Essential Oil Science
I get it, there are a million and one blog posts, and youtube videos, and everything else trying to give you information about essential oils. As a scientist, If ound ti difficult to find REAL research, that backed these peoples claims. The legitimate information I did find, wasn't exactly easy to find, nor was it top in google searches.
My goal here is to provide concrete information for you, rooted in science, so that you can feel comfortable in your own understanding of what essential oils actually are.
Essential oils are nothing new, people have been using plants for years to assist our bodies in natural healing processes.
But.. what exactly is an essential oil? I believe that in order to effectively understand all the jargon that is out there about oils, we need to dive into what they actually are, molecularly speaking. Plant biology, and more specifically here, plant chemistry, is where our healing oils come from. Plants contain an arsenal of chemical weapons, which are multifaceted, and used for functions such as defense, photosynthesis, and attraction of pollinators. These chemicals can be specific to one plant species, or found in a wide variety of plants.
For example, terpenes are found in all plants, but in different quantities, and in different forms. Alkaloids are plant specific, with over 10,000 having been analyzed, and duplicated for use in pharmaceuticals. Defensive phenolic compounds include flavonoids, and tannins. Some of these chemicals are emitted to protect against heat damage, or during herbivore attacks, and to attract pollinators for reproductive benefits.
Here are some examples of chemical constituents, specific to essential oils:
Carvacrol is found in high doses in the leaves of the Origanum vulgar (oregano).
Linalool Chemical Structure
Linalool is a main chemical constituent of lavandula anguvstifolia (lavender), known for its anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The chemical compounds in Oregano give it beneficial properties, including antifungal, and antibacterial properties
The chemical compounds in Lavender give it beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties
These chemicals are what provide unparalleled benefits in our bodies, and what synthetics are created to mimic. These organic compounds are able to penetrate through cell membranes, getting to the root cause of our issues, instead of just treating symptoms.
When distilled properly, essential oils are extremely potent! They are 50-70 times more powerful than herbs!
For example, it takes about 8,000 roses, or 42 pounds of petals, to create 5 milliliters of rose oil! It takes about 75 lemons, to create a 15ml bottle of lemon oil. This translates into substantial benefits for the user. Many people have heard the fact that one drop of peppermint oil, is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea. My favorite example, is how powerful of an antioxidant these oils are. On the antioxidant scale, blueberries rate at about a 2,400, but clove measures in at 1,078,000. That is no typo. Over one million! This mean that you would need to eat 250 quarts of blueberries, to get the same benefit, as ONE OUNCE of clove essential oil.
These facts are also why it is extremely important to know where your oils come from.
Modern science, combined with traditional farming practices, can ensure that essential oils are unadulterated, and contain the highest amount of chemical compounds necessary, to provide a therapeutic benefit. However, the FDA does not regulate the labeling on these types of products. So even though they say, 100% pure, all natural, or therapeutic grade, the companies do not have to back up these claims. Unfortunately, this leads to families thinking they have adverse reactions to essential oils, or they think that oils don’t work for them, but it’s just the poor quality of the oils.
Doterra set a new standard for purity, in response to the unregulated standards that limit usage and benefits. Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, (CPTG), means that plants are harvested in their natural habitat, with traditional farming techniques. Westernizing these farming practices, would lead to an inferior product.
Each bottle is beyond organic, verified pure, free of filler, pesticides, herbicides, and any foreign contaminants. You can go to www.sourcetoyou.com, and type in the serial number on the bottom of your bottle, and get your test results. This is something no other company offers.
I could discuss this topic in LENGTH! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions regarding oil science.
If you are interested in learning more about what essential oils can do for you, please feel free to join my Facebook community here.
This is an amazing video that shows the science behind Vetiver plants. It also demonstrates the difference of doterra. Please note, other companies were sourcing vetiver, before doterra came along.