What Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know About An Ancient Oil Invented By Four Robbers (And 10 Modern Ways To Use It).

Affiliate Disclosure

Articles, Biohacking

Check out this clip from a new film about essential oils…

The film, called “Ancient Secrets of Essential Oils“, delves into the world of essential oils and the fascinating history of where they come from, from ancient Egypt to the times of Christ to how they were used during the World Wars and how their resurgence is changing the way people view healthcare.

You learn how peppermint oil can be used to increase tolerance to lactic acid, to how frankincense can destroy cancer cells to why essential oils can never be classified as a drug by the FDA to why big pharma is definitely not a fan of these natural oils and much more.

As a matter of fact, even before this film came out, I myself have become a bit of an essential oil freak. Each day, without fail, I use at least three different essential oils (usually relaxing lavender, rose or bergamot in my bedroom and awakening peppermint, pine or rosemary in my office) and I always (and I mean always) have one particular “blend” of essentials oil in my travel bag which I’ll talk about later in this article.

When it comes to essential oils, I consider Dr. Sarah LoBisco – a naturopathic medical practitioner certified in functional medicine – to be my go-to source for all things essential oil related. When she was on my podcast episode “Everything You Need To Know About Essential Oils For Fat Loss, Performance, Smart Drugs, Scar Healing, Detoxing And More” she discussed the scientific principles and research behind the anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that specific essential oils have, and how these oils can be used to treat various conditions such as inflammation and immune system disorders, and also improve physical and cognitive performance.

Dr. Sarah knows more about how to intelligently use essential oils than any other person I know. And because of this ability to tap into natural plant-based extracts, she’s able to pull off healing for patients, huge improvements in immune function, and even a competitive edge in athletes without turning to big pharma drugs.

In her practice, she uses specific essential oil blends to balance the body and mind of all her clients and patients. From Sarah’s point of view, every person (extreme athlete to soccer mom to CEO) who wants to dial-in focus, amp the mind up for competitive edge, or even experience the crazy phenomenon that happens with something as simple as sniffing peppermint oil should be using essential oils as part of their daily routine.

Get The Low Carb Athlete - 100% Free!Eliminate fatigue and unlock the secrets of low-carb success. Sign up now for instant access to the book!

During our last conversation, Dr. Sarah explained to me 10 ways I could practically use one specific essential oils blends and gave me the entire how-to guide on everything related to this oil – from the science (and what the heck essential oils are), to the ancient history of this one particular oil, to why I should always keep it around the house, in my car and travel with to keep me from being susceptible to any viruses, bugs, or funky airport flus – whether used orally, topically or diffused into the air.

In this article, you’re going to learn exactly what Dr. Sarah has to say on the matter. Enjoy, leave your questions, comments and feedback in the comments section below and either Dr. Sarah or I will reply. If you click here, you can take a look at the actual brand and type of essential oils I use every day (there are many good brands out there, but I use one called “Young Living”).

———————–

What Are Essential Oils?

What if you were a science-geek aspiring to become a medical practitioner or pharmacist and got side-tracked by what you initially thought was “airy-fairy snack oil?” Not soon after, you found yourself in naturopathic medical school and becoming certified in functional medicine. You’d need to swallow a little bit of humble pie, right? Welcome to my world.

I started using essential oils over fifteen years ago. Even with my skepticism, these volatile constituents surprisingly produced results. I was impressed, I waived my acceptance letters into the conventional healthcare world and headed to the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine. I wanted to learn the science beyond natural medicine while still embracing the strengths of mainstream medicine. In other words, I wanted to feed my brain all there was to know about the pharmacology and phytochemistry of herbal plants as therapeutic agents.

Since graduating, essential oils have been one of my most powerful health tools in my practice to balance the body, mind, and spirit. They also offer a competitive edge in athletes, not just in their ability to enhance focus and performance, but because they can keep someone in peak health.

Ben and I have been working together with essential oils for a few years. He’s asked me to share about one of our favorite essential oils blends to demonstrate the power and versatility that can be found in one 15ml bottle. So, let’s get to it…

After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of:

  • The science of essential oils
  • Their ancient history- turned modern vindication
  • 10 powerful ways one essential oils blend can become your best biohacking tool

A little disclaimer before I get started. The FDA has not smiled about correlating specific brands to independent research on individual oils. To keep the Feds happy, this overview will describe a formulation Ben and I use based on ancient tradition, references found in peer-reviewed journal, and my clinical experience.

——————————-

The Science: Introduction to Essential Oils and Their Biochemistry

So what exactly are essential oils?

Essential oils are volatile secondary plant metabolites extracted from aromatic plant material by steam distillation or mechanical expression.1-10 Oils which are produced with the use of chemical solvents are not considered true essential oils due to the resulting alteration of chemical constituents from the solvent residues.1,10

These powerful compounds are produced by plants in order to provide defense from infestations, modulate immune function, and to stimulate various molecular pathways need for thriving.1-10 Their constituents can interact with cellular pathways to alter biochemical responses and optimize physiological function.1-14 Essential oils have been demonstrated to: inhibit microbe growth,3-5, 8-10 act as antioxidants,4-5, 8,10,13 support hormones,8,10 and calm inflammation. 2-6, 8,10,14

These plant substances not only exert modulation of molecular pathways and cellular receptor interaction,1-14 but also provide a profound impact on our bodies and mind through their aromatic qualities alone.15-24 For example, it has been demonstrated that odor can act as a stimulus producing changes in physiology independent of, and in connection to, psychological and memory-based associations of the smell.15-18, 21-25 These effects include modulation of skin conduction, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and regional cerebral blood flow.20-24 Furthermore, the psychological and memory-enhanced associations with odor can impact mood, stress, and emotional state.15-25

Essential oils are absorbed easily into our system through skin application, inhalation, or ingestion and excreted quickly, mostly through the kidneys.8,10,26-29 They have a low toxicity profile, when used in their proper, pure form.8,10

Finally, let’s delive into a bit of essential oils biochemistry 101, shall we? As Ben would say, “get your propeller hats on.” Here goes…

The major chemical constituents of essential oils include terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols, and oxides. 2,10,14 These secondary metabolites can be classified on the basis of their structure (terpenes, terpenoids, phenylpropenes, or degradation products), solubility, or synthesis. One common way to group the volatile components is to organize them as either terpenoids or phenylpropanoids, or alternatively, into hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds. 10

Different plants exhibit varying amounts of each of these compounds providing a unique fragrance and physical signature of each species. Furthermore, the secondary metabolites produced within each species will vary based on raw materials, harvesting methods, location and climate, manufacturing, and distillation techniques.1,10,30-32 (I did a pretty comprehensive review of standardization and quality in previous blogs if you want to learn more details.)

Alrighty, now that your propeller hats are all warmed up as far as the science of essential oils, let’s get to the history of essential oils in general and regarding the formulation of this little known ancient remedy.

 —————————–

History of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils

Let’s start at the beginning…

The history of the use of aromatics dates back thousands of years. A search through the literature, desk references, and the internet details various applications of the use of volatile plant medicines across cultures all throughout ancient times. The general consensus of the birth of aromatherapy is estimated to be between 6,000-3,500 years ago. According to some of the more cited websites, references, and authorities, essential oils used for various treatments has been recorded in early civilizations of Mesopotamia, China, India, Persia and ancient Egypt.10, 30-45 China may have been the first to use odorants for well-being.33 I have found several references stating their applications are found in translations of The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine.35-37 Still, other texts and blogs believe that usage began with Egypt civilizations.10,41,43

The modern technological advances that allow us to enjoy the more concentrated and precise distillation of essential oil’s medicinal and therapeutic constituents obviously did not exist in these times; however elemental techniques for isolating the fragrant and volatile components were employed. For instance, ancient Egypt is credited for extracting oils by infusion using rudimentary distillation techniques. Others believe distillation originates within Persia and India’s earliest history. Later on the Greeks, Romans, and Islamic extraction and distillation techniques refined crude methods.10,3310, 30-42 The “Smell Report” from the Social Issues Research Centre states:

The process by which a flower’s scent is extracted and preserved using alcohol distillation is believed to have been discovered by Avicenna, the 11th century Arabian alchemist and physician, who stumbled on it while trying to isolate for Islam the soul of its holy rose. Before this, perfumes consisted only of thick resins and gums and gooey unguents.37

Perhaps the most quoted use of ancient times is during the Roman Empire within the New Testament. Hundreds of citations exist in the Holy Text of frankincense, cedarwood, hyssop, fir, and spikenard to heal physical ailments and enhance spiritual communion. The gifts to the Christ Child of gold, frankincense, and myrrh highlight the prized value of fragrance at the time.38-40

During the Renaissance period, Europeans continued the task.30-45 Recently, science has been able to study and document the composition of natural plants with the resurgence of modern usage dating to 1910 by Dr. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist. He discovered lavender’s skin-regenerating properties when his severely-burned arm healed without a scar after he immersed it in a pure lavender oil, thinking it was water. As a result of his lab discovery, lavender is still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia for its healing properties in the skin.44-45

Now, onto the story beyond this specific Thieves blend

——————————-

It Starts with Ancient Wisdom: The Story Behind Thieves

“Four thieves” remedy is based on an ancient herbal formulation originating somewhere-in Europe with time spanning from 1413-1722. Due to its touted protective benefits, herbalists have passed along its recipe for hundreds of years.46-49

The legend states that a combination of various herbs, most often cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, clove, and lemon as protecting four robbers from contracting the plague in France while rummaging through the houses of the infected sufferers. Their freedom was won by revealing to the King that the herbal vinegar, which they drank and sprinkled on themselves every two hours, had been their saving grace.46,49

There have been several variations of this formulation passed down through the years. Thomas Jefferson was said to have fancied a version that consisted of vinegar spiked with lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, rue, mint, garlic to keep his Presidential body infection free.47

The Scientific American Encyclopedia of Formulas: partly based upon the 28th ed. of Scientific American cyclopedia of receipts, notes and queries cites the formula of this herbal preparation as follows:

  • 4 oz dried rosemary tops
  • 4 oz dried sage
  • 2 oz dried lavender
  • 5 oz fresh rue
  • 1 oz camphor dissolved in vinegar
  • ¼ oz sliced garlic
  • 1 dr bruised cloves
  • 1 gallon strongly distilled wine vinegar

“Digest for 7 or 8 days, with occasional agitation: pour off liquor: press out the remainder, and filter the mixed liquids.”48

As stated in the Smell Report, the value of a wide range of aromatics for keeping the body healthy was widely utilized:

The plague was not the only malady to be treated with fragrances. In the 17th, 18th and even into the 19th century, perfumes were widely used as remedies for almost any physical or mental disorder – including hysteria, amenorrhea, melancholia, hypochondria, headaches and the common cold-37

I don’t know about you, but I like the ease of one bottle, pre-blended, and easily packed for on-the-go. Furthermore, I love the science beyond the individual essential oils and the synergism.

So, now, it’s time for the main event…the unveiling of the power of a blend of some of the most common aromatics found in “Four Thieves Vinegar.”

——————————

10 Modern Day Applications of Ancient Wisdom

  1. Diffusing- Cleaning the Air of Germs and Molds

An experiment was done to see if the aerosol use of essential oils could alleviate some of the microbial causes of sick-building syndrome. The researchers used the actual proprietary blend that Ben and I use of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary. The method employed for measurement was deposition sampling. It was found that this blend did exhibit inhibition of certain microbes at various percentages. Reductions in critters initially increased with time of diffusion, though after certain time frames for specific bugs, the decreased level remained constant. The abstract states:

Thieves, a commercial blend of five essential oils, was tested for its antibacterial activity against Micrococcus luteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus bioaerosols. An aerosol suspension of each bacterial culture was sprayed into a 0.4 m3 enclosed fume hood previously sterilized by ultraviolet light. Thieves essential oil blend was then diffused into the hood for a given time. Depositional sampling results showed a significant reduction (P<0.0001) in the aerosol-borne bacterial load after diffusion of the oil blend. Controls showed no inhibitory effect of oil that may have settled on the exposed plate surfaces during bacterial depositional sampling. Inhibition levels appear to be organism specific. There was an 82% reduction in M. luteus bioaerosol, a 96% reduction in the P. aeruginosa bioaerosol, and a 44% reduction in the S. aureus bioaerosol following 10 min of exposure. Results for the time exposure threshold of diffused oil showed that after only six min a 90% reduction in M. luteus viability occurred. Diffusion of the oil blend, Thieves, can significantly reduce the number of aerosol-borne bacteria and may have application in treating air for enclosed environments and preventing transmission of aerosol-borne bacterial pathogens.50

Here’s a link to the full study that explains the three parts of the experiment, the results, and the conclusion.50This is a link to explain deposition sampling, which as mentioned, was used to measure results.51

A 2005 field study was with Dr. Close also found diffusing this same blend of essential oils decreased “black mold.”52  (If you’re interested in learning how essential oils can affect mold exposure, I wrote a blog about it here with scientific references.)

Though not found in this Thieves blend essential oil, another study with thyme oil demonstrated its use against moulds formation in damp dwellings. The authors concluded:

The thyme essential oil possesses a wide range spectrum of fungicidal activity. The vaporous phase of the oil exhibited long-lasting suppressive activity on moulds from damp dwellings.53

Bottom line: This blend can help to inhibit microbes in your surrounding environment.

  1. Respiratory Support

You’ve got to get oxygen to perform, right?

A key ingredient in Thieves, Eucalyptus Oil (EO), is well known for its respiratory support via inhalation or oral route. A review article in Alternative Medicine Review states:

Application by either vapor inhalation or oral route provides benefit for both purulent and non-purulent respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There is a long history of folk usage with a good safety record. More recently, the biochemical details behind these effects have been clarified. Although other plant oils may be more microbiologically active, the safety of moderate doses of EO and its broad-spectrum antimicrobial action make it an attractive alternative to pharmaceuticals. 54

In another study, another species of eucalyptus, eucalyptus globulus was tested for cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity against common pathogens linked to respiratory infections. The study demonstrated that that the following bacteria were most susceptible to EO: H. influenza, parinfluenzae, and S. maltophila followed by S. puneumonia. Eucalyptus globulus also had a mild inhibitory activity against a strain of the mumps virus. Researchers used clinical specimens of patients with upper respiratory infections to determine these results:

The activity of Eucalyptus globulus essential oil was determined for 120 isolates of Streptococcus pyogenes, 20 isolates of S. pneumoniae, 40 isolates of S. agalactiae, 20 isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, 40 isolates of Haemophilus influenzae, 30 isolates of H. parainfluenzae, 10 isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae, 10 isolates of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and two viruses, a strain of adenovirus and a strain of mumps virus, all obtained from clinical specimens of patients with respiratory tract infections. The cytotoxicity was evaluated on VERO cells by the MTT test. The antibacterial activity was evaluated by the Kirby Bauer paper method, minimum inhibitory concentration, and minimum bactericidal concentration. H. influenzae, parainfluenzae, and S. maltophilia were the most susceptible, followed by S. pneumoniae. The antiviral activity, assessed by means of virus yield experiments titered by the end-point dilution method for adenovirus, and by plaque reduction assay for mumps virus, disclosed only a mild activity on mumps virus.55

1,8-cineole, a monoterpene found in EO species56 is known for supporting the respiratory tract. This recent abstract reported on its potential use in those with respiratory issues beyond even killing bugs- through inhibiting inflammation and due to its antioxidant properties:

1,8-cineole is a natural monoterpene, also known as eucalyptol. It is a major compound of many plant essential oils, mainly extracted from Eucalyptus globulus oil. As an isolated compound, 1,8-cineole is known for its mucolytic and spasmolytic action on the respiratory tract, with proven clinical efficacy. 1,8-cineole has also shown therapeutic benefits in inflammatory airway diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This clinical evidence refers to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant mode of action, which has been proven in numerous pre-clinical studies. In vitro studies found strong evidence that 1,8-cineole controls inflammatory processes and mediator production of infection- or inflammation-induced mucus hypersecretion by its action as anti-inflammatory modifier rather than a simple mucolytic agent. The aim of this review is to present these preclinical studies performed with the pure monoterpene, and to summarize the current knowledge on the mode of action of 1,8-cineole. The actual understanding of the pure 1,8-cineole compared to mixtures of natural volatile oils containing 1,8-cineole as a major compound and to mixtures of natural terpenes, known as essential oils, will be discussed. Based on the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, recent clinical trials with 1,8-cineole have shown first evidence for the beneficial use of 1,8-cineole as long-term therapy in the prevention of COPD-exacerbations and to improve asthma control.57

Cinnamon bark oil, has also been shown to inhibit gram positive and gram negative bacteria associated with various infections58-62 as well “fungitoxic” to various fungi related to respiratory tract mycoses. The abstract on cinnamon reads:

 Cinnamic aldehyde has been identified as the active fungitoxic constituent of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) bark oil. The fungitoxic properties of the vapours of the oil/active constituent against fungi involved in respiratory tract mycoses, i.e., Aspergillus niger, A. fumigatus, A. nidulans A. flavus, Candida albicans, C. tropicalis, C. pseudotropicalis, and Histoplasma capsulatum, were determined in vitro as minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), minimum lethal concentration (MLC), inoculum density sustained, and exposure duration for fungicidal action at MIC and higher doses, as well as effect of incubation temperatures on fungitoxicity. It is concluded that these inhalable vapours appear to approach the ideal chemotherapy for respiratory tract mycoses.59

Bottom line: This blend contains single oils that support the respiratory system and inhibit unwanted bugs in your own body.

3 and 4. Food Spoilage and Cooking

No one likes it when the power goes out for many reasons. One is the stress that their recent grocery shop trip with its good packed tightly in the warming fridge could become a financial wash. Essential oils, including clove and cinnamon, have been tested for and used to prevent common food spoilage of various pathogens.63-66 The Food and Drug Administration has an exhaustive list of essential oils listed generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for ingestion here. 67 Essential oils can be used in cooking as flavorings with more powerful benefits than herbs due to their concentration.

Still make sure you are using essential oil that safe for ingestion. Many reports of toxicity are due to improper use, overdose, media hype, and nontherapeutic or toxic oils. If the bottle says “do not ingest,” do not ingest. that should not be ingested. Therefore, be sure to be an educated consumer and remember that one drop will do ya.’

Bottom line: A drop of Thieves blend on questionable food or taken internally (with a teaspoon of coconut oil) may help prevent symptoms from contaminated foods. It can also be a great addition to a winter recipe of your favorite warm drink. (Tastes like spicy cinnamon)

  1. Stopping Unwanted Microbes and Superbugs

Probably one of the most famous uses, besides their aromatic applications, are essential oils ability to work against microbes. Essential oils antimicrobial effects are vast.68-74 The Journal of Biological Chemistry explain one mechanism of the toxicity of cyclic hydrocarbons such as aromatics, terpenes, and alicyclics on bugs. The authors report, “The impairment of microbial activity by the cyclic hydrocarbons most likely results from hydrophobic interaction with the membrane, which affects the functioning of the membrane and membrane-embedded proteins.”68

It has been stated that the vast constituents and resultant actions found within one oil, and the synergism of blends, may be key components to why they are effective against multiple “resistant” microorganisms.77-82 In fact, some believe they have the potential to be a welcome alternative to medications which have potential toxic side effects on patients.

In simple terms, essential oils may be able outsmart “resistant” organisms with more than one mechanism of action. For instance, several studies have demonstrated oregano’s potential to prevent resistance by inhibiting biofilms.

For example, one study tested the antimicrobial activity of the essential oils from clove (Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. et Perry) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) alone and in combination. The authors reported the results as follows:

Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) against three Gram-positive bacteria, three Gram-negative bacteria and two fungi were determined for the essential oils and their mixtures. Furthermore, time-kill dynamic processes of clove and rosemary essential oils against Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans were tested. Both essential oils possessed significant antimicrobial effects against all microorganisms tested. The MICs of clove oil ranged from 0.062% to 0.500% (v/v), while the MICs of rosemary oil ranged from 0.125% to 1.000% (v/v). The antimicrobial activity of combinations of the two essential oils indicated their additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects against individual microorganism tests. The time-kill curves of clove and rosemary essential oils towards three strains showed clearly bactericidal and fungicidal processes of (1)/(2) x MIC, MIC, MBC and 2 x MIC.83

An another in vitro study that tested the anti-bacterial activity of twenty-one selected essential oils against six bacterial species (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Bacillus subtilis, and Staphylococcus aureus), the authors found that 19 of the oils showed antibacterial activity against one or more strains of the microbes tested. They reported:

Cinnamon, clove, geranium, lemon, lime, orange and rosemary oils exhibited significant inhibitory effect. Cinnamon oil showed promising inhibitory activity even at low concentration, whereas aniseed, eucalyptus and camphor oils were least active against the tested bacteria. In general, B. subtilis was the most susceptible. On the other hand, K. pneumoniae exhibited low degree of sensitivity.84

There are a few caveats to this study. The oils were deemed “pure” but methods weren’t given. Furthermore, the authors reported only analyzing cinnamon oil with the GC/MS analysis. Interesting, right? When the quality was verified, that essential oil was deemed one of the most powerful. (Just sayin.’)

Some essential oils may also have an additive effect with certain antibiotics. An in vitro study using Cinnamon and lemon explored their antimicrobial activity against Acinetobacter, which has been linked to serious infections and antimicrobial resistance. The authors found:

Results of combining antibiotics and essential oils had shown us a synergistic effect with both essential oils/amikacin combinations. An additive effect was observed with the combinations of both essential oils and gentamicin. The results of this study suggest that essential oil of C. limon and C. zeylanicum may suppress the growth of Acinetobacter species and could be a source of metabolites with antibacterial modifying activity.85

Bottom Line: Essential oils in this blend are potent microbe inhibitors for a variety of critters. They may also have a synergistic effect when used with other immune support measures. Still, be smart and know there are potential oil-medication interactions.

  1. Antioxidant

Several studies have demonstrated essential oils ability to act as antioxidants. 4-5, 8,10,13,86 Importantly, these secondary metabolites act to stimulate our own endogenous antioxidants. One in vivo study with rats explored how rosemary essential oil (REO) protected their livers from oxidative damage and reported:

In summary, the present results demonstrate that administration of REO, exhibiting free radical scavenging activity determined by DPPH assay, exerts beneficial effects on preventing CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in rats by limiting the extent of lipid peroxidation and hence cell membranes injuries. Considering the significant impact on activities of examined antioxidant enzymes, it is clear that REO mediates its hepatoprotective effects not only through scavenging of harmful free radicals, but also through activation of physiological defense mechanisms. It should be emphasized that there have been considerable variations in the chemical composition of essential oils obtained from rosemary, and for this reason, the use of REO in preventing and/or treatment of various liver diseases requires the identification of active ingredients and further investigations on their mechanisms of action.86

Here’s a blog I wrote on some studies with the cognitive benefits of antioxidant protection using lavender and rosemary.

Bottom Line: Essential oils can modulate oxidative stress, a big problem with excess exercise. This can be through modulating our own production of antioxidants as well as supplying secondary metabolites that protect cells from injury.

  1. Oral Health

One of the most famous oils for dental health is clove.87-88 I have actually experienced personally an application of straight clove or Thieves oil for preventing cavities. Interestingly, one in vitro study showed clove may in fact prevent decalcification caused by apple juice.88

You can read more about essential oils for applications in dental health here and how they can be used with oil pulling here.

Bottom Line: Due to the downstream and harmful systemic effects of an unbalanced oral microbiome, I instruct most of my clients to put a drop of Thieves oil on their toothbrush a few times a week.

  1. Digestion

This article gives a comprehensive overview of essential oils for digestion. A 2012 review article provided support that essential oils can work in synergism with probiotics to have “complementary antimicrobial effects with practically no side effects.”89

Bottom Line: The oils in the Thieves blend have been shown in many studies to prevent microbial infections of the gut and there is evidence that disturbance of the microbiome is unlikely due to their immune modulating effects.

  1. Discomfort

In a systematic review of essential oils, the authors analyzed ten common essential oils were for their actions, based on their constituents and the whole oils. The following oils were reported by the authors to modulate pain that are found in Thieves:

  • Eucalyptus- regulation of the nervous system relating to neuralgia, headache, and debility, treatment for joint and muscle pains (rheumatoid arthritis), and for muscle and joint pains and aches90-91
  • Lemon- may help with labor pain, nausea, vomiting, and ulcers90-92
  • Rosemary- soothes menstrual cramps, contains the anti-inflammatory constituent 1-8 cineole

In regards to direct pain management, the authors listed the following oils:

  • Eucalyptus smithii (gully gum)
  • Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
  • Matricaria recutita (German chamomile)
  • Leptospermum scoparium (manuka)
  • Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram)
  • Pinus mugo pumilio (dwarf pine)
  • Rosmarinus officinalis camphor (rosemary)
  • Zingiber officinale (ginger)90 

Bottom line: Well, one to two drops of Thieves applied with a carrier oil on the bottom of your feet or on location of discomfort could produce a cooling, comforting relief.

  1. The Aroma- More Than a Smell

Besides all the powerful benefits above based on essential oils composition, their aroma alone can combine to produce powerful emotional and physiological effects. You can read more about this here.

—————————-

Conclusion

Phew, see why this blend, and essential oils in general, are the most underused and ancient biohack around? To get the benefits of this essential oil, you can apply one drop to the bottom of your feet daily with a carrier oil or take a drop internally if you feel the sniffles coming on. The possibilities are endless.

To learn more about applications and uses of essential oils, listen to the podcast Ben and I did a few years back. You can also access my reviews of essential oils single, the science, and clinical uses of these powerful secondary metabolites on my Essential Oils Database here.

Here’s the link to order the Thieves blend Ben and I use.

Happy oiling!

————————

Summary From Ben

Big pharma tends to patent chemicals and turn them into expensive drugs.

As you’ve just learned, essential oils – particularly Thieves – can achieve the same effects, but are natural derivates of plants that can’t be patented. So they get underplayed by modern medicine, and fly under the radar.

But if you open my bathroom cabinet (or the kitchen and bathroom cabinets of some of the smartest physicians, healers and athletes I know), the shelves are not lined with drugs and prescriptions. They’re lined with herbs, natural supplements and – you guessed it – essential oils.

To learn more about the applications and uses of essential oils, listen to this podcast I recorded with Dr. Sarah. You can also access her reviews of essential oils, the science, and clinical uses of these powerful secondary metabolites on her Essential Oils Database by clicking here.

Finally, because you are now a relative master of all things essential oils, start using them. Grab a few and play around. On this page, you can find the top oils that I personally use and recommend. Unlike many other “science-y” wellness tools or biohacks, essential oils are easy to apply to your routine and are relatively inexpensive.

I recommend you start by getting your hands on a few bottles of Four Thieves. Click here to get the Young Living Thieves blend that I personally use, and stash a few bottles around the house, in the car, and in your travel bag. You can use Thieves orally (especially when diluted with coconut oil), use it topically, or just diffuse in your house in whichever room you want. If you were to start with just one oil, Thieves would be the one I’d recommend.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Sarah or me about any of these essential oil tips and tricks? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

—————————-

References

  1. PDQ Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (PDQ®). PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]: Health Professional Version. April 21, 2016. Created October 24, 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0032645/
  2. Wang, D. Secondary Metabolites from Plants. Department of Forestry, NCHU. Available at: http://web.nchu.edu.tw/pweb/users/taiwanfir/lesson/1146.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2016.
  3. Iason, G. Symposium on ‘Plants as animal foods: a case of catch 22?’: Antimicrobial properties of plant secondary metabolites. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2004; 63: 621–629.
  4. Korkina L, Kostyuk V, De Luca C, Pastore S. Plant phenylpropanoids as emerging anti-inflammatory agents. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011; 11(10):823-35.
  5. Demain AL, Fang A. The natural functions of secondary metabolites. Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2000;69:1-39
  6. List of constituents: Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2011;163(7):1344-1364. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x.
  7. Figueired AC, Barroso JG, Pedro LG, J. C. Scheffer J. Factors affecting secondary metabolite production in plants: volatile components and essential oils. Flavour Fragr. J. 2008; 23: 213–226.
  8. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Sham S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. August 2015; 5(8): 601-611. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033.
  9. Nazzaro F, Fratianni, F, De Martino L, Coppola R, De Feo V. Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2013; 6:1451-1474. doi:10.3390/ph6121451
  10. Djilani, A & Dicko, A. The Therapeutic Benefits of Essential Oils, Nutrition, Well- Being and Health. Dr. Jaouad Bouayed ed. 2012: 157. Chapter 7 available at: http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs-wm/29979.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2016.
  11. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S.Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87. doi: 10.1097/YIC.0b013e32833b3242.
  12. Conrad P, Adams C. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(3):164-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jun 27.
  13. Hancianu M, Gionca O, Mihasan M, Hritcu L. Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats. Phytomedicine. March 2013, 20(5): 446–452.
  14. Siddiqui Z. Boswellia Serrata, A Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011 May-Jun; 73(3): 255–261. doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.93507
  15. Yirka B. Initial research into ‘Proust Phenomenon’ reveals link between memories and smells. Medical Xpress website. January 30, 2012. Available at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-01-proust-phenomenon-reveals-link-memories.html. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  16. Toffoloa MBJ, Smeetsa MAM, van den Houta A. Proust revisited: Odours as triggers of aversive memories [abstract]. Cognition & Emotion [online]. 2012; 26(1): 86-92. Available at: DOI:10.1080/02699931.2011.555475. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  17. Matsunaga M, Isowa T, Yamakawa K, Kawanishi Y, Tsuboi H, Kaneko H, et al. Psychological and physiological responses to odor-evoked autobiographic memory. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(6):774-80. Available at: http://www.rediviva.sav.sk/53i3/114.pdf
  18. Smith SM, Vale WW. The role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in neuroendocrine responses to stress. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. 2006;8(4):383-395.
  19. Berretta S. Cortico-amygdala circuits: role in the conditioned stress response [abstract]. Stress [online]. 2005 Dec;8(4):221-32. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16423711. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  20. Shin LM, Liberzon I. The Neurocircuitry of Fear, Stress, and Anxiety Disorders. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010;35(1):169-191. doi:10.1038/npp.2009.83.
  21. Matsunaga M, Isowa T, Yamakawa K, Kawanishi Y, Tsuboi H, Kaneko H, et al. Psychological and physiological responses to odor-evoked autobiographic memory. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011;32(6):774-80. Available at: http://www.rediviva.sav.sk/53i3/114.pdf
  22. Herz RS, Cupchik GC. An experimental characterization of odor-evoked memories in humans. Chem Senses. 1992;17:519-528.
  23. Masaoka Y, Sugiyama H, Katayama A, Kashiwagi M, Homma I. Slow breathing and emotions associated with odor-induced autobiographical memories. Chem Senses. 2012 May;37(4):379-88. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr120.
  24. Kadohisa M. Effects of odor on emotion, with implications. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 2013;7:66. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2013.00066. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnsys.2013.00066/full
  25. Vermetten E, Schmahl C, Southwick SM, Bremner JD. A Positron Tomographic Emission Study of Olfactory Induced Emotional Recall in Veterans with and without Combat-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Psychopharmacology bulletin. 2007;40(1):8-30.
  26. Miller, T. Dermal Absorption of Essential Oils. NDNR. June 2015.
  27. Jager W, Buchbauer G, Jirovetz L, Fritzer M. Percutaneous absorption of lavender oil from a massage oil. J Soc Cosmet Chem. 1992;43(1):49-54.
  28. Cal, K. Skin penetration of terpenes from essential oils and topical vehicles. Planta Med. 2006 Mar;72(4):311-6.
  29. Abdullah D, Ping QN, Liu GJ. Enhancing effect of essential oils on the penetration of 5-fluorouracil through rat skin.Yao Xue Xue Bao. 1996;31(3):214-21.
  30. Essential Science Publishing (compilation). Essential Oils Desk Reference 4th ed. USA: Essential Science Publishing; 2007.
  31. Young G. Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide 2nd ed. Canandaigua, NY: Life Sciences Press; April 1, 2003.
  32. Balz, R. The Healing Power of Essential Oils. 1st ed. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Light Productions; 1996
  33. Aroma Web. History of Aromatherapy. http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/history.asp
  34. University of Maryland Medical Center. Aromatherapy. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy
  35. Rodgers A. The History, Medicinal Uses & Science Behind The Use Of Essential Oils. Collective Evolution. May 18, 2015.
  36. Wessen N. Aromatherapy. In: Enhancing Fertility Naturally: Holistic Therapies for a Successful Pregnancy. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press. 1997.
  37. Fox K. The Smell Report: An Overview of Facts and Findings. Social Issues Research Centre. http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_human.html   37. History of Essential Oils. Healing Scents. https://healingscents.net/blogs/learn/18685859-history-of-essential-oils
  38. 37.  Essential Oils in the Ancient World, pt. I, 2, 3. Young Living. April 13, 2015
  39. King James Bible. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 2010.
  40. New American Bible, revised edition ©. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. 2010.
  41. Alliance of International Aromatherapists. Brief History of Essential Oils. https://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/aromatherapy/brief-history-of-aromatherapy/
  42. Esoteric Oils. The History of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. http://www.essentialoils.co.za/history-essential-oils.htm
  43. Benefits of Aromatherapy. Organic Facts. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/benefits-of-aromatherapy.html
  44. Zabirunnisa M, Gadagi JS, Gadde P, et al. Dental patient anxiety: possible deal with Lavender fragrance. Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice. 2014;3(3):100-103.
  45. Alanko K. Aromatherapists. In: Kanerva L, Wahlberg JE, Elsner P, Maibach HI, eds. Handbook of Occupational Dermatology. Heidelberg, NY. Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 2000: 811-813.
  46. Douglas, E. Thieves Essential Oil Benefits. Livestrong. January 27, 2015. http://www.livestrong.com/article/129905-thieves-essential-oil-benefits/
  47. Helps and Hints for Ohio Farm Women: Spice o’ Life. In: Trucksis W, Taggart EK, Sheppard W. eds., Ohio Farm Bureau News. 28(1): 1948. https://books.google.com/books?id=rZ5KAAAAYAAJ&lpg=RA5-PA19&ots=rapRlDZRRX&dq=vinegar%20of%20the%20four%20thieves%20president%20thomas%20jefferson’s%20recipe&pg=RA5-PA19#v=onepage&q=vinegar%20of%20four%20thieves&f=false
  48. Albert Allis Hopkins. Chapter XXV: Toilet Preparations and Perfumes. In: Hopkins AA, ed. The Scientific American Encyclopedia of Formulas: partly based upon the 28th ed. of Scientific American cyclopedia of receipts, notes and queries. Munns & Co., Inc.; 1910. https://books.google.com/books?id=ECxRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA878#v=onepage&q=thieves&f=false
  49. Four thieves vinegar. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_thieves_vinegar
  50. Chao SC, Young G, Oberg CJ. Effect of a Diffused Essential Oil Blend on Bacterial Bioaerosols. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 1998;10:5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10412905.1998.9700958
  51. Pepper IL, Rensing C, Gerba CP. Chapter 14 Environmental Microbial Properties and Processes: Strategies and Methods for Air Sampling. In: Pepper IL, Rensing C, Gerba CP. eds. Environmental Monitoring and Characterization. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 2004.
  52. Close, J. GET RID OF MOLD NATURALLY using THIEVES ESSENTIAL OIL. http://www.naturesmoldrx.com/
  53. Šegvic Klaric M., Kosalec I, Mastelic J., Piecková E, Pepeljnak S. Antifungal activity of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) essential oil and thymol against moulds from damp dwellings. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 2007; 44: 36–42. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2006.02032.x
  54. Sadlon, AE, Lamson, DW. Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):33-47. PMID: 20359267
  55. Cermelli C, Fabio A, Fabio G, Quaglio P. Effect of eucalyptus essential oil on respiratory bacteria and viruses. Curr Microbiol. 2008 Jan;56(1):89-92. Epub 2007 Oct 31.
  56. Juan LW, Lucia A, Zerba EN, Harrand L, Marco M, Masuh HM. Chemical composition and fumigant toxicity of the essential oils from 16 species of Eucalyptus against Haematobia irritans (Diptera: Muscidae) adults [abstract]. J Econ Entomol. 2011 Jun;104(3):1087-92.
  57. Juergens UR. Anti-inflammatory properties of monoterpene 1.8-cineole: Current evidence for co-medication in inflammatory airway disease (abstract). Drug Res. 2014.
  58. Urbaniak A, Głowacka A, Kowalczyk E, Lysakowska M, Sienkiewicz M. [The antibacterial activity of cinnamon oil on the selected gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria]. [Article in Polish] [abstract]. Med Dosw Mikrobiol. 2014;66(2):131-41.
  59. Cinnamon bark oil, a potent fungitoxicant against fungi causing respiratory tract mycoses. Allergy. 1995 Dec;50(12):995-9.
  60. Cinnamon bark oil has also been demonstrated in vitro to inhibit biofilms in toxin production and cultures of different forms of candida.
  61. Cinnamon bark oil and its components inhibit biofilm formation and toxin production. Int J Food Microbiol. 2015 Feb 16;195:30-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.11.028.
  62. Anticandidal efficacy of cinnamon oil against planktonic and biofilm cultures of Candida parapsilosis and Candida orthopsilosis. Mycopathologia. 2011 Dec;172(6):453-64. doi: 10.1007/s11046-011-9448-0. Epub 2011 Jul 15.
  63. New Cinnamon-Based Active Paper Packaging against Rhizopusstolonifer Food Spoilage. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf800699q
  64. Cava R, Nowak E, Taboada A, Marin-Iniesta F. Antimicrobial activity of clove and cinnamon essential oils against Listeria monocytogenes in pasteurized milk. J Food Prot. 2007 Dec;70(12):2757-63.
  65. Screening for Antifungal Activity of Some Essential Oils Against Common Spoilage Fungi of Bakery Products. Food Science and Technology International. February 2005; 11(1): 25-32. doi: 10.1177/1082013205050901
  66. Sarbhoy AK, Varshney JL, Maheshwari ML, Saxena. Efficacy of some essential oils and their constituents on few ubiquitous molds. Zentralbl Bakteriol Naturwiss. 1978;133(7-8):723-5.
  67. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. April 1, 2015. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.20
  68. Sikkema J, de Bont JA, Poolman B.Interactions of cyclic hydrocarbons with biological membranes. J Biol Chem. 1994 Mar 18;269(11):8022-8. http://www.jbc.org/content/269/11/8022.full.pdf
  69. Gordon, A. Can Cinnamon Oil Fight this winter’s Microbial Assault? GreenMedInfo.com. Newsletter. February 5, 2012. Available at: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/can-cinnamon-oil-fight-winters-microbial-assault?utm_source=GreenMedInfo+Weekly&utm_campaign=5ddc55292b-Greenmedinfo&utm_medium=email. Accessed April 11, 2013.
  70. H Jazani, M Zartoshti, H Babazadeh, N Ali-daiee, S Zarrin, & S Hosseini. Antibacterial effects of Iranian fennel essential oil on isolates of Acinetobacter baumannii [abstract]. Pak J Biol Sci [online]. 2009; 12(9):738-41. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19634482. Accessed April 10, 2013.
  71. Al-Bayati FA. Synergistic antibacterial activity between Thymus vulgaris and Pimpinella anisum essential oils and methanol extracts [abstract]. J Ethnopharmacol [online]. 2008; 116(3):403-6. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18226481. Accessed July 22, 2013.
  72. F. D. D’Auria, M. Tecca, V. Strippoli, G. Salvatore, L. Battinelli & G. Mazzanti. Antifungal activity of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelial form. Informa Helathcare. Medical Mycology [online]. 2005; 43(5):391-396. Available at: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13693780400004810. Accessed April 13, 2013
  73. Wang W, Li N, Luo M, Zu Y, Efferth T. Antibacterial activity and anticancer activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil compared to that of its main components. Molecules. 2012 Mar 5;17(3):2704-13.
  74. Santoyo S, Cavero S, Jaime L, Ibañez E, Señoráns FJ, Reglero G. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Rosmarinus officinalis L. essential oil obtained via supercritical fluid extraction. J Food Prot. 2005 Apr;68(4):790-5.
  75. Elaissi A Ae, Rouis Z Zr, Abid NB Na, Mabrouk S Sm, Ben Salem Y Ybs, Bel Haj Salah K Kb, Aouni M Ma, Farhat F Ff, Chemli R Rc, Harzallah-Skhiri F Fhs, Khouja ML Mlk. Chemical Composition of 8 Eucalyptus species’ Essential Oils and the Evaluation of Their Antibacterial, Antifungal and Antiviral activities. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Jun 28;12(1):81. [Epub ahead of print]
  76. Kavanaugh NL, Ribbeck K. Selected Antimicrobial Essential Oils Eradicate Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2012;78(11):4057-4061. doi:10.1128/AEM.07499-11.
  77. Essential Oils and Future Antibiotics: New Weapons against Emerging ‘Superbugs’? J Anc Dis Prev Rem. 2013;1: 105. doi:10.4172/2329-8731.1000105
  78. Yap PS, Lim SH, Hu CP, Yiap BC. Combination of essential oils and antibiotics reduce antibiotic resistance in plasmid-conferred multidrug resistant bacteria. Phytomedicine. June 2013;15;20(8-9):710-3. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2013.02.013.
  79. Sue Chao S, Young G, Oberg, C, Nakoka K. Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 2008; 23: 444-449. DOI: 10.1002/ffj.1904
  80. Nelson, J. Selection of resistance to the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia in Staphylococcus aureus. J. Antimicrob Chemother. 2000; 45 (4): 549-550. doi: 10.1093/jac/45.4.549
  81. Boire NA, Riedel S, Parrish NM. Essential Oils and Future Antibiotics: New Weapons against Emerging ‘Superbugs’? J Anc Dis Prev Rem. 2013;1: 105. doi:10.4172/2329-8731.1000105
  82. Becerril R, Nerín C, Gómez-Lus R. Evaluation of bacterial resistance to essential oils and antibiotics after exposure to oregano and cinnamon essential oils. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2012; 9(8):699-705. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2011.1097. Epub 2012 Jul 24
  83. Fu Y, Zu Y, Chen L, Shi X, Wang Z, Sun S, Efferth T. Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination. Phytother Res. 2007 Oct;21(10):989-94. http://sci-hub.bz/10.1080/10412905.1998.9700958
  84. Prabuseenivasan S, Jayakumar M, Ignacimuthu S. In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2006;6:39. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-39.
  85. Guerra FQ, Mendes JM, Sousa JP, Morais-Braga MF, Santos BH, Melo Coutinho HD, Lima ED. Increasing antibiotic activity against a multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp by essential oils of Citrus limon and Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Nat Prod Res. 2011 Dec 23. [Epub ahead of print]
  86. Rašković A, Milanović I, Pavlović N, Ćebović T, Vukmirović S, Mikov M. Antioxidant activity of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) essential oil and its hepatoprotective potential. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;14:225. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-225.
  87. Dagli N, Dagli R, Mahmoud RS, Baroudi K. Essential oils, their therapeutic properties, and implication in dentistry: A review. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry. 2015;5(5):335-340. doi:10.4103/2231-0762.165933.
  88. Moon SE, Kim HY, Cha JD.Svynergistic effect between clove oil and its major compounds and antibiotics against oral bacteria. Arch Oral Biol. 2011 Sep;56(9):907-16. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2011.02.005.
  89. Shipradeep, Karmakar S, Sahay Khare R, Ojha S, Kundu K, Kundu S. Development of Probiotic Candidate in Combination with Essential Oils from Medicinal Plant and Their Effect on Enteric Pathogens: A Review. Gastroenterology Research and Practice. 2012;2012:457150. doi:10.1155/2012/457150
  90. Ali B, Al-Wabel NA, Sham S, Ahamad A, Khan SA, Anwar F. Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. August 2015; 5(8): 601-611. Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169115001033.
  91. Jun YS, Kang P, Min SS, Lee J-M, Kim H-K, Seol GH. Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM. 2013;2013:502727. doi:10.1155/2013/502727.
  92. Yavari PK, Safajou F, Shahnazi M, Nazemiyeh H. The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014; 16(3).e14360. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4005434/. Accessed July 20, 2016.

Ask Ben a Podcast Question


20 thoughts on “What Big Pharma Doesn’t Want You To Know About An Ancient Oil Invented By Four Robbers (And 10 Modern Ways To Use It).

  1. Marjorie says:

    Hello – We recently found out that we have dry wood termites in our home, and the only way to get rid of them is fumigation. We were told that the gas isn’t residual, but I’m very nervous about it. Is there an essential oil I can diffuse in our home after the fumigation? Thank you, Marjorie

  2. TB says:

    Perhaps someone else already pointed this out, but I’d like to offer some wide-eyed transparency here because you’ve failed to do so in your article. You cite a paper that uses deposition sampling to demonstrate the antibacterial properties of a proprietary blend called “Thieves”. One of the authors of that paper is Gary D. Young, the founder of Young Living, the company that makes that proprietary blend called “Thieves.” This is not a third party study. Furthermore, the paper was published in a journal called Essential Oil Research – an obscure publication that only releases six issues a year. I’d be curious to know the funding structure of that journal.

    I agree with another on here. These studies are not transparent about controls. I’m not even sure any were used. And they are not addressing what’s causing the bacteria to be inhibited. Without controls it could be anything.

    Finally, 90% “less viable” does not, in the world of microbiology, mean non-viable. In other words, the critters were less alive, but, notably, STILL alive. I absolutely support EO research, but when defending the scientific literature about oils, one should strive to be rigorously transparent about their sources.

  3. Stay private says:

    What oils would one use for severe ED.

  4. Julie says:

    Has any research been done to verify the safety of breastfeeding infants or unborn babies when the mother uses essential oils?

  5. James says:

    The lack of responses by Ben to the questions posed by readers was all the proof I needed that this article was simply an attempt to sell a sponsored product.

    1. We each have to reach our own conclusions. I work hard to seek out products that make my life better and then share them.

  6. john says:

    I have read five articles on asthma and the effects on some people when using eucalyptus. It can make your asthma become worse and restrict your lungs!

    1. Hi John, here's a response from Dr. Lobisco:

      A lot of times, it may be related to a sub quality oil and the synthetics that aggravate asthma, but usually with pure oils, that is lessened.

      1,8-cineole, high in eucalyptus actually has an immune modulating, lung soothing effect: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359267 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12645832 http://dr-lobisco.com/9-reasons-to-love-eucalyptu… http://dr-lobisco.com/why-im-elated-with-eucalypt… http://dr-lobisco.com/a-look-at-essential-oils-sa…

      I know the herb can be an allergen, is a different proteins and makeup than the oil https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15065319
      This video may help as well: https://www.facebook.com/farmacistala/videos/1789…

      I’d love to see the articles this person read and if they were studies or case reports.

      Hope that helps.

  7. For all the experiments cited, I want to know what controls were used. For example, were other kinds of oils used in the same experiment? What about motor oil? My point is, the scientists did not, so far as I saw by the article, determine the cause of diminished toxicity. It seems to me that bacteria and molds could be inhibited simply by being subjected to anything that is not nourishing or supportive of their metabolism and that isolates them from supportive conditions or nourishment. Oil has been used for millenia as a preservative.

    1. I did see that thymol(? – I could not find the statement) was more effective than straight Eucalyptus oil, if I remember correctly, and there are a number of constituents of eucalyptus oil that were found to be more effective than the oil, presumably because they were more concentrated. However, I did not read, so far, of controls in other experiments that satisfied my curiosity.

  8. What does this mean: “A 2005 field study was with Dr. Close also found…” I don’t get the was with – he was a colleague in the study?

    Thanks.

  9. In the instructions ““Digest for 7 or 8 days, with occasional agitation: pour off liquor: press out the remainder, and filter the mixed liquids,”48 how does one filter the mixed solids after the remaining liquor has been pressed from them? Does this mean there is expected to be some remaining moisture (vinegar I suppose) in the solids? What kind of filter would allow such a miniscule amount of liquid to be separated from solids without it simply evaporating?

  10. Ben, not infrequently I am unsure who is writing when you interview. Often I need to go back to re-interpret what I just read in light of new knowledge or mere wondering “Who is writing or speaking here?” Could you follow one of the conventions of interviews, such as

    Ben: (writes or speaks)

    Sarah: (writes or speaks)

  11. Beuss says:

    Is that documentary a joke? I thought “intelligent design people” were more subtle than that…

    I do think essential oil are powerful stuff… that can both heal you or kill you, depending on the combination, dose, etc… They are a product/result of natural selection and, as such, are neither good or bad (once again, they can either heal of kill you or have no effect at all). They have no “intrinsic final goal”. They simply are.

  12. Dennis Conley says:

    In section 8 on digestion the article points to reference 89 which appears to be on oral health. Is this an error or does the oral health article go into digestion benefits?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *