Controlling the Uncontrollable Stress
I must admit … when I first began the 31 days of essential oils, I didn’t anticipate how far I would go with each oil; yet, my commitment was and continues to be to provide a unique look at each one. That said, as I began writing about Lavender, I recalled what I said in the video. If you haven’t seen it, allow me to briefly recap the message ….
True Lavender a.k.a. English Lavender has estrogenic effects on the body while other versions of Lavender contain neurotoxic constituents that have the potential to bring on seizures in anyone prone to them i.e. autism. The challenge for me as I write the piece on Lavender is to provide supporting evidence; especially with regards to the estrogenic statement. With that said, I’ve found what I need to back up my thoughts (yay!); however, it seemed like a good idea to say a bit more about stress in a separate post as a way of further clarifying my thoughts around the use of the various oils.
To begin with, nature communicates via chemicals. There’s no getting around it. Every living organism undergoes millions of enzymatic processes on a daily basis. The chemistry involved begins with the individual system as the plant, bacteria, animal (including human) functions because of the chemicals being produced. There are chemicals for metabolism, energy, protection otherwise called oxidative stress), reproduction, digestion, communication and so on. At the same time, the genetic receptors involved in the systemic reactions are susceptible to external chemicals ,,, this is a type of communication and in fact, how plants alert one another of potential threats.
You see, genetic receptors respond to the specific shapes of chemical compounds, so when all the carbons, hydrogens and other elements are in an arrangement that matches the receptors ‘docking mechanism’, a message is received. The result of this communication depends on the information delivered. If it’s a signal for ‘normal’ activity, then the next chemical produced will support that. Should the incoming message regard danger, an entirely different chemical is produced even when it’s the same genetic receptor. This is how nature functions. It’s not unlike a faucet …. turn on one side and you get cold water; the other, hot.
In other words, depending on the communication, nature either operates in survival (cold) or it continues to thrive (hot). It’s not about good or bad'; it’s simply about what’s needed at the time. This is how nature functions and for as much as I can wrap my head around something being wrong or dysfunctional, it’s not. As long as an organism is alive, it’s functioning as it is designed to do …….
Plant constituents are chemical messengers just like dopamine, estrogen, hydrogen peroxide (a reactive oxygen species produced in the human body when cut, exposed to certain heavy metals, etc.)and so on. What’s more, just like the chemicals produced by the body, these plant compounds influence communication throughout the body when applied. And in a world devoid of manmade chemicals, life, for the most part, would be less dis-eased; however, as you know, that’s not our experience. Due to the fact that ‘we’ are currently producing approximately 45 million chemicals being used in some capacity around the world on a daily basis, natural is no longer safe.
Why? Because 1) chemicals interact and 2) manmade chemicals pose a bigger threat than we realize.
When it comes to chemicals interacting, let’s just say that for the sake of this post, we’re talking about an abundance of similar chemicals that in small amounts are easily metabolized, possibly used, and eventually eliminated. Too much of the same thing is stressful to the system; thereby, triggering an alteration in the chemistry for the sake of survival. In other words, distress leads to the production of oxidative stress until the threat passes. Sometimes, chemicals have the same ‘target’ a.k.a. mechanism of action and ultimately clash, again, signaling the need for protection a.k.a. inflammation until the situation is relieved. This happens quite often between natural remedies and medications.
At the same time, manmade chemicals compound the problem even further, especially when ‘derived from nature’ i.e. supplements. Why is this? Synergy …..
Chemicals produced in nature have a synergistic effect on an organism. What this means is while a single chemical produces inflammation, there are others that provide stability to the entire organism, When man produces chemicals in a lab, the medium with which it’s developed is different than what is found in nature which changes the energy of the chemical. (keep in mind, everything is energy including the chair you’re sitting on) While the energy of a constituent may seem insignificant, it’s not. It’s the reason why two people can make the same recipe and end up with, at the very least, a slightly different tasting dish. Therefore, citric acid, for instance, developed in a lab is not the same as citric acid in an orange. Not to mention, when we isolate chemicals and combine them in products, there isn’t a synergy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a chemical reaction, it’s just that nature works in mysterious ways … ways that science has yet to define, let alone describe.
Nature does not isolate, nor does it make a mistake. Chemicals are produced in ways that work in tandem with others. What’s more, they are 100% active and originate from the same source rather than being independently produced and combined for specific purposes.
Nature does not discriminate, it simply activates and deactivates according to the messages received. This is significant when it comes to the difference between synergy and chemical reactions. With synergy, the chemicals from the same source support and stabilize activity. On the other hand, chemical reactions set off the alarms of distress which means the body will take the necessary action to accommodate and protect.
This brings me to the point of this entire piece: unless we eliminate every commercial product from our lifestyle, caution must be exercised with essential oils!!!
Why? Science recognizes the variety of plant constituents and their qualities:
Of course there are others i.e.:
However, not only do they recognize these properties and more, these chemicals are patented and being produced in labs for medications, flavorings, scenting, personal care and household products and as I’ve been writing about the various constituents in essential oils i.e. phenols and terpineols, it occurred to me to write this post.
The human body has a specific mechanism for deactivating phenols (as discussed in the previous post); however, this isn’t happening due to the stress response.
When the body is distressed, certain processes are ‘temporarily’ deactivated, with temporary being the key word. Unfortunately, these changes are ongoing due to the elevated levels of stress. The challenge with being human is it’s not just the environment impacting our health .. our thoughts and emotions are compounding the issue; which is why I often tell people to take slow inhales and exhales while reminding themselves that ‘they are ok’. The body cannot distinguish between a serious threat and the ongoing worry and fear about surviving. You’re already surviving … it’s time to kick it up a notch. With this said, in many instances, some of the changes impacting us affects our ability to deactivate, metabolize and / or eliminate chemicals, like phenols. Therefore, when we’re already using products with phenols in them and then add essential oils with phenols i.e. oregano or thyme, we are basically distressing the system even further. This is a great argument for only using oils that offer stability and caution with everything else.
The same can be said for terpineols. There are over 65 essential oils with some form of terpineol in them; however, terpineol is also used for scenting products among other things. What’s more, terpineol, like phenols, is an endocrine disruptor as discovered while writing about Lavender.
Do essential oils deserve the bad rap they’re getting from the countless studies going on in order to prove the potential danger? Absolutely not!!! I mean, let’s be real …. instead of looking at the potential harm our technology is inflicting on the world and its inhabitants, we’re redirecting attention in the direction of identifying naturally occurring resources as dangerous
Allow me to say this ….. man’s attempt to replicate and overpower nature is a failed attempt at playing God. Man is nature .. there’s no getting away from that and the more ‘we’ seek to control something we cannot control, the more dis-ease we create.
In all honesty, one could argue about the need to protect ourselves from the bacteria and viruses; however, let me remind you that these organisms are surviving too … they just outsmarted our technology which is why we need to protect ourselves from them. In many respects, we are at war with ourselves … a.k.a. nature and as long as we are, reducing our exposure to potentially harmful chemicals is advisable.
Stress is a natural reaction … it’s in our DNA …. our mission is to align with this energy, rather than fight it and in doing so, the overt reactions will subside.
So, if control is undermining our ability to thrive, how does a person control stress or for that matter, even want to?
In all honesty, control does not always mean exerting effort or force .. many times we gain control by going with the flow. The first part to this is when we stop resisting the flow, we enable a sense of peace. That alone restores ease. Next, think about treating something with kindness. Kindness is something that naturally happens when we’re being easy about what is …. I’m not suggesting tolerate and settle; I am, however, encouraging a sense of acceptance … ok, this is what is for now; so, what needs to happen in order to stabilize the situation? ….
This is what I mean by incorporating oils for the sake of stabilization. All too often, we’re attempting to control the symptoms, etc. when what the body actually needs is a bit of ease to offset the dis-ease; therefore, what needs to happen to make that so? These are the oils we need to focus on …. keeping in mind that there are plenty of products being used with a lot of chemicals that both serve a purpose as well as aggravate the body when too much is consumed.
So, how do we control the uncontrollable? We control ourselves. We operate with awareness and make choices that provide far more than the basic need to control a symptom ….
Please share these posts! As my love for essential oils grows, so does my understanding of the environment and I would not be serving my community if I pretended I wasn’t the wiser …. I’m also providing my PayPal me link as several people have requested that I make it easier for people to express their gratitude thru a donation.