Friday, October 28, 2016

One Woman's Nightmare

We received a message today.  the dialogue that followed is quoted below, with some additional comments from me.

 Hi, Marge!
My daughter is 31 weeks pregnant, did *not* get a flu shot or the pertussis shot (nor did I but hubby just got a flu shot), so I'd like to do whatever I can at home to keep the environment free of nasties and keep her (and us) protected.  I've used Germ Beater in the past but I have become extremely sensitive to clove and cinnamon oils (at least topically--have avoided aromatically just to be safe), and I also understand that these oils are contraindicated for use during pregnancy. Could you recommend a blend I could put together that might offer a similar surface/air protection but would be more mom/fetus friendly?
 Many thanks,  

my first reply:

She also needs to avoid the Lemon Myrtle that is in both of our Germ Beaters...
I am thinking that safer and milder antibacterials would be geranium,  palma rosa..   tea tree with rosalina...     they are not the heavy artillary that you see in the high citral oils and the spices, but they would be effective, and safe.
maybe also add some ravensara aromatica and/or ravintsara for the anti-viral effect?
Also... look at our FluFoil  ingredients... 

and I am applauding you.. so many just charge in without thinking!

- - - -

At 10:20 AM 10/28/2016, she wrote:

Thank you so much, Marge!!  My personal experience with EOs (ended up developing a very serious allergic reaction to many of them, particularly the spice ones, that landed me on a immunosuppressant to control my reactivity) has taught me to have greater respect for them and to use them with greater caution.  :)

My reply:

oh WOW...     I wish you would talk to Robert Tisserand... he does so much with safety and needs to hear the specifics of your situation.
I'm curious tho... were you using the spice oils topically?  We have always advised against that,  esp. cinnamon bark and cassia...    clove and cinnamon leaf as well, with some very specific exceptions....   What oils and blends did you use topically. (I am guessing Thieves or it's equivalent...which is irresponsibly recommended for topical use...  and should never be!)

- - - - -

At 12:48 PM 10/28/2016, she wrote:

Well, I'm a massage therapist and I was using the oils quite a bit in my practice, both diffused and mixed in massage lotion.  A lot of my folks seek pain relief/management so I was using blends with clove, cypress, balsams (YL Thieves, Panaway, AromaLife) as well as singles like lemongrass, balsam, pine. Plus I was using Thieves room spray, hand sanitizer, and cleaning solution at home.  And ImmunoPro and Inner Defense internally.  The rash and itching were so bad, but for the longest time no one could pinpoint what it was.  One of my practitioners even thought it was parasitic and had me on an intense clove supplement, which just sent me over the top.

I finally had patch testing done and it showed I was highly reactive to fragrance blends--particularly clove, cinnamon, balsam. Once I eliminated EOs, I started to improve. But I still kept having exacerbations because my system had been so beaten up and I guess the oils had gotten so deeply into my tissues that I needed to be put on an immunosuppressant (Xolair) to control/prevent the debilitating flareups as the stuff continued to be processed out of my body.

 So yes, very powerful substances our plant oils are...

- -  - - - -

(comment... I am appalled at the aromatic overload... at the gross misuse of oils that really should
never be used topically, in spite of what the MLMs advise.  Even a quick browsing of Tisserand's safety  manual, or any book that focuses on safe and appropriate use, or any supplier's website that emphasizes safety... would recommend against the topical use of Clove,  the components of Thieves, Panaway, etc.    And the regular internal use of these blends...rather than balancing a person's immune system they seem to overwhelm it.  )

My response:

  Reading this has me on the verge of tears...    the harm that was done you...     I have always been taught that massage therapists are at greater risk and need to exercise MORE care and caution because of the exposure...  and you were...  immersing yourself, internally and externally...    because you were taught to use the oils this way.

Did no one ever teach you that cinnamon and clove are KNOWN sensitizers and should not be used topically? (of course not... they would have sold less...  )

I'm sorry, .... sorry that this happened to you...   and that you are still suffering the consequences..  Reading and rereading your experience makes me want to cry, AND makes me angry enough to throw things...  And it was all preventable... just common sense safety precautions.

There's a REASON Nature's Gift bottles say 'always dilute" and "not for internal use".....  I sometimes will use a specific eo or blend internally, for a very brief period... for a specific ailment...  but I've been trained in aromatic medicine...  and never just routinely.

 I would love permission to share your story...   in a blog article and on Facebook..   not with your name...     but so, hopefully, at least someone can learn from your experience.

There are people collecting "adverse reaction' reports... your experience should be added.  Do I have permission to share...without using your name or anything that would identify you...    but using the product names that you used?

And she wrote back,  Marge, I really appreciate your compassion and sensitivity to my situation...but even though YL marketing tactics and claims provided me with sense of security in using their products, I have to accept some of the blame. I know that their products are concentrated and one drop is usually enough therapeutically but I would sometimes use 2 or 3 drops for a more aromatically pleasant experience with my clients. I should have been more conservative in my use.  As far as internal use, well, I always followed stated recommendations but that may have been the tipping point for hindsight, I would have skipped internal use completely.

That all being said, yes you have my permission to share this information with your readers. They need to know that there is indeed a downside to improper EO use.

And not sure if you'll be able to view these attachments, but I'm including a few pictures of what things looked like at their worst...wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy...

Oh My Goodness!   Now,  *I* get contact dermatitis from unwise neat use of lavender on broken skin....but it is normally confined... never to the extent of yours.    This is a horror story... yes.. we will blog it... and share it.     Thank you!

Thank you, Marge. The experience has been my private hell, and I never thought to put it out there. So I appreciate your being my conduit.  If others can benefit from this experience and lessons learned, then I am willing to share. Let me know if you need any further info or clarification for your post.

Warm blessings,


 One question.. the practitioner who diagnosed you with parasites and Rxd a clove supplement...  what sort of practitioner, what sort of licensing.. and does he/she offer essential oils from one or the other MLM's?  

We have seen practioners with no aromatherapy training Rxing the oils.. neat,  ingestion in water, etc.. known dangerous modalities.

my mantra.. "anything powerful enough to heal is also powerful enough to do terrible harm...    the power of the oils must be respected.  not feared, but respected..    "safe and appropriate use" ... for over 20 years I've preached/taught that...  and stories like yours just...   break my heart.  It is all so unnecessary...

And she answered...
The practitioner is a functional nutritionist and certified health coach, specializing in inflammatory disease and cancer.  She's a upper-tier distributor of YL oils/products and is a strong proponent of their complementary use or as an alternative to conventional allopathic treatments of certain conditions.  She's very knowledgeable, does extensive research, and always presents white papers and studies to support her recommendations for use of the products that she promotes.  She's has a great reputation so I trusted her advice and recommendations.  So not a fly-by-night, amateur practitioner.  However, she wasn't familiar with any of her clients having the kind of reaction that I had so the EOs weren't implicated as the cause...she looked at my symptoms as being parasitic or even possibly a mast cell reaction. After many erroneous  diagnoses by many different doctors, a University dermatologist finally asked the right questions and did the right testing to properly determine the trigger to be the EOs. 

why am I not surprised that the "practitioner" is a upper tier YL distributor?  "and she's a YL distributor... so has NO training in essential oil safety.  

Believe me...  any trained aromatherapist... knowing your occupation and seeing those horrible rashes would have FIRST asked about EO usage.

but YL training seems to deny that there is any risk...

*I* am a strong proponent of the oils as complements to allopathic meds... we support research projects to show their efficacy,  we work with hospital staffs, we supply clinical aromatherapy courses...   but we also stress SAFETY.    "safe and appropriate use"  because we respect their power.

Now... ingested clove might be an effective treatment for parasites... this is NOT my area of expertise...  but...   the FIRST thing she (or anyone else!) should have looked at was your overuse of the oils...

I'm sorry... but this is just... combining the tragedy!

- - - -

there doesn't seem to be anything else to add.  This woman has been put through HELL because of corporate greed and deliberate dysinformation.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

How does a GC work?

We all talk about GC/MS analysis. But few of us outside of the archane world of a chemist's lab truly know what they are.

Was looking for something else in my archives and came across this, from a chemist in Connecticut whose real name always remained a mystery.  He was an online friend who knew a LOT about Essential Oil chemistry, and delighted in teaching it.

The topic of the message was "pretty smelling mystery oil" so it would appear I had been talking about something that I couldn't identify...  and the subject of analysis came up.  this was his explanation of "how it works":

From: DrPriszm@aol.comDate: Sun, 13 Oct 1996 01:29:59 -0400
Well, not really, but you're close!  Get ready for the $1.39 course on gas
chromatography! (But only if you promise to attend my real class in person!)
A gas chromatograph is really like an oven.  Inside the oven is a hollow tube which is coiled round and round like a garden hose so it will fit in the oven, because it may be 25 meters long.  Inside the tube is something similar to sand, very fine sand. There is some type of gas always flowing through the tube, from one end to the other.  
On the front end of the tube, where the gas is coming from, is an injection port.  It is through this port that the sample is injected onto the column, or tube.  The flowing gas carries the sample through the column.  As the sample travels through the column, the
various components of the sample separate, and form bands in the column.
Picture a marching band shoulder to shoulder marching down a street, and then gradually they start separating until they are 10 feet apart of each other.  Now they're marching single file, but they're separated by that 10 feet?  O.K. so far?  Good. 
Now at the end of the column, there is a detector. There are many types of detectors, but it really doesn't matter.  As each component marches past the detector on its way out of the column, the detector produces an electrical signal.  If the component is present in a high concentration, the detector produces a big signal.  If the component is only present in a small concentration, the detector produces a small signal. 

The signal then goes to a strip chart recorder.  You know what that is? Picture the device that the old fashioned lie detectors used to use.  You know, the pen would move on the paper and produce a wiggly line?  Same thing. The strip chart recorder draws peaks when the detector "sees" a component. Big peak for high concentrations, small peaks for small concentrations. 
This is the printout of a very simple oil with one major component

Here comes the math, be brave.  Simultaneously when the detector sends its signal to the strip chart recorder, it sends an identical signal to a computer processor.  The computer automatically computes the area under the peak of each component, and compares it to the area of the peak of a standard.  Then, by a simple proportion, it calculates the concentration of the unknown peak to the concentration of a standard compound whose
concentration we do know.  
Let me give you an example.  I take a known amount, say one gram of eucalyptol, the major component of eucalyptus oil, and inject it into my G.C. (gas chromatograph).  I get a peak, and that peak is always the same height as long as I inject one gram of eucalyptol into the G.C.  If I inject 1/2 gram of eucalytol, I get a peak 1/2 the height, and so on.  So I tell the computer that when you see a peak that is exactly the same height as my one gram standard, report that one gram of eucalyptol is in my sample.  Now the peaks are not all on top of each other, because you couldn't tell them apart.  They are separated on the paper just as the components are separated on the column.  The first peak to appear corresponds to the first peak that comes through the column.  
Your chromatogram of essential oils may contain hundreds, or even thousands of peaks!  How then, do we identify which peaks correspond to which components?  Well, we have to inject hundreds or thousands of standards of known components into the G.C. We then note the time it takes, from injection, until the compound hits the detector in
We call this the elution time, or the time it takes for a compound to elute from the column.  Each compound has a unique elution time, and can be identified this way.  Now, let me tell you that it is WAY more complicated than that, and I could go into the various types of columns, injectors,detectors, gases, etc., but that is the gist of it.      
GC of one of the most complicated oils - Rose Otto. See the multitude of peaks?

I had one supplier who would send a gc upon request...  with the major peaks marked by hand.  Their equipment was not hooked up to a machine... he identified the peaks by hand.   Also, the detail (and accuracy) an analyst can give is determined to a great part by the depth/breadth of the "Library" of analyses they have access to.  

I'm hoping this description makes a little bit of sense!  (Yes, it's simplistic. There may be those who will scoff at the analogy of the marching band.  Feel free to scoff.)