Is your medicine cabinet full of prescription medications? Maybe you use some, but often you wonder if they are really necessary or if there is an alternative to Big Pharma prescription medications. The are alternatives called essential oils.
They’re natural. They’ve been used for millennia to combat common health problems. Modern research regularly validates their innate therapeutic properties.
So why don't physicians offer people essential oils over prescription medications? Is the physiology of the modern human species so different than our ancestors’? Why wouldn’t the same remedies applied by famed herbalists, Hildegard of Bingen in the 10th century or Nicholas Culpeper of the 17th, still serve us well today?
In fact, the human species has survived from generation to generation by using natural herbal remedies, while the pharmaceutical industry has only been around for a little over a century. So it doesn’t it stand to reason that, when addressing everyday health issues, essential oils are left out of the equation.
And yet, this industry is worth US$300 billion a year globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Even the purchase of daily body care products, laced with man-made chemicals is money lining the pockets of huge conglomerates at the expense of consumer health.
That begs the question, "Why is this industry one of the largest and most profitable industry in the world?"
One 2008 report, published by The Internet Journal of Academic Physician Assistants, investigated articles, books, and reviews over the span of eight years, in order to determine the influence the pharmaceutical industry had on the prescribing habits of healthcare professionals. The conclusion drawn was that these companies do have a high degree of influence on providers’ prescribing habits; influence which is, in some cases, unethical.
According to a second report, most drug companies allocate a staggering sum on marketing and significantly less on scientific research and development. The report quotes that Pfizer, one of the world’s premiere pharmaceutical companies (according to their own website), spent $11.4 billion on marketing in 2013, while spending $6.6 billion on research and development.
With so much emphasis on quotas and the inherent profit, most sales reps are ignorant to the ingredients, side effects, or efficacy of the product they're selling.
Makes you wonder why we blindly trust to Big Pharma our health. When the underlying goal is profit, no one is going to pause for thought in respect to your health. Instead, before you pop a pill, you need to do the legwork, yourself. Or you can trust in ours.
Read on to find out what’s really being put into your body via pharmaceuticals and body care products and to take a peek behind the scenes of the pharmaceutical industry.
When it comes to pharmaceutical products, the ingredients, are spliced-together chemicals with alien names, like diphenhydramine (commonly used in allergy drugs) or fluoxetite kydroclozloride (commonly used in antidepressants). I'm sure you've seen the TV commercials with a full 30 seconds devoted to the disturbing side effects that may accompany a drug. And what about that booklet of warnings included with both prescription and over the counter medications.
With this kind of information at hand, how are you to know the working mechanisms of the “active ingredients” in your meds, and whether or not they will have future consequences on your health?
What you will know for certain - albeit, in tiny script – are the possible side effects of the drug, as these companies are required by law to list them. And if you’ve ever taken the time to run through these side effects – which can occur after taking anything from your everyday aspirin to the latest drug on the market – then you may be thinking the side effects are as disturbing (or more so) than the illness.
From gastrointestinal issues to skin irritation to the killing indiscriminately of healthy cellular activity, the side effects of pharmaceutical medicines are staggering. And they’re not natural, in the least.
Does this mean they don’t work? No, it doesn’t. The drug is usually effective in addressing symptoms of a disorder and not necessarily the cause. And almost always, there are healthy functions in the body which are compromised as a result of the medication.
Take, for example, cholesterol drugs. There are three main types of these drugs – statin drugs, bile acid sequestering agents, and HDL boosters. Statin drugs help reduce cholesterol production in the liver and, in doing so, they impact the method by which LDL cholesterol enters cells. This has a domino effect which, in turn, results in gastrointestinal issues, muscle inflammation, sight conditions, and liver toxicity.
Moving onto the bile acid sequestering agents. The drug absorbs the acids created by cholesterol in the intestinal tract. Once they’re excreted, cholesterol levels in the blood are reduced. But the short-term results also includes bloating, nausea, constipation, and a reduced ability to absorb vitamins. Long-term results may even cause sight conditions and bleeding disorders.
Too many side effects?
Next, consider the last pharmaceutical option – the HDL boosters, which reduce the triglycerides in the body and boost HDL levels. But, though effective, yet again, there are consequences. According to this study, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), these pharmaceutical agents increased fatalities in their users by 44%. Though it suppressed fatalities from cardiac conditions, it appeared to have increased fatalities from gall bladder complications and cancer.
The point is, whichever pharmaceutical option you’re choosing, basically you’re springing ten more health leaks.
Another example is the over-prescribing of amphetamine and amphetamine-like drugs for kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. The abuse in prescribing these drugs is well documented, the purpose often being to turn a hyperactive kid into a zombie.
In 2004, the FDA issued a warning involving these drugs producing a greater risk of depression or suicidal thoughts in the drugs’ users. The following statement by Russell Katz, a director at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research was made: “We don't know that the drugs are responsible for these behavioral changes, but nonetheless we’re telling physicians and families to be aware of this and that if the behaviors do emerge, to get treatment right away.”
It is often the case that drugs depress natural healing functions, instead of proactively addressing the issue at hand. More on that, later.
Even the coatings on your drugs or supplements can contain dangerous chemicals. According to this 2011 report, coatings are sometimes laced with plasticizing chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to a number of reproductive and hormonal issues. Even worse, you may not be able to avoid drugs with phthalates by reading labels. Pharmaceutical conglomerates aren’t required by the FDA to list them on their packaging if these phthalates are considered inactive ingredients or are used for drug delivery systems that are trade secrets.
The phthalates are beneficial to the packaging and longevity of the product, because it is flexible and resilient while helping to regulate the release and delivery of drugs for absorption. However, some studies have found that high phthalate content has been linked to chronic digestive tract inflammation and cystic fibrosis.
Not only are you taking toxic chemicals into the body through the use of pharmaceutical drugs, you are absorbing toxic chemicals through nearly every body product or household cleaning product you come into contact with.
Consider health and beauty products. Some of the common chemicals in products – from parabens in your shampoo to aluminum in your deodorants – have the potential to be severely destructive. Let’s take a closer look at these two.
The intake of parabens has been linked to organ toxicity, early puberty, birth defects, and hormonal cancers. Serving as the base not only for shampoos, but for many cosmetic products (deodorant and sunscreen, for instance), parabens have been shown to possess a high rate of absorption. In effect, they interfere with hormonal balance by impacting estrogenic activity.
In one CDC report, 2,548 human urine specimens were sampled and parabens were discovered in most tested samples, indicating widespread U.S. exposure, which demonstrates how heavily laden our daily products are with these chemicals. Another study, published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, determined that 99% of breast cancer tissue sampled contained paraben esters, which means that women are potentially more susceptible to health issues resultant from this chemical.
Now let's just consider the need for metal in a body care product – does not seem logical or practical, does it? Take a look at the ingredients in your average deodorant or antiperspirant lately. Aluminum is used in many deodorants, as it helps reduce sweating. In some antiperspirants, it makes up around 25% of the product’s content.
When absorbed into the body aluminum can cause breast cancer, especially in women, as they are more apt to shave their underarms, increasing the absorption of toxic chemicals. According to this study, published by the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, “Aluminum is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells…Results reported here demonstrate that aluminum in the form of aluminum chloride or aluminum chlorhydrate can interfere with the function of estrogen receptors of MCF7 human breast cancer cells.” In men, too, antiperspirants have been linked to prostate cancer, yet the FDA hasn’t yet banned this ingredient’s use or even taken steps to classify it as a carcinogen.
These are just two dangerous ingredients found in everyday products. Other common toxic ingredients incorporated into everything from soaps to detergents include talc, propylene glycol, DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), phthalates (yes, those phthalates, again), triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde, toluene, and any number of synthetic dyes or fragrances whose ingredients can be concealed under the guise of trade secrets. If you google search any one of these active ingredients, you will be horrified to discover their potential side effects and/or the user’s increased susceptibility to cancer resulting from their use.
As pharmaceutical prescriptions grow, so do deaths from overdose. Data from the CDC illustrates the detrimental effects of painkillers and prescription drugs. According to the CDC’s statistics, no overall change in the amount of pain experienced by Americans has been identified, and yet during the years from 1999-2013, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed quadrupled, as did the fatalities from prescription overdoses (over 16,000 during this period). This is largely due to alterations in how prescriptions are dealt by providers.
Moreover, the CDC’s statistics show that, every single day, 44 people die from overdosing on pain killers in the US, alone, and even more prescription users become addicted to the drugs and leading to drug abuse. In fact, the CDC states that “in 2013, nearly two million Americans abused prescription painkillers. Each day, almost 7,000 people are treated in emergency departments for using these drugs in a manner other than as directed.” This issue is treated as an epidemic; an epidemic that is not likely to find closure anytime soon, as long as Big Pharma is making bank.
Alternatives to health and wellness include a nutritious diet, fitness and natural solutions. Mother Earth has provided us with the very substances to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. Essential oils are part of this natural solution.
The drugs that pharmaceutical companies produce in the laboratory do not work like the natural therapeutic oils obtained from the earth. Essential oils detoxify the body, while pharmaceutical medications toxify it. Essential oils enhance immune system function, while pharmaceuticals depress it.
The body does not meet, respond to, or rid of pollutants introduced by man-made drugs. Essential oils are introduced into the body topically, inhaled or consumed. The oils remain an appropriate length of time, and are eliminated naturally. Simply put, the human body is natural, and so are essential oils; they complement each other. Pharmaceuticals, made of spliced-together chemicals, are not, and so they’re greeted by the body like alien invaders from another planet.
Other ways in which essential oils differ from pharmaceutical drugs include their ability to differentiate between harmful bacteria and normal flora found within the body. Essential oils are capable of distinguishing between the two, while pharmaceuticals kill indiscriminately.
Moreover, a single essential oil can offer a full-spectrum of therapeutic properties, while most prescription drugs are rather one-dimensional. Essential oils are homeostatic, meaning they are well tuned to changing body conditions and can adapt. Pharmaceutical drugs, on the other hand, are the lazy and unambitious coworker – they do their one job, without taking any more initiative than is deemed necessary…and they don’t pick up on social cues.
Unlike essential oils, which demonstrate no side effects if properly applied, pharmaceutical labels usually come with a long list of possible side effects. This is because drugs are not designed to address the underlying issues of disease.
Instead, they misinform cells, receptor sites, or the brain in order to waylay symptoms, like pain. Though they are successful in their efforts, temporarily relieving you from stress, normal bodily functions are often impacted by this misinformation.
Essential oils proactively assist optimal bodily function. For example, in a study published by JYP, the study’s objective was to uncover the mechanism by which lemongrass essential oil was effective in protecting against gastric ulcer. The oil’s gastroprotective activity was due to its synergistic interaction with the endogenous prostaglandins, which help modulate the stomach’s bicarbonate, mucus, and acid secretion, thereby protecting against injuries in the mucous membrane.
The oil works, not by confusing the body’s cells, but by proactively supporting them, in turn fortifying various biological systems.
Clary sage produced antidepressant properties in a second study, published by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. After committing lab rats to a forced swim test, clary sage (along with rosemary, chamomile, and lavender) was found to have powerful anti-stressor effects.
The mechanism by which this oil demonstrated such antidepressant properties was its interaction with the DAnergic pathway (dopamine pathway), a neural pathway of the brain that helps transmit dopamine – the neurotransmitter involved in activating the brain’s pleasure and reward centers – thereby helping modulate dopamine in the brain. Unlike psychotropic meds, the risk of suicide is not a side-effect of essential oil use.
Why doesn’t the pharmaceutical industry just patent the oils, slap a brand name on the bottle, and provide a relatively safe and natural product to the consumer?
The answer is that natural products cannot be patented, because if they were, a single pharmaceutical company could nab up the patent on lemon and lavender and chamomile and all of these beneficial oils and would immediately have a monopoly over the entire pharmaceutical sector.
By melding together inorganic substances into pills, but were never really meant to be metabolized by the human body, pharmaceutical companies can patent to their heart’s content, while your body tries to metabolize, break down, and dispose of these synthetic substances when they are done “curing” you.
Additionally, pharmaceutical companies create their products in a laboratory, where everything is controlled, down to a decimal point. This makes it easier to meet market demands as they come, rather than to rely on the growth of a crop, which often depends on the success of the harvest. With such uncertainty, natural companies may not always meet consumer demands if they want to ensure quality, as therapeutic-grade oils do.
All-natural, organic substances are much easier for the body to metabolize or eliminate once they’ve done their job. Essential oils access the receptor sites of cells much easier, interact with these cells much more naturally and, once their therapeutic function is complete, they are flushed out of the liver and kidneys, just like any other natural substance.
*The statements or claims in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. please check with your physician before making any changes or using essential oils.