Friday, May 12, 2017

Can Essential Oils Help You Live Forever?

Antioxidant-Molecules with the ability to donate an electron to free radicals without destabilizing itself.
Oxidative stress-An imbalance of free radical production and the ability to counteract it.
Free radicals-An atom that has lost an electron and is highly reactive with other molecules. [1]
Enzyme-A substance produced by a living organism.
Electron-A subatomic particle with a negative charge.

Oxidative stress is the production of free radicals in the body.  Especially when breaking down food you’ve eaten, the process the liver uses to break down the constituents in food naturally produces free radicals.   Our body has enzymes designed to help eliminate or minimize these free radicals before they disperse throughout your body to do their damage.  These enzymes are called glutathione transferase, superoxide dismutase, and quinone reductase.  Essential oils have been shown to stimulate the production of these enzymes, therefor building a stronger army to aid our bodies in being their best.  Glutathione transferase is stimulated by; Angelica, Coriander, Garlic, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Orange, Oregano, Sandalwood, and Thyme.  Other contributors that create oxidative stress are aging, injury, smoking, alcohol, and as mentioned before, a poor diet. 

You may be asking yourself what’s the big deal, my body has enzymes to help take care of free radicals!  Unfortunately, there’s only so much these enzymes can battle at once.  An overload of free radicals can cause a variety of issues, including, but not limited to; neurological disease, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid disease, and even cancer.  So, regulating these radicals truly is imperative to both our short, and long term health.  Our liver will often take the brunt of the damage when it comes to oxidative stress.  One type of free radical is called DPPH, Robert Tisserand referred to the following oils as potent DPPH Scavengers; Clove Bud, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea Tree, and Thyme.  He said that they may be helpful in minimizing the cancer-causing DPPH and a good use for preventative measure. 

In studies done on rodents it showed that a small daily dose of savory essential oil prolonged their life by 120 days (the equivalent of 10 years for humans).  One of their findings specifically showed an increase in DHA which is thought to have been one of the contributors to the prolonged life span.

We’ve talked before about how it’s the synergistic effects of the plant constituents working together that make them effective.  In a study done on DPPH scavenging a comparison was done with Rosemary as a whole, then isolated constituents of 1,8 Cineole, alpha-Pinene, and beta-Pinene (the constituents mainly attributed with the DPPH scavenging).  It showed that Rosemary as a whole was 20% more effective at DPPH scavenging than any of the one isolated constituents. 

Many studies have been done on isolated constituents.  I found it fascinating that alpha-Caryophyllene, Diallyl disulphide, Eugenol, and Thymoquinone all increase Glutathione transferase in normal cells, and decrease it in cancer cells.  This does not mean we’ve found a cure for cancer by any means, however it certainly shows progress.  It also shows the benefits of integrating essential oils containing those constituents as a preventative effort and as an overall health benefit to aid us in living longer and healthier lives. 

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