Essential oils: A perfect example of alternative medicine exaggeration

Healthcare is a breeding ground for pseudoscience – and for good reason too. When it comes to our health we really are an easy target. Nobody likes to be sick and nobody wants to lose a loved one. It makes sense, then, that peddlers of pseudoscience often set their sights on the sick. There are as many alternative therapies as there are sick people, but I’d like to focus specifically on essential oils – solutions containing concentrated extracts from plants. One of the largest companies selling essential oils is doTERRA, and this quote from their website is a great example of the some of the flawed arguments you’ll hear for essential oils. I have marked the parts I wish to discuss:

Essential oils have been used throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications.The Egyptians were some of the first people to use aromatic essential oils extensively in medical practice, beauty treatment, food preparation, and in religious ceremony. Frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh and cinnamon were considered very valuable cargo along caravan trade routes and were sometimes exchanged for gold.

“Borrowing from the Egyptians, the Greeks used essential oils in their practices of therapeutic massage and aromatherapy. The Romans also used aromatic oils to promote health and personal hygiene. Influenced by the Greeks and Romans, as well as Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic use of aromatic herbs, the Persians began to refine distillation methods for extracting essential oils from aromatic plants. Essential oil extracts were used throughout the dark ages in Europe for their anti-bacterial and fragrant properties.

“In modern times, the powerful healing properties of essential oils were rediscovered in 1937 by a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who healed a badly burnt hand with pure lavender oil. A French contemporary, Dr. Jean Valnet, used therapeutic-grade essential oils to successfully treat injured soldiers during World War II. Dr. Valnet went on to become a world leader in the development of aromatherapy practices. The modern use of essential oils has continued to grow rapidly as health scientists and medical practitioners continue to research and validate the numerous health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oils.

I’ll describe the errors that I see with these paragraphs in order.

1. “Essential oils have been used throughout recorded history for a wide variety of wellness applications.”

The first red flag I saw when I began researching essential oils was the logical fallacy “appeal to antiquity” – claiming that something has powerful properties because some ancient civilization used it. The fact that ancient Egyptians used essential oils is irrelevant to the claim that they are clinically effective, and we can’t determine whether something is good or bad just because it has ancient origins. Treating disease by ingesting animal feces or applying it to your skin is also an ancient Egyptian remedy, in fact more common than essential oils, but I don’t see that catching on in the same way.

2. “Essential oil extracts were used throughout the dark ages in Europe for their anti-bacterial and fragrant properties.”

There is absolutely no way that essential oils were used in Europe during the dark ages for their anti-bacterial properties. The germ theory of medicine was not developed at the time, and was not used clinically until the 1870s. However, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that essential oils were used throughout the dark ages in Europe for their anti-bacterial properties. When you think “anti-bacterial” do you really think of the dark ages as a good example? Just think, now you too can have a life expectancy of nearly thirty years!

3. “French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who healed a badly burnt hand with pure lavender oil.”

That’s right, the whole of the modern argument rests on one piece of anecdotal evidence. A french chemist burnt his hand and it was healed with pure lavender oil. It’s fine, of course, to mention an anecdote as the reason for pursuing an area of research. The most common example I can think of is Sir Alexander Fleming and the discovery of penicillin. The story of its discovery is famous, but no one says that penicillin works because Fleming noticed that his moldy bread stopped bacterial growth. You can’t claim that lavender oil heals burnt hands because someone says it worked once. Penicillin is well understood and has plenty of research to support its antibacterial claims. Essential oils? Not so much.

4. “The modern use of essential oils has continued to grow rapidly as health scientists and medical practitioners continue to research and validate the numerous health and wellness benefits of therapeutic-grade essential oils.”

This is the most telling sentence of all. Everything before this sentence is full of specific people, times, and places that support the health benefits of essential oils. The second they bring up modern research, though, they become vague and non-specific. Why not say “in recent years, researchers at Harvard have shown that…” or something like that? The reason is simple. There actually isn’t any modern research that supports the claims. Essential oils claim to be effective at treating a wide range of diseases. They supposedly have antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. This is not the case. Here are a few studies I found on PubMed:

  •  Adverse effects of aromatherapy: A systematic review of case reports and case series – This study found that not only are essential oils not helpful, they can be harmful. The most common issue is dermatitis. This is because most essential oils are sold as aromatherapy – a technique with a very serious misnomer. “Aromatherapy”, in many cases, is actually meant to be applied directly to your skin. Supposedly the oil absorbs into your skin. Which brings up the question: If aromatherapy has nothing to do with smell and has not been shown to be an effective therapy, why is it called aromatherapy?
  •  Effect of sweet orange aroma on experimental anxiety in humans – This sounds promising, right? A nice, sweet smell to calm your nerves. Should work, right? It seems to me that if essential oils can claim anything it should be that the nice smell will calm your nerves. This study shows that a nice smell actually doesn’t have any effect at all on the amount of anxiety you have.

The real problem I have with essential oils is the exaggeration of their effects. If the only claim that proponents of essential oils made was “this smells good, I think you’ll enjoy it” I wouldn’t be writing this at all. That’s not the case, though. The benefits of essential oils are exaggerated because exaggeration sells. Websites like this one make extraordinary health claims like curing colds, asthma, bronchitis, hypertension, liver congestion, heart palpitations, depression, and boosting your immune system (what does that even mean?). Other websites make fanciful claims like “restore your body’s natural energy balance” – a claim so bad it’s not even wrong.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t use essential oils. As with any pseudosciene, I’m of the opinion that you are free to waste your money on whatever you choose. I just wish those selling alternative medicine products were more honest with themselves and their customers. Trying to sell a sick person something that in the end won’t help them is at least unethical, if not criminal.

Edit: In this article I made a tongue-in-cheek comment about life-span during the middle ages. As this article explains, life-spans are averages so a large contributing factor is obviously infant mortality rate.

Also, I feel the need to emphasize that I am not saying that essential oils have no use. Instead I am saying that their effectiveness is exaggerated.

About Chad Jones

Hi! I'm Chad Jones, a PhD student studying physical chemistry. I also write/manage a science blog. Please check it out! http://www.thecollapsedwavefunction.com Also, feel free to e-mail me: chad@thecollapsedwavefunction.com
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447 Responses to Essential oils: A perfect example of alternative medicine exaggeration

  1. Stephen Propatier says:

    Love it nice breakdown!

      • Brian says:

        Chad, Your article is very factually incorrect. Even your response to the PubMed study on orange oil is wrong – the study clearly says the orange essential oil worked. Quoting the study: “Unlike the control groups, the individuals exposed to the test aroma (2.5 and 10 drops) presented a lack of significant alterations (p>0.05) in state-anxiety, subjective tension and tranquillity levels throughout the anxiogenic situation, revealing an anxiolytic activity of sweet orange essential oil.”

        If you’re truly interested in learning the truth about essential oils and about the actual science behind them (and what makes them work and studies to prove it), I’d be glad to talk to you about it.

        • Eric Hall says:

          I think its appearance in JACM alone is enough to say it probably isn’t valid. Here’s a detailed explanation as to why: http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/12/07/i-said-show-me-the-science/

          But, let’s talk about the study since I have access to the full text of it.

          First, they excluded anyone with high anxiety. In other words, they only included those who are not really anxious anyway. So someone gets to sit down for awhile, they might relax a little more, especially when smelling something pleasant.

          Some other notes (which I actually give the authors credit for – but then fail to acknowledge it in their conclusion) include the following:

          It is reasonable to question the fact that the intermediate dose failed to produce an effect.

          Then they say:

          This lack of a dose/effect relation is common when dealing with a mixture of compounds instead of a pure substance.

          Um, what?

          I also looked at the data. They really did a number on it – tortured it to death actually. They had 40 participants, but then used 3 different orange concentrations, one of tea tree oil, and one water. Looking at the scores, the anxiety measurements all went up during the test they used to induce anxiety, and the after anxiety didn’t really go down for any of the substances. They really worked some magic in combining some of the measurements to get anything of significance.

          So what Chad is saying is the conclusion might say “hey this works,” but in reality if you read the entire study, it doesn’t work.

          • Brian says:

            Eric, unfortunately the scientific data behind the effects of pure essential oils is still greatly lacking – namely because no drug companies are willing to pay for studies proving that natural substances can replace the need for patented or commercial drugs. While you can poke holes in their study (I can to, how pure was the oil they used?, Where & how was it grown?, was it compared to using the oil topically on the skin?), that doesn’t dismiss the fact that many people with anxiety problems have been helped by the use of essential oils. Anxiety problems can be caused by a wide variety of factors (and a particular oil may not be as effective for everyone … specific drugs aren’t always effective on everyone either!) … why would you want to use chemical drugs (with all the potential side effects) when orange or lavender or another essential oil could help solve your problem?

            The fact of the matter is pure therapeutic grade essential oils each have unique chemical constituents which can have very similar effects on the body as medicine does. Many of the mechanisms are similar or in some cases the drugs use synthetic versions of the compounds present in the oils!

            Here is an interesting study I just came across comparing the effects of aspirin with wintergreen essential oil (applied topically) for preventing heart attacks:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18698012

            Here is a study showing the anti-fungal effects of hinokitiol which is present in Great Arborvitae Essential Oil (for safe foot or skin fungus treatment):
            https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/31/4/31_4_735/_article

            Many essential oils have anti-viral properties. Some are extremely anti-viral yet safe to use topically and internally. Another study for Great Arborvitae essential oil showing how the thujaplicins present in the essential oil prevent the flu virus (any type) from replicating:
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166354298000345

            Here’s a great study showing 90% reduction in H1N1 by OnGuard essential oil blend:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21078173

            MRSA is quite the problem in hospitals these days … here is some research on essential oils’ effect on preventing/treating MRSA:
            http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1010518212002272
            http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/17/9/10276
            http://aromaticscience.com/proving-the-effectiveness-of-essential-oils-against-pathogenic-bacteria-mrsa/

          • Eric Hall says:

            Many things which show results in vitro fail once they are tried in vivo. See the previous comments – this has already been discussed.

          • Brian says:

            Eric,
            Some of the studies I posted were in vivo such as the aspirin alternative. Are you not at all open to objectively considering essential oils? I apologize for some of the advice and opinions that may be misguided, but please don’t let that cloud your judgement. What studies would have to come out for you to consider using essential oils as a compliment and possibly alternative to synthetic pills?

          • Eric Hall says:

            Before I answer that, let me point out using “synthetic pills” as a phrase is what’s known as poisoning the well. While you accuse me of bias, you show your own by trying to use the naturalistic fallacy to say modern, scientific medicine is bad.

            Back to the question – which of the other studies, besides the wintergreen oil (which has also already been addressed earlier, but I will again below), is in vivo?

            Wintergreen oil, like aspirin, is active in the body. This is well known. In fact, after being absorbed, the first thing the body does with it is turn it into aspirin. That’s fine, we know that. In fact we know some plants do contain ingredients which can be active in the body, and can be used for medicine. Other things in nature do to – an early chemotherapy drug came from an Italian fungus. This is not in dispute.

            What is in dispute is the marketing of essential oils as a cure for everything. Wintergreen oil can be toxic. It has killed people. 1/2 teaspoon would kill a child. And though it will work as a NSAID, it doesn’t mean it will kill all microbes, cancer, MS, Lupus, stomach aches, etc. And because many oils are not regulated, there is no way to know how much of the active ingredient is in each bottle. The “safe and natural” thing is going to harm someone.

          • Brian says:

            Firstly let me say I laud more research in vivo. The essential oil company I represent is actually stepping up the research they are funding by an order of 10x, so I look forward to sharing more results in a few years. However, who else is going to pay for these studies? Here is a study proving lavender essential oil can treat anxiety disorder as well as drugs such as Lorazepam:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19962288

            Regarding the aspirin, it can be toxic too. I would image it has or could kill people. There are over 18 very bad side effects from aspiring listed here:
            http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682878.html
            While there may be risks with wintergreen (such as improper use or excessive use internally), the list of side effects from using it topically is minimal when compared to aspirin.

            No one should be claiming wintergreen can “kill all microbes, cancer, MS, Lupus, stomach aches, etc.” But there are other essential oils which can help or prevent those conditions. Obviously it can be frustrating which oil and do what (and certain people do react differently based on what their body needs to fight a certain issue) … but that is the case with pharmaceutical medicine too! How many times do people have to go to the doctor to try a different medication either because the first wasn’t working or was producing very undesirable side effects? You bring up side effects as a very dangerous concern. The fact is it’s no more of a concern than with medicine a doctor proscribes you. I believe it’s far less, and based on decades of use it would appear your concerns are grossly exaggerated. Additionally, you can stop or change oils anytime if you do experience a skin sensitivity or some other undesired side effect.

            I agree you could be harmed by using certain brands of essential oils internally. However, these brands of oils are not sold with a supplement facts label, so it’s pretty easy for a consumer to tell. However, I wouldn’t use them on my skin or aromatically either.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Brian – I am glad to see you are taking a fairly reasonable approach and a call for more studies. I don’t think we are that far apart, though it appears to me you still are taking the approach that they work and are trying to find proof they do work. It might be subtle, but I think it still is giving you some bias towards studies which, at best, provide a basis for a hypothesis and do not constitute strong evidence –

            For example, it is concerning to see you say the side effects topically are minimal. 6 or 7 years ago a long distance runner died from topical use of wintergreen oil. There are several case studies of topical toxicity in PubMed (example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8699558). It also is highly concentrated – thus even a small amount ingested is dangerous.

            Because of this, it also has the potential to interact with other drugs. It could potentially cause Rye’s syndrome in kids (though less likely with the chicken pox vaccine available).

            More generally – the problem I have with the oil thing is they are a complex mix of chemicals. I am sure some of them have the potential to provide therapies for various conditions. Let’s do the studies and find out. Pharmaceutical companies are still looking at plants as sources of drugs (example: http://skeptoid.com/blog/2014/06/28/is-big-pharma-ignoring-marijuana/). The idea that “Big Pharma” is somehow not interested or is trying to downplay the effectiveness is nonsense – because if there is potential to isolate something and make money – you better believe they will do it!

          • Paul says:

            Eric, I think a large part of the problem is that lay people who are using the oils for personal use are making claims. No one should be saying they ‘cure’ or ‘treat’ or diagnose or heal any disease unless they are a recognized medical professional. The oiler community needs to take note and be much more circumspect in how the information is offered.

            People who have used the oils successfully in support of their health or to alleviate suffering associated with various conditions and are unschooled in what language is ‘ok’ and not ok to use need to educate themselves and cease doing so.

            However, this ‘debate’ on this site, which is new to me and I came upon by chance, is quite interesting, because, from what I’ve seen, the ‘skeptics’ are hell bent on proving the point that essential oils are bogus and dangerous and have not truly taken the time to look at more recent research on the subject.

            There are many essential oils on the market which are simply fragrances and not supportive of health in any way and just as toxic as many other formulations on the market.

            The true therapeutic grade oils are a good support for people who have researched their options, for many who have been ill served by the allopathic and profit driven system in our country. To say that it is not about $ for big pharma as I note you did someplace on this page is really naive. Big pharma has not figured out a way to make $ on natural substances – how would they patent peppermint or lemon?

            Would you take the option for people to use various herbs and oils away or put them under the control of big pharma or the medical community? Women were burned at the stake as witches for offering herbs and plant remedies which were much more effective than things ilke blood letting and later removing people’s organs or lobotomies or electro shock treatments as ‘cure’.

            There are studies out there for those who would truly want to research them. In the US and other countries too. I am not a scientist, but perhaps if people on this page are interested, they could come up with some studies which would satisfy even you.

            See what you come up with searching on the research about lemongrass and cancer at Ben Gurion University in Israel.

            But we are not talking about such conditions as cancer – though people should be able to do their own research and find out what they really want to use in support of their own health and well being and that of their family. I know of too many people again on the anecdote side, with horrid and lasting effects of chemo treatments. Is the best we can expect of medicine to offer drugs which kill parts of us to ‘save the patient’?

            People who are sensitive can die eating peanuts and other foods. We are talking about naturally occurring substances specially prepared. One company that I know of is known to have oils with consistent constituent properties and much of the research is done using this company’s oils. I don’t want to get into mentioning names of companies here.

            For me, more suspect is the really big money in big Pharma – and who they pay to do the research, how many products are put on the market too soon…I wonder how many of those folks are laughing all the way to the bank ‘testing’ drugs which supposedly ‘cure’ ebola – on many guinea pics in Africa…that aspect of our healing arena bears much more scrutiny than essential oils.

          • Brian says:

            Eric, you seem very concerned about wintergreen essential oil. Are you equally concerned about Bengay being for sale OTC?

            My doTERRA Deep Blue rub bottle which contains wintergreen says on it:
            Cautions:
            For external use only. Avoid contact with eyes. Do not use on wounds or damaged skin. Do not
            bandage tightly after application or use with a heating pad. If a raised area of redness appears
            after application, discontinue use. Keep out of reach of children to avoid accidental ingestion.
            If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.

            It has a lot of the same components as Bengay, but in their natural forms. Just smelling the two next to each other you can tell the one is fake and the other natural. Yet Deep Blue works as well or better.

            My family has had similar experiences with other essential oils. They tend to work better and much more quickly than traditional medicine. Often traditional medicine doesn’t have the answers (no drug exists or doesn’t work for that person (i.e. migraine medication) or those answers come with unacceptable side effects (i.e. worse health issues or not being able to drive). Essential oils when used properly (pending any unusual allergic reactions) don’t come with all the negatives of most pharmaceuticals.

            I’ll be sure to share the new studies with you as they come out. I hope you’ll keep an open mind.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Am I concerned about things like Ben Gay? My concern is much less. Why? Because there are specific drug facts on the back. Such as how much of the active ingredients is contained. It also has a maximum dose (do not apply more than 4 times daily). It also says do not use on children under 12 (something many oil sites encourage is use on your kids – cause hey it’s natural!). The consistency of the labeling offers some margin of safety.

            How sis you measure the fact that the oils work better than traditional medicine? Was it the same amount of “better” in every case? What specific traditional medicines were not working? That’s the problem with an anecdote is there is no control. It could be that something entirely unrelated helped improve your condition, but you think it was the oils.

            Example: sometimes it is not necessary to take a medication for a headache. But because people drink water with their pills, they assume the pill helps them. We know things like Tylenol work because controlled testing can help to eliminate the other variables in the equation. Your personal story does not.

            It also concerns me when people shun modern medicine. I worry more and more people will wait too long and cause harm to themselves or others by believing oils are almost magical in their ability to heal. Steve Jobs tried to cure his cancer with food – and admitted to his biographer it was a mistake.

          • Brian says:

            @ Eric, unfortunately, I can’t access the whole text of this paper, but it may present evidence that targeting drugs using isolated synthetic compounds are ‘possibly destabilizing the delicate equilibrium in the complex metabolic network,’ thus explaining a lot of the potential complications of western pharmaceuticals vs. essential oils (virtually none). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012398456200013X

        • Robert says:

          Learning the truth? Are you a. “Expert” on essential oils?

  2. Carole M. says:

    I made plantar warts disappear from my daughter’s foot with tea tree oil. One of my friend’s child’s feet were full of plantar warts, it had become a nightmare for them, they used my method (found on the internet), it cleared both feet in a few short weeks.
    This is anecdotal, maybe, but it is a good thing that I did not wait for any formal research or my child would have been submitted to painful medical procedures which most common effect is to make the problem worse (like for my friend’s child mentioned above).
    The good thing with essential oils is that we have nothing to lose (except a few dollars and hope) and a lot to gain.

    • Chad Jones says:

      I understand what you mean, but the “nothing to lose” argument is pretty weak. I have nothing to lose by jumping on one foot to cure hiccups. I also don’t have anything to gain. Just because you have nothing to lose doesn’t mean it’s worth your time or money.

      Tea tree oil, the one you mentioned, has been shown in vitro to have mild anti microbial benefits (and I did mention it). That doesn’t necessarily mean it will have the same effect in vivo. It may have some effect, but I would not say we have “a lot to gain”. I would be surprised if a future study shows any of the currently used essential oils to have a major clinical effect.

      • Carole M. says:

        This is not the microbial benefits we are talking about here, but the anti-fungal that you said was not proven…
        By the way, which powerful medical lab is going to study tea tree oil really? There is no money to make there… And dermatologists are happy that people keep their psoriasis and plantar warts, they would not have afforded their Porsche otherwise… but that’s another story…

        • Chad Jones says:

          It seems that you’re willing to admit that it’s just an anecdote, but not really willing to admit that it’s just an anecdote. I didn’t just say tea tree oil has no antifungal effect, I showed the research.

          • Angry says:

            i had a doctor tell me to put tea tree oil on shingles for the pain and it worked. But actually I popped on here to say that essential oils can be extremely DANGEROUS. there are companies that suggest you ingest them and my sister is currently violently ill after doing so. She may not recover. She had a complete psychotic break plus violent physical reactions (vomiting, chills, rashes, boils…it’s like a biblical plague.) that are still not gone weeks after stopping use. There is virtually NO information anywhere about the adverse affects of essential oils. I find it terrifying that companies are out there telling people to ingest this stuff with absolutely NO studies done on such things. It’s irresponsible.

        • Mike O. says:

          Firstly, Carole, if you are going to mention “anti-fungal” effects, then perhaps you should be looking into what causes plantar warts first. Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) as are all other warts. It is a virus, not a fungus. It also seems to be possible to get rid of warts by simply irritating the area so the immune system can take over (there seems to be various methods of doing this) so how do you know the tea tree oil was the cure and not mild irritation? Maybe the warts just went away, as they sometimes tend to do. Just because you rubbed tea tree oil on them and they went away doesn’t mean that is actually what cured the condition.

          Secondly, Mr. Jones did link to a study mentioning Tea Tree oil that is published on the NIH website. So there’s your “powerful medical lab”. There is obviously money to be made there, because people like you will purchase it. Believe me, no dermatologist is worried that they are going to run out of patients any time soon. If they wanted to keep people perpetually sick they would prescribe them these “natural” remedies that are either unproven or dis-proven and overcharge for them. Even if it did work, the process would still be the same. Diagnose > prescribe > results or reexamination > money.

          • popoagie says:

            Mike,
            Sometimes dermatologists do prescribe things like cimetidine for viral warts and it does nothing. Then they try freezing them and it still doesn’t trigger the immune system, but cypress and lemon oil do. And they are less expensive than the laser therapy that was recommended next.
            I find the controversy interesting, as well as the accusations against people that prefer homeopathy to prescribed drugs…maybe it just comes down to trust? pharmaceutical companies care more about the bottom line. The FDA recommends things that often have more to do with farm product lobbying than real healthy nutrition, and people don’t know who to trust anymore. So maybe companies like DoTerra are more about marketing too, but the person trying their oils can at least say they got it from a trusted friend who found it to be effective.

        • Noah Dillon says:

          Carole:

          You should keep in mind that many synthetic drugs are developed from naturally occurring chemicals. You can see this in penicillin: originally from a natural mold, its active chemical has been developed into various different antibiotics that can target specific infections (amoxicillin, meticillin, oxacillin, and dozens of others). It’s not inconceivable that properties out tea tree oil could be discovered and enhanced in a similar fashion.

          There are likely R&D labs currently trying to find new reasons and ways to sell you tea tree oil. If tea tree oil is shown to have any useful clinical effects, you can be certain that there will be a long line of people and institutions interested in capitalizing on it. (The first in line will no doubt be those labs that are already in the business of purifying and manufacturing tea tree oil for the glut of soaps, serums, and other products currently being sold that include tea tree oil.)

          I imagine a dermatologist wouldn’t stay in business very long if they couldn’t achieve any results.

      • Brian says:

        Here is a study showing the anti-fungal effects of hinokitiol which is present in Great Arborvitae Essential Oil that I shared above:
        https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/31/4/31_4_735/_article

    • mocato says:

      The big point here is the brain..very often the belief will work, because the brain accepts the concept. If you did NOT believe it would work..it would not. My grandfather ‘cured’ my Mom’s warts by rubbing a cut potato on the wart, and burying it in the garden at full moon. Should not work you think? It did. A belief system in my grandfathers forbears.and one that has never failed to relieve warts.

      • Noah Dillon says:

        I don’t understand. Are you saying the potato cured your mother’s warts or that her belief did? Beliefs can’t kill bacteria or viruses any more than they can build skyscrapers. Some sort of physical action is required.

        • SJ says:

          yes it can…placebo effect:)

        • Becky says:

          How do you explain “phantom baby” then?

          • Bob says:

            Are you equating viruses (a discrete physical thing) to phantom kicks (a mental thing that has no physical reality but sure feels real)? Or are you going in some other direction? With the information you provided it is kind of hard to tell.

    • “painful medical procedures which most common effect is to make the problem worse” — Either you’re mischaracterizing medical science here, or it seems to me you are taking weaknesses in medical science to be justifications for alternative medicine, or both. There’s very little sound logic there.

      • I dont believe ANYTHING I read on the internet. I do my own trial and error and so far, all the oils I have used have done what I wanted them to do. I suppose you dont believe in God either? To each his own. I will continue to buy and use the essential oils like I have been, I dont need some scientist to tell me it works or not, I know it works saw it myself and love them.

        • Eric Hall says:

          Anecdote is the worst kind of evidence. Because the memory is reconstructed then rewritten each time, what we remember changes over time.

          So how did you decide to try the oils the first time if you didnt evaluate some evidence that it wasn’t instant death?

          By the way – the oils can be dangerous in many ways http://skeptoid.com/blog/2014/04/05/essential-oil-claims-the-dangers-keep-on-coming/

        • twisted words says:

          Why am I not surprised that someone who believes in god (only one of the many, surely) also believes that essential oils actually do something.

          • Otto says:

            Why not just skip the oils altogether and just pray away your ills. Just as effective and free to boot.

        • Joy says:

          I have to agree. I have experienced such positive results with using essential oils on myself and my family that it becomes irrelevant to me what science has proven. Particularly after peppermint oil (mixed with a carrier oil) gave my husband instant relief from a sunburn that had him in horrible pain. He was also a skeptic of essential oils until that day. We also experienced success using a blend of oils for respiratory support on my son who had a seemingly endless night time cough. His doctor had even prescribed him an inhaler which was near torture to use on him because was so young. We had to literally hold him down and force the mask on his face. After one night of the blend of oils the cough was gone… Now we use it anytime he picks up a cough and it works wonders. I have invested in a few books on essential oil safety and particularly for children because I understand that if misused essential oils like most anything can be harmful. As someone who doesn’t like to waste money, I do appreciate the research put into this post but I personally will continue to use what has proven itself in my home.

  3. “Essential oils” is also a term I’ve heard used in the foodie scene–oil-based infusions do have a lot of flavoring potential. Truffle oil is, I understand, very overrated, but you can make simple pepper oil at home, and it’s very useful stuff. Of course, those peppery, fat-soluble flavoring compounds are also alcohol-soluble… but mum’s Svedka tastes enough like turpentine anyway.

    • Chad Jones says:

      Ya, essential oils are really just concentrated solutions of plant extract. For cooking it will make a difference to the smell and flavor, I’m sure, but you’ll still see crazy health benefit claims, like this one – “Being concentrated, the essential oils contain virtually all of the plants healing nutrients”. (quote from here: http://www.aroma-essence.com/cooking.html)

      Later on that same website warns against microwaving your food, and that’s debunked easily enough. (They say ” 2 seconds of microwave energy destroys all enzymes in the food and alters the frequency of the food.”)

      As a chemist, I can tell you that microwaves are not energetic enough to break bonds and that talking about the frequency of your food makes not sense…

      • matt brown says:

        as a chemist do you really think essential oils are the same as extracts? i am not a chemist by profession but this notion is certainly invalid. oils are a part of any extract but certainly do not contain every active compound in a given extract.

        there have been studies done on microwaves and there was never any question that they eliminate much of the nutritious material in the food, due to the extremely high temperatures reached. studies on microwaved baby formula/milk had some of the most astounding results.

  4. I use tea tree oil shampoo, but not because of its magical properties. I just like the way it makes my scalp feel.

  5. Cary Snowden says:

    I am able to eat hot food much more frequently because of my microwave. Perhaps ‘that’ is what they meant? 😉

    • matt brown says:

      take a look at the research done on the alteration of the structure of water after being microwaved. water seems to change shape all the time, depending on the environment. after looking at the studies i now know the one sure way to damage the water, and that is microwaving it. there are plenty of studies and pictures for you to look at out there.

      • Noah Dillon says:

        You’ve been totally misled. No scientific study anywhere shows that water can be damaged or chemically changed, especially by microwaves, which are everywhere. Microwaves are produced by the sun. You can find people with pictures and testimonials that claim water can be changed in that way, but those are not scientific studies.

        • matt brown says:

          so why do you need scientific studies to observe the changes in the shape of water? a simple microscope and a microwave are all you need to try this yourself. quit waiting for someone else to do it.

          right, microwaves are produced from the sun, as are gamma rays and xrays. are those things neutral for humans? obviously only in certain amounts.

          theres a limit to what humans can take. im saying having concentrated microwaves in your house is certainly having an effect on you. denying that is just plain retarded. evidence from experiments with food in microwaves shows a decrease in nutrition. evidence from water in microwaves shows destruction of the cellular structure. ignore it if you want. im doing the experiments myself and you should too since you undoubtedly have a microwave in your house. or dont.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I simple microscope? You can observe individual molecules with a typical microscope? That’s amazing!

            Go ahead and take an EM detector and hold it about a foot away from your microwave. Have someone turn it on. It will barely register (we do this in physics calss). Why? Because that mesh lining is a Faraday cage – thus very little of the energy gets outside the device.

          • matt brown says:

            yes, whoops. particles of water. not molecules. that was dumb.

            yes microwaves may remain inside the unit. soooooo… it goes into the food, still having an effect on you. what type of effect and to what degree is the question. to announce with certainty that microwave ovens are 100% safe is a bit presumptuous, much like if i were to say that microwave ovens are 100% harmful. we know they are safe enough in the short-term to use without immediate effects.

            the fact is we truly dont understand all these different forms of light we toy with and we definitely dont fully understand the effect that these have on our bodies. im only here to say there is evidence on both sides. there is no proof on either. there is obviously more evidence pointing to them being safe, but there is also the fear that we could be so very wrong, and a great bias that science has conquered things like microwaves to a point of mastery, which is just not true. i would relate microwaves to SSRI drugs. they tend to work for many different applications, and we can certainly manipulate ourselves with them in a beneficial way, but there remains a debate to be had because noone can explain why SSRI drugs work, or what the potential side-effects could be. this makes them potentially hazardous, despite the confidence of doctors and scientists to announce these things as “safe”.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Actually, E&M is one of the most well understood areas of physics. The reason your food gets hot is the energy of the photons is absorbed and turned into kinetic motion of the molecules in the food you are heating. The photons cease to exist. Kinetic energy is something all molecules have. Temperature is the average kinetic energy of the molecules of the object.

            A microwave is pretty basic science. We are not in danger.

            By the way – what do you mean by “particle” of water? Water is liquid formed by molecules made up of hydrogen and oxygen.

          • matt brown says:

            the real danger is the notion that observing and defining the processes we see means we understand them entirely. there is only one universe, yet we somehow have a handful of different theories of physics. there are new exceptions to the rules every day. claiming that we humans understand fields and energies to a degree of certainty is like saying we understand genetics to that extent. we can justify this by deeming the unknown as “junk” dna. this is a very similar situation.

            asbestos is a great example of the dangers, therein. noone would look at the science. they already knew it all. then boom — illness and lawsuits. there was an egotistical attachment to the product, preventing objective science from taking place.

            the danger is coming from you — you with the education who chooses to already know it all. with your education you have the ability to actually step outside the box, observe and change lives for the better. nothing you said is enlightening in any way, as we dont know the effects of the processes you described on the human body to an extent that can provide certainty, as everyone reacts differently to different environmental variables. you are definitely smart enough to look at this objectively and produce some results. if nothing else, do it to prove me wrong. i seriously doubt water structurization has been part of your education. that doesnt make it invalid. that makes it esoteric or new age.

            check out microwaved water particles and compare them to regular tap water. there is no exception to the rule there. its the same result for everyone, every time. what was a beautiful structure becomes a pale black dot in just a few seconds. it stays that way too.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Please – tell me – what is a water “particle”

          • matt brown says:

            how about a “small drop” of water, or a “snowflake sized-portion”. something small enough to observe under a lens. does that suffice? apologies for the erroneous terminology.

          • Eric Hall says:

            So you are saying if I take a small drop of random water, and I heat it in the microwave for a long period of time, I get a black speck left over?

          • matt brown says:

            exactly. you collect little specks until you have enough to roll them up and smoke them. for you i’d recommend cramming them somewhere else =)

          • Eric Hall says:

            So have you ever chemically analyzed what is left over? What do you suppose this material is made from?

          • matt brown says:

            you just ruined this conversation. you could have at least made it funny. have a great life.

          • matt brown says:

            oh yea… almost forgot about “exclusion zone” water and the “4th state of water” from polluck. science.

  6. Myk says:

    That’s funny. When I read that article on Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia) oil, it seems to list several clinical trials with benefits, such as for a 25% solution to treat tinea pedis (which I use it for myself). I thought it was the alt-med proponents that misrepresented scientific studies?

  7. Myk says:

    Well, actually reading the article on tea tree oil’s “clinical efficacy” section shows that there is a trial showing effective treatment of dandruff, though the trial numbers may be small. There is some evidence, but it’s not great, yet.

  8. Rob Hooft says:

    Chad, referring to http://www.whatstheharm.net and reading your concluding sentence “I’m of the opinion that you are free to waste your money on whatever you choose.”, I recognize you are a big proponent of suicide and you must be a supporter of the Darwin awards 😉

  9. james says:

    Anesth Analg. 2012 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Aromatherapy as Treatment for Postoperative Nausea: A Randomized Trial.
    Hunt R, Dienemann J, Norton HJ, Hartley W, Hudgens A, Stern T, Divine G.
    Source

    From the *Department of Anesthesia, Carolinas Medical Center University, Charlotte, NC;
    Abstract

    Background:Postoperative nausea (PON) is a common complication of anesthesia and surgery. Antiemetic medication for higher-risk patients may reduce but does not reliably prevent PON. We examined aromatherapy as a treatment for patients experiencing PON after ambulatory surgery. Our primary hypothesis was that in comparison with inhaling a placebo, PON will be reduced significantly by aromatherapy with (1) essential oil of ginger, (2) a blend of essential oils of ginger, spearmint, peppermint, and cardamom, or (3) isopropyl alcohol. Our secondary hypothesis was that the effectiveness of aromatherapy will depend upon the agent used.Methods:A randomized trial of aromatherapy with patients who reported nausea in the postanesthesia care unit was conducted at one ambulatory surgical center. Eligibility criteria were adult, able to give consent, and no history of coagulation problems or allergy to the aromatherapy agents. Before surgery, demographic and risk factors were collected. Patients with a nausea level of 1 to 3 on a verbal descriptive scale (0-3) received a gauze pad saturated with a randomly chosen aromatherapy agent and were told to inhale deeply 3 times; nausea (0-3) was then measured again in 5 minutes. Prophylactic and postnausea antiemetics were given as ordered by physicians or as requested by the patient.Results:A total of 1151 subjects were screened for inclusion; 303 subjects reporting nausea were enrolled (26.3%), and 301 meeting protocol were analyzed (26.2%). The change in nausea level was significant for the blend (P < 0.001) and ginger (P = 0.002) versus saline but not for alcohol (P < 0.76). The number of antiemetic medications requested after aromatherapy was also significantly reduced with ginger or blend aromatherapy versus saline (P = 0.002 and P < 0.001, respectively).Conclusion:The hypothesis that aromatherapy would be effective as a treatment for PON was supported. On the basis of our results, future research further evaluating aromatherapy is warranted. Aromatherapy is promising as an inexpensive, noninvasive treatment for PON that can be administered and controlled by patients as needed.

    • ChristieD says:

      James, you fail to address the fact that the descriptive scale they used is likely to overexaggerate any effects of the alleged treatment. I mean, would you be satisfied if your nausea went from a 3 to a 2…could you even reliably state whether that scale accurately described your experience. In most medical literature, most analogue scales are rated between 0-10 to account for this. Very poor study.

  10. Candida says:

    I’m sure I read a couple of years back about one study that did show a positive effect for scent, but it was a very simple one, on perception/tolerance of pain, not a therapeutic one. One of those hold-your-hands-in-icy-water tests.. Pleasant smells – I think sweet ones? – enabled people to tolerate the icy water for longer than unpleasant ones or no smell. Cannot find it now searching, but it got picked up in New Scientist. It sounded pretty much the same as giving your child a sweet when they have a vaccination: simply a pleasant distraction, but an effective one – as long as you just sniff the stuff rather than rubbing something like neat cinnamon oil on your skin. (Of course, that would also provide distraction, of a different type, from the original pain.)

  11. jeff myer says:

    Thank you for giving me some info to help me fight the battle that gets everybody pissed off at me in “Whole Foods” and other ” health food stores” where people hate me, get angry at me …etc. when all I’m doing is help them not to waste their money. Jeff

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you feel like it’s your duty to keep people from spending THEIR money on things YOU don’t believe in?

      • Marshall says:

        Anonymous, follow this spectrum for a moment: If you saw somebody having a heart attack and about to die without help, would you stop and render aid? What if they had only sprained an ankle and needed help getting across the room? How about if they cut their finger and you happened to have a bandaid in your pocket? What if they dropped a stack of books and needed help picking it up? Or if they were walking towards a door that was about to close and their hands were full, would you hold the door for them? What if they were about to waste their hard-earned money on snake oil that has proven to be ineffective at the things they want to use it for?

        At which point on this spectrum does it become socially acceptable to ignore the needs of others and allow them to come to harm that you might be able to help them avoid? At which point is sociopathy suddenly acceptable? If you think the duty of being helpful to others must somehow be assigned and that it isn’t EVERYBODY’S duty, then there is something wrong with you. Not Jeff Myer, but you.

        • Darla says:

          My Doctor prescribed me medications that caused me harm. Everything has that potential. Just like Essential Oils have the potential to relieve pain, muscle aches and more… Each person must make his or her own decisions based upon their due diligence and their specific health conditions, not someone else’s “perceived” dangers.

          • Eric Hall says:

            It is always about dose. Water is harmful if you drink too much. In fact, distilled water can be very dangerous to drink – yet water is essential to life and makes up a decent percentage of our body. The advantage pharmaceuticals have is the doses are controlled and the side effects versus benefits are studied and understood.

          • Darla says:

            Exactly, and the use of essential oils are used diluted, rarely neat to avoid sensitization to them, like everything, one should do a patch test before using an essential oil. My BF has tinea versacolor, nothing worked this summer to get rid of it, I made him a sugar scrub with coconut oil and tea tree oil, the next day it was 50% diminished, Today,, day three it is all but gone. EO’s and Coconut oil worked where strong prescription drugs didn’t.

          • Eric Hall says:

            “Nothing worked this summer.” I’m not sure what treatments you tried before your scrub, but let me propose this to you: Is it possible it is the mechanical action of the scrubbing and not the oils that are leading to the improvement? Is he continuing the other treatments as well? Or perhaps the other treatments are taking effect and now the scrub is simply removing the skin which was discolored previously, leading to a visual improvement, but the underlying infection was already being or has been cured?

            This is why anecdotes make poor data – because it is not well controlled.

          • Darla says:

            No, he has not used any treatments for some time, at least 6 months Each Component of the scrub has a job. The sugar exfoiliates the yeast from the surface of the skin, The coconut oil provides moisture back to the skin and it is also antimicrobial and antibacterial, the tea tree oil kills bacteria and fungus. There was about a 50% improvement over night. Tee tree oil is well documented for these kinds of treatments and it is an oil that can be used neat, but I do not use any thing neat. And he needed all of these together to treat all of the issues.

          • Eric Hall says:

            How are you measuring this 50%?

            And you said nothing worked this summer? So now he didn’t get any treatment for some time? Why not? Why try this now? And if these things are such powerful antifungals – why is it when I believed in this stuff the tea tree oil didn’t cure my toenail infection?

          • Darla says:

            The stuff he used to use never did work very well, knowing what I know now about it, it does not address all of the issues of Tinea Versacolor. and he was out, He’s a man , men don’t go to the doctor unless they have nearly bled out.
            I make Sugar Scrub, and It just hit me the other morning what would work and that these ingredients together address all of the issues in one step.

            I am sorry that The Tee Tree Oil Didn’t help, Should have tried Mediterranean Oil of Oregano topically and taken in internally, backed up with a probiotic. 😀

            You know Eric, Just as in Western Medicine, What works for one person doesn’t work for another. We can not use such a broad brush, it is rather narrow minded don;t you think?

          • Eric Hall says:

            Ahhh – the classic “skeptics are narrow-minded” argument.

            This comes up often when I try to address anecdotes. I am not doubting your outcome, what I am doubting is your conclusion. The problem with yours and most other anecdotes is there is no control or blinding which could lead you to conclude it is your scrub that is causing the improvement, nor do you have a standard by which to measure the 50% improvement. Is it possible the scrub is causing improvement? Certainly. But it could be the mechanical action of scrubbing. It could be the extra time spent cleaning the skin. It could be the longer exposure to water. Without comparing or at least controlling all of these things, there is no way to conclude it is the scrub itself.

            I also should note you accuse me of using a broad brush – but then use a broad brush to make a somewhat sexist statement in saying “men don’t go to the doctor unless they have nearly bled out.” Imagine if I made some broad statement about women like that – not only would it be wrong to stereotype like that, but I would likely get flamed in the comments.

            There isn’t a dichotomy of “Western Medicine” and whatever else it is you are comparing it to. There is medicine, and there is bunk. Medicine is willing to accept the evidence if it is there.

          • Darla says:

            I guess you do not understand WHAT tinea versacolor is. The skin must be exfoilated to remove the yeast from the skin, as it will feed on itself and continue to spread. The skin has to be re-moisturized due to the exfoliation process, and coconut oil provides the needed protection with the natural antimicrobial properties. The Tee tree Oil is a known anti fungal. Simply showering with soap or extra time in the water showering does not clear this, as a matter of fact, heat, water and moisture exacerbate it, This condition is very common in more humid locations.

            Here is how I conclude it IS the scrub. He has been inflamed with it pretty bad for at least 6 weeks, It has been humid here. And it still is. The only thing that has changed in his routine, is the scrub.

            Yeah, like he is going to take time off of work to go to the Dr. for this… LOL. Actually this morning doing some research I did find Doctors that recommended this EO just for this purpose.

            I use it and eucalyptus for my RA to reduce swelling, pain and stiffness. Works great and keeps me off of biologics. (AKA) chemo drugs)

            People have to be their own advocate and do what works for them what ever it may be, Western Medicine is not the answer to every medical problem. or ailment.

        • Mary fogo says:

          So…..should I stop the next fat guy I see about to buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? Should I encourage the 7-11 clerk to not sell the diabetic lady an obscenely large slurpee? Come on now, if you are seriously suggesting that it is socially acceptable for you to approach a stranger in whole foods and call the contents of their shopping cart into question — that’s plum crazy. Mary Fogo

        • Laurel says:

          Coming to the aid of someone who is having a heart attack (lifesaving) and opening a door for someone with their hands full (courtesy), is not the same as confronting customers about their purchases (harassment). Do you or that other commenter also stand outside tobacco or liquor stores trying to stop people going in? Do you try and stop customers from buying sodas and cheetos? What about Pizza places or Chinese restaurants? The list is endless but the thing is, it’s none of your business what law-abiding adults buy with their own hard-earned money. You and the other poster sound nuts…maybe focus on your own life and let others choose how they live theirs.

          • Mary says:

            Agreed on all points. He knows his arguments are totally misguided & when called out, he should have just owned it and acknowledge that he missed the mark on that one. Instead, he digs in his heels (the mark of a terrible scientist) and finds inapplicable and/or obscure justifications to drag the painful debunking out.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I am willing to change my mind – and have on many things over the years – when I am presented with sufficient evidence. So far I haven’t.

            Also, you have to understand how a scientific discussion works. It is different than a scientific experiment. It is common practice to refute someone challenging your conclusion. We do this often both as an intellectual exercise, and as a way to ensure the person with the strongest argument indeed makes the strongest argument. I might already be changing my mind to what you’ve presented, but I am challenging you to make a stronger argument and present stronger evidence so that if I change my mind, I have a good strong justification to do so.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            What? His analogies are poor, but so are yours. This blog post isn’t the same thing (NOT AT ALL) as harassing people in a store. This is something you read in the privacy of your own home and head. No one is following you around telling you this stuff. You can take it or leave it. It might be a good idea to hear it out and think through what is and is not being said and think about what is and is not a shown benefit or risk for ingesting essential oils. But no one is shouting this stuff at you. Stop trying to become a victim. I think it’s pretty well accepted that eating a bunch of junk food, smoking, drinking in excess, whatever comparison you want to make, is not a good idea. People are still free to do such things, just as they’re free to buy nice-smelling oils. And the same scientific method that shows that eating a lot of junk food is a bad idea seems to also indicate that oils may make people feel nice, but they aren’t medically efficacious. Talking about the risks and benefits of an action isn’t the same as a prohibition.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Just one example of a study demonstrating the anti-fungal effects of several essential oils:

    http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf2006/fpl_2006_yang001.pdf

    • Noah Dillon says:

      That’s a study about soaking wood in oils. It’s a bit like treating wood with a varnish. Your body doesn’t work that way. All of the molds they’re trying to combat are strains that afflict vegetable material, not people. Two of the molds they’re treating the wood for are themselves anti-fungal, so maybe you can use that in aromatherapy. As I skimmed the report, the results seem to indicate that you can combat those molds by getting the oil hot enough to vaporize it so that it penetrates deep into the lumber. And you may have to keep up this action: the most effective fungicide was vaporized dill weed oil, which the authors say probably prevented new fungus growth by suffocation.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Just one example of research demostrating the antifungal/antimicrobial properties of several essential oils:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

    There are plenty more.

    • Chad Jones says:

      Right, and I did mention that in vitro studies have been done. It’s not always true that in vitro effectiveness translates to in vivo effectiveness. I’m not saying that essential oils are useless, or that I would never use them if it were clinically indicated, I’m saying that their effects are greatly exaggerated by the alternative medicine crowd.

  14. Josh says:

    There are numerous studies demonstrating the antimicrobial properties of essential oils. Here is one example that I picked out of the 10,400 results returned from a simple .gov Google search.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

    Tea tree is a poor example of an effective antimicrobial oil. However, it is frequently used for this purpose because it can be applied topically without being diluted in a carrier oil.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Granted, this is a study of molds afflicting vegetable matter which is very different from molds afflicting humans. The argument that the results are skewed because some of the molds themselves are anti-fungal would merit consideration if anti-fungal activity was observed consistently in each trial, not just the trials where the oils were shown to be effective. The results do not specify if the samples were exposed to the spores individually or separately.

    I do not read anywhere that the oils were heated to the point of vaporization. The dip treated samples were immersed in room temperature oil for 15 seconds and the vapor treated samples were “held at room temperature overnight in a glass Petri dish test apparatus with a small glass dish (4 cm diameter) containing 3 ml of an individual test oil placed beside the specimens.” I fail to locate the reference to the fungal growth being prevented by suffocation. However I do see a reference that suggests ketone volatilization likely plays a role in the prevention of spore germination by this oil.

  16. Kay Hanson says:

    We recently started using some essential oils for various health related issues in our own home. My daughter suffers from severe anxiety panic disorder, and she has trouble sleeping. My other daughter, also has trouble sleeping. We put two drops of lavender essential oil on them at night, and it has helped them to sleep better. Our daughter with anxiety says that just smelling it helps her to calm down.

    Now, having given that anecdotal information, whether it is their own mental idea that the oil will help, or the actual oil helping them sleep, makes absolutely no difference to me. At least they sleep better, and are not having to ingest something that could end up being recalled in five years because it causes liver failure or some other Godawful condition. I should also tell you that before using the oil on them, I asked them to try it to see if it would help. I did not promise them it would help nor did I give them a lengthy lecture or discuss it at length with them. I just offered to try it and it has helped.

    I have used a blend of cinnamon oil with clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary on myself for colds. The time I take to get over my colds seems to have shortened since I started applying them for these purposes. I have also noticed that when I apply lavender to the sides of my nose, my congestion during a cold lessens. Again, whether it is mental or the oils actually work, I am glad I don’t need to take as much Sudaephedrine, and Benedryl for these issues. Camphor and eucalyptus seem to really help my sinuses as well.

    Another oil that has worked for us, believe it or not, is Frankincense. It seems to help with acne. I don’t know if it will work for everybody, because everyone has different amounts of oils on/in their skin and their body chemistry is probably not exactly the same as ours, but it has helped us. My daughter has pretty bad acne and it is clearing hers up with regular use in the evenings. I have heard there are other oils that will help too, but have not tried any others for that.

    I think in today’s world, we have to really research things ourselves before we can make a decision as to whether or not it is “fake”, or “phony”. I think that oils might work for some people, and maybe not for others. Not all medicines in the pharmaceutical industry work for everything. Some medicines work for some bacterias, and some work for others. The Sudaphed you have to sign for at the pharmacy works far better for me than the stuff I can just grab and pay for, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for other people. I do wonder, however, what the long term effects of it will be on my body. Hopefully, they won’t be too detrimental. I haven’t taken the time to look it up. Maybe I will.

    Long story short, don’t take anyone’s word for anything. Check stuff out so you know for yourself whether or not it will work for you, and if someone is really being honest, they will site the sources. Even then, when studies use people, there are too many variables that could possibly effect the outcomes. I think, unless a study has the people participating, eating and drinking the same foods, doing the same daily activities, in a controlled environment, and yes, even sleeping in exactly the same types of environments, how can they be sure outside sources are not “interfering with”, or “contaminating” the subjects, thus altering the outcomes of the studies? I mean, whose to say someone who eats “healthy”, versus someone who eats “unhealthy” wouldn’t have differing outcomes with any study? Just a thought.

    • Chad Jones says:

      The argument that medicine is not generalizable is compelling. After all, we’re all individuals, right? You mention that a study should involve everyone doing the exact same thing (eating, sleeping habits, work, stress) to truly account for all the variables, but that’s not true. You’re talking about systematic error – the fluctuations that will always be present no matter how well you design a study. That’s one reason for controlled trials, since the systematic error will also be present in the control. You don’t need every person to live the same life or have all the same situations to be able to account for all the variables.

      Also, I think it’s interesting that anecdotal evidence is never compelling until it’s your own anecdote. I don’t say this to mock your comment, it’s an honest commentary on how compelling it is for you because you experienced it for yourself – even though you admit that it is only anecdotal.

  17. Zsuzsi says:

    It seems, after reading all the comments, that discussing aromatherapy products/essential oils is pretty much like discussing religion or politics. If anyone disagrees with one person’s opinion/experience, it is like a personal assault on their souls. Chad made some very valid points in HIS blog, and those visiting it feel wounded because he may disagree with their personal beliefs. I am unsure whether the oils have any legitimate benefits; still doing research. However, the claims made by folks selling the stuff is, at the least, exaggerated, and the most, diagnosing and prescribing without a license. And, as always, the “but it’s natural!” is my biggest irritant … so is poop, doesn’t mean I’m going to rub it on my skin, vaporize and inhale it, or put it in a pill and swallow it. I went to a gathering of women raving about a particular brand of oils. When I asked questions on the validity of some of the claims, or how some piece of equipment shooting electrical current through my body could tell me all that was wrong with me without any bloodwork or other valid testing, I was met with such hostility. I should just believe what I was being told because of the numerous tests that have been done but when asked for specific testing information, none could be given to me. So, while some of these oils may have validity, I am not sure I will ever find out, just because of the experience I had with a group of people who still thought science and trials, was some sort of hocus-pocus.

    • Kerri Lyn Angel says:

      personally I think that all of you don’t even need to fight about any of this. both essential oils and pharmaceuticals work differently for different individuals. I personally use both. there needs to be an integration of natural path E and traditional Western medicine. I am a very complicated case. I hav very bad cranial nerve damage due to 18 and a half hour brain surgery. many many problems another surgery another surgery another procedure another procedure. I have been chasing down normalcy since 2005. it has been very difficult since my tumor was rare and little is known about the post operativ effects. so I utilize both natural path and traditional medicine. both have proven useful in some ways. I have found that things that work for one person do not necessarily work for another person it depends on their disability. it seems foolish to discount either.

  18. Cathie says:

    My husband is a long-time supporter of Skeptoid, so when my friends started on the doTerra bandwagon I wanted to find out more about all of these claims. It is unnerving to see so many people abandoning medicines for these oils. They are applying them topically, diffusing them, and ingesting them. I am confused by their jargon and the frequent connections to “Asian” practices of balancing energies, treating the “whole” body and looking towards herbs and the like to CURE them of ailments and major diseases. My problem are the claims of cure and I agree that the claims are exaggerated. I can see valid uses and possible benefits, but curing disease is something all together different.

    I am not a scientist. I would like to use these oils if in fact they do have real benefits, but how do I know what is right and what isn’t when I am researching? So much is presented as fact it makes it so difficult to distinguish right from wrong.

  19. Trendy says:

    It seems to me that the best way to answer this argument would be for a major Pharmaceutical company to do trials and testing on essential oils. Anyone truly seeking for real answers would want to see this happen. Every time I have tried to look up large studies on essential oils, I always find a very similar phrase “little research has been done”. A skeptoid, or anyone else, should ask….why? Why has not more research been done?
    I believe it is because the Drug companies could never get a return on their investment. They want to develope drugs they can patent. They want to be able to charge double the price in the U.S. vs. Canada or Europe to recoupe their R & D. The big Pay Day happengs when they find a drug they can patent that you must take – every day – for the rest of your life!! Since essential oils are not even regulated by the FDA, IF and I say IF they were proven beneficial, they could actually move customers away from some prescription medications to essential oils. Essential oils can be grown and distilled on any farm….so how would this research benefit the Drug companies? It would not.

    So we are left… to our personal trials…. and anecdotes… and stories from friends and family… and those we trust…. because the medical community largely reports to stockholders… not patients.

    What if I told you a certain essential oil had been proven, in a large, reputable clinical trial, to reduce depression by 50% in 80% of patients? What if I then told you that when selling this oil, you would not have to list a paragraph of potential nasty side-effects that sound way worse than the initial condition? Would you want to try it??? What would happen to the stock value of the companies selling “Oh Welbutrin” (as I call it)

    Have you ever had someone you care about who was completely unhelped – or even harmed by the medical community or the advice of the A.M.A.? Have you ever seen that person finally helped by an essential oil? Something you thought you would never try but were desperate and out of options but then found it to be amazingly helpful?

    Finally, I believe that only a narrow-minded person writes an article like this without, at least, trying some of the oils themselves. By-the-way, there are many grades of oils: aromatherapy grade may only be for smell, therapeutic grad may -or may not- need to be diluted with carrier oil like olive oil, and pure distilled oils, without chemical additives may be ingestible. Because there is limited regulation, it is difficult to know what you get. But, the next time you get a headache, put some high grade peppermint on the area. The next time your Mother has a Hot Flash, put some peppermint on her ankles. The next time you get a wart, put some oregano on them. Hopefully you will get two warts and you can put compound W on one and Oregano on the other. I can’t afford a full blown clinical study. And no one else seems willing to do one. But that does not mean it doesn’t work. Some things are true whether you believe them or not. But to attack what others believe without strong data backing either side- and you must admit even the studies you have cited are weak- does not help any of us. And to draw the conclusion that it is a waste of money from the limited research done is to close a door that some day you may wish you had left open – even if only a small crack.

    • The testing you’re asking for has not been done probably because there are no pilot studies suggesting efficacy. There aren’t really any cogent hypotheses to test.

      The suggestion that drug companies only sell drugs they can patent is incredibly wrong to anyone taking even the most basic look at a pharmacy. Aspirin, for example. Every single product that’s available OTC has an expired patent. Many that are not yet OTC are available in generic form. They’re all extremely profitable.

      If there was some kind of miracle cure-all treatment available, as you suggest, that required no R&D, then they could bring it to market with a fraction of the investment. You think they wouldn’t jump all over this?

      • Magnanamous Dinoflagellate says:

        Limited research on essential oils?

        Trendy, Pick an essential oil, look at the amount of research done on it.

        This is called a “I just made that up” fallacy

        • trendy says:

          I am not sure I should even waste my time in response to someone whose name means “generous algae with a whiplike organelle” and also cannot spell “Magnanimous” but what I said was not a fallacy and not made up. There is a lot of research out there-over 13, 000 studies.That was part of my point to Brian who claimed there probably weren’t any. But can you find one done by a major drug company? I can’t. Pick your favorite Medical Institution or journal. My favorite is the Mayo Clinic. Search for research on essential oils and see if it doesn’t say that little research has been done or that more testing is needed

      • trendy says:

        Brian, you are not paying close attention to my comment. I am not so ignorant as to believe Aspirin is under patent and most meds do not have expired patents etc.etc. I tried to clearly state that drug companies would not get a return on their investment of R&D because essential oils are natural and readily available. Also, essential oils are not regulated by the FDA and so prescribing them as a medicinal cure becomes very problematic. If a drug company cleared all these hurdles, they would clear the path for all others to sell the product without sharing in the cost of getting it to Market.

        And as for “pilot studies” or “cogent hypotheses”…..seriously?? Brian Google Lavender essential oil and anxiety, abrasions, clinical trials, and see what comes up. So please check stuff out before you start out saying “there probably aren’t”

        • Dave says:

          They would make money, period. Think about this, penicillin was invented by studying mold… Is mold rare? Heck I can get moldy bread in a week if I want to. Yet drug companies make money off of penicillin. Why on earth would the refinement of anything within any “essential oil” NOT produce a profit while bread mold derived antibiotics do?

          Unfortunately for the drug companies, unlike DoTerra they have to PROVE efficacy before being allowed to sell their products.

          Btw, notice how DoTerra already makes money off of these supposedly unprofitable products?

          Some of them undoubtedly can do some good, but the claims of their schills far outweigh the evidence.

    • Mary fogo says:

      There are many colleges and universities around the world who study plant derivatives.

  20. Magnanamous Dinoflagellate says:

    Thanx for the initial comments, I hope you take them on board for future interactions and avoid an argument initiated by an attempt at diminution. Possibly another avoidance technique that may constitute an argumentative fallacy.. My current Skeptoid tags have been far more successful in getting people to think. Thanx for the immediate reward on dinoflagellates. May “magnanimity” appears to have worked past step one.

    So without further ado;

    a) you did not respond to Brian in your initial post thus I cant comment on what is being thought.

    You are correct that drug companies would not get a monstrous return on anything that is non patentable, You are missing the point that all traditionally sourced compounds that are produced by plants are clearly scientifically evaluated and each compound may or may not be a source for patentable raw materials.

    But, drug companies are chemical companies with a regulatory coat. You may find that drug companies where you live may also produce chemicals for resale in the alternative or supplements market. The term Big Pharma should be retired as Big Chemicals always held sway and, frankly, its a far bigger and easier target.

    I amased that you could only find such a miserly 13000 papers in your search in personally evaluating essential oils, their compounds and their derivatives . Maybe its a keyword issue.

    b) You state therapeutic R&D as some sort of immediacy. .The base properties, (of the raw essential oils), and traditional uses, over many millennia, are very well known by traditional practitioners and perfumers, cooks and herbalists and overarching science., We could infer that the pharmacopoeia, the herbals, cookbooks, perfumers grimoires and science listed to date (whilst not exhausted by a long shot) is exhaustive with respect to the properties required by alternative modalities and traditional uses.

    c) The article goes to alternative modalities exaggeration the effects of their use by self diagnosers (hypochondiacs) and their support base, alternative modalties,, can in fact be harmful.

    Yes, I think its about time that essential oils are sold with an MSDS so the hypochondriacs at least know.their next claims to glory.or be promoted to the solid ranks of Munchhausen diagnostics for friends and family.

    Please reinvigorate your search skills by reviewing your search terms and how to establish what precisely you are looking for.

  21. Herbal oils are very useful… essential oils are used for health purpose, it can used a medicine…. it can be used for beauty purpose also…..

  22. Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.

  23. scott says:

    Gee you’re right…there just doesn’t seem to be any professional journal studies out there on essential oils. a quick Google and the results were pretty scarce. here is what i found

    Alexandrovich, I., Rakovitskaya, O., Kolmo, E., Sidorova, T., Shushunov, S. (2003). The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Volgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9(4), 58-61.

    Al-Hader, A.A., Hasan, Z.A., Aqel, M.B. (1994). Hyperglycemic and insulin release inhibitory effects of rosmarinus officinalis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 43, 217,22.

    Al-Shuneigat, J., Cox, S. D., & Markham, J. L. (2005). Effects of a topical essential oil-containing formulation on biofilm-forming coagulase-negative staphylococci. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 41(1), 52-55.

    Anderson, L., Gross, J. (2004). Aromatherapy with peppermint, isopropyl alcohol, or placebo is equally effective in relieving postoperative nausea. Journal of Peri-Anesthesia Nursing, 19(1), 29-35.

    Bagg, J., Jackson, M. S., Petrina Sweeney, M., Ramage, G., & Davies, A. N. (2006). Susceptibility to melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil of yeasts isolated from the mouths of patients with advanced cancer. Oral Oncology, 42(5), 487-492.

    Ballard, C.G., O’Brien, J.T., Reichelt, K., Perry, E.K. (2002). Aromatherapy as a safe and effective treatment for the management of agitation in severe dementia: the results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with Melissa. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 63, 553-8.

    Barker, S & Altman P. (2010). A randomized, assessor blind, parallel group comparative efficacy trial of three products for the treatment of head lice in children – melaleuca oil and lavender oil, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and a “suffocation” product. BMC Dermatology, 10, 6.

    Bassett, I. B., Pannowitz, D. L., & Barnetson, R. S. (1990). A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust, 153(8), 455-458.

    Benencia, F. (1999). Antiviral activity of sandalwood oil against Herpes simplex viruses-1 and -2. Phytomedicine, 6(2), 119-23.

    Bernardes W, Lucarini R, Tozatti M, Flauzino L, Souza M, Turatti I, Andrade e Silva M, martins C, da Silva Filho A & Cunha W. (2010). Antibacterial activity of the essential oil from Rosmarinus officinalis and its major components against oral pathogens. Journal of Biosciences; 65(9-10):588-93.

    Bouhdid, S, Abrini, J, Zhiri, A, Espuny, M & Manresa, A. (2009). Investigation of functional and morphological changes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus cells induced by Origanum compactum essential oil. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 106(5), 1558-1568.

    Brady, A., Loughlin, R., Gilpin, D., Kearney, P., & Tunney, M. (2006). In vitro activity of tea-tree oil against clinical skin isolates of meticillin-resistant and -sensitive staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci growing planktonically and as biofilms. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 55(Pt 10), 1375-1380.

    Brandao, F. M. (1986). Occupational allergy to lavender oil. Contact Dermatitis, 249-50.

    Buckle, J. (2007). Literature review: should nursing take aromatherapy more seriously? British Journal of Nursing, 16(2), 116-120.

    Burns, E., Blamey, C., Ersser, S. J., Barnetson, L., & Lloyd, A. (2000). An investigation into the use of aromatherapy in intrapartum midwifery Practice. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 6(2), 141-7.

    Burns, E., Zobbi, V., Panzeri, D., Oskrochi, R., Regalia, A. (2007). Aromatherapy in childbirth: a pilot randomized controlled trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 114(7), 838-44.

    Burt, S. A. (2003). Antibacterial activity of selected plant essential oils against Escherichia coli O157:H7. Letters in Applied Microbiology 36, 162-7.

    Caelli, M., Porteous, J., Carlson, C. F., Heller, R., & Riley, T. V. (2001). Tea tree oil as an alternative topical decolonization agent for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. The International Journal of Aromatherapy, 11(2). [Originally published in The Journal of Hospital Infection (2000), 46, 236-237.]

    Canyon, D & Speare, R. (2007). A comparison of botanical and synthetic substances commonly used to prevent health lice (Pediculus humanus var. capitis) infestation. International Journal of Dermatology, 46(4), 422-426.

    Cappello, G, Spezzaferro, M, Grossi, L, et al. (2007). Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: A prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Digestive & Liver Disease, 39(6), 530-536.

    Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: A review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical Microbiology Reviews, 19(1), 50-62.

    Chang, SY. (2008). Effects of aroma hand massage on pain, state anxiety and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer. Daehan Ganho Haghoeji, 38(4), 493-502.

    Chung, M, Cho, S, Bhuiyan, M, Kim, K & Lee, S. (2010). Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) essential oil on glucose- and lipid-regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice. British J of Nutrition, 104(2), 180-188.

    Cooke, B., Ernst, E. (2000). Review: aromatherapy massage is associated with small, transient reductions in anxiety. British Journal of General Practice, 50, 493-6.

    Davies, SJ, Harding, LM & Baranowski, AP. (2002). A novel treatment of postherpetic neuralgia using peppermint oil. Clinical Journal of Pain, 18(3), 200-2.

    De Groot, A.C., & Weyland, W. (1992). Systemic contact dermatitis from tea tree oil. Contact Dermatitis, 27, 279-80.

    Dryden, M., Dailly, S., Crouch, M. (2004). A randomized, controlled trial of tea tree topical preparations versus a standard topical regimen for the clearance of MRSA colonization. Journal of Hospital Infec, 56(4), 283-6.

    Dwivedi, C. & Zhang, Y. (1999). Sandalwood oil prevents skin tumour development in CD1 mice. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 8, 449-55.

    Edris, A. (2007). Pharmaceutical and therapeutic potentials of essential oils and their individual volatile constituents: A review. Phytotherapy Research, 21, 308-323.

    Enshaieh, S., Jooya, A., Siadat, A. H., & Iraji, F. (2007). The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology, 73(1), 22-25.

    Furneri, P. M., Paolino, D., Saija, A., Marino, A., & Bisignano, G. (2006). In vitro antimycoplasmal activity of melaleuca alternifolia essential oil. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 58(3), 706-707.

    Gao, Y. Y., Di Pascuale, M. A., Li, W., Baradaran-Rafii, A., Elizondo, A., Kuo, C. L., et al. (2005). In vitro and in vivo killing of ocular demodex by tea tree oil. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 89(11), 1468-1473.

    Garozzo A, Timpanarao R, Stivala A, Bisignano G & Castro A. (2010) Activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil on influenza virus A/PR/8: Study on the mechanism of action. Antiviral Research, 89(1), 83-8.

    Gedney, J., Glover, T., Fillingim, R. (2004). Sensory and affective pain discrimination after inhalation of essential oils. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66(4), 599-606.

    Greenway, f, Frome & Engels, T. (2003). Temporary relief of postherpetic neuralgia pain with topical geranium oil. American J of Medicine, 115, 586-587.

    Gustafson, J. E., Chew, S., Markham, J., Bell, H.C., Wyllie, S. G., & Warmington, J. R. (1988). Effects of tea tree oil on Escherichia coli. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 26, 194-8.

    Hadfield, N. (2001). The role of aromatherapy massage in reducing anxiety in patients with malignant brain tumors. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 7(6), 279-285.

    Hajhashemi, V., Ghannadi, A., & Sharif, B. (2003). Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the leaf extracts and essential oil of lavandula angustifolia mill. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 89(1), 67-71.

    Halm, M. (2008). Essential oils for management of symptoms in critically ill patients. American Journal of Critical Care, 17(2), 160-163.

    Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (1998). In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida spp. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 42, 591-5.

    Hammer, K. A., Carson, C. F., & Riley, T. V. (2004). Antifungal effects of melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and its components on candida albicans, candida glabrata and saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 53(6), 1081-1085.

    Hammer, K. A., Carson, C. F., Riley, T. V., & Nielsen, J. B. (2006). A review of the toxicity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil. Food & Chemical Toxicology, 44(5), 616-625.

    Han, S., Hur M., Buckle, J., Choi, J., Lee, M. (2006). Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrheal in college students: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. The Journal of Alternative and Complentary Medicine, 12(6), 535-41.

    Hansen, T., Hansen, B., Ringdal, G. (2006). Does aromatherapy massage reduce job-related stress? Results from a randomized, controlled trial. International Journal of Aromatherapy, 16(2), 89-94.

    Hayashi, K., & Hayashi, T. (1994). Virucidal effects of the steam distilate from Houttuynia cordata and its components on HSV-1, influenza virus, and HIV. Planta Medica, 61, 237-41.

    Haze, S, Sakai, K & Gozu, Y. (2002). Effects of fragrance inhalation on sympathetic activity in normal adults. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology, 90, 247-253.

    Henley, D., Lipson, N., Korach, K., Bloch, C. (2007). Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. The New England Journal of Medicine, 356(5), 479-485.

    Inouye, S., Yamaguchi, H. (2001). Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 47, 565-73.

    Itai, T., Amayasu, H., Kuribayashi, M., Kawamura, N., Okada, M., Momose, A., Tateyama, T., Narumi, K., Waka, Kaneko, U.S. (2000). Psychological effects of aromatherapy on chronic hemodialysis patients. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 54, 393-7.

    Jandourek, A. & Vazquez, J. (1998). Efficacy of melaleuca oral solution for the treatment of fluconazole refractory oral candidiasis in AIDS patients. AIDS, 12, 1033-7.

    Kane, FM, Brodie, EE, Couli, A, et al. (2004). The analgesic effect of odour and music upon dressing change. British Journal of Nursing, 13(19), S4-12.

    Kejova K, Jorova D, Bendova H, Gajdos P & Kolarova H. (2010). Phototoxicity of essential oils intended for cosmetic use. Toxicology in Vitro, 24(8), 2084-9.

    Khan, M, Zahin & Hassan, S. (2009). Inhibition of quorum sensing regulated bacterial functions by plant essential oils with special reference to clove oil. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 49, 354-360.

    Kim, J. et al. (2006). Evaluation of aromatherapy in treating post-operative pain: pilot study. Pain Practice, 6(4), 273-277.

    Lehrner, J., Marwinski, G., Lehr, S., Johren, P., & Deecke, L. (2005). Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiology & Behavior, 86(1-2), 92-95.

    Lemon, K. (2004). An assessment of treating depression and anxiety with aromatherapy. The International Journal of Aromatherapy, 14, 63-69.

    Lucks, B.C., Sorensen, J., Veal, L. (2002). Vitex agnus-castus essential oil and menopausal balance: a self-care survey. Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, 8, 148-54.

    Messager, S., Hammer, K. A., Carson, C. F., & Riley, T. V. (2005). Assessment of the antibacterial activity of tea tree oil using the european EN 1276 and EN 12054 standard suspension tests. Journal of Hospital Infection, 59(2), 113-125.

    Millar, B & Moore, J. (2008). Successful topical treatment of hand warts in a paediatric patient with tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 14(4), 225-27.

    Nguyen, Q., Paton C. (2008). The use of aromatherapy to treat behavioral problems in dementia. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23, 337-346.

    Oyedele, A. O., Gbolade, A. A., Sosan, M.B., Adewoyin, F. B., Soyelu, O.L., & Orafidiya, O. O. (2002). Formulation of an effective mosquito-repellent topical product from Lemongrass oil. Phytomedicine, 9, 259-62.

    Price, S. & Price, L. (2007). Aromatherapy for health professionals, 3rd Ed. Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

    Rose, J. E. & Behm, F. M. (1994). Inhalation of vapor from black pepper extract reduced smoking withdrawal symptoms. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 34, 225-9.

    Saeki, Y. (2000). The effect of foot bath with or without the essential oil of lavender on the autonomic nervous system: A randomized trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 8, 2-7.

    Sharma S, Araujo M, Wu M, Qaqush J & Charles C. (2010). Superiority of an essential oil mouthrinse when compared with a 0.05% cetylpyridinium chloride containing mouthrinse: A six-month study. International Dental Journal, 60(3), 175-80.

    Sherry, E., Warnke, P. H. (2001). Percutaneous treatment of chronic MRSA osteomyelitis with a novel plant-derived antiseptic. BMC Surgery, 1(1).

    Snow L, Hovanec L & Brandt J. (2004). A controlled trial of aromatherapy for agitation in nursing home patients with dementia. J Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 10(3), 431-437.

    Soukoulis, S., & Hirsch, R. (2004). The effects of a tea tree oil-containing gel on plaque and chronic gingivitis. Australian Dental Journal, 49(2), 78-83.

    Srivasta, K. C., Mustafa, T. (1992). Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in Rheumatism and Musculoskeletal Disorders. Medical Hypotheses, 39, 342-8.

    Takarada, R. et al. (2004). A comparison of the antibacterial efficacies of essential oils against oral pathogens. Oral Microbiology and Immunology, 19, 61-64.

    Toloza A, Zygadlo J, Biurrun F, Rotman A & Picollo M. (2010). Bioactivity of Argentinean essential oils against permethrin-resistant head lice, Pediculus humanus capita. J of Insect Science, 10, 185.

    Torres Salazar A, Hoheisel J, Youns M & Wink M. (2011). Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of essential oils and their biological constituents. International J of Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 49(1), 93-95.

    Tyagi A & Malik A. (2010). Liquid and vapour-phase antifungal activities of selected essential oils against Candida albicans: Microscopic observations and chemical characterization of Cymbopogon citratus. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 10, 65.

    Van der Ploeg E, Eppingstall B & O’Connor D. (2010). The study protocol of a blinded randomized-controleed cross-over trial of lavender oil as a treatment of behavioural symptoms in dementia. BMC Geriatrics, 10, 49.

    Woelk, H & Schlafke, S. (2009). A multi-center, double-blind, randomizsed study of the lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine, 17, 94-99.

    P.S. I’m a skeptic for the record, but your article is the worst written hogwash I’ve ever seen. You must be a liberal. Like most liberal tactics you take someone’s experiential theories and instead of actually raising a valid point you just call them “dumb” or “wierdos.” As a scientist, I look for facts. Your article had none.

  24. Magnanamous Dinoflagellate says:

    Scott, you did no research or analysis at all to bolster up your spray at the article.

    You merely posted someone elses reference set as Shirley did a few months ago. Your lack of overview and analysis on your posted list shows you a non skeptic

    Viz;
    http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/what-does-research-say-about-essential-oils

    So pull up your slackness quotient and throw out all the articles with real results by real scientists and real science.

    Medicos and nurses can be the very worst of position pullers.

    Following suit makes you a non skeptic… and bloody lazy!

    Do some damn homework before posting..

  25. Magnanamous Dinoflagellate says:

    To anyone else who likes science, EB trialling isnt science and doubly blinded placebo control trials are the very worst case scenario. Trialling a bit of junk against the test material to hopefully eek out some sort of result provided all the conditions of a correctly conducted trial is met.

    EB trialling is testing and generally poorly carried out by people who pretend to be doing trials.

    These trials are often poorly carried out because of a number of reasons, marketting is a beauty! Furthermore, there are a lot of folk who live by “publish or perish” and produce junk papers in the journal literature. As a matter of fact, many of the articles Scott cut and pasted from a site reference list are just that, junk papers and mostly junk EBM/EB Alt Mod. Journals.

    Beware the internet trap if you want to be informed.

    How many papers would Scott remove if he threw away all the science based (SB) articles from that list?

    Nearly all of them.

    • Paul says:

      I was not aware that The National Cancer Institute and NIH are considered “a bit of junk”. These are from a quick search on google – and they are older studies. 2004 and 2011. Someone with an honest interest in learning more could do a more extensive study to see what new studies have been performed.

      http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/aromatherapy/patient/page2
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15555788
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171782

    • Mary fogo says:

      I guess the part of your retort that seems biased on the whole science end is that you have clearly put all the focus on establishing the flaws of many of the journals and articles he sited. While I can’t argue that some might be flawed, some might be “junk” as you call it, and some studies indeed might be poorly executed. Your closing asserts that nearly all of the journals on the long list should be called into question. I’ll let the authors of said articles defend themselves. My question is why didn’t you dedicate a single sentence to any of the articles, studies or journals that somehow managed to “make the cut” of your careful consideration? Did you learn anything sciencey from those articles or did you make a clear choice not to lust them specifically or even read them yourself?

  26. Chad I think your argument is weak at best. Maybe this is an ego thing? I’ve been studying essential oils for 16 years and been using them for that long as well. If they are grown and processed correctly they can be powerfully incredible medicine, in fact was really the only kind of Medicine I would use- I didn’t have medical insurance for 11 years and still even with health insurance I still mostly rely on essential oils. clove thyme cinnamon and oregano are really super powerful anti virals and they work for me. Many oils I use work for me for all kinds of stuff. You should try them. It all depends on the quality of the oil. There are upteem umpteem uses for oils. They really are the powerful medicine of plants in a concentrated form. By the way your skepticism is annoying and is it really that helpful? I think it is more hurtful than helpful actually if you think about it. Anybody who educates themselves on essential oils when know that the efficacy of it depends on many things, mostly quality and you have to do the research yourself. I work in the medical field, I am a registered nurse, I understand how the body works. I am telling you… essential oils are amazing and have added a lot of quality to my life and others as well. Maybe want to put your energy into something more helpful in the future?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I’m a reflexologist . I use several different modalities . Essential oils being one of them. Doterra in particular , I no longer have to take allergy and sinus medicine ,I use peppermint oil and lemon oil, it dries it up, no more issues. I use them to get rid of headaches, nausea, all sorts of things. Doing more using the oils instead of critizing and trying to tear apart words, would probably be more beneficial for your health

  28. Claire says:

    Chad, your arrogance and criticism of things that work for people is sad. It’s such narrow minded thinking to think that if it can’t be proven by science, it must be a hoax or ineffective to treat anything. You would have a wonderful career in the FDA.

    • Claire, I’m confused; how can something both (a) work, and (b) not be provable to work?

      • Maya says:

        Well, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website, there are several problems inherent in the scientific process of “proving” that essential oils work… such as problems having to do with the issue of standardizing the oils (and thus rendering them no longer natural) and problems having to do with how to manage blinded studies. Mayo Clinic also mentions the problem of getting approval to do the study on humans in the first place, wihout extensive and expensive animal testing first, even though humans have been using EO’s for thousands of years. And then there’s the issue of funding, since “proving that something works” doesn’t come cheap. So Brian, I think that for these reasons and others, it is indeed possible for something to both a.) work, and b.) not be provable to work. Which is to say, from a practical standpoint, we don’t live in an ideal world where we can go around “proving” (conducting peer reviewed scientific studies) on everything, just because we might like to. That being said, it is generally accepted now, even in the traditional Western medical community, that there is a relatively small but growing body of peer reviewed research in support of the clinical applications of essential oils. Even the Mayo clinic admits that; indeed their director of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (an MD) supports the responsible use of aromatherapy, calling EO’s “powerful medicine.” Your article seems oddly strident and one-sided for someone who prides himself on having a scientific frame of mind. Sure, some sellers of EO’s may make exaggerated claims, just like anyone selling anything tends to make exaggerated claims. If that bothers you, then I suggest you take a stand against unethical or opportunistic advertising in general, no need to throw EO’s out with the bath water.

        • Eric Hall says:

          Would you trust a vehicle to be safe in a crash without expensive design and engineering and crashing expensive prototype cars? Or are you ok with assuming cars are safe in a crash because people have driven them for over 100 years?

          Yes, Mayo Clinic, like the NIH, has a CAM division. They need to pander to the politics – even though it is all BS. Alternative medicine that works is medicine.

        • Eric Hall says:

          Essential oils in the US alone exceeded 1 billion dollars in revenue last year. They can’t spare a little to prove their product works? Or would that perhaps ruin the business?

          • Paul says:

            Well. Eric, with this last comment about sales of EO and ‘ruining the business” which shows your bias against the oils. You are angry with the dollars spent on the oils. The global pharmaceutical market is worth US $300 billion per year. There are studies with EO and more coming. So, they don’t meet YOUR standards. There are studies on pharmaceuticals and many have proven harmful. EO are not drugs. Most people using and sharing them are not health professionals or giving ‘medical’ advice. So, lay people are using incorrect language to describe their experience…And the degree to which you feel the need to ridicule those who prefer to use them as personal choices is quite interesting. Using your ‘scientific’ superiority to bully folks who are clearly not scientists.

  29. Scott says:

    Chad,

    Sometimes there are things that cannot be explained by science. I know this has nothing to do with essential oils, but it’s an example of how these studies you reference may not get the whole picture. When my son was an infant, and when he would get the occasional fit of hiccups, my wife (from El Salvador) would get a piece of red thread, put it in her mouth to soak it in her saliva and then roll it up into a ball and stick it on his forehead. His hiccups would go away immediately. The first time she did that I was wondering what the hell she was doing and looked at her like she was a crazy woman. When it worked the first time I thought, okay…lucky. But she would do this repeatedly with the same results. When I tried it, it would NEVER work.

    We were recently at a friends house discussing various things and this story came up. As soon as I said red thread, this other lady (from Panama) jumped up and said “Yes! We do that too! It really works!” The other people at the table were understandably looking at us with skepticism, which I completely understand. Had I not seen it work so many times I would have been highly skeptical too.

    From a scientific standpoint, the focus would be on the red string that had been soaked in saliva, but like I said, I had done the same thing and had no result at all. I believe it’s more of a case of what the person applying this home remedy believes in, and thus it becomes less about the red thread and more about the power of the human mind.

    So someone in a lab performing research who is skeptical of essential oils may achieve a far different result than someone who has genuine belief in it. Not everything in this world is black and white. Maybe your opinions shouldn’t be either.

  30. Tara says:

    Thank you so much for all of this – It’s so difficult to figure out what is right and what is wrong or what is true or not – it’s all mixed up with marketing messages and talking points.

  31. Lauren says:

    As for the argument for using standard drugs with plenty of scientific studies versus little scientific research on essential oils and aromatherapy–who cares? It’s a personal decision that should be left up to the individual.

    And yes, I have my own anecdote. I am 28 years old and have had chronic bronchitis and asthma my entire life, to the point of missing at least two weeks to a month of school or work each year and lengthy hospitalizations every few years. I am allergic to most antibiotics and have suffered a wide range of reactions from serum sickness to rashes, and once anaphylactic shoc (according to my mother, I was too sick to remember). I developed steroidinduced psychosis after one particularly brutal episode of pneumonia that required IV steroids multiple times a day. I have taken a prednisone dose pack two to three times a year my entire life and it causes weight gain, depression, and anxiety every single time.

    I began using essential oils mainly for allergies and respiratory issues, namely Peppermint, Lemon, and Lavendar, almost a year ago in addition to the daily medicines I have been taking for years (antihistamine, inhaled corticosteroid, albuterol inhaler as needed). During this time I have not taken a single antibiotic, oral steroid, OTC cold medication, or injected steroid. I also have not missed a single day of work for the first time since kindergarten (if you count all those years of school as well).

    I am not a distributor or receiving any financial gain for my use of essential oils.

  32. Dennis says:

    You sir… Are a complete and utter idiot. Use Doterra’s products and you WILL see that they work. I was a skeptic for 2 years. I firmly stand by the product. They’ve cured me of several ailments, my kids are never sick anymore, and I KNOW what I’m putting in my body. But you think you know it all… That’s a horrible way to live your life. I know, I was there 3 years ago.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Are you sure you know what your are putting in your body? I looked at the Doterra website. One prominent claim is “guaranteed to be safe.” One product being sold is clove oil. Here’s from the MSDS info on clove oil:

      Potential Chronic Health Effects: Very hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available. The substance is toxic to the nervous system, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated or prolonged inhalation of vapors may lead to chronic respiratory irritation.

      It also has an LD50 of 2650mg/kg in rats. So one 15 mL bottle has the potential to kill an infant if ingested.

      Don’t assume because something is labeled “natural” it can’t be harmful.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Another is grapefruit oil. MSDS:

      0.5 to 5.0 g/kg May cause death in humans.

      And

      Ingestion: has shown effects on kidneys in animals. Seek medical attention if ingested.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Now like everything it is all about dose. While a few drops for an otherwise healthy individual are unlikely to cause harm – claiming absolute safety or “knowing what is going in your body” is also a questionable claim.

  33. Alan Motter says:

    IF essential oils are claimed to be used to cure illnesses, then the practitioners and sellers of oils should be subject to the same regulatory process as physicians, pharmacists and drug companies . As it stands now, a high school dropout can “diagnosis” and “treat” with no more training than reading the essential oil company’s brochure. Buyer beware!

    • matt brown says:

      yes and a doctor can be the worst student in his class and still pass with a 70. youre responsible for your own body like everyone else. patent laws wont allow big pharma to adopt these medicines and make gobs of cash on them, so naturally they dont care for things like essential oils. i probably wouldnt run my own business into the ground if i had a choice.

      if you go to china you will see in most hospitals a cabinet of traditional medicine, right next to a cabinet full of natural medicine. they understand the importance of both and i wish all of you could do the same. these arguments are 99% egos flaring and pissing contests. being the smartest means jack when noone benefits.

      these oils obviously can have some effects, and eventually we will find a uses for them that make them worthwhile to the mainstream. by no means should they replace traditional medicines. antibiotics do save lives. so do vitamins.

      • Noah Dillon says:

        So you’re claiming that someone who’s got zero scientific medical training is better for medical advice than someone who’s been taught for several years, trained, licensed, and overseen by peers and instructors? The patent laws are so lax that the process for making toast has been patented, several times. Several perpetual motion machines have been patented. If drug companies, which are usually portrayed as all powerful and nefarious, wanted to patent and sell a powerful substance for enormous profit, they would do it. They’re uninterested because there’s no data that show that these oils do anything.

        • matt brown says:

          i didnt make that claim. it is just an example of how medicine can and does fail. patent laws state that you cannot patent something like a plant or a seed unless you engineered it. monsanto has patented all of their seeds but are struggling to patent the natural forms of those same seeds.

          not to mention that it would not be profitable if the esoteric world of pharma became understandable to anyone with lavender in their backyard.

          i dont think this stuff is a miracle cure for anything, but the “criticism” displayed here is just the same biased bull that the proponents of this stuff shell out.

          microwaving water has an illustrious effect on the structure of water. that is a fact. there is plenty of evidence out there. you can even try this yourself. my experiments with structured water had notable results. the shape of water cells changes all the time and to ignore that is as ignorant as one can get. simply stating this is wrong does not convince me of anything but your own arrogance. ive seen it over and over. microwaves produce concentrated waves, so the notion that microwaves are all around us is like saying oxygen can never kill you because we breathe it. everything can be toxic at certain levels. there is the conversation to be had.

  34. Toni says:

    It’s cool that you are a skeptic and all but sometimes it’s counter-productive, like in this article. While most people know that 80% of alternative medicine is pure BS, there are a few exceptions in this. It is, indeed, possible for a substance to be a part of modern medicine, and alternative medicine at the same time. Some examples of these substances include Oil of Cloves (which is scientifically studied and widely in use by dentists all around the world, mainly due to the ingredient eugenol). Some other exceptions also exist.

    I am not a scientist, nor a doctor. But all it takes is a list of essential oils, and a look at the scientific evidence, studies and what it is actually used for and by whom.

  35. A skeptic aromatherapist says:

    So I guess this means BenGay is fraud; as is CamphoPheniq, and hmm – oh yeah – the use of peppermint candy after dinner as a digestive. How about clove oil, which was once used “as is” in dentistry and now its primary active chemical component, eugenol, is the topical dental anesthetic of preference? What else – oh I know, Vicks Vapo-Rub! Totally scam right? Because everyone knows aromatherapy is just a waste of money. Forget Tiger Balm for headaches and muscle pain – the possibility that camphor (an essential oil), wintergreen (an essential oil) and eucalyptus (an essential oil) might be useful medically is preposterous. Hope you never need to take aspirin – which was first synthesized from its original form, which was to boil white willow bark until its essential oil was released into the water, and drinking the infusion.

    How’s Listerine mouthwash for ya? Thymol is its primary active ingredient. Take a guess where thymol comes from (answer for the kids: thyme essential oil).

    In short: yes, many essential oils have been tested, and are used in pharmaceuticals and in over-the-counter treatments. Can they cure disease? I’ve seen no evidence of this. Can they treat illness and eliminate a variety of symptoms of illness and disease? Absolutely.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think most people here can make a claim that oils help with symptoms, the trouble is that the line is quickly crossed to “Cures”

    • Eric Hall says:

      As a general comment, it is interesting you point out all of these treatments, as they contain specific amounts of ingredients derived from these plants, not just a generic extract. They are monitored by the FDA and at least have some studies done on them and plausibility. Similar to those touting cannabis oil, the problem is you have no idea the concentration of any of the ingredients that might be helpful.

      BenGay and similar like tiger balm and Capsaicin work in a sense by distracting your brain. By stimulating the pain receptors in the skin, the muscle pain is masked until the body has time to heal it.

      Vapo-Rub has been well studied and has no effect on colds – not even a placebo effect can be found (no, I am not going to link the studies – go ahead and look them up).

      Listerine works mostly by the effect of the alcohol killing the bacteria. Yes, certain ingredients found in the oil (such as Thymol) do have some anti-bacterial properties, but again it is in specific amounts and not the oil in general, but one component.

      Show me the studies of “essential oils” being studied. I have found studies which cannot be replicated, studies which are small and haven’t been repeated, or commentary. The only real science is in the constituents of the oils, and not the oils as a whole. If you can find a good series of studies, I would be interested in seeing them.

      You also mention Aspirin – sure, derived from willow bark. So, are you going to extract oil from willow bark and hope it helps you, or are you going to take the pills of a known amount of active ingredient which has been tested extensively. (Naturalistic fallacy anyone?) It is also a false equivalency – Canola oil is pretty good for you – but the oil as it comes out of the rapeseed can be toxic.

      Here’s another editorial on the bogus-ness of essential oils: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/doterra-multilevel-marketing-of-essential-oils/

      • Dennis says:

        You have an opinion here, plain and simple. I have GERD… I was on prescription medication for years, now I use Doterra essential oils (DigestZen) and I no longer need to take pharmaceuticals… I heal my sore muscles with essential oils, not BenGay, my children are never sick because we use essential oils to stave off colds and flu’s… You sir are operating on a tremendous amount of irresponsible ignorance. Write a real article with real substance.

        • Eric Hall says:

          I have a scientific likelihood based on scientific study. You have an anecdote. I suggest looking up anecdote and confirmation bias and reevaluate your story.

          Staving off germs with essential oils has little plausibility and no evidence. The remaining anecdotes are just that.

          http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/10/26/it-is-likely-this-post-will-get-anti-science-comments/

          • Paul says:

            I was not aware that The National Cancer Institute and NIH are considered “a bit of junk”. These are from a quick search on google – and they are older studies. 2004 and 2011. Someone with an honest interest in learning more could do a more extensive study to see what new studies have been performed.

            http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/aromatherapy/patient/page2
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15555788
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171782

          • OK Paul lets look at this from a medical standpoint and not dismiss the research you posted.
            1. Not research, online advice for aroma therapy as a possible relaxation technique for subjective improvement of symptoms- true for every relaxation technique from prayer to massage. Hard evidence of effectiveness zero. Possible unsupported mechanism.
            2. Staph in vitro study, small scale, never reproduced and 10 years old. With a very small statistical effect of organism suppression for staph aureus. No blinding on the researchers plus they did the colony counts. Not saying that they fabricated the results. Just a poorly structured study.
            3. Published in a alt med journal in Britain. Methods lacked scientific rigor controls was untreated plate. In-vitro study, Added heat treatment as a variable and didn’t control for it. Poor study unreplicated. Small numbers no controls and no blinding.
            Similar to to other alt med studies, scientifically curious but as basis for efficacy… useless. They sound good unless you actually look at the studies.
            I must agree with eric’s assessment three bits of junk not really research.
            As is often said in skeptical circles you can stack cow pies 40 feet in the air but is still a stack of cowpies.

          • Paul says:

            Whoa, Stephan Propatier – I am not a scientist nor was I citing these studies as any representative example or ‘proof’ of anything.

            I simply noted that I read some of the posts noting no evidence/research on effectiveness of essential oils and in just a few second google search, there were lots of studies which came up, these were but 3 and from government sites, and they are from years ago (this is not my hobby or livelihood and I really don’t have the time or inclination for in depth research – however, I do not enjoy seeing bullying in ersatz clothing), so perhaps (but not for skeptics it seems) it is possible there there is a larger body of research out there with more information? For those with a genuine hunger for the truth?

            I am new to this site and am a skeptic myself and like conspiracy theories among the best of them.

            But I confess I have to be skeptical of all the so called skeptics on this page who seem bent on ridiculing and disproving something with lack of real research on the literature. Most of you seem bent on proving your hypothesis at all costs.

            People who use complementary practices are by and large people who seek alternatives to lobbyist, special interest paid for drugs, big pharma, etc. They do their own due diligence to find support on their journey to heal and well being sans toxins, and other harmful substances and modalities.

            Many of these comments seem to assume that people are fools.

            Most of the people working with essential oils are grandmothers in their kitchens, mothers who seek toxic free environments for their children. Not greedy corporate entities like big pharma. Even the MLMs, pittance compared with big pharma.

            So, it would be nice to truly understand where many of your skeptics are coming from. i thought this was about dialogue, sensible conversation – name calling and ridicule are often coverups for specious arguments, meant to charmingly disarm.

          • Paul says:

            Whoa, Stephan Propatier – I am not a scientist nor was I citing these studies as any representative example or ‘proof’ of anything.

            I simply noted that I read some of the posts noting no evidence/research on effectiveness of essential oils and in just a few second google search, there were lots of studies which came up, these were but 3 and from government sites, and they are from years ago (this is not my hobby or livelihood and I really don’t have the time or inclination for in depth research – however, I do not enjoy seeing bullying in ersatz clothing), so perhaps (but not for skeptics it seems) it is possible there there is a larger body of research out there with more information? For those with a genuine hunger for the truth?

            I am new to this site and am a skeptic myself and like conspiracy theories among the best of them.

            But I confess I have to be skeptical of all the so called skeptics on this page who seem bent on ridiculing and disproving something with lack of real research on the literature. Most of you seem bent on proving your hypothesis at all costs.

            People who use complementary practices are by and large people who seek alternatives to lobbyist, special interest paid for drugs, big pharma, etc. They do their own due diligence to find support on their journey to heal and well being sans toxins, and other harmful substances and modalities.

            Many of these comments seem to assume that people are fools.

            Most of the people working with essential oils are grandmothers in their kitchens, mothers who seek toxic free environments for their children. Not greedy corporate entities like big pharma. Even the MLMs, pittance compared with big pharma.

            So, it would be nice to truly understand where many of your skeptics are coming from. i thought this was about dialogue, sensible conversation – name calling and ridicule are often coverups for specious arguments, meant to charmingly disarm.

          • Eric Hall says:

            The NIH pubmed is a repository for publications. It does not necessarily indicate approval or disapproval by the NIH. The first one falls under the CAM portion of the NIH – which was formed due to lobbying pressure and not good science. I could do 100 studies on how water cures the common cold and likely get them published in an open access journal – but I would have to be nearly dishonest with my data to do so. Airborne was tested in a study and the conclusion of the study was it shortened the duration of a cold. However, looking at the data, the result was a 27 MINUTE improvement. I don’t know how one could look at that data and call it significant enough to make a conclusion that it was better – but someone did.

      • Mary fogo says:

        I’m not here to defend do terra. But you said:

        As a general comment, it is interesting you point out all of these treatments, as they contain specific amounts of ingredients derived from these plants, not just a generic extract. They are monitored by the FDA and at least have some studies done on them and plausibility. Similar to those touting cannabis oil, the problem is you have no idea the concentration of any of the ingredients that might be helpful.

        There is a good deal of science and research on cannabis oil. I’m certain there are many credible studies happening right now. The science behind c.o. and epilepsy is compelling.

  36. Anonymous says:

    DoTerra in particular has a cult-like following and if you are unaware enough to be sucked into that company, you become part of the cult. IF you ever dare question (even a mild question) you are likely to be ostracized and removed from the “cult.” This is my experience with that company and before I was “kicked out” (literally from the Facebook group) I saw this happen to others.

    I still use essential oils and will continue to do, topically and diffused in the air. Everything I have ever read (online and printed) says never ingest. DoTerra has made it their standard practice to encourage their customers to eat the oils. When I asked DoTerra advisers why they say ingesting Eucalyptus oil is prohibited, but ingesting a popular blend containing the same oil, I was told “It’s OK because lots of other people ingest everyday, and they are OK.” This came from the TOP down (direct from Dr. Hill). “Doterrans” are insane and spout the same non-sense back and forth to each other with wide eyes like they are experience some kind of supernatural amazement. I buy my oils from company based in Oregon which also sells teas, herbs, food products, etc. They make no inflated claims of the curative nature of their products and they are reasonably priced. Even taking into consideration the inflated costs to cover paying the consultants, DoTerra product costs are ridiculously high. They claim the high cost is for a better product, but when I did some simple evaporation tests comparing DoTerra to “Cheaper” “Inferior” brands, I saw little to no difference. In fact, DoTerra came up third in some tests. I only tested 3 oils.

    DoTerra is extremly shady in their practices (the very vague claims they make and extreme dependence on circumstantial and anecdotal “evidence,” just to name a couple).

    Everyone I have ever met who claims to be cured by the “healing powers” of DoTerra (and they will also claim that ONLY DoTerra is restorative) will always at one point say “Just Try It! You will be changed.” Imagine if all medicine was treated like this – we would all be dead in a year.

    Most of the people selling and/or buying from DoTerra (Young Living and any other direct marketing company) are struggling desperately to make ends meet AND are often living with major chronic conditions or a form of Cancer. DoTerra feeds off that desperation and is making MILLIONS off those cultists/distributors/Indepedant Product Consultants.

    • Dennis says:

      Your argument is so simple to explain. You don’t understand what you’re saying.

      So because of your experience in a company with a small subsect of bad leadership you judge the entire company? Lmao

      You recognize that people will use the product regardless because they’re desperate Lmao, I’m not desperate, neither are you… So why do you use them? BECAUSE THEY WORK!

      Idiocy of your caliber is reversible, all you need is an open mind, some common sense, and understanding that you don’t know it all.

      As for me, I know the science behind the product, I’ve had universities test my samples week beforei decided to involve myself and my reputation in this company.

      I make a modest living with this company, and I don’t have to recruit, they come to me. I make no promises, they buy, try, and either stay as a customer or continue taking their pharmaceuticals… It’s that simple.

      Furthermore, do your own research and stop counting on peer reviewed articles and other biased and agenda driven resources. They’re no better than the media sometimes.

      Primary research > Secondary Research

      Learn the difference.

      • Eric Hall says:

        What tests did you have done? Are they simply tests of content, or tests of effectiveness? If of effectiveness, were they controlled, double-blind, randomized trials? Were the results published and subject to peer-review?

        Common sense, intuition, open-mind, etc, are all hallmarks of pseudoscience. We know through science that the mind is easy to fool, which is why proper science is the method in which we remove a large part of the foolishness of human brains.

      • Anonymous says:

        Spoken like true DoTerran. Thank you for continuing to confirm everyone’s opinion of this company and essential oils.

  37. intrigued says:

    Not a scientist or doctor, little to no opinion on essential oils, the link below seems to me to be authentic research and if i was able to translate anything correctly seems like it supports that some essential oils are effective in inhibiting growth of viruses and bacteria. The study is quite difficult to read as a layman so any qualified interpreters out there please relate your view after reading it.

    http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/47/5/565.full

    • Dennis says:

      I tried to let this guy know… But he is impervious to common sense… His reaction to anything that questions his current belief is to denounce and relate to something that points a finger at him being right.

      The reality is that I’m correct, he has to prove ME wrong. I’ve made a case in favor of common sense and all he’s done is support his own position with total disregard for MILLIONS of Americans and tens if not hundreds of millions of people worldwide who find natural medicine effective and efficient as a means to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

      I firmly believe that there is a time and place for Western medicine, but NOT EVERYTHING needs a pill.

      • Eric Hall says:

        It is not science for me to prove you wrong. If I say there are unicorns living all over the United States – is it up to me to prove I’m right, or up to you to prove me wrong?

        Again – if this is going to help millions of people, it should be easy to design a study to show that. Design the study, publish it, and if your hypothesis is correct sales of your product should only go up.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Certain oils are known to kill various bacteria and viruses on surfaces. In fact, several products have been introduced over the last few years that work on this principle. I use a commercial product in my home and spray the door knobs and other germy surfaces to try to help prevent at least a cold or two from spreading among the kids.

      This is far different than ingesting the oils and expecting them to work in the same way. The key here is the level of the effectiveness of the various applications. I know spraying this stuff on surfaces will kill at least some of the microbes – it smells nice – and in the low amounts in the product if my kid happens to get a couple of drops worth in his mouth it won’t cause any serious harm.

      Think of it this way – I know that bleach also does a great job of killing germs on surfaces, including in pretty low concentrations in a spray. But, I am not going to drink bleach or expect it to have the same effect in my body.

      • Dennis says:

        Is… Bleach… Natural??? What is your disconnect?

        If it kid kills bacteria and viruses on surfaces, what makes i it’s effectiveness any less capable when on the skin surface of the body or operating inside the body?

        I’m not sure if you’re trolling, or if you’re really just not capable of understanding this stuff.

        • Eric Hall says:

          If I get Hydrochloric Acid on my skin what happens to my skin? Yet, my stomach excretes HCl as part of digestion. So do things act differently on my skin versus in my body? Of course.

          Acetic Acid is also antimicrobial on surfaces. But I don’t get the same benefit if I chug pickle brine. I can also get burned in high enough concentrations. The vapor can kill germs on surfaces as well – yet it can cause damage to the lungs if inhaled, but if I smell a jar of pickles I don’t get hurt (nor does it cure my cold).

          Your body metabolizes things you ingest – whereas a countertop does not. Your skin is a much different chemical makeup than a doorknob, so the reactions that will take place are different.

          • Dennis says:

            Last I checked we were talking about essential oils, now you’re talking about volatile acids and chemical compounds produced by the body and hypothetically applied to the skin.

            You’re not even deserving of another reply. Enjoy your pharmaceuticals and subsequent side effects like cancer, blindness or anal seepage… Maybe all three if you’re lucky!

            Call me when you then wasn’t to try something that won’t hurt your body but rather help it.

            I’m sure I’ll have an oil for you.

            Until then, happy pill popping for you.

          • Eric Hall says:

            When one is not able to counter the science, it is common to resort to ad hominem attacks and untestable or downright false claims in order to keep one’s position.

            You said that oils would act the same inside the body as outside. I gave examples where this is not true as evidence for plausibility of my hypothesis that the same would hold true for oils. What evidence do you have that essential oils survive in their pre-ingested form through digestion and into the blood stream to be delivered to an infection and will then specifically kill those microbes?

          • Dennis says:

            The fact that common colds and flu’s are completely avoided, that athletes foot and hedydrosis, skin rashes, yeast and bacterial infections completely eliminated. How about less pain and inflammation from muscles and joints, how about having GERD and not needing to ingest a people pill to stop my gallbladder from secreting bile in large doses, how about instant headache and tendon relief. How about my contracts with THE US ARMY and MULTIPLE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS who use my CPTG oils to aid soldiers and civilians with PTSD through aroma and touch therapy… How about ear infections, sinus infections, nail infections, how about dental pain… I can keep going, but you won’t get it because you think you know it all…

            YOU think YOU and your extremely limited argument are smarter than MILLIONS of testimonials from REAL PEOPLE who are nowhere near as “desperate” for healing as you so eloquently purport.

            Wake up!

          • Eric Hall says:

            Ah – you’ve now reached the “Wake Up Sheeple” portion of the comment. I am always amazed how that comes out at some point when someone is promoting nonsense.

            All of the things you point out for you personally are what is known as anecdote. There is no control to know if it is the oil, or something else. Perhaps because you are drinking more water with the oil – it is in fact the water helping improve your digestive issues. That could also be what is helping with your other aches. dehydration is a very common cause of all of those things. Whatever it is, I can say with a high degree of certainty that adding oil to your normal routine is not the only change you made.

            If the army is using you oil – it is another example of the government not doing their due diligence. We also saw the military buy boxes that they placed pictures of bombs in and were told it would detect bombs. It caused the death of many soldiers. I only hope the oiled soldiers are also getting actual help so that they can work to get better. By the way – that should be public knowledge – your contract with the government – so why not reveal your name and/or company so we can all verify the validity of your claim.

            We know testimonials and the like are extremely unreliable. Look at some of the recent science. It is really easy to fool the brain. And again, these testimonials do not control the variables, so we have no way to know if it is the oil or some other change actually causing some improvement of symptoms. We also have no way to measure the outcomes from testimonials. Let’s say oils do work, but only cause a small reduction in pain, while a simple medication can cause a significant reduction in pain – which is better? I’ll take the one that measures a larger net benefit.

            Science people!

  38. intrigued says:

    So is there a doctor or scientist in this post that could shed some light on the study provided and a layman’s explanation of what is says?

  39. intrigued says:

    So that’s it when the hard question is asked everyone hides their head in the sand?

  40. Eric Hall says:

    I did reply to you intrigued http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/02/02/essential-oils-a-perfect-example-of-alternative-medicine-exaggeration/#comment-43452

    The study is about killing bacteria, in a solid container, with very concentrated oil vapor. That is far different than inside the body.

  41. djdan63 says:

    I’m a 66 year old college educated broadcaster from Burton Michigan. I’ve read all these comments and been pitched doTerra by a nice lady in Lapeer Michigan. It seems like there’s a comparison to Amway here–if you’re a believer we’re pals and if you don’t “buy” my anectodal evidence i get angry. The rep in Lapeer told me “addictions come from the liver and essential oils can cure that”. Does that even SOUND scientific? Not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings and i’m open to holistic healing and new ideas, but i think there’s the placebo effect at work here–if i tell you something and you believe it strongly enough your mind can indeed help to correct some conditions. I don’t think doTerra or any essential oils are harmful but i’d need to see a lot of objective scientific proof before i bought or used much of it. I’m sure it’s pleasant and calming. But anyone who seriously think addictions come from the live is very puzzling to me. Dan McPhail, Burton M

    • Dennis says:

      Unfortunately, as with any business, there will always be quacks. In my circles, it’s all about education, sharing, and facts. He don’t like quackery. If someone sounds quacky, I don’t associate with them, it’s a cancer to my business.

      I run a successful Doterra business, I’m a living testament to the oils working to CURE my skin conditions. You don’t have to believe me, in fact I don’t expect you to. But my mind I’d not going to help my skin heal no matter how much I believe in a product; it with works or doesn’t, pain and simple.

      85% of all my customers ever acquired STILL BUY after 3 years. When I speak with them they tell me stories of no more asthma, no more need for virtually all medications, you name it, ive heard it.

      That’s all I have to say, this thread has consumed too much of my time already.

      I’ll leave you all with one thought.

      Don’t judge a book based on how YOU read the cover.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Look at your aggressive nature in the other comments. It sounds like the broadcaster above had the same experience you have given all of us here.

        I haven’t called you names, or insulted your intelligence. I actually had one of your comments removed due to your behavior. For example, towards me:

        “He has no idea how stupid he sounds.”

        “What a disrespectful and irresponsible dumbass. I hope he never procreates.”

        So – I think if we are to judge a few pages of this essential oil book – it would be that you will defend it at all costs, even the cost of rational and reasonable conversation. I prefer science.

      • Dave says:

        Dennis you sell essential oils or their application correct? You mentioned your “contracts with the army”, so you make money by their use, whether they actually work or not. I think I understand your motivation and evangelical rants. Please just stop, go have a tea of something wonderful and healing to equalize the imbalance these negative energy posts are having on your jing and shen. Your life will be well, as the great integrated Maintenance healer Barnum once said ” There’s a sucker born every minute” for your products.

  42. intrigued says:

    What is your background Eric? What shingle hangs on your wall.

    • Dennis says:

      He’s one of the people that couldn’t make it in Doterra… Obviously Lmao

      He’s just a one of those complainers that enjoy sounding extremely intelligent but verbally backing himself into an “irrational” and “highly biased” corner.

      • Eric Hall says:

        I would never involve myself in scamming people. If I were to sell oils, I would have to be truthful and say these smell nice, so they make great air freshener.

        So far, I’ve provided scientific evidence, plausibility (or lack of), and have also asked you questions regarding your claims. You haven’t answered my questions and supplied anecdotes. I believe you are arguing from the irrational corner.

    • Eric Hall says:

      My formal education is in physics, which is what I currently teach.

      My experience includes spending several years as a safety officer in which I had continuing training in many scientific fields as some of the materials used where I worked had dangers and required precautions to protect those working with those products.

      I also, in general, consult my friends who are medical doctors and PhD biologists (an advantage of working in academics) before posting things on medical/biology topics with which I am not familiar.

      So if you are wondering about the veracity of my information, it has plenty of education behind it.

  43. Janet says:

    As essential oil users, we are well aware that there are not enough studies regarding the efficacy of these amazing gifts. Where we gain our knowledge is through what we call experiential evidence. Many many people use these oils on a daily basis and share their testimonies on how these oils have worked for them and their families. We in the oil community would love if there was more scientific study, unfortunately there is still not enough. I believe that with the success of companies like doTerra, the medical community has already and will continue to take notice and I believe there will be further studies by the scientific community in the future. In the meantime, if I can cure myself from an earache without ever using an ear drop or an oral antibiotic and if I can rid myself of a sore throat without ever using a throat lozenge or oral antibiotic and if I can break a fever for my 6 year old nephew without having to give him any over the counter or prescription medication…as long as I can do these things (just to name a few) and I can witness the benefits in my own home and in the homes of many others who have chosen to incorporate essential oils into their families health and wellness plan, then I will continue to do so. As long as I feel comfortable and confident that these oils have made a difference, I will continue to use them. If you have never used an essential oil because you are so scientifically minded, that is your option. I will not judge you for your personal choices in how you choose to approach your health and would ask for the same courtesy in return. You seek scientific studies to prove to you that essential oils are effective, but does the lack of studies prove that they are not? You never know, future studies (and we will see them) might show us just the opposite. I agree that sometimes statements are made incorrectly and sometimes oil users/sharers misrepresent and misinform people…ie addiction comes from the liver…but that is one person who chooses to speak without properly educating themselves. Using essential oils is a continuous educational process and some users/sharers may use the wrong words, but you will find this same problem even in scientific communities. You could quote for days things that are printed and claims that people make regarding oils that may be inaccurate, but that is NOT evidence that essential oils do not work or that their effects are simply psychosomatic. As an experienced oil user, I can and do speak only about my personal experiences and the experiences of my friends and family and I can say that essential oils have been very powerful healing agents and I am thankful that I have this invaluable resource when it comes to health and wellness in my home.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I have to say Janet – it is frightening to think you are treating children with fevers with oils. While a low fever for a couple days isn’t worrisome, I wonder how long you would wait before seeking legitimate medical care.

      As far as your question – does lack of scientific evidence suggest they do not work – the answer in this case is yes. Because testing has been done and hasn’t shown an effect, along with the lack of plausibility, makes it very unlikely the oils work in the ways claimed.

      I dont care if people use useless products, but my concern is that when added to belief they are working, there is the potential of harm.

      http://whatstheharm.net

  44. Janet says:

    Eric I am not an idiot as you might assume. If a child had a fever that got to a dangerous level I would absolutely seek medical care. But I have treated MANY fevers whether you care to believe it or not. I don’t think you need to be concerned with what others believe. Worry about yourself and your own home and we will continue to do the same. We are simply looking for natural, holistic treatments so we do not have to turn to synthetic drugs with potential for side effects every single time there is an illness in our homes. I can’t speak for others but I recognize when there is a need for medical intervention and would never hesitate to seek it out when necessary. The point is…it is not always necessary. There is a potential of harm in every drug on the market. Are you concerned about that as well? Would you care to bulky big pharma?

    • Eric Hall says:

      Janet – the problem is advocates of “natural” medicines often put themselves in opposition to the traditional evidence-based medical community. In doing so, people often wait too long before seeking medical care because they believe this “traditional” medicine will do more harm than good.

      If you read your original post – you refer to the oils as “very powerful healing agents.” It is that statement that led me to my concern. How powerful do you think they are? You’ve now cleared up that point in saying they are very powerful (by opinion) but not powerful enough to not seek medical care when it is needed (by science).

      Some people take their belief so far that they won’t seek medical care – whether by prayer, oils, homeopathy, etc – and kids have died because of belief in things that dont work in they way being sold.

    • Eric Hall says:

      One other point – just because i dont believe in nonsense being sold by alt-med people doesn’t mean I implicitly trust all new drugs and think everything from pharmaceutical companies is perfect. In fact, in discussing medications with my doctor, he often starts with older medications because they are cheaper and better understood because they have existed longer to be studied. We certainly have examples of pharmaceuticals that should have been used with more caution or on a more limited basis. But guess what – we know about these errors because of science and evidence. Because of science – I understand the risks of my medications – why is it I never see precautionary statements with “natural” medicines such as oils – which can also be dangerous.

  45. Janet says:

    Bully big pharma?

  46. Knowledgable Consumer says:

    It does not appear that any legitimate research on Essential Oils has taken place here…

    Maybe this will help anyone who wants some factual information about them:
    http://www.kingdomnaturals.com/about-essential-oils/scientific-studies-on-eos

    • On the contrary, I’d suggest that someone looking for valid, objective information about this (or any product) NOT turn to the seller’s marketing materials.

    • Cathie says:

      Dear “Knowledgable Consumer,”

      There are many, many errors on this site, I will stick with the historical ones for now.

      Galen has a plague named after him. In fact, he was driven out of Rome for his practices. Marcus Aurelius called for his return to help with the plague outbreak (the one later named after him) and yet Marcus Aurelius himself would actually die from the plague in spite of having Galen at his side.

      As for the reference to Hippocrates, I find it interesting that man dubbed the “father of Modern Western Medicine” would be so proudly featured in an essential oils for cures website.

      To say anyone anyone used anything because of their “antibacterial” properties before the mid-1800’s is false. Germ theory was not popular and most people believe it was “bad air” or vengeful gods which cause illness.

      Also, the final claims of essential
      oils being used for “infection control” in France is very vague and intentionally misleading – a dangerous sign for the consumer.

  47. clara t. says:

    Thank you! I’m adding this post to my list of why most EO are a big fat hoax. I watched my grandpa die from something that would have been treatable if he had merely listened to his doctor. Instead he and my grandma spent thousands of wasted dollars on vitamins, essential oils, and other alt-medicine products sold by MLM companies. It was heartbreaking and criminal how the reps would call my grandmother every day and tell her to try just one more thing because it would heal him. I was 19 years old at the time and helped with his hospice care. He died a horrible death that lasted years. I want to see these companies fined, sued, and punished for these crimes and it hurts to see my close friends being sucked into their marketing scams and false advertising. They are rubbing undiluted oils on their newborn babies! I cringe to think that some of these could in fact be toxic and the levels of toxicity and their effects on young children just haven’t been discovered. I read all of the comments and I applaud you for standing up for science and common sense that so many are lacking the further they slip into this world of quackery.

    • Dennis says:

      I’m glad you said “most EO”, honestly sorry to hear about your parents, but even doctors kill their patients. I’m not supporting in any way shape or form what those IRRESPONSIBLE REPRESENTATIVES did, but that stigma should not be cast upon the entire community of EO reps and users. If so, then by the same logic, all doctors are murderers.

      There is also a certain level of common sense and fervour we should all have regarding our health, a balance between recognizing what works, when to use it, and when and if there is a professional need for western medicine.

      EOs work, they are effective treatments for a wife variety of ailments and diseases, but there is also a time and place for Western medicine, and we all must adhere to this principle if we are to avoid the “quackery” side / extremist side of the lot.

  48. Keith Castillo says:

    I seen personally that Essential destroying tumors and curing the cold far more effectively than the ‘medicine’ from the doctors office. For most all essential oils their is no bad side effects along with there health benefits. Those prescription and non prescription drugs are design to keep people sick so that doctors can be rich off the expense of the sick. Essentials oils, herbs and good nutrition cures deceases and are far cheaper.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I don’t know about your doctor, but most doctors do not benefit from prescribing certain drugs other than a few pens and a coffee mug. That classic statement is the hallmark of quackery.

      Do you have published evidence to support your anecdote?

  49. Willow says:

    Have you checked out the book the biology of belief? Very interesting take on the whole brain/belief as it relates to health..

  50. Eric, I would love to hear your take on the explanation for the continuous claim that we keep hearing that “essential oils can enter the bloodstream by penetrating the skin”. I have searched and searched for concrete information on this. By my research so far, It appears that certain medications that are able to penetrate into our bloodstream transdermally if they are have a volume less than 500 (whatever that measurement is, I’m no chemist) and they are “hydrollipic” and everything I have read indicates that essential oils are hydrollipic. I was surprised by that because I thought the opposite would be true. There is information all over the internet that states that the “essential oils molecule size is small” but what does that mean? Are they all less than 500 or do they vary in size? I apologize for not knowing what the measurement is when I say “500” but that’s the number I saw on PubMed about transdermal meds and I can’t find the article quickly. right now.I’m in your camp believing they can be beneficial but the claims are over-rated and can be dangerous. But as a licensed massage therapist (0ver 22 years now) and licensed skin care professional (esthetician) who has a neighbor selling doTERRA, I feel the need to get to the bottom of all of this for the benefit of my clients, etc. Thanks for you helps!

    • Eric Hall says:

      That is part of the problem is these oils. while I will believe they are oils from the plants they claim, we have no idea as to the purity nor the amounts of various ingredients which would be active in the body. Think for example of a hot pepper. A Serrano pepper can have anywhere from 10,000-23,000 SHU. This is because the growing conditions and the genetics of the plant can cause the amount of capsaicin to vary widely. However, under controlled conditions, we can isolate the various capsaicinoids and then use it in a cream that works as a local analgesic. It works as such because it is able to penetrate the skin because of its size. So certainly some of the ingredients in these oils could penetrate the skin. The problem is how much? and what? The dose, the varied amount of ingredients, and the health claims are all questionable. It would be like taking “big pharma” medicines and having the bottle say “each pill contains between 200-500mg of active ingredient and may give you super powers.”

      The 500 number is the atomic mass unit or Dalton – meaning basically how many protons and neutrons does each molecule contain in total.

  51. Oh, in the above comment, I was not surprised that the essential oils are hydrollipic, I was surprised that PubMed indicated that hydrollipic substances penetrate through our skin better than non-hydrollipic (I could look up what that is but it was easier at this late hour to write that instead). I was thinking that watery substances like gasoline seem to soak in faster than grease.

    • Bob says:

      Shelley, oil/water emulsions delivering low molecular weight hydrophobic payloads achieve the best transdermal penetration. Given that, it makes sense that gasoline (a relatively low molecular weight hydrophobic chemical) would achieve better penetration than grease (a higher molecular weight hydrophobic chemical). BTW, mayonnaise is an oil/water emulsion and butter is a water/oil emulsion. The skin is a hydrolipidic layer which basically means it is a water/oil emulsion. Actually it is quite a bit more complicated than that, but that is what the “hydrolipidic” term is all about. Most essential oils are simply relatively low molecular weight lipophilic substances. Most are also hydrophobic but certainly not all. Thus if you want to dilute them you need to use alcohol or oil or an emulsion to do it. As such, many of them can achieve transdermal penetration and thus should be used in only small amounts on the skin. I do use essential oils for skin lesions, acne, chicken pox (lavender oil stops the itch). But I would never ingest them or smear large quantities on my skin. I also find most of them irritation and obnoxious to inhale. I know lots of people claim to like the smell of lavender oil but I personally find it unpleasant. Tea tree oil is also an unpleasant scent to me. Frankincense is somewhat pleasant smelling but I wouldn’t use it as cologne. I seriously doubt the ability of essential oils to tackle cancer, cold or flu viruses and the like. Show me some well designed, peer-reviewed, double-blind studies and you will have my attention.

      • Thank you for your reply Bob you sound like a smart guy. So it sounds like the essential oils may indeed be able to enter the bloodstream if they are applied “neat” into the skin. I have been skeptical of this claim as many who use these oils recommend rubbing them in the feet so they will absorb thru the skin especially the feet, I was thinking not much if any can enter the bloodstream thru the thick skin on the feet, especially an adults foot.

  52. Debbie says:

    I work with all women the majority of them have been caught up in the essential oils BS. doTerra is laughing the whole way to the bank because of these ladies. One claims that peppermint oil works wonders for her migraines. If it works so well why is she constantly reapplying it? It’s okay to rely on modern medicine for our ailments.

  53. Renee says:

    Lemon, peppermint, lavender (brand with a food supplement label – but I’m not here to argue brands) taken in a capsule, completely takes care of my seasonal allergies…same brand – oregano oil dissolving a large skin tag on my neck…frankincense oil clearing up granuloma anulura after YEARS of prescription meds and steroid shots and thousands of dollars spent with ZERO results!
    Say what you please and laugh all you want..but then read what is in YOUR listerine – go ahead, I’ll wait. go right to their website and look up the active ingredients in it…
    Essential Oils are making a comeback and for good reason. They were the first medicines, and have been used for thousands of years. To bad a plant cant be patented (though no doubt Monsanto will find a way) because if they could the funding for research would be there.
    Nothing wrong at all with using both modern and traditional methods to benefit our health.
    Are these companies profiting – of course they are. But not nearly as much as big pharma is.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Renee – so can you produce a detailed diary of all of the other things which could affect your immune system? For that matter, can you determine which oil caused what effect? granuloma anulura, for example, is due to an over-production of white blood cells. Seasonal allergies are caused by another excess of production by the immune system. So are you sure it wasn’t the lemon oil and not the frankincense oil? How do you know it isn’t because you changed brands of furnace filter and reduced your exposure to allergens? Or could it be your immune system has simply lowered in function as is bound to happen as we all age? Your skin tag could have fallen off due to the irritation. I get them often, and they usually fall off after a period of time when my collar rubs on them. It could have been the mechanical action of applying the oil and not the oil itself.

      What you are doing is making a correlation error, when there is low plausibility these oils treated all of these conditions. Another problem – you are doing uncontrolled experiments with unknown quantities of materials.

      Blood letting was also a popular treatment in the past. So was exorcism. The argument from antiquity is no reason to believe it is good.

  54. Diana E says:

    I am pleased to find this commentary. I am not against essential oils and do find the relaxing benefit of the scents. A few of my work friends have been introduced to Do terra and thus it is the talk at work. Mind you I am an RN in a neonatal intensive care unit. We have already received work email to keep the oil sharing at a minimum as there were complaints about the smells.
    I did go to one of the parties and was almost sucked in. I had already become aware of a controversy between Do terra and Young Living because there was one person who made the switch from companies. I am inquisitive and thought I’d look into why.
    The party had all of the samples and all of the anecdotes…I must say I was a bit confused. For example, the oils tout as much as say 75 cups of tea for a drop of peppermint oil…yet it is safe to ingest. ??? I assumed that it must be or there would be many lawsuits? Another; Somebody had a child who accidentally drank an entire bottle of the orange one(citrus bliss?) and the mother panicked and called poison control. When they asked the mother what brand of oil she said “Do terra” and the person at poison control said, “Oh, they will be fine, it’s a Do terra product”. Uhhhh…..really? This type of thing would mislead me into believing that you could ingest bottles of any of the ones marked safe for oral use, yet above there was comment on how dangerous clove oil could potentially be.
    To host a party I was given a bottle of Tri-ease which is lavender, peppermint and lemon and is meant for allergies. Mind you, I was still wondering about the ingestion part, since it’s equivalent to so many cups of whatever. When reading the ingredients I noticed it also had carrageenan which has a lot of controversy on it’s own. This simple thing made me go online and start reading more info on the oils which led me to this sight.
    At the party they were diffusing a combination of the orange and peppermint and it smelled terrific. That’s what I will use it for and I will try some topically on what I think is a fungus on my toe….Guess I want to guinea pig myself a little bit.
    I am really curious why many essential oil and aromatherapy sights say do not ingest, yet Do terra and Young Living promote it?
    It is nice to find a sight covering both sides. Although a skeptic sight, I found it refreshing to allow both sides without belittling people.
    On a side note, I also had a mother who was against modern medicine and ended up dying unnecessarily from breast cancer. At the end she did up with chemotherapy and radiation for palliative care…Yet a simple surgery would have saved her early on. She preferred the route of shark cartilage and those cure all juices.
    Anything that touts itself as a cure all for so many ailments makes me wary now…and yes, a bit of a skeptic!

    • DianaE says:

      I looked at the Do terra chart and to be correct, I believe the orange oil I mentioned above was the Wild Orange not the Citrus Bliss blend

  55. Darla says:

    I guess you overlooked this from NYU: http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=37427. Essential Oils, like synthetic drugs work for some people and not others. I would rather give a natural remedy the chance to work instead of pumping my body full of drugs. I have RA, allergies and have had back reconstructive surgery. I control everything with essential oils and diet. I rarely take medications. I get better pain relief in my hands and feet from the use of Eucalyptus oil than I do hydrocodone and the effects are longer lasting.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I’m not sure you read the information on the link you sent. One, it is about aromatherapy, not topical application. Second, from the link:

      “Unfortunately, most published studies on aromatherapy fail even to achieve this level of rigor, falling far below minimal scientific standards of reliability.

      Thus, everything written below about true aromatherapy—that is, inhalation of an aroma—must be taken with a grain of salt.”

      I wouldn’t call that a rousing endorsement.

      • Darla says:

        Yes i read it… And if you had you would see that there is discussion for oral and topical uses…Personally I use oils topically and internally. For example, Mediterranean Oil of Oregano stops food poisoning dead in it’s tracks. I have used it while traveling for this purpose for myself and friends and never leave home with out it. Eucalyptus stops the pain of RA which is debilitating in my hands and feet. Each person must decide for themselves what works and what does not. To use such broad strokes that EO’s do not work is kind of shameful. Vicodin doesn’t work for some people, but Tea Tree Oil does. When used properly EO’s can provide safe alternatives for those of us who choose to not load our bodies with synthetic pharmaceuticals that are later proven to be toxic and considerably more dangerous and costly.

        • Eric Hall says:

          People used to drink mercury as a cure for many diseases. It is “natural.” Should people try it and see for themselves or should we go with existing data.

          Alcohol occurs naturally. It can be beneficial in small doses. It is poisonous in large doses. Should we just try it and see what dose works? Or should we use the data?

          From bottle to bottle and plant to plant, you have no idea what’s in the dose you are applying or ingesting. You could get 1mg of active ingredient one time and 5mg of the ingredient another time. If the compounds in these oils were indeed beneficial, science could isolate them and provide a consistent safe dose.

          But as the link you provided said – essential oil science so far is essentially worthless.

          • Darla says:

            Yet many FDA approved medications have proven deadly. I find the FDA equally worthless. Big pharma consistently buys them off to approve drugs that are dangerous. Only to have them pulled from the shelves later. Data on FDA drugs are dependable and to be trusted? That is laughable. At least I know what I am getting into with an EO and personally one has never caused me harm and only made my life better and nearly pain free, all without the use of narcotics. BTW. I have no effects crippling joints and minimal pain from RA, However, others who are being pumped full of RA drugs still fight joint degeneration and horrible pain. They themselves will tell you these drugs hardly work if at all, and the side effects are worse than the disease. But some people, such as yourself, will never accept that there is anything better or equally effective than what Western Medicine has to shove down your throat and will continue down the path of more pills… Good Luck.

          • Eric Hall says:

            How many drugs? Can you provide a list of drugs that were pulled from the market completely because of safety? Not recalls because of manufacturing issues – but actual complete market withdrawals?

          • Darla says:

            Would like like that list for just the US or the world or US Canada… should I include Europe and Asia? Alphabetical order or random… ?

            I found this quote from an interview. One of many and very interesting. Dr, Sidney Wolf, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group since its founding in 1971.

            Interview from a PBS Special on the FDA.

            Question: How well is the safety of the American public assured today by the system we have for approving and monitoring drugs?

            Dr. Wolf: “In the 31 years that I’ve been monitoring the Food and Drug Administration, what has gone on in the last five and six years is unprecedented. There have been an unprecedented number and percentage of drugs taken off the market; in many cases, drugs with known problems before they came on the market.”

            Also Class one recalls should be included as per the FDA: “Class I” recalls, which means there is a “reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.”

            And of course lets not forget about Vaccines. of which 2007-2010 there were more than one dozen recalls most due to adverse affects.

            Here is a short list of a few: it list the drug, when it was pulled what is was used for and why is was taken off the market. This is only 10 drugs. http://www.mastersinhealthcare.net/blog/2010/10-prescription-drugs-pulled-from-the-shelves-and-why/

          • Eric Hall says:

            Well, anyone who cannot understand the statistics on vaccines is not a trustworthy source for understanding other scientific studies. Vaccines are very safe with very low incidence of serious side effects. When weighed against the benefits, there is no doubt vaccines have a huge benefit.

            If you read the article you linked, many of these drugs are over 30 years old. Two main reasons the drugs were pulled – one is drug interactions were not tested as thoroughly as they are now. It was those drugs actually that brought increased safety because that testing is now required. One of the interactions is with grapefruit juice (something “natural” which actually can interfere with many drugs. The other is people not taking it as prescribed. Again – things can be dangerous in any dose. You can overdose on water – but I don’t see any shelves at the local store being emptied of bottled water. Aspirin can be dangerous – something derived from a “natural” ingredient. So as new drugs that can be taken in higher doses without serious side effects come to market, the old ones are usually taken off the market if they can cause harm if taken above the prescribed dose. You can’t blame that on the FDA – when the FDA provides the warning that too much can cause harm.

            And again – still no number. You and Dr Wolf say huge percentages and large numbers – I see 10. Out of the thousands of drugs out there.

            I don’t think the FDA is perfect. I would like to see improved oversight and enforcement. But it isn’t the FDA I am looking at. It’s the science. That is what I trust.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Essential Oil harm – why are these oil websites not disclosing this?

            Prolonged Aromatherapy May Harm the Heart – http://www.livescience.com/25174-essential-oils-heart-health.html

            Essential Oils may damage liver and kidneys – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2051976/How-aromatherapy-oils-poison-Tiny-particles-oils-damage-liver-kidneys.html

            Essential Oils can harm a fetus – http://www.agoraindex.org/Frag_Dem/toxicitymyths.html

  56. Darla says:

    You should read your links better. The first one, the heart rates and BP were decreased in the first hour. They rose slightly after 120 minutes. But there was no conclusive evidence that the VOC’s created by the Bergamot or if “other pollutants” in the air were the cause. It could have been caused by sitting and not moving in a room filled with ANY scent for two hours. I use bergamot in a spray that I produce and sell. I Love it, but would not want to sit in a room pumped full of it for that long. And I agree that oils should be used with great caution, and this is what I tell my readers. http://beautifulbotanicals.wordpress.com/

  57. From cancer.gov, one can read this:
    (go here http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/aromatherapy/patient/page2 to acquire the links within the text)

    “5. Have any preclinical (laboratory or animal) studies been conducted using aromatherapy?

    Many studies of essential oils have found that they have antibacterial effects when applied to the skin. Some essential oils have antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus. Others have antifungal activity against certain vaginal and oropharyngeal fungal infections. In addition, studies in rats have shown that different essential oils can be calming or energizing. When rats were exposed to certain fragrances under stressful conditions, their behavior and immune responses were improved.

    One study showed that after essential oils were inhaled, markers of the fragrance compounds were found in the bloodstream, suggesting that aromatherapy affects the body directly like a drug, in addition to indirectly through the central nervous system.”

    That said, it is a fact that many people who recommend essential oils delude themselves (and their clients) when they think or convey the message that EOs are natural, thus devoid of side effects.

  58. Alison says:

    Who the hell cares about your OPINION if you’ve never tried any of it? Would you want to listen to my opinion on something I’ve never tried? Just because everyone tells me that aspirin works, I wouldn’t go trying to write an article on it if I hadn’t tried it before. It’s fine to form an opinion on something based on studies or lack thereof but without ever having tried it it seems like you are just farting in the wind. Go get a few warts and try to cure them with all methods. It’s ok, I don’t think you’ll die from a few drops of essential oil on your skin. Educate yourself and use it safely as you would any western treatment (since people have been doing this for thousands of years there is plenty of info on safe usage) and do a study on your warts. Sitting behind your computer without any experiential knowledge is useless to anyone. After you have any experience at all I think your article would be easier to swallow. We are all different. Why can’t my body tolerate dairy and eggs? Why did I have seizures when I took wellbutrin or full body rashes when I took diflucan? The dr said it would cure my yeast infection in a day but instead I had a full body rash for 3 weeks. Anytime we try anything it is an experiment. We are all different. I have come to learn my system is incredibly sensitive. I know this because I try things. This gives me answers I can trust and rely on. Not all essential oils work for me either, just like western drugs. I use what works, preferably with the least side effects since I don’t like to suffer. I won’t walk away from your article trading in my years of experiential knowledge with essential oils because you are telling me they don’t work. I know the effectiveness because I’ve tried it. Why don’t you trade your skepticism in for curiosity and then write the article. Maybe you don’t know it all from just reading about it on your computer. Live a little folks. Try things. Inhale a little essential oil and just enjoy the sensory experience! Olfactory senses are powerful and inhaling that sweet orange oil takes me back to peeling an orange as a child. I like it. It makes me happy. Don’t try to ruin something for everyone that you won’t even try. After you experiment a little your article will be much more valuable to us all. I promise if you read about safe oil usage you will probably survive it, just as my body has survived the countless western meds that have harmed me over the years. Don’t be too afraid of those plant aromas! If one bothers you, don’t use it again. I stay away from writing about things I have no experience with. You should too. Let your curiosity open yourself to things instead of spreading your opinion as fact. There were times when everything has been in its infancy. Before antibiotics worked their way into western medicine there were no studies about it. And you have to admit that it’s just harder to study something related to olfactory senses. I don’t know if we have the technology yet. If, in the future more studies come out because we understand more about how to study it, I hope you will be open. Luckily there is a master’s program in this field now, rooted in research, at the American College of Healthcare sciences in Portland. I think we are on the brink of trying to figure out how to learn more about this field. That’s about all we can do is learn more and do what works.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Alison:

      This isn’t opinion. It’s the result of a lot of research by trained experts. Look: what do you think happens if you shoot yourself in the foot? Do you think it’s painful? Do you need to do that in order to be convinced of it? Most of the time the weakest form of evidence is the testimony of individual people who have tried things. I know lots of people who have taken Wellbutrin without getting rashes. Most people don’t. Your testimony about its likely effects is not very useful.

      You don’t need to try something to know about it. And I’m more likely to believe someone who’s looked at the results of several hundreds of people trying a treatment than I am of someone who has tried a treatment once under uncontrolled circumstances.

      I can’t respond to everything in your post, but there was research done about antibiotics before doctors started prescribing them to people.

      No one is trying to ruin your reminiscences, happiness, or appreciation for orange oil. It’s good that you like that stuff. All that’s being said is that it’s unlikely to cure a disease. Essential oil are very pleasant, they’re just not useful as curatives.

  59. this is the dumbest article I have ever read. there is no point in arguing with ignorance. I could post every study on essential oils here just look at pubmed.gov and aromaticscience.com. most oil studies have been done on internal use. but when someone doesn’t want to believe something not all the science in the world will get them to believe it. for example peppermint is mostly menthol, however scientist can reproduce it synthetically, its packaged and sold as drug. apparently if its sold as a drug it ‘works’ if its in peppermint there isn’t science behind it. this article is so completely ignorant.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Thanks for making the point regarding the difference between a drug and nonsense. When packaged and sold as a drug, the dose and purity are controlled. The dose is well studied for effectiveness.

      No one is asserting oils do not contain useful ingredients. It is the way marketed and sold as cures for everything and no consistency as to what cures what that makes it nonsense. Please feel free to provide examples of studies that fit your criteria if a legitimate study and let’s discuss them. That is how science works – not by insulting.

  60. one of many http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25065265 many oil and perfume copanies do not test their oils, as the FDA also does not require it. You will see nowhere on doTERRA’s website claiming a cure, the FDA simply does not allow it, its not marketed this way thru doTERRA. however because people have such remarkable experiences with the oils they will say ‘this cured my son’s allergies’ etc, when in fact its not a doTERRA claim, but someone’s personal claim. doTERRA can’t regulate what people say and apprarently this is what upsets you. The good news is that even though there is no industry standard or FDA standard on essential oils, doTERRA does in fact use 3rd party testing labs to check for contaminants, pathogens and synthetics, as well as chemical constituents. Those chemical constituents have been studied in their natural non sythentic form, hence the posted study here. The difference between the natural menthol and the syhtnetic is that the synthetic can not be exactly copied, in other words you can’t clone nature. So unfortunately for science, the synthetics contain negative side affects, scientist call the synthetic the one with the ‘split personality’ whereas the natural form of menthol does not have the unwanted side affects. An essential oil suppresses the sympathetic nervous system, while incresing parasymapthetic nerve function. The synthetic molecule suppresses both sympathetic and parasympathetic, hence the ‘dummy clone’ doesn’t really know how to act in the body intelligently like the organic plant based form of menthol. The chirality of the molecule is what makes it not clonable, in other words, there is nothing you can do to make your right hand function like your left, even though they are the exact same. Hopefully this clarifies. The reason this article is so ignorant is because its guaranteed that the writer doesn’t understand this concept whatsoever.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Ok, so a pretty large dose of peppermint oil causes yeast to mutate. Certainly interesting. What happens when exposed to human cells? Could the same mutation happen? Perhaps we shouldn’t be ingesting it? That study doesn’t tell us anything about safety or efficacy in humans.

      The FDA would allow health claims to be made if they were studied and shown to actually work.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Oh — can you show studies of your actual claims? Do you have studies of this “split personality?”

      • It’s basic chemistry on chirality. Yeast cells are in humans, that’s why it’s important to know that it’s affective for killing yeast. Because over growth of yeast which is extremely common due to the over use of antibiotics, causes problems in humans especially inflammation aches and pains, eczema just to name a few health conditions that yeast over growth causes. That’s the we point of the study is that it fights yeast. That is only one thing peppermint Aida with. Peppermint is an herb it’s considered Gras by the fda “generally recognized as safe” for human consumption example peppermint oil in gum, peppermint tea, peppermint brownies. Etc. If you want to to study chirality and cloning of chemical constituents found in essential oils, its just basic science and chemistry. If you are truly interested you can go to my website under “how to use your oils” and find a plethora of webinars and information on how to safely use oils. http://Www.healthyfrugalandwise.com

        • Eric Hall says:

          Are you just throwing around buzzwords to deflect my questions? Because you still haven’t answered my questions. In fact you’ve contradicted yourself. You are ok with and FDA designation for peppermint, but not ok with genuinely studied medicine? Can you explain how that works?

          • Look I’m on my phine here and honestly you’re not going to get a true essential oil education on this thread. If you truly want one watch the webinars on the site I just posted. Particularly the science behind essential oils, MD panel talking about why they use essential oils in their practice etc. To say you want to see studies on if essential oils are safe to consume almost all studies on oils are internal consumption. Just go to pubmed.Gov a government site. In the meantime look at this study on swine flu and doterras onguard blendhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2994788/
            The stories you hear of people getting sick are usually with cheap perfumey oils, even some that claim they are good are not. This is why I only use and consume oils tested by third party Labs un affiliated with doterra

          • Eric Hall says:

            The study published in a journal known for publishing weak studies. The study shows a very mild effect in vitro in dog kidney cells against a dog flu. While interesting, this is far, far from an in vivo study. Very often, something that shows something in vitro ends up not showing anything in vivo. Again, I am not sure how you translate this study to say it works on people.

            You do realize it is doterra that came up with the standards for testing? Some interesting notes is they don’t talk about how long the storage period is (though they talk about holding the oils in storage while testing). This is a problem since oils do degrade and oxidize. One of their tests is a microbial test. If these are so good at killing microbes – why would you need to test for this? Shouldn’t the oils stay sterile on their own if they kill microbes on contact?

  61. h1n1 is swine flu not dog flu, but like I said in my previous post, there is no reason to show anything else because people who don’t want to believe something, wont. Yes doterra came up with industry standards and use 3rd party labs to test so there is regulation, just not goverment regulation with doterra oils. For example they source their lavender from france because the linelol levels are much more potent than lets say utah, where lavender doesn’t grow well, yet some companies source it from there because its cheaper, yet the linelol (the medicinal constituent in lavender) is almost non exisitant in utah lavender. Yes there is oxidation, that’s why they use this new invention called ‘lids’ to store them so they don’t oxidize. I have used oils for ear infections. strep throat, staph bacteria and plenty more microbial infections. Usually for klling microbes, the placebo effect doesn’t work. I had a friend with staph on her face, the prescription she had been using for over a year didn’t work, two days of onguard and oregano did. oh wait, you’re not interested in ancedotal. Here is the thing about anecodtal, people make most of their decisions with their limbic brain (that’s science) its the emotional part of the brain, therefore when someone who has staph for over a year hears that onguard has antimicrobial benifits, of course they are willing to try it. because she tried it for her staph and it worked, it opened her up to trying some for her son’s ADD, she successfully got him off his meds after swtiching to a doctor that supported the use of lab tested oils for proper chemical contituents. That website doesn’t have weak studies, you just choose to disagree for the sake of not wanting to be wrong. Its okay really it is;) Also doTERRA has a 65% retention rate, that means that 65% of all people who order, order every single month, I could see people buying something one time and if it didn’t work, not buying it again, but 65% order monthly? sounds like people have found a way to successfully replace their meds. I got off steriods for autoimmunity by using frankincense internally because of its anti inflammatory benefits. Also use it for headaches instead of advil. But that’s just a personal story, what do i know:) The doctors were going to give my son allergy medication 300 bucks for his cough. thats when someone gave me an oil sample and he slept thru the night without coughing. I used it topically on his chest and aromatically. it had peppermint, rosemary, eucalyptus and lemon in it. I know all my stories probably bore you, but for many, pure essential oils are life changing. But keep drinking your coolaid (with dye in it) and taking your big pharma tested drugs if that’s what works for you, but to criticize what works for others based on ‘science’ (although there isn’t any science that proves oils don’t work) without an understanding of what an essential oil even is, and how it works with the body’s cells is just ignorant. I have no desire to talk to a brick wall anymore, if you are looking to prove something wrong, you’ll never be open to logic and the science that is out there on essential oils. And that is your loss, because likely you have a medicine cabinet that doesn’t serve you well and essential oils would be of great benefit to anyone with cells (everyone has cells) so that means you too. Essential oils work on human cells as well as plant cells. you obviously have not watched the videos I sent you to that clearly explains how oils work on human cells by a harvard MD.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Since you find it necessary to be condescending I will be as well at least briefly. You obviously did not read your own study because the actual virus they tested was PR8. They mention H1N1 in the introduction as a way to generate interest in the study and nothing else.

      Your explanation of the emotional decision making is exactly why we need science and logical thinking to avoid emotional bias. Human sacrifice used to be a common cure for all sorts of natural disasters and diseases. Bleeding used to be used to treat disease. Just because it “feels right” doesn’t make it so.

      If I may return to being condescending for a moment, does your makeup contain any dyes?

      I dont trust big pharmaceutical companies any more than I trust your oil selling organization. I trust the data – meaning the science. Your anecdote is not data. Did your friend take the medications correctly? Did they keep it clean before? Did your child really have ADD (actually ADHD now which tells me either the diagnosis was old, incorrect, or perhaps of parental influence)? Have you considered that your child has either outgrown it (which happens), is self medicating with other stimulants (like caffeine), or perhaps has simply found better ways of coping with it? You see how your anecdotes do not control for any of these possibilities.

  62. Her child had ADD not mine and the child was 12 and no, they didn’t out grow it in two months, that’s how long it took her to wean him off the meds. no my make up doesn’t contain dye, nor does anything I eat or put on my skin contain synthetics, carcinogens or neurotoxins, I make everything homemade with essential oils and raw organic ingredients. Thats a life style choice. yes my friend used the skin prescription as prescribed, and if unclean skin caused her medication to not work, why did onguard work?

    you obivously didn’t read the whole study it was H1N1. swine flu along with other viruses.

    My friend doesn’t use caffiene in their home. I helped her with a complete overhaul of their diet and oils along side her doctor who helped the 12 year old wean off the drugs that she stated were as powerful as cocaine. She said her child not only had a growth spurt after the dietary changes we made, but no longer has anxiety and isn’t a zombie like he used to be after school. he loves his life now and he loves his oils, one less child on phychotrophic drugs. We are changing lives using essential oils and luckily for us there is science and stories to back up the efficacy of oils, like I said before you choose not to look at the science and when you do, you still dont’ believe it. The mother did nothing else besides take her child off meds, change his diet and put him on essential oils topically, we also addressed gut health, the doctor has it documented in his medical file that the changes in his meds were do to the life style changes, not coincidence. But even after the ‘doctor’ has said this, I am certain you will find a way to ‘prove’ him wrong. that’s why i don’t generally engage in conversation.

    I am not trying to be condesending, but rather get to the point of the matter, that there is science and social proof of the essential oils, but you believe neither, so it doesn’t matter how much science we show you, you’ll never believe, even if it killed MRSA in front of your eyes, you may say, show me the study. we would and you still woudln’t believe. thats my point in sharing stories.

    • Eric Hall says:

      They tested PR8. I make this distinction because it is a lab variant and not a naturally occurring virus. I am wondering why you trust that this would work the same in humans since this virus is not present in the wild. How can you trust the science here, but anecdotes when convenient?

      My point is that while a lab variant gives useful information, it doesn’t constitute proof of it working in vivo. I apologize for not being clear – this is not wild H1N1 – but one modified for lab use.

      There are some problems with the controls of the study, including no discussion as to why they picked Canola as the control oil, the fact they froze the viruses in the treating oil, along with a few others. Again, I acknowledge it is interesting, but it is a far cry from proving this would work in a living human. You can’t climb one step up a ladder and declare you are at the top.

      Oh – so this child was only on the meds for two months. How can you be sure that they didn’t have an effect on the outcome? And there was an entire lifestyle change, not just the oil? So perhaps paying more attention to the child, eating a balanced diet, maybe even exercising would help with this type of condition? Of course it does – science shows us that. The doctor didn’t say “the oil did it.” The doctor said “lifestyle changes did it.” That’s a massive difference.

      Social “proof” provides us with a path to form hypothesis, but it doesn’t constitute proof. Cults form all the time, and they are sure of their particular brand of believing they will be saved by aliens or whatever else. It doesn’t mean that because the whole group believes nonsense that it is true.

      Show me a study that oils kills MRSA in humans (in vivo) and I will be happy to look at the data. Please. I would love to read the study. If it is a good study, I promise I will write about it on this blog.

    • Eric Hall says:

      You do realize this is not a study? This is an experiment. There is no publication. There is no peer review. In fact, we don’t even have pictures of the colonies. It might give us something on which to form a hypothesis, it isn’t proper science.

      Assuming for a second the results are correct, it is still an in vitro study. That’s a far cry from showing it would work in humans. How much would you have to take? How would it be metabolized by the time it gets to the infection?

    • Eric Hall says:

      Again the specific oregano study is in vitro. They used different methods to examine the cultures – and they don’t really address the why they chose that method. In most of the cases, the traditional antibiotics were more effective, though the oil did have some effect. I also wonder about their dilution methods – but that’s a whole other discussion on oils in general.

  63. they used it on mice, read the whole thing

    • Eric Hall says:

      Oh there are multiple studies. Ok I see.

      Here’s one major problem with the data. The groups receiving the oregano oil got doses ranging from 8.66 mg/kg to 52 mg/kg. The olive oil control only got 1 mg/kg. Being that oregano oil contains various fatty acids and other things of nutritional value, is it possible the mice recovered because they were force fed extra nutrition? That’s quite a difference of intake between the test group and control.

      Again – interesting. But this study is from 2001. How come there hasn’t been a more extensive follow-up – perhaps even in humans? I am sure there are some non-lethal fungi that could be tested using oils versus placebo. Why not do that study?

  64. it also says it was more effective and it needs to be considered instead of drugs because they are more effective! here is a quote.
    “While this investigation was performed only in test tubes and on a small number of mice, the preliminary results are promising and warrant further study,” Preuss said. “The ability of oils from various spices to kill infectious organisms has been recognized since antiquity. Natural oils may turn out to be valuable adjuvants or even replacements for many anti-germicidals under a variety of conditions.”
    so you can read that and see that oils do have as powerful if not more powerful response on mammal cells than drugs and you wouldn’t want to use it over a drug with side affects? thats just crazy talk, Eric, lets make up, email me your primary family ailments and I will send you some oils free just so you can have a personal anecdotal story to tell no one, becuase those obviously are misleading and then you can have a healthier more empowered family now knowing how to care for simple household ailments such as ear infections, colds, allergies, etc. we’ve already told you doTERRA guarnatees they check for contaminants and the right levels of constituents. show me reported side affects other than a few ‘anecdotal’ stories online that mean nothing according to you because they are just stories. and lets be friends! I wont tell ANYONE you tried EO’s

    • Eric Hall says:

      More effective? The mice all survived in the medication group. They talk about judging appearance, but they don’t quantify that in any way except that the oil mice “looked better.” The mice had oil – oregano and olive mixed together. So yes, taking in fatty acids will improve fur health. OK. That doesn’t tell us how it treated the disease.

  65. here are some petri dishes on a MRSA study, https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/api/datastream?publicationPid=uk-ac-man-scw:1d9623&datastreamId=POST-PEER-REVIEW-PUBLISHERS.PDF
    “Several conclusions can be drawn from this study. We have shown that essential oils can have different effects on different strains of the same bacterial species. Some combinations of essential oils produce a greater antibacterial effect than the single oils alone when in contact with the bacteria. The vapour from essential oil combinations can also have a greater antibacterial effect than the individual oils and can be different from that seen when in direct contact with the bacteria. The vapour from some combina- tions of essential oils can inhibit MRSA, which may prove useful in eradicating them from a wound. “

  66. here is the conclusion, for whatever reason, plants were put on this earth, their oils contain anti microbial properties, its a pity that there is so much misinformation out there about them. If you are concerned with a usage guide, there are additional studies that show how much to use, when to dilute and how quickly they metabolize out of the body. would you like me to post those as well?

    • Eric Hall says:

      The plants weren’t put here for “some reason” – they evolved for their own survival. The “some reason” isn’t even a conclusion – it is a belief.

  67. what are you reading? they didn’t give the mice drugs, they only gave them oregano, carvacal and olive oil, oregano was the most affective, olive oil did nothing. where do you see they gave them drugs?

    • Eric Hall says:

      See the positive control?

      In two separate experiments, groups of mice (6 each) infected with C. albicans (5 × LD50) were gavaged, daily with origanum oil or carvacrol in 0.1 ml of olive oil for 8 days and 30 days. The amount of antifungal agents administered was calculated based on the body weight of the mice. Control
      mice received either olive oil orally alone (negative control), or olive oil orally plus amphotericin B 25 μg i.p. (positive control).

  68. well, we eat plants, 60% of drugs contain synthetic modifications of natural botanicals, why not use the botancials if they are better and the orignal and we no have them studied, checked for contaminants and potent constituent levels. if you think the plant oil is only to keep the plant alive, then I guess you are missing out, the oils work on anything that has cells, humans have cells, plants have cells, I choose to use the oils because they work on my cells, to keep my healthy. You don’t have to use oils if you don’t want to, but don’t bash people who use them especially when there are plenty of studies proving they do in fact work.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Aspirin is an example of a plant that we made a modified version of where we get all the good aspirin stuff without being as hard on the stomach. So why use the “synthetic” stuff? Because we can isolate it, control the dose, and reduce the side effects. That’s why.

      • Paul says:

        Aspirin has also been proven to foster ulcers, etc.

        Not sure where you are coming from, Eric but there are research studies out there if you do a google search…I cited some in a comment at the end of this blog comment section, but I don’t know if the moderator will approve them.

        Here is one, from 2006 on Oregano, this is one older study

        http://jmm.sgmjournals.org/content/56/4/519.full

        Here are a couple more from the National Cancer Institute and NIH

        http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/aromatherapy/patient/page2
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15555788
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171782

        A main consideration with essential oils is that they need to be 100% pure Therapeutic Grade oils – most oils are merely fragrances and are diluted with other, sometimes toxic substances to make the aroma more appealing and dilute them to make them cheaper. The company Chris and you cite does not have all therapeutic grade oils and is simply a knock off company.

        Wonder if these responses will be censored?

        • Amy Martin says:

          Thank you for stating lots of studies and emphasizing 100% pure therapeutic grade oils. The company I use is strict in their quality of single note oils and blends. I love their products and refuse to use any other oils at this point. I’m a massage therapist and in my 14 years out in the field I have not seen anything like them. As long as you know the supplier of your oils is using purity testing and standards that keep the oils pure you’ll likely be satisfied with your results. Of course, any western meds you’re taking will list contraindications like grapefruit for certain blood pressure regulating meds., but as long as you’re moderate in your approach and do not go against contraindications, you might just try it…inhaling only…to see if you have a response. When a product is therapeutic grade, it’s better than fragrance oil or even food oils. When it’s pure also then you’re at the top of the certification pyramid and only the finest products land here. I hope you can appreciate the information and healing available on this wonderful blog! In Good Health, Amy

        • Eric Hall says:

          Just because a study is published does not make it valid. Is it repeated? Is it even repeatable? What type of data is it? What do the studies in aggregate say? Two of the studies above come from alternative medicine journals. While that doesn’t eliminate the study as invalid by itself, it does hurt the credibility http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/12/07/i-said-show-me-the-science/

          The other two studies — one study was on bio films — in much higher concentrations than the “100% therapeutic grade.” This 100% therapeutic grade has no meaning to science – it is simply an industry buzzword made to sound like a standard. Back to the study – the biofilms were affected by the oil – but at much higher concentrations than what is in these consumer oils. INteresting, but often in this type of study, it turns out high concentrations of just about anything will kill bacteria (salt for example).

          The other is again a topical treatment. I pointed out that the studies with treating burns with TTO is interesting and shows some promise when used along with traditional treatments. I don’t think enough study has been done here to determine if it is just noise in the data or actually significant, but interesting.

          That doesn’t automatically mean all of the claims made by oil peddlers should be believed – like the 2 big companies recently saying Ebola could be treated with oils. Nonsense – and dangerous.

    • Eric Hall says:

      And I don’t bash the people that use them. I bash the people that sell products based on bad science. It hurts society when people are misinformed about science.

      “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” – Carl Sagan

  69. okay I see it now, it says that when oregano was combined with the drug that a higher percentage survived. I don’t really care that it was done in 2001. I am sure I could find more recent studies, but its just beating a dead horse, like I said, it all comes back to you not wanting to believe it. did you watch the harvard MD video? its 2 minutes, he explains why the oils work better than drugs and obivously they have done more recent studies as that video was just made this year.
    okay so aspirin is a good example, its hard on your stomach right? when used in wintergreen essential oil which is the non sythentic version, its used topically and doesn’t hurt the stomach, plus its not synthetic. you are right when the oils dont come with dosage information, thats why its important to work with a practitioner when using them internally etc. but like I said the synthetic will never work like the original molecule will and thats exactcly why there are more side affects with drugs, just look at the list of side affects that drugs cause, look at the side affects oils cause, they are all positive side affects. thats the difference between an intelligent molecule and a clone. and isolation doesn’t mean better. look at the oregano study, they isolated carvacal because they thought it was the best constituent, it turns out, it was much more powerful against the fungus when the whole oregano oil was given and not isolated. make sense?

  70. good point…how about this ‘no reported side affects” safer than ‘reported and studied side affects’ seriously though, doesn’t it make more sense to go with something that is plant based? its like saying, “well, we dont know the side affects of celery so don’t eat it! ” its plants for petes sake, we know they have been studied for helping, but there haven’t been reported side affects. so you want to know if oregano has side affects? well too much of anything isn’t good, but i have talked to so many people who have come to me saying their doctor told them to use melalueca oil for this or that and they came to me to get the oil, so MD’s are telling their patients to use oils and the patients are going to me to get the oils because doTERRA guarnatees purity. You are really telling me after watching those videos and studies you’d rather have a drug with proven side affects than an oil with no proven side affects? are you ready for me to send you some to try now? because youve got to be curious, come on, ear infections, eczema, head aches, what do you take drugs for, let me send you some for free. I appreciate your analytical brain, really I do, but there are plenty of reasons to try a plant first one being ‘no proven side affects”

  71. oh man, those granola blogs that are anti mlm are just so boring, I can’t bring myself to read them! their logic is so stupid I seriously can’t get past the first paragraph

  72. you can have allergies to certain plants that is true, Its much more common to have an allergic reaction to a drug LOL! I am allergic to antibiotics. The plants doTERRA sources and sells aren’t poisoinous plants. I could care less about sites that bash network marketing. And I honestly can’t vouch for other brand oils there are a ton of oils and companies who sell highly synthetic and market them as pure therapeutic grade, people have reactions, there is no regulation, so of course its easy to find a sucker to get some brand that isn’t reliable. doTERRA is reliable and its the number one selling oil company in the world because its works, people dont buy stuff that doesn’t work repeatedly, like I said, they may try it once, if it doesn’t work, why would they continue to buy it? 65% retention rate speaks volumes about reselling.

    Ive never done network marketing before, I just use the product because it works and saves me doctors visits. but if you are happy using drugs, go for it seriously! in doTERRA its not the top 5% that just make money, when a product is versatile and works, there are thousands of successful reps in doTERRA making an incredible income including myself. But most people just use the oils, only about 15% of us actually sell them. so if you want to bash oils and network marketing go ahead, but I think your argument is extremely weak. and that’s just my opinion. And you are entilted to your own opinion, but its certainly not scientific to say oils don’t work, and I thought you were a science based blog. But what do I know I am just a stay at home mom that makes an incredible income doing network marketing by sharing natural solutions for families. I didn’t mean to make money, i just happened. I really am just happy my son isn’t on asthma meds and allergy meds which he was prescirbed.

    • Eric Hall says:

      This is a science based blog. You’ve shown me in vitro and a mouse study. Where are the human studies? Why not sure studies at least on human cells? Where’s the data?

      Here’s some math on MLMs http://www.consumerfraudreporting.org/MLM_pyramid.php
      Why do people buy them? Good marketing. People bought sketchers shapeups by the millions too thinking they were working without realizing it was the walking that was doing it.

  73. to say networking marketing is fraud is silly, donald trump, robert kioysaki and warren buffet the greatest investor of all time, all endorese MLM’s just watch this, you’ll see how ridiculous it is to bash on mlm’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkAHgDiWJgI on top of that. the purpose of mlm’s is not to have everyone sell, thats ridiculous, like I said about 85% of doterra people just use teh product because it works, the other 15% market it as well as use it. how in the world is that fraud. You are losing credibility by and by with each post, we are moving now from oils to the chosen business model of oils. do you feel you need to change the subject because your lost your argument on essential oils not having enough science? we went from them being not scientifically working to actually proving by science that they work, to ‘well show me the proven side affects’ of essential oils because ‘I only use drugs with proven side affects’ LOL! I enjoy an intelligent debate, but this is getting silly. show me your human studies and side affects on drugs the results are horrific, using humans as guinea pigs and additionally to prove it actually has scientifically proven “controlled” side affects. I didn’t go here originally, but as long as its being brought up, properly prescirbed drugs are the 3rd LEADING cause of DEATH in the united states. above car accidents and AIDS by a long shot. but don’t get me near an essential oil with ‘no proven side affects’

  74. oh man, I shouldn’t have, but looking at the ‘science of proven side affects’ is a just a little bitty bit more scary than the side affects not proven by essential oils http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/drug-side-effects-explained
    now those are some things I want to be putting in and on my body LOL!

  75. oh man these look just a little worse than someone who OD’d on essential oils and got a tummy ache. ‘serious internal bleeding’ below it says it suppresses the chemical acetylcholine, leads to of course the common symptoms when suppressing the parasympathetic nervous system. this is exactly what I was referring to when I said the cloned synthetics supress sypmathetic and parasympatheic nerve function. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY DRUGS HAVE WAY MORE SIDE AFFECTS AND PROVEN THAN ESSENTIAL OILS EVER WILL. this is just a small sampling of the article.

    “Some drugs can’t help but trigger side effects because of their chemical structure. One example is the common allergy drug diphenhydramine (also known by the brand name Benadryl). Though it eases allergy symptoms, it also suppresses the activity of the body chemical acetylcholine, and that leads to drowsiness and a host of other side effects, including dry mouth.

    Some drugs have barely noticeable side effects when dosed properly. For example, Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), used to prevent blood clots, is usually well tolerated, but serious internal bleeding can occur.”

    • Eric Hall says:

      Let’s look at oregano oil – Can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Can reduce iron absorption. Can cause miscarriage. Can interfere with anti-coagulant medications, hormone birth control, and anti-diabetic medications. Gastrointestinal upset. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/oil-of-oregano/ and http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=111715

      From the MSDS –

      Acute toxicity (oral, dermal, inhalation), categories 1,2,3
      Eye Contact Aid: Flush immediately with cold clean water for at least 15 minutes,
      contact physician immediately.
      Skin Contact Aid: Thoroughly wash the affected area with soap and water. Flush with large quantities of water. If irritation persists, call a physician.
      Inhalation Aid: Remove individual to fresh air, contact physician if necessary
      Ingestion Aid: Administer water or milk to dilute. Contact a physician or local poison control center immediately.

      If in a confined area, NIOSH approved respiratory protection may be required. Remove individuals from area if they do not have respiratory/dust protection. Spray material with water to prevent dusting and remove to an approved disposal container.

      Eyes: The use of goggles or a face shield is recommended.
      Respiratory: Respiratory protection is normally not required in well ventilated areas. However, NIOSH approved respiratory protection may be required when the material is rated toxic by inhalation or if the material is to be used in a confined area.
      Other Protective Devices: Chemical resistant gloves are recommended (i.e. Nitrile gloves).
      Ventilation: Ventilation meeting ACGIH Standards should be employed.
      Work/Hygienic Practices: Use good personal hygiene practices; Limit exposure to product whenever possible. Wash any contaminated clothing or shoes before each use.

      Oral LD50: 95% limits=1.5-2.2 gm/kg (rat)
      Dermal LD50: >0.32 gm/kg but <0.64 g

      Hazard statement(s)
      H227 Combustible liquid
      H302 Harmful if swallowed.
      H311 Toxic in contact with skin.
      H315 Causes skin irritation.
      H319 Causes serious eye irritation.

      General advice
      Consult a physician. Show this safety data sheet to the doctor in attendance.Move out of dangerous area.
      If inhaled
      If breathed in, move person into fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. Consult a physician.
      In case of skin contact
      Wash off with soap and plenty of water. Take victim immediately to hospital. Consult a physician.
      In case of eye contact
      Rinse thoroughly with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes and consult a physician.
      If swallowed
      Do NOT induce vomiting. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Rinse mouth with water. Consult a
      physician.

      Appropriate engineering controls
      Avoid contact with skin, eyes and clothing. Wash hands before breaks and immediately after handling the product.

      Skin protection
      Handle with gloves. Gloves must be inspected prior to use. Use proper glove removal technique (without
      touching glove’s outer surface) to avoid skin contact with this product. Dispose of contaminated gloves after
      use in accordance with applicable laws and good laboratory practices. Wash and dry hands.
      Body Protection
      Complete suit protecting against chemicals, The type of protective equipment must be selected according to
      the concentration and amount of the dangerous substance at the specific workplace.
      Respiratory protection
      Where risk assessment shows air-purifying respirators are appropriate use a full-face respirator with multipurpose
      combination (US) or type ABEK (EN 14387) respirator cartridges as a backup to engineering controls.
      If the respirator is the sole means of protection, use a full-face supplied air respirator. Use respirators and
      components tested and approved under appropriate government standards such as NIOSH (US) or CEN (EU).

      HMIS Rating
      Health hazard: 2

      Perfectly safe and no side effects?

    • Eric Hall says:

      A couple of drops a day is an OD? That sounds pretty dangerous to have around.

      • oregano is some potent stuff, but these people are so stupid, you don’t diltue oregano oil with water! LOL! you dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil, water actually makes it worse! water and oil dont mix! oh my word, this has a health hazard of 2. so scary. so you wanted ‘proven side affects’ I guess there you have them, controlled, so that is why its recommended by any essential oil expert that you dilute with a carrier oil when using topcially and internally, it says it right on the bottle. there are some hot oils, cinnamon, clove, peppermint, oregano that yes you want to dilute, instrcutions are on the bottle. its not that hard to read instructions is it? don’t put oils in your eyes, ears or other orfaces, is that hard to understand? its as potent if not more potent than a drug, oregano especially shoud be used with care, but even then its safer than drugs. antibiotics can cause life long damage to the intestines.

  76. and last but not least, even after all their testing…. “Still, sometimes not everything is known about a drug’s side effects until after it enters the marketplace and more people start using it. That’s where MedWatch comes in. The FDA’s post-marketing surveillance program seeks voluntary input, mainly from health care professionals, on adverse effects they may be seeing in ”the real world.” Sometimes these reports are numerous and/or serious enough for the FDA to take regulatory action, such as adding warnings to a drug’s label. One example of that involves the psoriasis drug Raptiva. The FDA required that the drug carry the agency’s strongest warning, known as a black box warning, after it received reports of brain infections and meningitis in patients taking the drug.” if essential oils were as dangerous as drugs, they would be regulated by the FDA and illegal, that’s why its so silly to say they are dangerous, first of all, second of all, to say that because the FDA doesn’t regulate it or test it makes it not scientific is a false statement.

    There is plenty of study’s on humans as well, shall I start posting those as well? here is one on human breast cancer cells. there is also one on franckincense createing apoptosis on human bladder cancer cells as well. here is one. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22171782
    apoptosis is the destryong of mutated cells aka cancer cells

    • Eric Hall says:

      Again – in vitro

      One other thing I picked out is they used two different distillation temperatures. The claim is the higher temperature distillation was “more potent” yet the “less potent” distillation killed all the healthy cells as well. They also didn’t use the same concentrations for each distillation which makes me suspect a little anomaly hunting.

      Again – interesting – but a far cry from “take this oil and your cancer will go away without anything else.”

  77. here are more human studies double blind studies, the bottom one shows that the tiger balm blend was more affective than the tylenol for tension headaches. there are so many studies on humans, I could fill this entire thread. shall I keep going?

    “Inhalation of Essential Oils

    Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Forms of Dementia

    Essential oil of lemon balm has also shown promise for this purpose; in a double-blind study of 71 people with severe dementia, use of a lotion containing essential oil of lemon balm reduced agitation compared to placebo lotion. Here, absorption through the skin may have played a role.

    Researchers have also studied aromatherapy as a potential treatment for the cognitive (eg, memory) impairments caused by dementia. 64 In a small study, 28 elderly people with dementia (including 17 people with Alzheimer’s disease) were exposed to rosemary and lemon oil in the morning and lavender and orange in the evening for 28 days. When researchers compared the dementia assessment scores during the treatment period to the scores from the previous month (control period without aromatherapy), they found that all of patients experienced an improvement in their symptoms.

    Cigarette Addiction

    A controlled study suggests that inhalation of black pepper vapor may reduce the craving for cigarettes. 8 In this trial, a total of 48 smokers used cigarette substitute devices that delivered black pepper vapor, menthol, or no fragrance. The results showed that use of the black pepper-based dummy cigarette reduced symptoms of craving for the first morning cigarette.

    A topical ointment known as Tiger Balm has also shown promise for headaches. Tiger Balm contains camphor, menthol, cajaput, and clove oil. A double-blind study enrolling 57 people with acute tension headache compared the application of Tiger Balm to the forehead against placebo ointment as well as the drug acetaminophen (Tylenol). The placebo ointment contained mint essence to make it smell similar to Tiger Balm. Real Tiger Balm proved more effective than placebo and just as effective and more rapid-acting than acetaminophen.”

    faster than tylenol and just as effective, only not taken internally, tylenol causing stomach lining inflammation and oils topcaily on the forehead do not, I don’t know about you, but id much rather use a topical oil studied to be ‘just as effective and more rapid-acting than acetaminopehn”

    I dont’ have the source for this study as my analytical brother sent it to me as he was very impressed with the study. he is also a skeptic, I can get the source if you would like.

    • Eric Hall says:

      MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
      Headache severity and medication relief scales were measured by self-report.
      RESULTS:
      There was a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) in headache relief between Tiger Balm and placebo. The difference between Tiger Balm and medication was not significant. Self-reporting. This again leads us to a problem with bias. I remember studies where people would take tylenol or placebo and rate their headache before and after and the placebo working just as well. Why? Because doing something helped relieve the tension. Drinking water helped cure any dehydration. Here’s an anecdote for you. My doctor says I am the only one who has ever reported kidney stone pain as less than a 10 on the 1-10 or 0-10 scale. So why is my pain level different? Self-reported pain levels aren’t necessarily the best way to measure effectiveness.

  78. you asked for a study on humans i just gave you 4, it worked as good as the tylenol only faster
    is what the result was. now, look at the ingredients in the tiger balm, all major antinflammatories, no wonder it worked

  79. Darla says:

    Melody I use Essential Oils daily, I use them in a safe manner. I often warn others about DT & YL Oils, which are a MLM joke and are out for NOTHING more than to scam sick people. YLO promotes Raindrop therapy which the NAHA has white paper on and condemns. You people promote the use of these oils internally which is not recommended unless through the strict guidance of a certified aromatherapist. Do you know that 1 drop of essential oil could be equal to 75 cups of herbal tea of the same plant? DO you know that DT and YLO sells and uses oils that other producers of EO’s will not even sell because they are so toxic. The FDA could shut both of these companies down if they had the time. As even allowing a customer to make medical claims on a website is against FDA regulations.

    http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2012/ucm321094.htm.

    I have read on EVERY DT and YLO site that I have been on the dosing out medical advise. Telling people to cease heart and blood pressure meds and to start using X oil with zero regard the the real health of the person. Suggest rubbing an oil on ones chest which could drop the BP so significantly to do harm or cause death. I have yet to see one single person that sells the doTerra or Young Living Oils that is a certified Aromatherapist. NOT ONE! You use these oils on elderly, infants of 4 days old, on pregnant women, when many oils should not be used by them. You use them on any one with no regard for their health or safety.
    These oils are like medicine and should be considered such. They can be toxic, they do have dermal effects the fragrances alone can cause reaction in certain people and could be toxic to animals. Nearly all must be diluted properly and are not meant to used neat, You people make me sick! And it is people like YOU that give Essential Oils a bad name. All you are regurgitating upthread is is all the BS you have been handed in order to sell a product. You have zero education in Naturopathy or aromatherapy, because if you did, you wouldn’t be selling DT.’s over priced oils to people that can get another brand of equal quality for less than half the price. You are nothing more than a thief in a skirt.

  80. Heather Liner says:

    Articles such as these are equally informative, and amusing, thanks to the comments. I’m always so surprised as how God always comes up, and people jumping on someone’s comments for believing in a higher power. I’m a Christian, and I loved this article. I believe that as far as the commenters go, yes, the placebo effect and belief in getting better can improve your attitude, therefor eliminating your stress level, allowing your immune system to grow stronger, and then improvements in your bodies natural ability to fight off infections can happen.

    All that being said, I will take my chances with a doctor. I eat healthy, I exercise, I like the smell of lavender on my pillow. I will not, however douse myself in oils to “heal” my health issues or my children’s’. I am a mom of soon to be 7 kids. Yes, before any tacky comments come, they were all planned. We can afford them and they are all pleasant, well behaved children. However, due to whatever the reason, many of us are living with auto-immune diseases. Many are life threatening, and no, none are communicable.

    I have had many people who sell essential oils come to me and tell me how these oils will get us all off our meds. I always politely listen and just walk away. Why? None of them will give me research that shows me that I can prescribe my kiddos a bit of peppermint and lavender oil and suddenly, they will not die without their meds. It upsets me and insults my intelligence. I have told at least 7 women now, show me the studies. They say they will send them, but nothing. Even the Bible (for my fellow believers out there) warns of these fads. You can’t just douse some oils on yourself and assume every time you get better, it was because of these oils. I personally need proof before drinking the kool aid.

    I thank you for this article, and I thank all the commenters, as they always give me a chuckle. Hope all of you who are using these oils are well enough to where if you are wrong, it won’t be deadly. Until I read research of blind or double blind studies and the oils effectiveness, I will stick with our epi pens and methimazole, and the list goes on….
    :)

    • Paul says:

      Hello Chad Jones, “a PhD student studying physical chemistry” who “write/manage a science blog”. I do hope you are passing your courses because your points lack a degree of integrity and scrutiny. The way you refute the selected quotes you bring are rather disingenuous or just plain silly.

      I just did a quick search on google (disclaimer: I don’t have a PhD and am not a scientist) and found 3 articles within seconds – re research on mrsa, cancer and lavender essential oils. Here are 3, 1 from The National Cancer Institute, 2 from NIH, Pub Med. One study was from as far back as 2004, another 2011…

      A main consideration with essential oils is that they need to be 100% pure Therapeutic Grade oils – most oils are merely fragrances and are diluted with other, sometimes toxic substances to make the aroma more appealing and dilute them to make them cheaper. The company you cite does not have all therapeutic grade oils and is simply a knock off company.

      And re ridiculing past culture’s use of herbs, essential oils and other plants for healing. What will a future culture say about us using treatments like chemotherapy and radiation to kill a patient’s immune system in order to ‘cure’ cancer? or lobotomies to alleviate mental health disorders/socially unacceptable behavior?

      So, please do continue to study ways to debunk use of feces for healing – but please don’t use your credentials and humor to justify your opinions and mislead people for whatever your underlying agenda.

      Why not use your skills to see how many people have been harmed by pharmaceuticals? Or actually do your own studies?

      • Alison Hudson says:

        “they need to be 100% pure Therapeutic Grade oils”

        Now no criticism of oils is legit unless it’s “100% Theraputic Grade”>? Special pleading. Also, what certifying body determines “100% Theraputic Grade”? Is there a formal standard which one can study and implement? I see a lot of marketing sites using this term but none of them provide an actual explanation beyond [paraphrasing] “It’s grown and bottled special-like”.

    • Paul says:

      No one should be telling you the oils are there to ‘heal’ or get anyone off their meds. That may be some individuals’ point of view and incorrect use of the language – the oils are there to support healthy functioning, offer healthy lifestyle/preventative options, and to give people non-toxic alternatives to many of the household and personal care products on the market now. It is about personal choice.

      These arguments are largely specious. Western allopathic medicine has it’s place for emergencies and critical health issues. People who educate themselves can make their own informed choices about other options when it comes to their health and the health of their families.

      There is more research lately about the uses and effectiveness of the therapeutic grade oils (and let the buyer beware) and more information about unfortunate side effects of many drugs on the market, the plastic ‘seeds’ in personal care products and the effects of drugs entering our waters, etc and lack of adequate testing of some drugs already on the market with big pharma money behind it. Drug companies are going directly to the public with fancy advertisement promising all sorts of things with the tiny disclaimers quickly added at the end.

      People should be able to make their informed choices. I fail to understand the venomous rhetoric, not necessarily ‘fact driven’ seen on this page.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Please – define what “therapeutic grade” means. What is the protocol for determining the grading of the oils?

        • Brian says:

          Eric, unfortunately there is no ‘government protocol’ (which is what I think you’re looking for). This would actually be good regulation to have since many companies dilute or use synthetic compounds in their oils either due to poor growing and/or QA practices or through intentional means. I think Paul’s intended meaning behind ‘therapeutic grade’ means 100% pure, unadulterated oil from a plant or fruit which was grown in the perfect conditions (soil, climate, organically (no chemicals)) so that is has the correct makeup. Please check out this study which compared 20 commercially available frankincense oils – they were all over the map in terms of their makeup.
          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0254629910001705
          This is a very good explanation for why there are not always consistent results in all studies and experience with essential oils. Looking at the science (and I do appreciate your intention of objective science based view), each constituent in each essential oil has a different effect on the body. If that constituent is not present or if there is another compound present (or worse, contamination), then a person’s experience will be totally different with that oil.

          The effort which goes into quality control of essential oils is in a spectrum from zero to testing of every batch with several different methods to QA lack of contamination and correct makeup (to confirm it was grown the way it is claimed to be grown). Dr. Robert Pappas is one of the leading (if not the leading) expert on essential oil testing. He posts some of his findings here if you’re interested in learning more: Editor’s Note: Facebook link removed

          • Eric Hall says:

            Sorry, but I am not a fan of having links going out to those kind of sites, so I am removing the link.

            No, I’m not looking for a government regulation, but I am looking for what “therapeutic grade” means. You say “perfect” conditions – but how do you control the climate without building a massive greenhouse? Organic doesn’t mean “no chemicals” (look up d-limonene – an organic herbicide with the same LD50 as glyphosate or pytherins – an insecticide used in organic farming which is more toxic than the commercial stuff). They use chemicals – just not the regulated ones. But you still haven’t told me what it means as far as active ingredient. How can I be sure what the dose is, especially with the claims that these oils are so powerful? I certainly do not want to overdose.

          • Brian says:

            Eric, I hope you will still check out his site as he approaches essential oils very objectively (from a constituent perspective at least) which I hope you will appreciate. By perfect conditions, I mean as perfect as possible. For example, the most perfect lemon oil comes from Italy. The best and only safe arborvitae oils comes from Washington state.

            I understand your frustration regarding ‘therapeutic grade’. Many companies sell their essential oil with improper (i.e. lying) labeling. Some (rarely) even sell essential oils that are extracts. It’s unbelievable. One example we like to show is how lemon essential oil can be different in its effectiveness. We can show you how our lemon oil will clean the glue residue off of a glass bottle. A common brand found in health food stores will not even clean the bottle – the glue just gums up and smear over the bottle. Another test for lemon oil is to see if it will pop a balloon. In this case the common brand will generally not cause a penetration to form. So if certain brands are not even effective at these tasks, how would anyone expect them to product consistent results on our bodies?

            Regarding what ‘therapeutic grade’ means as far as an ‘active ingredient’, it means the oil has the correct compounds which are expected from naturally grown, perfectly distilled crop. Each oil has constituents which are consistent when the crop is grown in the right climate and soil. Just like grapes from a region have generally consistent properties which define the wine they form. In other words, you can tell the difference between wine grown in upstate NY and wine grown in Château. Another example would be the best cigars come from tobacco grown in Vuelta Abajo, Cuba. While these may not be exact comparisons, because essential oils are so concentrated and each component is important not only to taste or smell but also to effectiveness, the place where it is grown becomes even more important. Using various testing technologies, you can identify what is in each essential oil. Using plants or fruit you know are pure, chemists can determine the ‘standard’ for that oil. Unfortunately no common standard exists, but that does not mean there are no sources which can be trusted. Dr. Pappas is one of those. He sometimes requires multiple kinds of tests to identify a diluted or synthetic oil.

            Regarding dose, it is generally difficult to overdose an oil as long as sensibility is used (and that oil is safe for internal use, if it is being used internally). There is a GRAS list from the gov’t which identifies which oils are safe to use internally. Amusingly though smaller doses (more often) are usually more effective with essential oils, so there is no reason to overdose.

  81. EF Beck says:

    Your first mistake was the brand you chose. Make sure they have control over their farms and how the product is harvested. They don’t have the answers to all those kind of questions because they don’t have 24/7 oversight, nor do they own them.

  82. Dragonseeker says:

    I don’t believe that Essential Oils can cure /everything/. I do believe, however, that there are some things that they can be beneficial to when used right.

    I don’t expect that someone with cancer can start using Essential Oils and miraculously be cured. Now, if you have a case of indigestion, a drop of peppermint oil in your water will take care of that rather quickly.

    I don’t expect that someone with a broken leg can rub some lavender on it and be healed.
    But if you have a headache so severe that you can’t manage to swallow anything without vomiting (which I have had) peppermint and lavender rubbed on the temples, across the forehead and across the back of the neck can calm the headache enough to finally be able to take something.

    No, Essential Oils are not a cure-all. They can help with some things. Essential Oils are also not for everyone. There are some people that have sensitive skin or sensitive sinuses. Essential Oils are strong in smell and can cause skin irritation if applied inappropriately. Most oils will tell you if you need to dilute them before applying them. For instance: I can’t use cinnamon Essential Oil because I have a cinnamon allergy. No amount of diluting changes that. It gives me a wretched headache and, if ingested, gives me severe indigestion. I’ve not had the courage to use it topically because of the other things it does to me. I don’t want to test out my theory that it’d cause skin irritation as well.

    That doesn’t negate the fact that some oils can be beneficial to some people. The truth of the matter is that there isn’t really a lot of research on Essential Oils. Most studies that have been done are typically biased. Those who run the studies are, usually, either for or against the oils and their results frequently reflect their bias.

    Feel free to try and “rip me a new one” for my opinion. I won’t be back to look at this so your angry replies will go unread by me and will ultimately do no good to change my mind. But if it helps you get that aggression out, go for it. Happy screaming, my darlings.

    • Alison Hudson says:

      So your position is, “I’m gonna come here and speak my mind, but then ‘Neener neener neener, I can’t hear you!’ to any responses”? Wow. Well played, good sir. Well played. I guess we can all pack up and go home now; that logic is irrefutable.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Even if they will go unread by you I will respond for others that read it.

      You may be taking a more pragmatic approach to essential oils, which isn’t really the concerns we as skeptics and scientists have with oils. At least for me, there are two problems with the way oils are marketed and the way people approach them.

      First is the lack of acknowledgement of any dangers or concerns. You touch on this in your “may cause irritation” statement, as well as your “won’t cure cancer” bit. But for some, they market these oils on a dangerous line – such as for treating fevers. Will rubbing a oil with a low vapor pressure soothe a minor fever? Probably. But there is no distinction in the claims about a low versus higher temp fever. These are important distinctions, and the lack of acknowledgement of the limitations is disturbing. https://skeptoid.com/blog/2014/04/05/essential-oil-claims-the-dangers-keep-on-coming/

      The other problem is the misunderstanding of the mechanism on how the oils work. For example, rubbing the oil on your head raises the tmep of the oil, thus increasing its evaporation rate. The smell gets stronger – it helps relax you, thus reducing your headache symptom. It might be part placebo, or just the fact that our senses do affect our mood and thus our brain chemistry (in a way how a placebo works). So great, it works for an otherwise inconvenient but not dangerous condition. Let’s not misrepresent science by proposing nonsense mechanisms for how it works.

  83. Your argument has a lot of missing points and information to make it valid. It is a nice read but it proved your ignorance to some pretty substantial facts. I came out feeling like you sat down to win your arguement based on where you sit on being informed. And you are not. If you want to win your argument learn about the topic and do better at research. Otherwise, it just looks like you talk well and twist things to make it look like you want it to instead standing on truth and what is real.

  84. Denise M. says:

    I love the “exaggerates claims” point. What I would like to know is why the claims always come from a multi-level marketing scheme. This is just another scheme. BTW are people still drinking Noni? That was a cure all too! I believe these products are just a touchy feely type of venture. I do oil pulling with sesame oil and doterra distributors tell me I need to buy their product. Interesting!

    • Paul says:

      And I would like to know why the “exaggerated” claims always come from the big pharma companies…BTW, are people still using Risperdol. Vioxx, Celebrex, dilaudid, accutane?

  85. melanie says:

    Thank you for this. It is so good to not only see footnotes but a link where you can read the study yourself!

  86. G. Segerson says:

    Thank you Eric. After reading your posts, and going to your links. I am more convinced than ever that essential oils are far safer and healthier for you than the prescribed medications. I find it amazing to me how some people are not even open to the possibility of being healed by something so natural and readily available. I was told once that people would be so surprised if they knew how many of these oils are actually used in many of the prescribed medications they are given.

    • What prescription medicines contain essential oil?
      Even if it is that doesn’t mean it has any effect, carbon and hydrogen are in almost your prescribed medicines. That doesn’t mean that it is chemically the same as the active ingredient, or that is effective in any way.

    • Paul says:

      I think the problem is using the language of ‘healed’ – if we just say supports healthy functioning, promotes natural defenses, etc, perhaps we would not be having this protracted debate. The language of ‘treat’ ‘heal’ , “cure” somehow seems to be the domain of big pharma. People can just educate themselves and make informed choices about what they will ingest and which approach they will take for themselves and their families. Many people are fearful and believe everything they see on TV and all the claims. I think it is far more misleading to show people romping on a field and claiming they will have great sex, etc if they take this or that drug…listen to the disclaimers at the end of so many drug ads these days…big pharma is going straight to the consumer vs the doctors these days. anyone have any issues with this?

  87. dissapointed says:

    You know what is amazing, first of all I wasted an hour of my time reading the whole comment thread. But, neither side is willing to compromise. Eric and his followers say “show me research” and others provide the research. Then, skeptoids spend their time saying how irrelevant the research is. Its all the same excuses: not controlled enough, not in the body, not the right growing environments, too many factors, too little factors, where’s the evidence, where’s the follow up study, etc” So then, we are taking a “physics teacher” not a leader in the field of physics or a person who is furthering the physics field. Just a teachers word as solid. In addition to his family and co-workers. Which, we have no clue what their backgrounds are, are these people leaders in their field? Do they do any actual research? If we take them at face value by the degree they claim and by their educational experience? Then I would hope they are all well versed in their opinions. But, how do I know how much experience they have? Is it relevant? Eric, you talked about being the “safety officer” and how you had to develop ways to keep people safe from the chemicals used. But have you ever used those chemicals? Tested on them personally? Have you done the research on them or did you just pull your information from the shoulders of greater men (or women) who did the research, who created those MSDS sheets?? There’s a ton of “google” experts on here. And some how no one has done their own research and if they did there will always be someone to tell them how their research was done wrong, what they could have done better, why it is valid, why it is invalid. As neither pro-oils or anti-oils I find myself turned off by both sides of the argument. Would I keep my family and friends away from toxic chemicals, yes! Do I believe this blog has the correct information for me to fend off essential oils… absolutely not. And the fact that you seem to provide self promotion by using your own links to prove your points… it’s rather arrogant? Maybe because you want to say “hey I proved that point already, or it’s already been written about.” But, if I am reading a current article and sorting through bs on both sides of the argument why in the world would I want to read another one of your blog pages that has such a high potential for the same spill on the subject. Or even a related spill for that matter? What a mess!! IF you wanted to write about how dangerous they are for goodness sakes please provide more references so I can better see your side of the argument without seeing you cut down Susie homemaker and her blog which is what your “scientific” argument is based from. At least cut down someone who is a CEO creates/ sells the stuff?? That way I can see how it is stupid from the top down. Not how you can pick on someone who is clearly uninformed, may not have formal education, or much of an education at all. Maybe she is a doctor? Who knows. Because you cherry picked her site. I would appreciate a good reason to continue to follow the blog. But regarding this topic I think the comments section really destroys the quality of your writing and the last line says that you don’t believe the oils are useless yet your comments seem to imply that. I look forward to your next topics but this one is seriously off base and the scientific evidence to support the opinion trying to be expressed in the article is greatly lacking because throughout the comments there’s several comments stating how certain sites can be completely dismissed… so which ones should we consider relevant? Which ones are not a “repository.” I get it was supposed to be a piece about “exaggerated claims” but in the same manner, I expect a MLM to exaggerate. They are trying to get me to buy their junk….

  88. dissapointed says:

    Here’s something that cracked me up as well – you said “Treating disease by ingesting animal feces or applying it to your skin is also an ancient Egyptian remedy, in fact more common than essential oils, but I don’t see that catching on in the same way.”

    I guess you missed this cause we are totally using human “fecal transplantation” in todays modern medicine!! HAA HAA!! And they are looking at frozen pill form as well. Maybe those idiot Egyptians were trying to figure out how to solve this condition??

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/clinical-updates/digestive-diseases/quick-inexpensive-90-percent-cure-rate

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Putting animal dung on your skin is not the same as getting some other human’s intestinal flora as a transplant or pill.

    • Paul says:

      Re your comment: “Healthcare is a breeding ground for pseudoscience – and for good reason too. When it comes to our health we really are an easy target. Nobody likes to be sick and nobody wants to lose a loved one. It makes sense, then, that peddlers of pseudoscience often set their sights on the sick.”

      I would posit that this is exactly what the godzillion $ health care industry is doing, preying on people who are sick and vulnerable, only with slick ads, they have convinced people that there is a pill for everything and they can continue to eat crap and fool their bodies (drugs to keep the liver from freaking out with alcohol, drugs to mitigate eating foods which cause indigestion, drugs to give men extended boners, etcs…Healthcare (not all, we need it in emergencies, etc) is a breading ground for corruption, greed and lies and damn lies and then coverups…

  89. why? says:

    Just one little question- do you all like to eat? You might want to start researching, doing studies and chemical analysis of all your foods because they could be harming you. Oh, just anecdotal evidence lettuce is safe? I bet it has hurt someone out there so better wait for a few peer reviewed publications and acceptance of the medical community to indulge in that salad. :) Too many unknown compounds that haven’t been tested.

    Life is not a bubble. How many studies were done for interaction with the human body with all our awesome technological advancements before they were introduced to public health? If there was, was it always enough? Does the benefits justify use regardless of safety to us or our environment(ex.-think vehicles)? Do we even know the full impact of these decisions at the moment they’re made? This is more than just medicine, and it isn’t black and white.

    We are still discovering basic nutrients! How many things are still mysteries to us? How many questions have we not even thought to ask yet? Last I checked, we don’t fully understand the mechanisms of anesthesia it the body(and sadly, it has killed some, yet helped save many others), yet having had 3 surgeries, I sure am glad we use it. I’d be dead! We really don’t have this topic down pat yet on either side(anecdotal reports and science on BOTH sides shows a real need for much more work), not even close, and I personally believe a little humility would help, as opposed to throwing mud? It just gets messy and nothing more because medicine hasn’t been conquered! We don’t know everything! Also, people need real help, and we don’t always do it, either side, for money or whatever. But both sides have those who are also truly helping many as well, with proof. We ALL have more to learn. :)

  90. Katie says:

    Chad, or anyone who does not believe essential oils actually are beneficial to the human body and can be used therapeutically and medicinally…..have you ever used them, and if so how did you use them. If you haven’t used them, how can you say that they don’t work? Just curious.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I don’t have to use something to know if it works or if it is dangerous. That’s what science does – it provides evidence and data to remove bias and let us know the level of effectiveness or danger

      • Mary fogo says:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21995612/

        So here is a good example of the kind of research showing a long trusted treatment for children, pregnant women, etc. as safe is not and has not been safe after all. Most European countries have banned these chemicals bc they are literally pesticides that we put on our scalp. The FDA still says it’s okay. And millions of people use this toxic chemical an inch from the brain. Here’s another study I think you will find is sound, demonstrating a safer, more effective, less expensive alternative.

        • Eric Hall says:

          Comparing safety testing in the 1950s versus the 2000s is a huge logical error. The testing is much more extensive now. In fact, these increased requirements have had some negative consequences in a way. A good example is the migraine medication Midrin. Midrin was around for many decades as a good migraine medication. The FDA wanted some increased testing requirements and the manufacturer didn’t want to pay to do the testing. It took 5 years for someone else to do the additional testing and make it available for use. It is cheap, effective, and has a long history of use, but because of stricter requirements it was unavailable for quite awhile.

          So yes, the FDA may have originally said it is OK, it doesn’t mean it meets current requirements. But sometimes reviewing those items that fell under old rules takes time.

          You should also note a majority of the adverse reactions were due to misuse. The authors admit that better instructional labeling would likely prevent most of the reactions.

          You also employ a logical fallacy by calling it a poison. Everything is a poison – but it is all dose dependent. The oils you are vehemently defending and trying to create a false dichotomy with traditional pharmaceuticals are also poisons in the right dose.

          • Mary fogo says:

            So, you said it yourself. If both are safe in non toxic doses — which remedy can resolve the ailment in a non toxic dose. It’s been made clear the dose required of the medication containing lindane does have catastrophic neurological effects. There are other studies I’ve posted in these threads today showing that a non-toxic dose of EO is more effective with little to no negative reactions. Which would you put on your child?

          • Eric Hall says:

            I went back 3 weeks in the comments and didn’t see any links showing TTO and lice studies. Sorry if I missed them, but feel free to post again.

    • Jimmy Hoffa says:

      Don’t believe Chad said EO’s were not beneficial, just that the claims to their usefulness/effectiveness were greatly exaggerated/unknown/untested… and they are. To further Eric’s point, I’ve personally never used leeches, blood-letting, radiated water, or drilled a hole in someone’s head, or had one drilled in mine, for health benefit purposes. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t question their use if my neighbor showed up on my doorstep with his drill and told me he had a cure for my headache. In many cases one can easily rely on common sense and, that failing, scientific observation and evidence even without personal testing.

      EO’s are all the rage right now, despite not having concrete evidence as to their health benefits either way, and in that case, that means there are PLENTY of other health alternatives, many of which are no/low cost, that are proven effective. No need to roll the dice on an expensive MLM scheme that may or may not work.

      Want to build up your immune system, reduce sickness, and feel better? Eat right, and exercise. No need to rub snake oil on your feet and oregano all over your kid like he’s a pizza. Wait for the science.

      • Paul says:

        Just because so many of you are saying there is no science behind this does not make it so. There are many studies and more over time.

        You are guilty of your own points…

        and conflating use of essential oils and other plant based methodologies with leeches and drilling a hole in one’s head is just silly – and BTW, WAS accepted ‘medical ‘practice back in the day…
        as was removing women’s organs to ‘cure’ mental illness…

        like telling everyone they should use aspirin as a preventative for heart attacks even without history of heart attacks
        (recently retracted by the FDA) when Bayer wanted to put this on all their bottles to get everyone to use daily aspirin…

  91. Steve says:

    Hummm… this article smacks of Randy-ism, modern medicine kills far more people than the alternatives. Create smoke to hide the fires, is all this is.

    • Right, because the million annually that died from small pox for thousands years all went away because their naturopaths used homeopathy. I mean think of all the people lying in the streets dead from antibiotics, that could have been saved by acupuncture. I mean before modern medicine, the life expectancy was almost double 13 years. I still wax poetic for the return of bloodletting. Sigh!

  92. Don’t throw the essential oils out with the bathwater! MLM companies do make ridiculous claims to see their over-priced stuff, true-but many oils are pretty amazing. I’ve used lavender to heal sunburns and diaper rash. Myyrh does wonders on eczema. Frankincense helps when you have that awful un-ending cough. Thyme kills staph bacteria. When we get sick or have some medical issue we usually reach for an oil. We are healthier for it.

    • Although some of your claims I have no idea about, thyme has zero antibacterial effect. That has been studied.

      • Um… yeah it has been extensively studied. This study concluded “Thyme oil demonstrated a good efficacy against antibiotics resistant strains of the tested bacteria.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22313307
        This is only one of many studies showing thyme to be effective at killing staph and even MRSA.

        • That is right extensively studied but that does not equate a treatment. Effectiveness in a petri dish is not as an antibiotic agent. You just don’t understand what any of that research means. There’s some evidence out there demonstrating that different oils will kill different species of bacteria, etc in the test tube or Petri dish ( in vitro). If I pour a pile of salt, lime juice, Cointreau, or tequila on a Petri dish, it will kill antibiotic resistant bacteria too — but that doesn’t mean margaritas can treat pneumonia. It’s not difficult to kill bacteria if you change the conditions enough that it cannot live. So while it’s easy to get high concentrations of thyme in a test tube and subsequent positive effects, these effects are meaningless in the human body unless we can achieve similar concentrations at the site of the infection, without any toxicity. And this has not been demonstrated. This type of thinking is why pre-scientific medicine treated syphilis with elemental mercury. Some have jumped thyme to human trials for acne. It couldn’t get published since the study was so poorly done it couldn’t pass muster and the peer review had shown that there was no effect even thought the researchers had reached the opposite conclusion.

          • That is an interesting perspective. It is important to consider alternatives to anti-biotics though, as they seem to be causing germs and viruses to mutate. Again, I say, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

          • We agree 100% about the limits of antibiotics. The best alternatives to antibiotics are vaccinations such as the pneumococcal vaccine. Bacterial infection is a constant war that we are losing. New antibiotics are a multi-billion dollar industry, if a researcher could pull something off the spice rack, test/prove that it works, and patent it as a drug, it would be an antibiotic gold mine(low cost high return). Unfortunately the low hanging fruit for antibiotics has been plucked, we are having to produce increasingly side effect laden antibiotics to counteract resistance. Although I should point out the antibiotics have no effect either good or bad on a virus. Additionally they are not mutating the bacteria. The bacteria is constantly mutating independent from the antibiotic. What is happening is that the bacteria develop a mutation that gives them a survival advantage over others in the antibiotic environment, they then self proliferate and every-time they are exposed to antibiotics you are selecting for the bacterium that naturally fight the antibiotics. The antibiotics are not mutating them, they are selecting for the resistant organisms to survive.

  93. Mark says:

    So much ignorance here. NONE of you know for a fact what the benefits of organic essential oils are. You’re all going of a whim of what you read from other studies of institutions that are built on ignorance themselves. By the way since when has original medicine been labeled “Alternative Medicine”. Those of you who support new age medicine are extremely ignorant. Most modern medicine comes with horrendous side effects worse than what you’re trying to treat. I get the feeling the anti essential oil people here are pro GMO’s and Vaccines. There’s more than enough research to prove most modern medicine is full of bs. Most of you forget that medicine is a business, and business are here to make profit. The only people who have room to talk about the benefits of organic essential oils are the ones who have personally used them and or who treat others with them. They have the room to speak because then seen the effect they’ve had on themselves or another. Hey anti essential oil people, do you think marijuana oil has no medicinal benefits too? Well I have cured skin cancer with it. Others have cured themselves of cancer with it too. Just because you have not had the experience with it dose not mean its no true. So all of you with no experience other than reading about it, don’t write about it because you have no space to talk. Those of you who have had experience with oils can speak.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Yeah dude, GMOs give farmers in the developing world better livelihoods and vaccines save lives. Both of those things are rad. If you break your leg or get malaria, just rub some essential oil on it. I’d love to see any evidence that you’ve cured anything. Obviously science-based medicine isn’t doing you any good.

      • Mary fogo says:

        My world isn’t so black and white. I believe in science, period. Having said that, science is a process and what we know is constantly changing. I do know that every single drug that has been recalled by the FDA was once approved by the FDA as safe and effective. I’m both ready and willing to learn how EO’s may be effective for some conditions and likely ineffective for others. I think the best scientists are wide open. Unfortunately, many of you guys seem bound and determined to prove that eo’s are snake oils rather than fairly assess or determine if and how their medicinal value may be applied in modern science.

        • Mary I am glad you “believe in science” laudable and good for you. I would like to point out that science is not a monolithic belief system. Rather it is a methodological approach to learn about the natural world in a logical and meticulous fashion. It is not that I dismiss EO. It has all of signs of complete BS.
          1. It is implausible, proponents guess about a possible mechanism show a profound lack of knowledge about human physiology.
          2. All of the “research” is either in-vitro, uncontrolled, or anecdote. That can be a starting point. Yet all the research meticulously avoids the easy questions. Does it do anything in humans/is it safe? There is no replication, no solid findings, and they claim more research is warranted yet don’t do and still use it. (more research is warranted=I don’t know, it doesn’t mean maybe it works)
          3.It is sold marketed and promoted as “it does X”, yet they don’t really know what it does.
          4.Whenever data comes up that disproves a benefit in any EO. The proponents claim special pleading IE: poor quality, wrong oil, not organic etc.
          5. Whenever cornered proponents fall back to a conspiracy “Big Pharma” doesn’t want you to know line of backwards reasoning. Illogically trying to make people assume that if Big Pharma wants something stopped it must work because they are threatened. Never providing a scintilla of any proof of any of the supposed conspiracy.

          That pattern of avoiding research, claiming benefit without evidence and marketing it as “the secret big pharma doesn’t want you to know.” Is 100 synonymous with pseudoscience nonsense.
          Sine we agree that science is the best method to determine if something works, why are people avoiding it?
          Simple human behavior- they already know it works and don’t need evidence. If evidence(no matter how poor) comes up proving their belief they praise EO, if evidence(no matter how good) comes up proving it does nothing they deride the evidence.
          That is not science, that is ideology.
          It is not the final word but until some new evidence comes up stop using it you are wasting your time, money, and effort.

          • Paul says:

            To Stephen Propatier and most of you skeptics. You make a nice list of 5 statements, NONE of which I see is backed up by any science whatsoever. All your points are absolute “all of the research”, “proponents guess”, “they don’t really know”.

            Your points are a different ideology, just aiming to ‘prove’ that whoever doesn’t agree with you is wrong and your point is correct. Just repeating that there is lack of evidence does not mean there is no evidence.

            I find it humorous that skeptics will do and say anything to prove their points without data or scientific means.

            To say that big pharma has done nothing to mislead, push certain drugs without adequate testing, pay for obscenely expensive ads to directly convince the consumer that they need x,y.z medication and to tell their doctor so, dump drugs overseas, cover up mistakes or settle expensive lawsuits out of court is naive to say the least. However, it is not pharma vs essential oils, herbs or other plant based medicine. Each has its place.

            Some people will tell you many things and how their grandmother’s potions help with different conditions, including chicken soup (and often they do!). This does not make for “all the proponents’. There is research out there.

            And might you agree that more research is needed on the effect of aspirin and other drugs. It is not fully known how it works. Same for many drugs. Just that it has been shown to be effective in x.y.z condition. It was also found that aspirin/tylenol can be dangerous in certain age groups and conditions and now some drugs are not recommended to be given to children under a certain age. So what? This does not mean that we throw out all the beneficial uses…

            Re-read Mary Fogo’s points, she is open to looking at the evidence and all sides. You and all the above commenters bent on shaming, ridiculing, bullying and simply making things up to prove a point, however, are not. I don’t find the posts like yours with LOL in them to be compelling science either.

          • I have read pages of abstracts of research on EO and it is as I put in my previous comment it is either structurally poor or the wrong type of research. Aspirin has tons of good research the benefits and risks are well known, that is why I use it. All I ask is do the proper research and then recommend use. If you haven’t done A you shouldn’t do B. EO fails to complete A therefore B is on hold until A is done, simple. There is a common misconception that there are sides, or beliefs but there isn’t. Does it work is it safe is the question. There is no side to that. It is not a belief it is a question. all available evidence indicates that some people believe that it works, but there is no reliable research indicating that it infact has any effect. People are not reliable judges about medical treatment effectiveness, as evidenced by thousands of years of pre-scientific medicine. There has been zero safety research, zero controlled blinded research, yet people recommend use, and worse recommend it over proven treatment. That is simply irresponsible, just do the work take the credit and prove what you claim before your use it or recommend use. There are no sides there is only reality. Conflating that the pharma industry has flaws therefore magic oil works is nonsense.

          • Paul says:

            Stephen Propatier, have you done the studies on all medications? Most of us are not research scientists and take the word of the companies which do the research,as in well funded and gouging us by pricing pharma industry. Each of us does not do the research to prove to ourselves that any products are effective. Have you truly researched the research on essential oils? There is a lot out there. On the NIH site among others. Just because you and others ‘say’ there is no research,doesn’t mean there is not any. The example of aspirin is not that we should not use it or that it is not effective, just that one can be skeptical about it, question it’s problematic aspects or that there are unknowns about how it works and it’s potential side effects, yet it is accepted and used. Here is a study posted by the American Society for Microbiology. I have no doubt you will find a way to poke at the research, but I’d venture to say big pharma’s research can be parsed as well…http://aem.asm.org/content/78/11/4057.full – and further, in the search of just this one site, a whole page of studies comes up – http://aem.asm.org/search?fulltext=essential+oils&submit=yes&x=12&y=14

            Here from the NIH site = http://search.nih.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=nih&query=essential+oils+studies&commit.x=34&commit.y=8

            More – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15555788/

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4054083/

          • As i have said in other posts I have done a review of available medical literature on this topic and yes it is overall a small amount. I didn’t say there was no research I clearly stated that the research is of extremely poor quality like the ones you have listed. In vitro studies are useless for determining effect in the human body. I have written before that I can put cointreau, tequila lime in a petri-dish and prove anti microbial activity, same thing on in-vitro cancer cell studies. That doesn’t mean margarita’s treat cancer. Most of the human trials are small uncontrolled and often show no benefit even in small poorly done studies.
            Most of this research has been around for while. None of it is large placebo controlled studies which is what you need to be a treatment. That is for good reason that way you know it works and have a good idea what the problems are. Yes I can look up any medication in the US and find that research. And I can find the data on complications/interactions/and adverse reactions after it has been in general use in about 10 minutes online. That is why they are a medicine and this is wishful thinking.
            Pointing out that medicines have problems says absolutely nothing about the effectiveness of EO. It is a distraction ploy… Look over here pay no attention to the man behind the curtain……. don’t be fooled. Demand good research before you use it! For the lay person who dosen’t know medical research IF you

              can’t

            submit for FDA approval generally means it is not good enough.

          • Mary fogo says:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25591062/?i=8&from=in%20vitro%20trends

            You slam any study that falls under the umbrella of in vitro as useless. A good friend has been working on an Ebola vaccine or antidote for a decade. He has had a team working under him for nearly a decade. In vitro studies pretty much sum up his life’s work. He passes his findings on to another team who structure the next in vivo research. The in vivo studies are happening now and many to follow. Seeing as how the in vivo studies are designed based off the results of a series of in vitro studies — I’m wondering if you should deem that much science “useless”. It’s a process, each part is valuable.

          • Mary fogo says:

            Thank you for a thoughtful response. I especially appreciate your argument coming full circle about the irony of a self proclaimed scientist making a short list of 5 (inaccurate) statements, much of it centered around lack of evidence, poor studies, etc. — without presenting ANY research or evidence to support his own theory.

    • Nice tautology mark only people who use essential oils can talk about it. LOL Yes I am for careful use of Golden Rice(A GMO) because it may prevent 500k children a year avoid blindness. And yes I think that the 13 million who no longer die annually from vaccine preventable diseases, is good. I’ll take that any day over a bottle of some magic oil that my brother’s cousins’s sister says cured her cancer anyday.

      • Mary fogo says:

        Stephen, if you truly profess to be a scientist, than you’re pretty much of the worst variety. I have seen you make several resolute assertions about lack of research. When research is presented, you dismiss it bc it doesn’t meet your standards. Where’s the in vivo, look at your sources, blah blah. It is clear that you haven’t done you’re homework. More of your statements are factually incorrect than not. Again, worst scientist ever.

        I posted a comment yesterday, thank you for taking the time to gift me with a carefully crafted response. Technically, you failed to actually address any of the real talking points. Instead, you defended yourself against the incinuation that you’re a black and white kind of guy. You quickly proceeded to post a comment that paints you into a black and white corner. Your inability to grasp the notion that an unadulterated plant derived essential oil may be effective in managing a number of minor, yet very common ailments is difficult to comprehend. I’m afraid it’s further evidence of how narrow minded your capacity for science really is.

        What’s more offensive than you throwing around unsound info while you lecture us troglodytes on the merits of “real science & conspiracy-free big pharma” is your inexplicable compulsion to lace every sentence with some seriously fierce condescension. I’m baffled by so many of the personal insults and contrived assumptions about who I/we are as people, consumers, parents, etc.

        Not that it’s your business, but my children are properly vaccinated. I don’t believe that patients have to choose only one modality of treatment. Furthermore, the notion that an army of oiled-up wackadoodles are out there primarily treating cancer and measles and Ebola is ridiculous. Statistically, the most common uses for EO’s are for simple skin conditions like eczema, head lice and dermatitis, digestive health & common tension headaches. Over the past 2 decades, researchers have made solid progress on incorporating EO oral hygiene products to be used in conjunction with rx toothpastes for a multitude of dental maladies. There have been a number of double-blinds done and many more to come. I’ll just start throwing a few out there.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22939370/

        • Eric Hall says:

          On more than one occasion, Stephen has pointed out that the bacterial killing properties on surfaces is known for several oils. But look at the amounts. Those amounts can be dangerous. if not carefully monitored. For example:

          A 4-year-old boy ingested a small quantity of Tea Tree Oil and became ataxic and progressed to
          unresponsiveness. But 24 h after admission the child had recovered.

          A 17-month-old male child developed ataxia and drowsiness following ingestion of less than 10
          ml Tea Tree Oil.

          A 23-month-old boy became confused and was unable to walk 30 minutes after ingesting less
          than 10 ml of a commercial product containing 100 % melaleuca oil. 5 h following ingestion the
          child was asymptomatic.

          A man aged 60 swallowed about half a teaspoonful of Tea Tree Oil and had a dramatic rash
          accompanied by leukocytosis.

          One person lapsed into a coma for 12 hours after ingesting half a cup of pure Tea Tree Oil and
          suffered disturbances of consciousness for another 36 hours.

          So until there are tests for safety, it isn’t advised to use it orally. But people do – all the time – without having a good measure of the risk.

          The other problem is tea tree oil is reactive to air and light, and it can have a wise range of concentrations of active ingredient. Anywhere from 2-6% of people can develop a severe sensitivity from use.

          So again, we don’t have good studies on safety, good studies on efficacy (meaning, does it work better than what we have now), and we don’t have good control on the constituents of the oil. It doesn’t seem like a good alternative.

        • Paul says:

          Mary, there is no real honest or intelligent conversation here, just some skeptics who are bent on using ridicule, bullying and their own pseudo scientific arguments. Sometimes I can’t help myself and jump into the discussion, but there is never a true honest ‘conversation’.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Well thanks for generalizing.

            Go ahead and read my comments. I don’t believe I have bullied or ridiculed anyone (well, I may have, but I apologize when called out on it).

            We are trying to get you to see how the scientific process works. You show pilot studies and expect us to give them the same weight as meta-studies or 1000s of studies with the opposite conclusion. This is not how science works. The conversation I am trying to have is focused on that. But it seems whenever I try to have that honest conversation, you make accusations that about the conversation such as bullying. Perhaps you’d be better served in a conversation by addressing the points in the conversation.

          • Paul says:

            Eric, it is simply impossible to address the ‘points’ in the conversation, there is little ‘conversation’ here. Mostly scoring points in the name of ‘science’ and ridicule.

            And to keep insisting that all those who disagree with you don’t ‘understand’ science, well, that is simply insulting and condescending.

            Some of my main points are that perhaps the products approved in the name of science are suspect – especially when there is money and power behind the companies which get their products approved…that is the purpose of the examples, for people to also be ‘skeptics’ about these products too. Especially when they experience the negative side effects. People do know something about their bodies. Many doctors pay little attention to what the patient says or follow the research either.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Yes, there is always that chance. Which is why a single study – no matter who does it or who funds it, is not evidence by itself. It is the aggregate of data/publications/conclusions which helps to form evidence for science.

            Your repeated claim is that somehow single studies funded by people interested in selling more EOs is somehow better than a single study that is funded by a pharmaceutical company is wrong. I would NEVER accept a single study funded by a pharmaceutical company as proof by itself. However, when that study is repeated by others, reviewed by others, advanced by others, done on larger populations, in more situations, done in situations that are closer to reality, that then gives it strength. EO studies never seem to get past the initial exploratory phase (with a few exceptions). The reason – much like how hundreds of potential pharmaceuticals never make it past the exploratory phase – is because they are not showing promise to work better, work at all, or work with lower risk than what is existing.

            You are making assumptions which are simply not true – that we somehow automatically trust pharmaceutical companies and their studies. We do trust them if, once reviewed and even better, once repeated, the results are similar – it gives an increased chance the results are correct.

  94. Mark says:

    P.S. Do you all know have much science is bought off and how much of science is wrong? LMAO and you must think you’re still free. Get caught with the wrong plant and you wont be free. You don’t pay the man and you wont be free. Try to whistle blow and you wont be free.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Oh yeah. That makes sense now that you point it out. Since people are compelled to pay taxes and pot is slowly being legalized, then oils must cure cancer and acne, despite the lack of evidence.

      • Mary fogo says:

        Oh look Noah — here is a 200+ page study on TTO involving acne. Guess what? It’s a mixed review. TTO is safe and effective for some conditions and not for others. Shocker. I can accept the ways in which TTO will not work in disease systems in the human body. Can you accept some of the capacities in which it will work?

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/#!po=0.193798

        • Eric Hall says:

          Great. It works sometimes. Why does it only work sometimes? Is it because perhaps it is some other factor and not the oil which is causing the change? Is there something which has similar cost, less risk which works better? Why not use that? Or perhaps because TTO can vary so widely in constituent oils, perhaps it is one oil in particular which causes the action, but it has to be above a certain concentration to be effective. So let’s isolate that oil, so we can control the dose and use the lowest dose possible and know we will get an effect much more often. That’s what sets science apart from alternative medicine.

          • Paul says:

            And FDA, USDA and EPA are wonderful and reliable sources of science and approvals…

            http://www.gmofreeusa.org/food-testing/kelloggs/kelloggs-froot-loops/

            I think what many are saying here is that people would like a choice and to make personal decisions.

            I know you skeptics will tear apart this article, but toxins in personal care and household products is well documented in many places. Can’t wait to hear how you will defend GMO’s for better living….

            I prefer not to have GMO’s and weed killer in my food or petrochemicals in my personal care and household products.

          • Eric Hall says:

            You have your label – its called organic and the non-GMO project. Go ahead and keep overpaying for your food.

            And keep in mind, RoundUp is much less toxic than the pesticides used on organic crops. Perhaps instead of focusing on food you won’t eat anyway, why not start testing the food you are eating. You might be shocked to find out there is more pesticide residue and that the ones used are more toxic.

          • Mary fogo says:

            Eric Hall, I would like to see the science behind your claims. Are you actually asserting that GMO produce is preferable over organically grown produce? Let’s see your science from a peer review journal. Do you work for Monsanto?

          • Eric Hall says:

            Ahhh – the shill gambit. As you can see in my bio, I work for a public institution. Any outside work must be disclosed to my institution. I do not work for Monsanto, and I could not without it being public knowledge.

            And yes, I am claiming GMO produce is preferable. It requires less pesticide use – thus saving fuel/energy costs. They often require less water, which as we know is becoming an important issue. Many do not require tilling of the soil, which helps prevent erosion and also saves fuel and energy costs.

            While I have concerns about modern agriculture, organic farming does not solve those scientific concerns. I also have concerns about the future of genetic modification in how it is regulated (i.e. patents) – but to this point those possible problems haven’t emerged (Monsanto is not suing farmers like is claimed on activist websites).

            So, which scientific claim would you like me to address first? It will take a little time to pull all of the original source papers, but I can get you my summary pieces on those various concerns if that would be satisfactory and would save us both time.

          • Mary fogo says:

            When it comes to putting food in
            the belly of my child, or slathering hygiene/care products on his largest organ — saving fuel and energy costs in it’s production is not my primary concern. The content and nutrition of the food and body products comes first. I’d like to see the compelling science that demonstrates the unknowns about GMO sourced food do not affect the safety of said food. I’d like to see science that effectively dispells the common concerns about GMO food in America. I’d like to see the science proving that organic food has a higher risk to consumers and toxicity levels. Also, I would preface that my expectation is that the research you put forth is representative of widely accepted means of organic farming. No cherry picking research that conflicts with established data accepted as scientically sound.

            As a consumer who is hungry for transparency from the companies I give my money to; I’d very much like to understand the science of how or why GMO labeling is deemed unimportant.

            As a starting point, please read this article. I’m more pragmatic than you may believe. Leave the hype out.

            http://geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/01/07/anti-anti-gmo-organic-farmers-2015-plea-lets-end-the-war-over-food/

          • Eric Hall says:

            Labeling is not unimportant – the problem is labeling “GMO” would be horribly unscientific. For example, would Organic grapefruit have to be labeled as GMO because the red grapefruit is made by manipulating the genetics with radiation? Or would we have to have laboratory testing in every field to ensure no GM plant pollen makes it on a non-GM field? Would selective breeding be modification? What about tree grafting? The labeling argument bothers many people like me because it only serves to make people less scientifically literate. I’m not saying that as hyperbole. It genuinely does. The other part of the labeling argument that bothers me is that it really is a witch hunt to try to put GMO farming in a bad light. Why do I say that? Because, if you want to avoid GMO foods, it is easy to do. You already have labels such as the organic label or non-GMO project which are designed to fit whatever artificial levels those who do not want to consume GMO foods set. And again, that’s not hyperbole. It is hard to determine where “GMO” starts and “natural” ends. Should we not eat modern bananas? Certainly corn doesn’t represent anything in nature. Organic/non-GMO beef also can’t really exist because it was all created through selective breeding. GMO isn’t really a scientific word at all really. It is a political word. That’s why we shouldn’t try to label things as GMO – because it isn’t science at al.

            So, again, let me ask you – give me one concern you’d like me to address to start. I will be happy to show you resources on those concerns.

          • Paul says:

            All I can say to you Eric to this last one about GMO’s is “OY” or quoting a high school science teacher, Mrs Fletcher: “It’s like trying to scratch your left ear with your right hind leg”.

            Many countries in Europe have decided to ban GMO products and several states have passed bills requiring companies to label their products. You can argue and parse the fine print. but some have figured it out and the industry has poured millions of dollars into stopping the legislation.

            The FDA has rules on what can be labeled organic (the same FDA you defend as being ruled by science) – and is softening these rules under pressure from lobbyists. To blithely state that organic products are toxic?! sigh

          • Eric Hall says:

            Pyrethrins – one of the insecticides used by and approved for use in organic farming because it can be derived from a flower – has an acute toxicity level set at 0.2 mg/kg of body weight, and a NOAEL level of 0.02 mg/kg/day. Glyphosate, the herbicide boogeyman for those against GM crops, has a NOAEL of 30 mg/kg/day. This means Glyphosate is 1500x safer than this “organic” pesticide. Obviously it isn’t directly equivalent – but it is certainly true pyrethrins are much more toxic than glyphosate.

            I am surprised you didn’t notice, but my rhetorical device I was using was formatting my argument the same as yours – yet you find my argument invalid and yours valid using the same technique. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t like and hate government agencies at the same time – that’s another logical fallacy.

            If you don’t like the FDA and the organic label – you still have the non-GMO project. Go ahead and buy that. I’ll buy mine. You wouldn’t buy my stuff anyway. So why bother labeling if you won’t buy it anyway.

          • I would like to see the research that shows that there is absolutely no danger from using organic pesticides, that it doesn’t have any impact on the environment, and the research that proves that organic food is safe for human consumption.

            Or maybe this argument
            http://skeptoid.com/blog/2014/06/19/gmo-labeling-consumer-protection-or-fear-mongering/

          • Mary fogo says:

            Stephen, your wish-list of things you’d like to see suggest that I indicated somewhere that those assertions are true or almost true. Which I did not. Let me reiterate that my world isn’t as black and white as yours. Or narrow. Or crabby. So you’ll have to dig for that research yourself.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Which is better – toxicity at 0.02 mg/kg/day or 30 mg/kg/day?

          • Brian says:

            “Organic/non-GMO beef also can’t really exist because it was all created through selective breeding.”

            That statement is grossly incorrect. GMO does not indicate plant or animal selective breeding.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Were the genetics manipulated by a process other than natural selection? Isn’t that then a modification?

          • Brian says:

            The genetics WERE manipulated by a process of ‘natural selection’ to use the term you did. Just because the pool of options was reduced, doesn’t mean the changes were unnatural. There are plenty of hybrid corn and other plants which do not classify as “GMO”. Eric, are you claiming that gene splicing is the same as putting two certain animals in a room together (or IVF)? Doesn’t sound very science-based….

          • Eric Hall says:

            Ok, so Let’s look at the Belgian Blue versus say a Black Hereford versus a Belmont Red. How did those various colors come to be? How does a color suddenly appear? The color doesn’t appear because of natural selection – the color survives because of natural selection (or selective breeding) but the original source comes from a mutation in a gene or set of genes. This could come about because of a chemical mutation due to expose to something in the environment, a radiation exposure, a sharing of genetics (such as a viral infection or bacterial infection) or any combination of those things. Then the natural selection or selective breeding takes over. But the genesis of the differentiation is a mutation – caused by some of the same methods used in modern agriculture, except now we can have better control over it.

            And that’s my issue with the idea that somehow the lab versions of genetic changes are less superior to the ones that occur without controls. They both involve a change in the genetic code – except one way has a more known outcome – the one we can control.

        • You research link is a review of available research. I actually looked at the actual research that was reviewed.
          Several in vitro studies…. as I said anything is anti bacterial in vitro. A small scale single blind acne study with subjective parameters where the researcher decided if there was a positive effect! A mouthwash study that included a currently used antimicrobial agent clorhexadine(like putting oil in scope mouthwash and saying it works for halitosis). Love the nasal MRSA study comparing it to bactroban(muriprocin) the standard treatment.”The tea tree oil combination appeared to perform better than the standard combination, although the difference was not statistically significant due to the small number of patients.” Even the researchers cannot bring themselves to say that it works.
          Again not research that justifies any change in current treatment or any hope that it works in any way.
          No large scale double blind placebo studies, none of this research is even replicated.
          As I said this “research” is a big pile of nothing. My personal favorite included in a so called positive review for EO. A study which showed the opposite findings. “Tea tree oil reduced neither the clinical parameters (PI and PA) nor the vitality of the plaque flora significantly. Within the limitations of the study design, it was determined that a solution with tea tree oil–utilized as ordinary mouthwash–has no positive effect on the quantity or quality of supragingival plaque.”
          So negative result that proves that TTO works by not working?
          I call this standard alt med bibliography filler says nothing, shows nothing but gives a nice reference list you hope no one actually takes the time to look at.

          • Mary fogo says:

            Um….yeah, I don’t believe you are doing a very objective job of summarizing your reading. You’ve said over and over there are no double blinds, no decent numbers, etc. I admit I’m surprised that you so quickly glance at another team of scientists work and immediately deem it inaccurate, executed poorly, faulted in design, etc. You have to be aware that you are providing bad and inaccurate information in your blanket statements. How much do you think you know? So much that you haven’t found any worthwhile or legitimate data from a combined total of hundreds of scientists working at academic institutions across the world? I can plainly see that the science tells us that EO’s haven’t been proven effective in the treatment of a myriad of maladies. I can also plainly see that the science tells us there are a number of maladies that may be safely and effectively resolved with EO’s; both alone and/or in conjunction with another modality of treatment.

            I have posted quite a few links for you and Eric Hall today. Several were double blind. Several had in excess of 300 participants. Several had compelling results. Compelling enough to see a series of in vivo studies on the efficacy of EO’s used in combination with conventional treatments.

  95. Mary fogo says:

    And thanks for explaining to me what efficacy meant — it was a real struggle.

  96. Karen s. says:

    Hi, I just wanted to offer my 2 cents and share my experience with oils.

    I’ve suffered from chronic nausea ever since I can remember. At least since my early teens and now I’m almost 30. So quite a while. I’ve gone to countless doctors and had blood tests done, changed my eating, sleeping, excersize habits and reduced stress triggers. I’ve been prescribed every antacid & anti nausea medicine as well as tried just about any OTC remedy I can find. NOTHING has worked.

    The last doctor I saw ended up telling me “there’s nothing else we can prescribe you, maybe you should consider talking to someone”…. Eluding to the fact that he thought it was all in my head or I’m doing it for attention or something.

    The nausea is so intense at times that I keep a plastic ziplock bag in my purse and my car in case I get physically sick. Its NOT NOT NOT an eating disorder. I almost always get sick in the morning prior to eating and it is ONLY stomach acid that comes up. So I’m not bulemic.

    Anyway, a couple years had gone by since I went to that doctor who said I should “talk to someone”. I had given up the search and come to the conclusion that I will just have to live this way and feel sick to my stomach literally 24/7. Then my friend invited me to an “oil party”. I was skeptical, but I went because she is a good friend. I never believed in oils, matter of fact, i always made fun of the people who used them and referred to the oils as “magic beans”.

    So anyway, I tried cardimom and ginger oils at the party. I just touched my finger to the top of each bottle and rubbed a teeny-tiny bit of oil behind my ears. Within SECONDS, for the first time in years, I felt….. NORMAL!!!! Of course I bought a bottle of each oil out of curiousoty to see how they would work long term. I figured this would be my last ditch effort. If nothing else, I figured I just bought some expensive air fresheners, cause they do smell good.

    Its now been 3 months(ish) and I haven’t gotten physically sick even once. I haven’t had any nausea except slightly in the morning when I first wake up because it wears off overnight. But as soon as I wake up I go use the oils and voila’ I feel great again. I never believed in these oils. Matter of fact, if I can’t remember where I put them, I still jokingly ask my husband if he’s seen my magic oils or my magic beans lol. I went into this with a closed mind and a negative, skeptical attitude toward them, but I have to admit (weather I like it or not) that they have had a massive impact on how I feel. I no longer just “deal with it”. I finally feel like I’ve found something that works for me.

    Now that’s not to say I’m CURED of whatever the underlying issue is. But it has given me motivation to go back to the doctors and have more tests done to figure out what could truly be going on. I’m not using these oils as a treatment. It merely helps numb the sideffects and helps me get through the day until I can find a doctor who will actually listen to me and truly figure out what’s going on.

    That is all. Take care.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Thanks for your comment – and the reasonable tone which you took regarding your experience.

      I want to offer a possible explanation to you. I am not saying this to negate your experience, but perhaps actually fits your story.

      A common symptom of stress is stomach upset http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

      So, like we’ve commented and wrote about here before, perhaps the oil is providing a placebo effect which helped to reduce your stress – which can be a vicious cycle – you are stressed, you get stomach upset – the symptom causes stress – which then causes more of the symptom.

      We know the higher the cost of a placebo, the increased effect it has (most recent study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25632091).

      Please do not consider this a diagnosis, and I am happy you plan on going to see a doctor again. But everything you describe would lead me to believe your doctor was on the right track that the symptom is a result of a psychological issue. And that is nothing to be ashamed of. Please, see your doctor as soon as possible, and if your doctor advises seeing a psychologist, do so. They can do wonders – and many times by simply helping you recognize the stress.

      • Paul says:

        Eric, with all due respect, your reply to Karen S. is condescending beyond measure, couched in a ‘there there’ approach. Perhaps you, like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory would also like to offer her a hot beverage….

        In your zeal to debunk any potential benefits of essential oils, you become yet another wise male telling a woman that her symptoms are all in her head. Thank goodness you take a moment to comment on her ‘reasonable’ tone.

        And now you are the one practicing medicine without a license.

        • Eric Hall says:

          What in the hell does my gender have anything to do with this? Or hers? I simply replied to her comment. It is a rare event when someone comes on here and shares their anecdote, is honest, and doesn’t come with guns ablazin’ claiming I am wrong because of their anecdote. I do truly appreciate her sharing her entire story, the honesty with which she did, and the detail she provided.

          I also did not offer her some new diagnosis, I simply encouraged her to pursue her doctor’s diagnosis. Anytime someone comes here and describes their symptoms, their outcomes, etc – that’s my general advice – is stick with the medical professional’s advice. I am sure not having a good answer is frustrating. It can make one want to give up on seeing a doctor when the answer doesn’t come quickly. Not all doctors are the best at bedside manner. Thus, I hope my words encouraged her to see that the oils helped, and even in the way she is suggesting. And, I also hope she will do as she says she will and go back to her doctor to ensure it isn’t something serious, physical or psychological.

          Just because you don’t like my scientific conclusions Paul, does not give you any cause – or any right to accuse me of sexism or doing something out of bounds. You are welcome to disagree with my conclusions, but you are not welcome to personally attack me.

          • Paul says:

            Sorry, did not mean it as a personal attack. It was a gross generalization and my apologies for jumping to that tone.
            Karen noted that she was going back to her doctor and was looking for someone to see her as a whole person and not someone who would jump to ‘it must be all in your head’ if he or she can’t find a valid cause or treatment.
            Though your response was measured and ‘scientific’, in effect, you told her the same thing.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Stress can often manifest itself physically. I’m not saying her symptoms are imagined – they are, I’m sure, very real. I’m just saying after a battery of tests, if no physical cause can be found, it statistically is left to be most likely to be caused by a psychological origin.

            This isn’t to say that there still isn’t a physical cause. It is simply stating the fact that statistically, the psychological route would be the next best thing to check. Which is why I encouraged her to go. While it is possible that isn’t the cause, it seems to have the current highest likelihood based on her story that after years of not finding anything else.

            I also want to point out that I didn’t just pull this out of nowhere. The doctor’s thoughts on it are well founded – http://gut.bmj.com/content/47/6/861.full

            I hope Karen can find relief. Which is why I encourage her to continue to follow her doctor’s advice as I am sure the doctor was simply going through the checklist of most likely to least likely causes. Stress must come up at some point in that conversation.

            That can, perhaps, make me sound cold. But at the same time, statistics and reason are the best way to solve most problems.

          • Paul says:

            Sure, all your points are valid,

            I have another anecdote for you. Colleague of mine – highly regarded Princeton University professor/scientist – had serious headaches, which led him to ER a couple of times, several doctors and numerous tests. He had a stressful job as head of a department/labs, students and a new set of twins at home.

            No doctor could find cause despite numerous tests and medications. Stress was the suggested “diagnosis’.

            He did not take that as the final answer, and finally, one doctor read the scans better and found a blood clot leading to his brain – deadly consequence if left untreated…

            Similar things have happened to women whose heart attacks have been misdiagnosed – I don’t have time to find the articles on how heart attacks in women manifest different symptoms than the classic male symptoms – perhaps you’ve seen the research/reports and data on women sent home from hospital ERs with heart attacks.

            People/patients DO know something about their bodies. Yes, stress is now a known factor in many conditions, finally it has been acknowledged to be so in the medical community – and yes, there may be an underlying or contributing stress factor. However, the way many are treated in the medical system is partly why people turn to alternative approaches which view the whole person and take their reports about their symptoms seriously.

            I do hope Karen’s suffering is relieved – and glad to know that the oils have mitigated her symptoms. Cardamom and ginger are spices used around the world in support of digestion and digestive issues.

          • Mary fogo says:

            I’d like to see the “statistics” that indicate how many patients with unresolved/undiagnosed are believed to be psychological in origin. It’s a reach. Interestingly though, several weeks ago, after Eric Hall mentioned for the umpteenth time that there are no double blinds, no controlled in vivo studies — I posted lots and lots. Several of them focused on digestive health, IBS, nausea, headaches, lice & oral care. In my opinion, the studies relating to gut health and nausea were very compelling. My question for Eric; before your sweet deductive reasoning skills led you back around to a psychological disorder — did you even consider that the oils in question may have helped to soothe her nausea?

            Mary

          • Eric Hall says:

            I don’t think I mentioned the lack of in vivo studies – but yes there are some – though usually small, and they are not double-blinded. Feel free to post them, one at a time here, and I will happily look at them.

          • Eric Hall says:

            So, Paul – let me ask you – let’s say your friend had chosen to treat himself with essential oils for this blood clot. Would you have been ok with that? Or do you think real medicine saved him?

          • Paul says:

            Eric, we were not talking about essential oils at the moment – but about how the medical profession interacts with people. We learn more and more that allopathic medicine knows much less than we ascribe to it about many conditions, effects of medications or even a patient’s experience after and during recovery from surgery – and tends to ‘blame the patient/victim when a condition eludes their knowledge/understanding or they are just plumb lazy or not curious to get to the heart of the situation.

            FYI, and I don’t want to get into a debate on this, this person used both allopathic medicine and therapeutic grade essential oils after finally getting the clear data on his condition. And yes, the oils did mean he was able to reduce the strong blood thinning medication with attendant serious side effects.

            I’m not recommending anything here, my point is that he could make an informed and researched choice and understood the risks. People are more mature and thoughtful than you might imagine on such matters.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Actually, we are talking about EOs. One, thats what the blog post is about. Two, sure enough you brought around your defense of oil again (see, it is better than your real medicine). So why bring that up if it isn’t about oils?

          • Paul says:

            C’mon Eric, sure this whole thread is about the oils – but the particular point I was making was about this situation where someone described a situation where she was put into the ‘stress’ category when the doctor could not find the cause of her symptoms.

            I only brought up the point about the oils (you’ll notice I did not mention that my friend used them in my first comment on this particular note) because (and I can’t find the comment, this is such a long thread) you noted something to the effect that isn’t it great that my friend relied on allopathic medicine vs the oils.

            Consider that people are looking for alternative options because they don’t find relief or feel the sense of being truly ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ by many of their medical practitioners.

            I’m new to this site and found it quite by accident. I’m taken with the many folks taking great pains to refute any point if it does not support the thesis that therapeutic grade oils are bogus. There is perfume and nice smelling stuff and then there are therapeutic grade oils and there is a big difference.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Define “therapeutic grade.” What defines that term? What ensures quality and consistency with that term? Because the supplement industry hasn’t exactly shown a good track record for a fine ingredients as of late.

          • Paul says:

            When I refer to 100%Therapeutic grade oils, these are the pure oils distilled directly from the plants. They are not diluted with other oils or substances as ‘extenders’ to make them cheaper or to enhance the aroma or sweeten the taste. Many companies create synthetic oils, which do not have the therapeutic values. Some of the substances added in most brands alter the chemical properties and can be toxic. The latter oils should never be ingested. Personally, I would not use them even to inhale or put on my skin either.

            There are few oils on the market which are 100% therapeutic grade and people need to discern the difference if they are looking for the therapeutic qualities vs a perfume smell. It is helpful to know where and how the crops are grown , the distillation process, the equipment used in the distillation process, if there are toxic chemicals used in cleaning the equipment ( so there is no chemical contamination of the oils), etc.

            This is by no means a ‘scientifc’ explanation, simply a response to what I consider 100% therapeutic grade oil.

          • Mary fogo says:

            Eric Hall, you repeatedly point out bias and defense of oils. However, there are countless examples of your bias and “leading” language. Have you ever, even once, set out to do some research on EO’s that wasn’t intended to disprove them?

            I’ve provided studies that you have summarized in both a biased and very unsciency manner. You blatantly discounted and misrepresented the results in a condescending break down. You skeptics make random and ugly comments about the tree huggers trying to cure their own cancer. I think some of the most common applications for EO use can be found in the average, boring, everyday ailments. Often times an EO might be used in addition to a pharmaceutical, in lieu of, or modified dosages of both. There isn’t anything especially sexy about a 77 year old with gingivitis — but they are everywhere. I shared a few legit in vivo trials on oral health bc it seems like a solid example of a common longterm issue that showed significant improvement at a much lower cost. The study in question shows that the pharmaceutical product used in conjunction with the EO product was more significantly effective than either standing alone. You poo pooed it, referenced it in a condescending manner, paraphrased inaccurately. Very poor etiquette among scholars.

            I’ve noticed you mention lots of safety issues & note that OTC drugs are clearly marked, have established dosages, blah blah. If you love proven science and tons o’ studies to toss around — why not get down on some statistics about OTC efficacy and safety. Like the studies I posted on delousers. Neurotoxins galore. One study showed that up to 43% of people using said products exactly as directed on the label had an adverse reaction – many serious reactions. There are a number of good studies done showing EO’s as a safe, effective and low cost alternative to the commercial products containing lindane, a known neuro-degenerative. Again, lice is a real problem in many third world nations and across the globe. But I noticed that you never had much to say about THAT science. Why not?

  97. Karen s. says:

    Hi again. Just to update, I’m not by any means a stressed out person. Money is great, my job is one I love, I have no kids and my relationship is healthy. Its not stress by any means. I plan on going back and talking to doctors about other possible causes because I am confident it is not stress related what so ever. And the only actual test I’ve been given is a blood test because they were too lazy to send me for other tests and would rather give me an antacid or antinausea medicine. Tumours are one common cause of nausea, just as an example. That won’t show up on a blood test.

    At the end of the day, I don’t know how or why these oils are making me feel good. I genuinely don’t believe its a placebo effect because I went into it with a very negative attitude. I told myself from the get-go that these oils were “magic beans”. You have to be open to a placebo working in order for your brain to think its having an effect. I only began to believe it after about a week that it was actually doing anything.

    • Eric Hall says:

      You are making assumptions about stress that your stresses are going to fall in any of those major categories. I can tell you that psychology and brain chemistry are both much more complex than simple categories of money and relationships. If making good money was a sole measure of someone’s psychological health, no rich people would have mental health issues. That’s simply a fallacy.

      Also, to assume your attitude makes you immune to the placebo effect is misguided. All of us fall victim to the placebo effect often. I am not saying it somehow makes you unintelligent or weak-minded. Every skeptic who writes for this blog falls victim to it all the time, and may only realize it later. For example, I drink a cup of coffee nearly every day. My brain chemistry is well-adjusted to the level of caffeine intake, yet if I go without it I feel lethargic. I know it is the placebo effect, yet I still depend on that cup of coffee to help me feel ready for the day. So no, you don’t have to be “open” to it for it to work – our brains aren’t always entirely in our control.

      My best advice is to listen to your doctor. They are the best bet to rule out anything serious, and the best bet to give you a more permanent solution.

      • Mary fogo says:

        Earlier, you pointed to statistics and the prevalence of patients who may fall into the category of “psychological disorder” when the crux of the issue isn’t identified. You pointed to stress as an example. The patient states that the most common stressors such as finances, career, relationships & offspring are all in good order. In addition, the patient states that she doesn’t “feel” stressed either. What if the studies you referenced indicate the examples of stressors the patient states she is free of, as the culprits of said stress?

        • Eric Hall says:

          Stress isn’t just about that feeling of being rushed or worried. As I stated, stress and feelings in general are more complex than that.

          For example, a recent study showed that being rich leads to less sadness, but not more happiness. http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/01/money-makes-you-less-sad-not-more-happy.html

          We all face stress in our daily life. We work – thus there is stress from deadlines, supervisors, simply getting ready in the morning, etc. We face stress driving to work. We face stress when the car needs repair. We might even stress because the laundry pile is a little high or the garden needs tending. Being happy in one’s life doesn’t mean there is not stress.

          And again, if one has a GI issue which is unresolved, that can be stressful. That stress can cause the GI issue to continue. It can be self-perpetuating. Perhaps there was a trigger which caused the initial issue, and has continued it since. And unless one keeps a diary of the symptoms, we have no way to really know how frequent or long-lasting the symptoms are.

          Do I know if this is stress? No. It simply fits all of the known information provided.

          Let me ask this – if we assume for a second a couple drops of oil behind the ears is the cure for this nausea, what is the mechanism? Why not, for example, ingest it instead? Or take a suppository or supplement of the oils? Why not put it right in the nose? Or in front of the ears?

          If you take 19/95 and cross out the 9s, you get the correct reduced fraction of 1/5. That doesn’t mean crossing out the nines is the correct solution.

  98. Karen s. says:

    Also, there’s obviously something to the oils being good for nausea. Ginger is one of the oils I use. People have used ginger ale soda for nausea and carsickness like forever. This is just more concentrated form and cardamom is also in the ginger family. So its something people already do, except in soda form and there’s ginger pills people take too. If its in pill form and put out by a medicine manufacturer, would you be more open minded to it?

    I don’t know about taking oils for ADHD or the flu or w/e. But evidence already shows that ginger does in fact help for nausea. So why would oils be any different? I hate that I’m a believer in these oils (for nausea) cause I feel like some hippy tree hugger, but they are working. I can’t say its a placebo, cause I had it set in my mind that they wouldn’t work. The pills the doctors gave me, I was more positive about because its from a doctor and they didn’t work.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Yes, ginger ale for example – why does it work? Often, it isn’t because of the ginger, but the fluids that do it. A quick search on ginger and nausea on pubmed shows these type of conclusions:

      Various preclinical and clinical studies have shown ginger to possess antiemetic effects against different emetogenic stimuli. However, conflicting reports especially in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and motion sickness prevent us from drawing any firm conclusion.

      The best available evidence suggests that ginger is a safe and effective treatment for PNV. However, there remains uncertainty regarding the maximum safe dosage of ginger, appropriate duration of treatment, consequences of over-dosage, and potential drug-herb interactions; all of which are important areas for future research.

      Despite the widespread use of ginger in the diet, its clinic value and safety profile in treating NVEP is still unknown

      then you get this awesomeness:

      RESULTS:
      Five randomized trials including a total of 363 patients were pooled for analysis of preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting and postoperative vomiting. The summary relative risks of ginger for postoperative nausea and vomiting and postoperative vomiting were 0.69 (95% confidence interval 0.54 to 0.89) and 0.61 (95% confidence interval 0.45 to 0.84), respectively. Only one side effect, abdominal discomfort, was reported.
      CONCLUSIONS:
      This meta-analysis demonstrates that a fixed dose at least 1 g of ginger is more effective than placebo for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting and postoperative vomiting. Use of ginger is an effective means for reducing postoperative nausea and vomiting

      How in the hell does one get effectiveness from that statistic?

      • Karen s. says:

        Maybe I don’t understand this…. But it seems to me that it clearly says ginger is an effective means for reducing post operative nausea and vomiting.

        • Eric Hall says:

          With 363 people in the study, to get intervals that wide tell me there really weren’t any results there at all. Imagine 2 diets. With their statistics, it would be like saying diet A has a 95% chance you will lose up to 22 pounds with a max weight gain of 17 pounds, whereas diet B only has a max of 20 pound loss but a max weight gain of 18 pounds, so diet A is better. It really is not from that evidence.

          Notice the other as well…they basically said it works, then say they can’t conclude it works.

          It should always be a huge red flag when they are not able to get past the preliminary stage of trials, and they don’t have good controls for other very possible explanations.

          • Mary fogo says:

            Eric Hall, I can’t hold my tongue. I grew up in an academic environment. Lots of publish or perish business, if you get my drift. I’ve watched underpaid scholars pour themselves into the research, bust their proverbial humps & have witnessed lots of successes and twice as many failures. But they had no interest in trying to reframe some of the fails — that’s part of the process. Each “fail” ultimately brought them one step closer to success.

            It’s hard to believe how casually you dismiss other people’s work. You downgrade, you misrepresent and you draw conclusions that are not supported by the science. And you know it. The studies, no matter how reputable the academic institution or publication might be, are NEVER to your liking. You poke big holes and draw generalizations that are both unfair to the authors and the science. It’s offensive, it’s small-minded & it’s obvious that you’ve made a decision to only consider EO’s from the perspective of nay-sayer. Which makes all your casual dismissals of other people’s work just plain fickle. You say “show me” and when a study or trial pops up from a reputable institution indicating promising results — you blatantly rewrite the results, conclusions and refuse to accept any of the data as it’s presented. THAT is terrible science.

          • Eric Hall says:

            No Mary, I am saying there is a huge difference between a preliminary study and a long-term, large study or even a meta-analysis. Imagine if physicists published every collision from the LHC – they’d be laughed out of the profession. Only after millions of collisions do physicists say we have enough confidence to say the Higgs particle is indeed established to exist.

            I am not dismissing the work. I am simply saying – if this is indeed so effective, and the studies show promise, then do the follow-up work. I showed how the statistics and the confidence intervals chosen are basically nonsense – pick tighter intervals which actually show some relevance and I will consider it. It isn’t a nay-sayer, it is called science. That’s why I fight so hard against it – because there are too many people doing bad science.

            That’s what science is – a scientist is supposed to do everything possible to falsify a hypothesis. And so far its been easy to do. SHow me a follow-up study, longer-term, larger, and with a good statistical analysis. Then I won’t have an easy time showing the hypothesis to be false. Then we are talking evidence.

          • First of all the quality of the studies that you find convincing is extremely poor. An exhaustive search of the brown medical library has not revealed even one well structured preliminary study for EO. I look forward to you linking to this promising study.

  99. Karen s. says:

    As to why I use it behind my ears:

    I was given empty caplets by the lady who sells the oils. The oils do have nutrition facts on the bottle and have ingestible serving sizes. I very well could take a few drops in a caplet. But I also realize that 1 drop of oil contains the amount of oil you would consume if you turned ginger root into a tea and drank 75 cups of it. So I know its powerful stuff. I choose to not directly ingest it. Lots of people do, I prefer not to. I could also put it directly under my nose. Let’s not forget its an oil, and generally women try to keep oils off their face to avoid acne. I figure IF I experience a pimple from time to time, I’d rather it be behind my ear where my hair would cover it.

    Also, the area right behind your ear is a nerve and blood vessel hotspot. Tons of stuff going to and from your brain and out to other spots on your body. The skin is thin there and the pores are larger than other places on the body so absorbsion is quicker. I do have an oil diffuser so it can be inhaled through a diluted mixture of oil and water. That’s another way it can be used.

    Anyhoo….. I guess I’m done here. Clearly you won’t budge on it, even when its simply for nausea. And u know what? At the end of the day, if you’re right and its totally 100% a placebo effect…. I’m SSSOOOO okay with that. I haven’t had one bit of relief in at least 15 years. This is the ONLY thing that has worked for me, open minded or not. Lifestyle changes and all. Literally nothing has worked except this. So if its a placebo effect, I’m fine with it. If they’re selling me snake oil, that’s fine cause I’ve never felt better. I’ve been sleeping better because I don’t go to bed naucious any more and I wake up feeling genuinely refreshed because I finally have found some relief. If its a placebo, I’ll happily keep buying it and it wouldnt bother me one bit cause after years and a couple thousand dollars spent on medicines & doctor visits, I can finally for once say I feel GOOD! And that’s a wonderful feeling.

    Even if its placebo, with the relief I found, it has given me motivation to go back to the doctor and demand any and every kind of test they can possibly throw at me. Now that I know what it feel like to feel “normal” I want to get the problem figured out cause I don’t want to use oils for the rest of my life and I don’t want to feel the way I did before trying them

    As to your coffee intake:

    Caffine is addictive. You can’t wake up until you’ve had your cup of coffee because you’ve probably done it so long that you’ve become addicted to it. Most adults are addicted to caffeine on some level. Its just like how smokers can’t do anything before they’ve had that morning cigarette. They’re addicted and need that fix in the morning before they take on the day.

    • Eric Hall says:

      This is exactly what leads me to believe placebo effect. You put it behind your ear with the assumption it would go right to your brain and everywhere else in your body.

      Now it has been ages since I’ve had anatomy, but from what I remember the vessels behind the ear supply the face. The brain is supplied by branches of arteries more internal than that. Also, I believe the vessel on top in that region is the vein, thus would be returning to the body’s core for processing, not going out to the other parts. Someone here can correct me or I can ask one of the biologists today for confirmation.

      And for the coffee thing…the amount of coffee I drink is small. I don’t usually drink it on weekends or in the summer when I’m off. I have tried other things with caffeine instead of coffee, and it doesn’t have the same feel. It is much more about the ritual, and not so much the caffeine.

      Another example is vapor rub. I still use it on occasion for a cold. Studies show it to be pretty useless, but I use it because I did as a kid. So it is comforting. I know it isn’t helping me cure my cold, but it helps me relax and rest which can help my cold. That’s the placebo effect.

      • Paul says:

        It is well known that what people put on their skin is absorbed by the body. I don’t have the time or inclination to research studies on this. But will you accept that nicotine and hormone patches, manufactured by drug companies approved by your well regarded FDA are used for withdrawal and medical treatment? So, why wouldn’t the oils be absorbed in the body?

        Inhalation therapy is also a medically accepted treatment.

        You can insist that your use of caffeine is a placebo effect, however, scientists established that caffeine is chemically addictive back in 1994 and with the publication of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) caffeine withdrawal was included as a mental disorder.

        • Eric Hall says:

          I’m not saying caffeine cannot have an effect, but considering the amount I normally consume, I don’t fall under that criteria. I’ll trust my doctor on that, thanks.

          Yes, medication can be absorbed through the skin. I’ve taken medication like that before. But, to think behind the ear has some magical connection to the brain doesn’t make sense – and I chose to use that as one way to show that is not the case – because in fact it would practically make an entire loop around the body before getting back to the brain. So if the proximity to the brain is the reason for putting it there, it actually has the opposite effect. So, if absorption through the skin is effective, why wouldn’t the armpit or torso be more of an effective area? Why chose that spot specifically? That indicates to me – placebo effect.

          • Mary fogo says:

            I’m not sure why you are pushing for a ear/brain connection. The oil may have been just as effective if introduced to the lymph nodes in the armpit.

        • Well tylenol is a great medicine,how come you can’t take it topically? Simply put it doesn’t work to take it that way. You cant simple slather your skin with things and say “see nicotine patches go through the skin therefore everything is medically effective when rubbed on the skin.”. That is why you need research not guess work. Research that shows if it works, how it works, and dosage for safety and efficacy.

          • Mary fogo says:

            http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/15/health/fda-acetaminophen-dosage/

            Speaking of Tylenol. It’s actually one if the top 2 leading causes of liver failure. Which often leads to….death. The FDA has deemed in safe in lots of dosages in the last several decades. Now they say — you best dial it down on the acetaminophen.

          • There is a known benefit and risk to tylenol that is what makes it a treatment. It is nonsense to say….. your drug is dangerous therefore- my magic oil works.

          • Paul says:

            Sigh, Stephen, no words for that elucidation using the example of not putting tylenol on the skin and expecting it to be absorbed?!

            Seriously, taking one point out of context, distorting its meaning, generalizing the whole discussion in the service of your opinion?

            As an aside, I’ve seen multiple ads on TV for a product called Salonpas to ease pain. FDA approved of course…

          • Again your conflating that if one treatment route of administrations works then EO treatments work by that route of administration. Which is patently false. Just because one thing is effective as a transdermal treatment. It says absolutely nothing about EO or any other treatment effectiveness if given by that route for that matter.

          • Paul says:

            Actually, no Stephen, you were the one doing the conflating. To prove your point, If EOs work in one way, YOU noted and then suggested, then Tylenol and other medicines not formulated for application to the skin should be slathered on the same way.

            Cleverly parsing words and silly exaggerations are not a substitute for your claims of rational thinking and science as you act as champion for your point of view and nor is ridiculing other points of view in this way.

          • Mary fogo says:

            It’s as if you disappeared down a rabbit-hole. What what?

          • Paul says:

            Mary, I offered them a hot beverage….

          • Mary fogo says:

            I never smile on this blog, so that was just really refreshing — gotta give this furrowed brow a break already!

        • Mary fogo says:

          Caffeine withdrawal is also a very common trigger of headaches. But speaking of nicotine — did anyone follow Bob Simon’s last story about tobacco and Ebola. From start to finish the story of the vaccine development and treatment is FASCINATING!!!

      • Mary fogo says:

        I’ll remind you of a forgotten lesson from your anatomy and physiology classes. Right behind the ear is a wealth of lymph nodes, which provides a vehicle for the EO she applied straight to her lymphatic system. We all know what happens next.

        • Apparently you have forgotten your physiology as well Mary. You have some post auricular nodes they are inferior to the mastoid not truly behind the ear. The lymphatic system is a dumping ground for waste products. It has no direct circulation with the brain. It is not an effective distribution region. Scopolamine patches are applied there to avoid a large systemic absorption of the drug. Erics overall statement is true. There is no direct communication with the brain and the integumentary circulatory system is complicated hence the blood/brain barrier. CSF is the primary agent communicating drugs with the brain. Not blood not the lymph system. If you don’t understand anatomy and physiology please don’t lecture others.

          • Mary fogo says:

            Perhaps you should reread my comment. It seems you think I’m trying to maintain an argument that I was not.

      • Karen s. says:

        I put it behind my ear because I don’t want acne on my face in the event that it clogs pores. Its like 3″ from my nose that’s why I chose that spot. It just happens to have alot of blood vessels there. You’re hearing what you want to hear. Taking it to my brain or w/e isn’t why I do it there. I just figure its a good spot and hey, there’s lots of blood vessels there anyway. So why not.

  100. Mary fogo says:

    I’ll say this. I know many people that have GI probs. Some of them are clearly stress related, some with a congenital defect or intolerance, most with a poor diet and anti-acid habit that goes awry. These same folks have found success in a number of different treatments. I’m saying that the list is long. I have yet to meet an otherwise healthy person in the flesh that has plausibly denied all indicators and feelings of stress (with low stress risk factors) that has had their doctor attribute their gi issues to a stress related diagnosis or treatment. I’m not saying it hasn’t or couldn’t or won’t happen. I am saying it’s a statistical long shot. A longer shot than ginger and cardamom.

    Mary

    • What does “plausibly denied all indicators” mean when you say that. Stress for GI problems is a confounding factor rarely the primary diagnosis. Your opinion about plausibility”statistical long shot” is based upon what?

      • Mary fogo says:

        It means that, if there aren’t any obvious indicators which would lead a doctor to believe that said patient wasn’t being forthright with info/symptoms/etc. — then the patient maintaining that she is totally stress free is plausible and you move on to the next likely scenario. Her testimony sounded well reasoned and plausible.

        A further point. When I was visiting Emory Medical Center several years ago, I spent a week in and out of the oncology floor with a relative. They have ginger absolutely everywhere. Ginger lozenges, ginger snaps, ginger tea. They literally had raw ginger root. Apparently the doctors and nurses believe it to be effective in helping to manage nausea post-chemo. When I asked the nurse about it, she said they pooled their change and bought the ginger goodies with their own $. As I thanked her profusely, and she said quietly that they remain motivated to keep the goodies stocked because they were cleaning up much less vomit every single day. Just saying.

        • We are deriving off the rails but your really misinformed about psychiatric diagnosis.
          “It means that, if there aren’t any obvious indicators which would lead a doctor to believe that said patient wasn’t being forthright with info/symptoms/etc. — then the patient maintaining that she is totally stress free is plausible and you move on to the next likely scenario. Her testimony sounded well reasoned and plausible.”

          What is plausible about that? Asking a patient “are you stressed” is not the way to diagnose psychiatric illness. How do you know there aren’t any obvious indicators? What aspects of anxiety diagnosis, specifically, have been excluded here by a patients claiming that there is no stress? Since no ever suffering from psychiatric illness ever denies it.

          What does your visit to emory have to do with anything. I once flew on a plane doesn’t mean I am qualified to fly it.

    • Eric Hall says:

      So Mary, you’ve obviously never been effected by someone with a mental illness such as depression. They will often report just this. Or like my autistic son, who will often say he is fine, when he actually is the opposite – even though he has no real “risk factors.” Or your friends, who tell you everything is great and 6 months later get a divorce.

      I don’t know about you, but I am not a professional therapist or psychologist. But I can tell you, if you read the literature on stress, anxiety, and depression, someone reporting everything is fine is not necessarily an indicator that everything is fine. This is likely why stress wasn’t the first diagnosis in her case, but at some point it becomes a more likely option.

      • Paul says:

        The brain and the gut interact. Digestive issues can affect mood and ‘mood’ can affect digestion. It is well established, It has something to do with the vagus nerve and hormones in the gut known to be associated with depression. FINALLY, in medicine it is recognized that stress is a factor in our well being. Finally, some are realizing that we are whole beings, that our systems interact in a complex way. And some in the field do treat people holistically vs just by their symptom or organ.

        We all experience ‘stress’ – there are positive stressors in our lives, too, but we don’t usually consider them problems.

        And, inhaling oils can affect mood,

        So why jump to the conclusion that the effects of the oils are only “placebo” because of this?

        This cuts off the possibility of an honest exploration of the subject in the service of a bias.

        • Mary fogo says:

          Absolutely.

        • 1. good point paul- Can’t have it both ways fault doctors for not being holistic then criticize them for addressing a psychiatric issue compounding the problem(treating them hollistically).
          2. No one is jumping to conclusions about placebo effect, you must control for it or it will happen. If you don’t control for it placebo effect is very very real. If you don’t have controlled research in medical treatment you have have placebo effect. That is not a question it is a fact. Especially in subjective problems like anxiety, depression, and pain.

      • Mary fogo says:

        Not really, Stephen. The point is, it is also entirely possible Karen is (as she said) not stressed and that her nausea is coming from elsewhere. If all other indicators point to Karen’s contention that stress is not a primary or secondary cause — the “elsewhere” is statistically more likely than a mental diagnosis.

        If you are insinuating that I’m blind to people suffering from depression, you’re dead wrong. Unfair conclusion, to say the least. And we weren’t talking about an autistic patient or any patient that may be challenged in communicating symptoms or feelings. That is entirely different. We were talking about Karen. Karen made a compelling case that she is committed to finding the cause of her nausea & feels confident that stress is not a primary factor. I respect that and think there are many other factors.

        • I am not not insinuating anything about the persons state of mind or yours, I am merely pointing out the fact that the patient feels that stress is not a factor is not relevant to the diagnosis. People are strongly socially incentiveized to deny psychiatric issues because of negative social and cultural factors associated with all types of mental illness. The fact that she is confident(even if accurate) is not a convincing argument that using EO a unproven implausible treatment is therefore the answer for her problems. If it works it make the plausibility of the the denied diagnosis being more likely. Self reducing subjective problems like anxiety by using sham treatments is very common.

      • Karen s. says:

        Omg I’m not depressed or autistic, excuse my language, but what the f*ck! U can’t accept the fact that a person is in a healthy state of mind can you? I am a planner by nature, I make careful decisions and weigh out the concequences. It works well for me and thus I live a very stress free life. My best friend nicknamed me “her little yellow lab” because labrador dogs are always happy and fun lol. I don’t know how to make it more clear. I truly lead a good life that I am happy with. Ask me again in a few years when I become a mother…. Then we can talk about stress being a factor haha

  101. Karen s. says:

    Just to clarify, I put the oils behind my ears almost completely because I like having a nice complexion on my face. I realize these are oils. If it does ever give me a pimple, I don’t want it directly under my lip! Gross. The area behind my ear is a mere 3″ away from my nose and mouth. In relation to my armpit as someone suggested, the ear is much closer.

    I chose a spot where acne wouldn’t be an issue if it happened. Plain and simple. The fact that the area behind your ears being a blood vessel superhighway, is simply a bonus. I’m not directly trying to get this stuff in my brain, but yes, there is a main nerve located in that area, but that’s not the point. I simply don’t want acne and that area is close to my nose and mouth. That’s it. If I get a pimple, my hair can cover it.

    • Eric Hall says:

      From your first comment:
      “Also, the area right behind your ear is a nerve and blood vessel hotspot. Tons of stuff going to and from your brain and out to other spots on your body. The skin is thin there and the pores are larger than other places on the body so absorbsion is quicker. I do have an oil diffuser so it can be inhaled through a diluted mixture of oil and water. That’s another way it can be used.”

      Which is the point I addressed.

      I wasn’t saying you in particular had the specific diagnosis of autism or depression. I was using those (to Mary) as good examples of psychiatric conditions where stress and denial of stress are common. It wasn’t meant to accuse you of those things. As Stephen noted as well, the stigma of stress and psychiatric issue in many countries can lead to denial. It is also possible it is isolated to the stress caused by the condition itself. Meaning, even if everything else in your life is fine, but you maybe had a temporary condition which brought on the nausea, the stress of not getting an answer perpetuated the real physical symptom. THus, when something helped you relieve the stress (the oil), you relieved the symptom. In other words, the oil didn’t cure anything with your GI system, it fixed the stress because of the issue, thus collapsing the loop.

  102. Eric Hall says:

    Mary & Paul – Let me address several of your points here in a new thread. Perhaps I am not completely getting your point, but I can say you are certainly not understanding mine –

    Where did I ever resort to name-calling (tree-huggers)? There are those that do claim these things will cure cancer, ebola, and all kinds of things. That’s wrong and dangerous. Simple as that. Maybe someone did name-call here, but I did not – at least not in recent comments or that I can remember.

    I did address your lice comments when you made them. You grossly overstate the science on that case, like you have in many of your other studies you posted (see below about more on that). A single study is rarely proof (also more on that and my bias below).

    Some of the studies you have posted are interesting. They are also not illegitimate. However, they are not proof. AS you have accused me of bias, I am trying to say that while I understand my bias, I always do my best to keep my bias out of my analysis. For an example in my field, I keep hoping we will find proof of gravity waves. When the results of the long-running experiment came out last year, I was very hopeful they had enough evidence to prove them to exist/be detected. But it became quickly apparent that statistically, they didn’t do so with enough confidence to state a high degree of certainty. The data is interesting and can be a guide for the next steps, but I am willing to admit that it isn’t yet proof of their existence. Same with neutrinos. I worked on a neutrino experiment as an undergrad, and I hope we can get a more precise measurement of their mass. But, the error bars still go into the negative. Thus, we still don’t quite have the whole picture on them. Scientists are working on the next iterations of neutrino detection as we speak. I’d love to say we know everything about them – that’s my bias, but I admit we don’t have the full picture.

    Regarding ginger specifically – you point out an anecdote from a hospital where all of the methods of application are ingestion. Ingestion is a far cry from rubbing a small amount on one’s skin. The studies are interesting, and taken in total could probably find a small effect on mild nausea. I couldn’t find any large meta-analysis, so I can’t say for sure as those statistics would take some time and effort. But again, that’s by ingestion. Ginger is one of those things that shows some promise, but because it does have some effect, it can have side-effects – including interfering with other meds, excessive bleeding, etc. Also, it is not recommended for people with gall stones or kidney stones, and precaution is warranted for pregnant women. So, to think that because it is “ancient” that it is safe is wrong.

    So am I biased against EOs working? I guess you could say yes. Because as a scientist, we should do everything we can to prove they don’t work, not that they do (this is very simplified, but I hope makes the point). We should do that with any scientific evidence. I am also biased that they don’t work because the evidence hasn’t progressed past small, preliminary studies. That would say to me that if there is an effect, it is small. It doesn’t mean that new evidence could change that, but right now the evidence says oils are simply alt-med, MLM, garbage.

  103. Karen s. says:

    Eric- you are putting chronic nausea in far too narrow of a box. There are MANY MANY MANY causes other than stress. You’re not a doctor, nor do you know my mental state or how truly stress free my life really is. To give a firm diagnosis of inability to cope with non existent stress is frankly a bit ignorant (no offense). Please, click this link and educate yourself a bit on chronic nausea. This is the exact problem I’ve ad with doctors, I’m sure you can see how annoying it would be and why I gave up the search for a few years. Chronic nausea is something often overlooked by medical professionals because yes, often it is stress related, but in my case its simply not. There are may tests that can be done and I haven’t been proactive or demanding enough about my own health. I was fairly passive about it and just went along with whatever minimal treatment they gave me. Now that I have something that helps, I can find the motivation in myself to get to the bottom of it instead of excepting my own fate of keeping naucious all the time.

    Seriously please click the link and learn a thing or two

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/nausea/basics/causes/sym-20050736

    • Eric Hall says:

      Since I work just down the block from Mayo Clinic, I feel obliged to note from that page:

      Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

      Also note, after the short list of common causes, a long list of uncommon causes include several psychiatric causes.

      Also note stress is not just about lifestyle. It has a much more complex definition than just not having major life problems. The act of giving up on searching for a solution to your symptoms is actually a response to stress. Thats pretty basic psychology. Sometimes, it doesn’t take much stress to cause a symptom. Perhaps some other condition is part of it, but stress can make it worse. And with many conditions, management is the approach. So reducing something which makes symptoms worse can be beneficial. I am insistent on this because a doctor doesn’t throw that out as a casual throwaway. Your doctor thought that was the next best thing – why be so afraid to try it?

  104. Karen s. says:

    “Work with your doctor for other health care diagnosis”….. Yeah duh. Pretty sure I’ve been saying that the whole time. That’s my plan.

    Anyway, this is one of those things where you’ll continue to believe you know what’s wrong with a person simply by talking to them over the internet, when you’re not a doctor…. You refuse to acknowledge ginger as being an actual benefit when trying to lessen the symptoms of nausea despite it being proven to help…. So, on that note, I’m going to bow out. I really have no time for hard headed ness. Closed minds lead a very limited life. Take care.

  105. Steve says:

    I can’t believe this conversation has taken the flight it has and worse yet that I’m replying but regardless of what you thing, believe, researched, what someone else researched, went to school for, sell or personal beliefs you have, this is the bottom line: The United States only makes 2 things, 1) Weapons – 2) drugs (pharmaceuticals). EVERYTHING else is at least in part made somewhere else. If not for these 2 globally needed, desired and traded things we’d have no economy, making anything “verifiable” you find in books and on the web favor the drug companies. At the end of the day it’s all about money – feel free to chime in with what you think proves or disproves my statements but it wont change the facts. You might notice that the UK & Asian nations (who make most everything consumers touch) have had the same government/economical system in place for the past thousands of years (as opposed to the US at a little more than just 200) and have a higher life expectancy and use FAR more homeopathic cures than pharmaceuticals than we do… just a thought, like everything else in life, follow the money

    • Steve
      Why do you think there is no money to be made in taking an easily obtained and simple product like an oil proving that it works? By simply patenting it as a drug and proving it works they can charge whatever they want for it for 11 years. To use your facile argument. Why would a companies that likes drug soo much, pass on a some low hanging fruit and easy money? I’ll tell you why… because they can’t prove it works. It is a religion of treatment. That is why you you will believe what you believe, and no matter what anyone says you will believe. Fine, but I like my medical treatments to be more than faith and wishful thinking.
      Why do you think that magic water(homeopathy)is the reason why Japanese live longer? #1 life expectancy. I would like to point out that life expectancy in the east follows a clear correlation. The more science based medicine they use the better the life expectancy. It has no correlation with homeopathy. Malaysia and China world leaders in “eastern medicine” rank higher than 50 in the world for life expectancy. While the US is ranked 34. Or that western countries like Australia rank 6th. That is far more complicated a discussion than homeopathy=longer life.

    • Eric Hall says:

      China – life expectancy about 3 years less than the US

      India – about 12 years less than the US

      Those are the 2 largest Asian countries by population. How’s that homeopathy working for them?

      • steve says:

        Eric I’m glad to see you’ve done your research I’ve looked up several different studies but the United State’ own CIA as of 2012 has China at number 2, Japan is number 3 with life expectancies both greater than 80 years, Hong Kong comes in at number 8 the life expectancy is 82 years the US meanwhile is found on that list in the 51st rank with the life expectancy of only 78 years

      • Paul says:

        Eric, now who is in the category of assumptions not based in science, besides the fact that your numbers may not be accurate ( I don’t really care), where is your “proof” that there is a correlation between people in the East using homeopathy that the life expectancy is lower?

        It is a complex issue to say the least and pretty much off the topic in order to ‘prove’ your bias. Seems even skeptics take ‘science’ loosely…

        sigh…

        • Mary fogo says:

          This subject is particularly fascinating to me. It’s incredibly difficult for those of us who have been raised in the world of western medicine to try and wrap our heads around the philosophy of eastern medicine. I’ve studied the subject extensively. I lived in Asia as an adolescent. I have and will continue to try and use both science and reason in picking the best elements from eastern and western practices. The entire thread repeatedly seems to circle back to touch on the contrasting views of these basic philosophical and cultural principals.

  106. cmc572 says:

    Interesting, because I have been using essential oils, and it has in fact eliminated a horrible nagging cough that I always get every time I get a cold or sinus infection. I also made up a little concoction in a veggie capsule yesterday, and it eliminated the hangover I otherwise would have had from indulgence in a bit too much food and drink. I am just starting with them, and I am in no way saying they are the be all and end all, however; they do work :)

  107. S C Forwoomas says:

    The ignorance of this post is terrific.

  108. jonas says:

    http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/what-does-research-say-about-essential-oils Check out this link if you really want to see the possibilities of essential oils.

    • Eric Hall says:

      That tells us nothing about the possibilities, only that it is difficult to do research. So claiming it CAN do something versus saying it needs to be researched are two very different things.

  109. Robert P. Gill MD says:

    As a clinician I am bound to give the best treatment possible to my patients. Medico-legally I would not have basis for defense in a court of law if a patient claimed side effects from the oil that they believed caused them harm that I suggested. Pharmacologically the strength, purity and dose is often not known because the oil given often has not been pharmacologically analyzed. There needs to be double blind controlled studies done to know the efficacy of these agents otherwise the argument will not be solved. Fortunately the human body is very resiliant and can tolerate most agents that it comes into contact with and often heals itself making us think that what we took made a difference. This happens with doctors all the time. This an unregulated industry and will not be regulated untill harm comes to enough people. Be careful and ask the right questions and make sure the person selling you these products explains to you the pros and cons of the product and where specifically he got this information. Thanks: RPG MD

  110. Essential oils cast calming, soothing, and pleasant effects on my mind. My anxiety-level gets lowered too.

  111. Martha Lockhart says:

    Can’t we all just get along?

  112. TONY says:

    I hate to share this because my sister in law sells them. Show me an oil that will reduce her pain when I do.

  113. Suz says:

    You so negative….and most of this is crap but anyway!

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Pointing out that health claims aren’t true isn’t negative, it’s critical thinking. If someone told you that eating too much fat and sugar is bad for you, would you call them negative? If someone told you eating a virgin’s hair would cure a broken leg and someone else told you it wouldn’t, who would you call negative? It seems really positive to me that the author is encouraging you not to waste your money and risk your health with quack medicine.

      • Paul says:

        Have we had enough of this debate already? People who use essential oils or sell them are not supposed to be making any claims about diagnosing, treating, curing or disease states. If they are, they should not be. They are not medical people or diagnosticians. Yes, debate all you will, ridicule all you will. That being said, the products can help people in supporting healthy immune systems, and other supportive functions, etc. It is important for people to have the right and ability make informed choices. And, though not virgin’s hair, look at all the over the counter weight loss products, or mouth washes which claim to kill germs, etc. Would you advocate removing them from the market?

  114. Laura McCloskey says:

    I have used the oils for many various conditions and have also recommended them to friends – they work, and, whether you believe it or not, I have even used Tea Tree Oil full strength on a skin streph infection and, again, it works. I couldn’t care less about big pharma and their double blind studies because, as far as I’m concerned, the studies are paid for by the pharma companies themselves. If they care so much and their studies are so important then how can it possibly happen – when they report ‘the next big miracle drug’ and put it onto the market, make their millions and then have to recall the drugs because of their toxic and deadly side effects.

  115. Alexandre Baumann says:

    This paper is much more disinformation as the doTerra stuff. The latter may be questionable (especially about the qualification of essential oil for the stuff used by the Egyptians). Yours is just widely false and manifests a clear laziness, despise toward the people using them and a lack of intellectual integrity. You just wanted to make your point. Even the paper of Carson and Hammer didn’t make you wonder : “Am I wrong ?”

    The fact is, studies about the properties of a lot of essential oils are numerous. All are not exploitable, mainly because the studies are hard to compare : there is a lot of variety in their composition in the EO of different plants grown in different places, in different conditions … And their composition is awfully complex.

    You can find a paper made by the World Health organization synthesizing the effects of a lot of plants in a lot of forms, including essential oils. It’s far from being perfect, but it may show to a lazy dude as you that’s a serious matter.

    As for my paper, Science and essential oils, is in his way to be published … in French. I synthesize around 80 studies for 9 common essential oils, some concerning several of them.

  116. Alexandre Baumann says:

    “There are those that do claim these things will cure cancer, ebola, and all kinds of things. That’s wrong and dangerous”

    Yep. And they are your friends, because they allow you to keep saying “that’s crap” without thinking to much and questioning your beliefs.

    However, EO might also help to fight antibiotic resistance and diminish the consumption of antidepressants, painkillers, anti-inflammatory … But that, you don’t care isn’t it ? It like nothing uh ?

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