Recently a KSL columnist wrote an article asking the question “are essential oils good or bad?” predominantly implying that they were harmful. She later wrote a follow up column to defend her position because of the “overwhelming response” the article received—much of it contesting her unsubstantiated claims that essential oils are unsafe.
This response should have been expected by a columnist writing about essential oils in Utah given the fact that the essential oil industry thrives in Utah, with no fewer than four essential oils companies currently in operation along the Wasatch Front.
The fact is essential oils have thousands of studies and centuries of use that support their effectiveness and safety, when using pure, authentic oils.
Essential oils are aromatic compounds distilled or extracted from plant materials. They are extremely powerful and concentrated. Indeed, essentials oils can be 100 to 10,000 times more potent than herbs.
Historical records and archaeological research suggest that the Egyptians were some of the first people to use essential oils, both in ritual and religious ceremonies and as a treatment for a variety of illnesses. The Greeks and Romans also utilized essential oils to promote health and well-being. In addition, the Bible contains a number of references to essential oils.
Today, the use of essential oils is rapidly expanding as scientists and health professionals research and validate the beneficial effects of essential oils.
Those who put their faith in natural remedies—like essential oils—are often accused of putting blinders on and being unwilling to look at Western alternatives—drugs and surgeries. However, the truth is more people are blind to natural remedies than Western medicine in the United States, refusing to even consider a natural alternative. Much of this hesitancy arises from a lack of understanding.
Thousands of scientific studies support the effectiveness of essential oils. The methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) battle, which is consistently making headline news as Western medicine continues to fail to produce an adequate response, is a prime example of this. This examiner previously reported that a brief investigation of only nine essential oils produced 30 studies that validate these nine essential oils as potent solutions to the war on MRSA.
For additional proof surrounding the effectiveness of essential oils you can search the PubMed database of the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, where you will find a minimum of 10,000 scientific studies about essential oils, including research demonstrating the value of essential oils for a range of health conditions.
As far as the safety of essential oils, thousands of years of use attest to the fact that they are very safe when used correctly, with a few exceptions. For example, some oils—clove, oregano, thyme, peppermint and cinnamon—can be irritating to the skin and may require dilution with a vegetable oil. Other essential oils—sage, thuja, hyssop—should not be consumed internally because they are neurotoxins.
While limited clinical data exists reviewing the safety of essential oils; thousands of years of practical application verify that they are safe when used wisely. Moreover, many essential oils have been classified as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration, meaning they are safe as food additives.
In his book Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils chemist Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, says “While not impossible, it is extremely unlikely that a person would cause real injury through the use of essential oils.”
Knowledge is power and the facts about essential oils are readily available for those with an open mind and the willingness to do their own research.