Essential Oils


Recent Developments

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Recent Developments

In the middle of the twentieth century, an accumulation of data on essential oil pharmacology was afforded by the experimental methods of the time. There was a strong emphasis on antimicrobial activity and also on effects that can be characterized by measuring tone and tension in muscle or nerve tissue.

Then, as more refined methods became available  in the 1980s and 19190s , the effects of essential oils on chronic, metabolic, and horomonal diseases were recognized. In the late 1990s there was a proliferation of research on the antitumor effects of terpenoid and also  other essential oil components.

Research had already progressed to successful clinical trials. Then, in 2001, all of a sudden the research stopped. Why this promising development was not pursued more vigorously, and was apparently even abandoned, is anybody's guess.

It does not appear too outlandish to suspect reservations on the part of corporate pharmacology about remedies that might be too cheap and too accessible.

As physiological activity was discovered for a growing number of essential oil components, the active ingredient concept was expanded to allow for multiple active components and for resulting synergistic effects. But whenever a new type of activity was reported, the most common terpene molecules were implicated again and again as the responsible substances.  

From antiviral and antitumor to influencing the calcium uptake, ubiquitous compounds ; like linalool and limonene were credited with a growing portfolio of pharmacological properties. Assuming than an active ingredient produces only one or two specific effects was simply no longer describing the reality that could be observed.

Nonetheless, scientific understanding of essential oil activity remained based on variations of the active ingredient concept. And in fairness, it must be said that this approach did produce valuable insights. Even late in the twentieth century important discoveries were made. A few of the findings are mentioned here.

Components in Helichrysum italicum have been shown to mediate their tissue protective regenerative quality by effectively scavenging free radicals.

Studies by Muhlbauer, Lozano, Palacio, Reinli, and Felix established common essential oils as unexpected and effective agents to prevent osteoporosis, the loss of bony tissue associated with low levels of estrogen.

PMS and Menopausal Complaints
Vitex agnus castus  has been shown to be a singularly effective agent to re- equilibrate progesterone and estrogen levels and to have pronounced benefits for PMS and menopausal complaints.

Hepatitis B and C:
Long-term clinical studies by Dr. Anne-Marie Giraud-Robert have shown that various oils are effective in the treatment of hepatitis B and C, but no mechanisms have been proposed at this point. 

Reference:The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D.

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