clinically significant essential oils should be immediately employed in healthcare settings to combat the superbug crisis, and individuals should regularly use these essential oils to cleanse their environment and bodies.

Until the medical community, world leaders and scientists embrace these proven remedies the world will continue to travel down the path towards scraped knees becoming deadly. Get your essential oils ready and be prepared to survive when modern medicine fails.

(1) Woolhouse M, Farrar J. Policy: An intergovernmental panel on antimicrobial resistance. Nature. 2014 May 29;509(7502):555-7.

(2) Kon KV, Rai MK. Plant essential oils and their constituents in coping with multidrug-resistant bacteria. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012 Jul;10(7):775-90.

(3) Warnke PH, Lott AJ, Sherry E, et al. The ongoing battle against multi-resistant strains: in-vitro inhibition of hospital-acquired MRSA, VRE, Pseudomonas, ESBL E. coli and Klebsiella species in the presence of plant-derived antiseptic oils. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2013 Jun;41(4):321-6.