Essential Oils for Health

Reader Contribution by Lois Hoffman
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In recent years new bacteria strains have become more and more resistant to the antibiotics that we have relied on for so many years. Once we could pop a pill and cure our ills, however that is no longer the case. Thankfully, there is new hope on the horizon in the form of essential oils. Great strides have been made in killing pathogens such as E. coli with essential oils on their own or as a combination of oils and antibiotics.

Essential oils are just plant extracts in the purest form there is. They have long been used in cleaning, personal care and pest control products. This is only a natural progression that we start harvesting their benefits, after all the plant compounds that make up the oils first existed to defend plants from diseases. Exciting research is finding that they are powerful enough to kill cancer cells of the breast, colon, mouth, skin and more.

More and more people are beginning to harvest the oils’ healing qualities but there is still a lot of skepticism among the general public. The reason for this is basically two-fold. The Internet that we all know and love so much has been quick to jump on them as a cure-all, which they are not so they have gotten a bad reputation in many cases like the old cure-all tonics from peddlers.

The other reason is that our western culture is so used to lab-created synthetic medicines. Many folks have the philosophy that if it doesn’t require a prescription, then it will not work. What they fail to realize is that many of our most important pharmaceuticals originated from plants. Many of these have been so chemically altered that their side effects are worse than what they were meant to help.

Consider that aspirin originated from willow bark, the treatment for malaria was derived from fever-tree bark and morphine comes from the poppy plant. The cancer-fighting drug pachitaxel is derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree. Even more ironic is that the new Ebola treatment hinges on the use of the tobacco plant.

One of the most public instances of this fact concerns Scott Sechler, owner of Bell and Evans Farms, which produce high-end antibiotic-free poultry. In 2012 he told the New York Times that he used oregano and cinnamon oils to fight infection on all of his 140 farms, which supported 9 million chickens at any given time. “I used oregano oil to kill the bad bacteria and cinnamon oil to support the good. Even though this worked better than any other approach, I worried how I was going to sound talking about this, after all it took 10 years for me to convince the people I work with that it works.”

Slowly, it is catching on. Today, some companies are selling plant extracts as feed additives.

Photo by Getty Images/Madeline_Steinbach.

Another case in point comes from the dental world. Studies in the “Journal of Contemporary Dental Practices” report that cinnamon oil was tested for its effectiveness against certain bacteria in root canal procedures. It eliminated bacterial growth within seven and fourteen days of the procedure, which makes cinnamon oil a compatible natural option. It’s a win-win situation since cinnamon not only tastes good, but every time it is used it fights infection in the body.

Exciting research is finding the benefits of many other essential oils. Lavender and cinnamon killed E. coli when combined with the antibiotic piperacillin. The oils reversed the resistance of the bacteria to the antibiotic. Basil and rosemary are both effective in inhibiting the growth of 60 strains of E. coli. Staph-infected wounds heal faster when treated with vapors of tea tree oil than with conventional methods.

Even though many oils are effective on their own, some oils provide a powerful weapon against bacteria when combined with antibiotics. Scientists believe the oils weaken the wall of the resistant bacteria, therefore damaging or killing the cells by letting the antibiotics in.

Seven other top essential oils that have antibiotic properties are:

  1. Thyme oil. This is a powerful antimicrobial. Results were very positive when tested as an antimicrobial preservative for food, especially against bacteria in milk and against salmonella.
  2. Oregano oil. Possesses very strong antibacterial activity against some drug-resistant bacteria. It helps control infection and is very effective against athlete’s foot and toe fungus.
  3. Tea tree oil. This is an alternative to fighting bacteria topically. It is effective against E. coli and staph infections. It has an immediate effect as well as releasing benefits over a 24-hour span from when used. It is effective in protecting against infections from cuts, scrapes, burns and fights warts, eczema and psoriasis.
  4. Grapefruit oil. This oil is a highly effective natural antibiotic that helps eliminate microbes in the kidneys and gut. It supports endocrine function and encourages bile production and gastric juices to aid in digestion.
  5. Clove oil. This is only second to cinnamon as one of the best antibiotic oils. It is great for toothache.
  6. Lemongrass oil. One of the most potent antibacterial oils, it is commonly used in cleaners and to battle infections. Used internally and externally, it subdues bacterial growth.
  7. Bergomot oil. This is a strong antibacterial that will get rid of worms, heal scars, battle UTI’s and meningitis and helps cold sores and the Herpes virus.

Essential oils definitely have their place in medicine. They are a back-to-basics approach that many of our synthetic medicines stem from. I believe that God did not give us any illness that He did not give us the cure for. Essential oils are not the total answer, but they are a big part of it.

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