Monday, August 18, 2014

Essential Oils Revisited

Posted by Sola Sisters

[NOTE and UPDATE: As of 9-22-14, Gary Young, president of Young Living Essential Oils, has been warned by the FDA that he must stop his distributors from diagnosing illness and prescribing essential oils as medicine for treating cancer and preventing Ebola contamination, among many other things, without being medically licensed to do so. The FDA letter, which falls under the category of "Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations" can be read in its entirety here. ]

Class is in, so put your thinking caps on, friends. Do essential oils stop cancer? Essential oils have been widely touted as being a "natural," and by implication, a completely safe way to fight cancer, and a protocol that can only help, and can never do harm.

So let's break it down.

Today we're going to look at 2 active components. These active components are derived from a number of different essential oils. The first component:

photo credit: Chris Gin via photopin cc
(1) PERILLYL ALCOHOL - Perillyl alcohol is derived from lavender, peppermint, cherries, sage, and lemongrass, and is the sciencey term of the active component in these products that you get after stripping away all the lovely imagery conjuring up dew-glistening fruit orchards and sun-dappled lavender fields. Let's put the pictures and romantic language about "nature" aside and look at the science. Perillyl alcohol has been tested in trials and shows no benefit in reducing tumors:
"Preliminary human trials have not demonstrated tumor regression at a four times daily dosage schedule. In addition, significant side-effects, mainly gastrointestinal, have been experienced." (online source)
And now for the second active component:

photo credit: cobalt123 via photopin cc
(2) P-MENTHA-1, 8-DIENE - P-mentha-1 and 8-diene are derived from orange peel oil, citrus peel oil, citrene and R-limonene. And again, if we dispense with the hyped up language and artfully photographed images of orange and lemon groves, and look at the science, this is what we find:
"An epidemiological study reported an inverse relationship between citrus peel consumption and squamous cell carcinoma, but an early clinical trial in breast cancer patients failed to support the observations. Further research is necessary to determine if D-limonene has a role in the prevention or treatment of cancer. Adverse Reactions: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Case Reports: Contact Dermatitis and asthma have been reported." (online source

OUR COMMENTS: We need to remember that clinical trials of a substance do not equate to efficacy/real benefit. If the oil in the petri dish kills the cancer cells, but also kills everything else, well, that's a problem. Some oils might kill cancer cells in a petri dish, but so might antifreeze and carbolic acid, and we're not going to be ingesting those things.God gave us minds with which to think. Let's use them.

Also, please understand that we are NOT saying that Christians who become ill with some kind of chronic or life-threatening illness should just wholesale place themselves in the hands of their doctors, and never have an opinion. Again, God gave us minds, let's use them. We need to be our own advocates and do our own research on all treatments prescribed. Also, doctors sometimes (often, even?) misdiagnose. My husband's chronic illness was misdiagnosed for two years. It happens. So we need to pray for wisdom, do our due diligence, look at all the evidence, and then make the best decisions we can.

On the other hand, we need to keep our wits about us, and not be taken in by flowery language, beautiful images, overstated promises, anecdotal evidence and mistaken ideas that "natural" always mean beneficial (after all, heroin, spider venom and ticks are all "natural").

Last thing: the alternative industry is an entirely unregulated industry, friends. No accountability. No oversight. And benefits claimed don't have to be backed up by legitimate scientific trials. Please, please, please bear that in mind.

 Additional Resources 

The Christian and Essential Oils: A Few Thoughts [UPDATED]

Aromatherapy: Biblical Path to Healing or Demonic Deception? (Chuck and Julie Cohen)

A Critique of David Stewart's Healing Oils of the Bible (Marcia Montenegro)

Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace (Desiring God)

The FDA Warns Young Living, doTERRA Essential Oils Companies To Stop Making Unsubstantiated Claims That The Oils Can Treat Cancer, Protect Against Ebola (Food and Drug Administration, 9-22-2014)

How To Use Essential Oils: A Step-By-Step Guide (satire, warning: some mild language)

A Warning for Christians About New Thought (Marcia Montenegro)

No Scientific Evidence For "Chi" or "Qi" (NYU Langone Medical Center)

A Warning To Christians About Homeopathy

Natural = Better?

Man left with an inch-wide HOLE in his head after using 'quack' ointment to treat skin cancer

Alternative Medicine: A Mind Blowing Magical Mystery Tour  (Free, online e-book exposing the unsubstantiated claims [both currently and historically] made about many "natural" remedies)

Wellness: The New Age Trojan Horse In Healthcare (Sola Sisters/Marcia Montenegro)

Update: Ingrid Schlueter Interviews Marcia Montenegro and Christine Pack (Crosstalk at VCY America 4/26/11) to Discuss The Wellness Article - you may listen here

The Scientific Method and Why It Matters

The Biblical Worldview Is The Foundation of Modern Science

 Warnings About Essential Oil Toxicity 

Be Suspicious of the Marketing For Essential Oils (Dr. Roy Benaroch)

Essential Oil Safety: Documented Side Effects, Injuries, and Deaths from Essential Oil Ingestion (Hub Pages)

Essential Oil Claims - The Dangers Keep On Coming (Skeptoid)

Eucalyptus Oil and Essential Oils Poisoning (The Royal Children's Hospital - Melbourne, AU)

Can Aromatherapy Oils Poison You? How Tiny Particles 'May Damage Liver and Kidneys' (Daily Mail, UK)

Hidden Dangers of Essential Oils: The Frightening Truth About Natural Remedies Such as Olbas Oil Which Can Cause Heart Problems, Convulsions and Eye Ulcers (Daily Mail, UK)

Danger for Cats: Essential Oils (Articulate Animals Blog)

Warning About Peppermint Oil Overdose (New York Times)

Shannon: Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose, 4th ed.

Toxic Effects of Essential Oils - Addresses Oils Taken Orally and Externally (The Research Pedia)

 Sola Sisters Facebook Wall Threads - Essential Oils 

Sola Sisters Facebook wall - February 23, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - April 24, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall -April 26, 2014
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - June 28, 2014 (general warning about essential oils) 
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - June 30, 2014 (critique of essential oils/YL by Chuck and Julie Cohen)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - July 11, 2014 (should Christians partner with companies who market their products with unbiblical spiritual concepts?)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - July 28, 2014 (discussion re: Sola Sisters' concerns about YL/alternative)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Sep 26, 2014 (FDA writes a warning letter to Young Living, doTerra essential oils companies)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Sep 27, 2014 (essential oils not so "natural")
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Sep 28, 2014 (documented cases, and warnings about essential oil toxicity)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Sep 28, 2014 (discussion re: claims by essential oils distributors that essential oils cannot cause allergies)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Sep 28, 2014 (discussion re: the dangers of essential oil ingestion)
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Sep 29, 2014 (challenging claims by essential oils distributors that adverse reactions are simply the body "detoxifying")
Sola Sisters Facebook wall - Jan 2, 2015 (warning about essential oil induced seizures in children)

 John Ankerberg Resources and Articles