3 Steps for Negotiating Phenols with Diet & Essential Oils

To begin with, allow me to share the Wikipedia description of phenols:

**Phenol is an aromatic organic compound with the molecular formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid that is volatile. The molecule consists of a phenyl group (−C6H5) bonded to a hydroxy group (−OH). It is mildly acidic and requires careful handling due to its propensity for causing chemical burns.
Phenol was first extracted from coal tar, but today is produced on a large scale (about 7 billion kg/year) from petroleum. It is an important industrial commodity as a precursor to many materials and useful compounds. It is primarily used to synthesize plastics and related materials. Phenol and its chemical derivatives are essential for production of polycarbonates, epoxies, Bakelite, nylon, detergents, herbicides such as phenoxy herbicides, and numerous pharmaceutical drugs.
The worldwide phenol market is estimated to be valued at USD 31.73 billion by 2025. Asia Pacific holds the highest market share. The Asia Pacific market is anticipated to project a CAGR of 4.9% from 2014 to 2025.**


**In organic chemistry, phenols, sometimes called phenolics, are a class of chemical compounds consisting of a hydroxyl group (—OH) bonded directly to an aromatic hydrocarbon group. The simplest of the class is phenol, C6H
5OH. Phenolic compounds are classified as simple phenols or polyphenols based on the number of phenol units in the molecule. Phenols are synthesized industrially as well as naturally.**

So, there you have it …. phenols are a fact of life and have been for quite some time. What’s more, it doesn’t appear as if they’ll be disappearing anytime soon. However, the reason for this post is to point out something really amazing about the human body. It’s ability to process these chemicals through transulfation where the body converts sulfite into sulfate. This is a methylation activity that requires both the conversion of homocysteine into cysteine and the glycolytic cycle. However, this isn’t a random occurrence; the human body also produces phenols, with sulfation being a major inactivation pathway for catecholamines, like dopamine. Said another way, the body is MORE than capable of producing every chemical it needs and adjusting the process as needed.

As it is though, phenols are also in the plants we consume albeit food, herbs or oils. What’s even more interesting is plants process phenols via the same sulfation pathway. I add this point as a way of illustrating the magnificence throughout nature, which includes the human body.

Nonetheless, emotions complicate matters for us and between the way we think, emote and the environment, our system is taxed to the hilt; leading to significant chemical changes for the protection of the body. Unfortunately, these changes are chronic, consistently disrupting glycolysis which interferes with how the body metabolizes and uses sugars and ultimately transulfation; although, not because the body is dysfunctional …. no, on the contrary .. the body is functioning just fine. It’s just the constant interruption of nutrient breakdown and assimilation that leads to an endless cycle of stress which is without question, an instinct of survival.

This little bit of information is quite good to know because it explains a lot about mental health concerns as well as the development of other degenerative diseases. Not to mention, if sulfation pathway is unable to inactivate our own phenols, imagine what’s happening when we add ‘fuel to the fire’ i.e. commercial products, foods and essential oils. That said, phenols and their derivatives are both beneficial and toxic, and as it goes, the manmade ones are posing the greatest threat and compounding the stress response. Please know, I’m not insinuating anything derogatory. At the same time, manmade chemicals have an entirely different effect on the human body which is why they are interpreted as offensive to the system, so to speak. That said, here are some symptoms of phenol overload:

  1. Waking in the middle of the night

  2. trouble falling asleep

  3. night sweats

  4. aggression

  5. hyperactivity

  6. dark circles under the eyes

  7. red flush on cheeks, finger tips or ears

  8. inappropriate laughter (often at nighttime)

  9. self-stimming behavior

  10. head banging or self-injury (from headache)

  11. diarrhea, sometimes constipation

The following is a list of foods high in phenols:

  1. apples

  2. berries

  3. cherries

  4. red and dark skinned grapes and raisins

  5. pomegranates

  6. peaches

  7. plums and prunes

  8. oranges (all types)

  9. mangos

  10. dates

  11. spinach

  12. broccoli

  13. cauliflower

  14. artichokes

  15. celery

  16. eggplant

  17. cucumbers

  18. zucdhini

  19. flax seeds

  20. pumpkin seeds

  21. almonds

  22. cashews

  23. beans (black, pinto and red kidney)

  24. black-eyed peas

  25. chickpeas

  26. lentils

  27. pistachios

  28. pecans

  29. hazelnuts

  30. chocolate

So what is a person to do if they suspect that their body is struggling to process phenols?

3 Steps for Negotiating Phenols with Diet & Essential Oils

  1. avoid eating any of these foods on a regular basis. Once in a while is ok until ‘we’ get your body back up to ‘speed’, especially if you use the oils suggested in number 3

  2. avoid using the following essential oils: anise, star anise, clove, cassia, cinnamon, holy basil, bay laurel, oregano, thyme, calamus

  3. use these essential oils: roman chamomile, palmarosa, bergamot, cardamom .. for best results, use them at the same time by massaging them over the abdomen as well as placing a drop under the nose, twice a day. What’s more, feel free to blend them and carry with you so that you might smell it from time to time throughout the day. It is ok if you use other oils, just be sure to use these every day for at least 2 months.

Before closing, allow me to point out that natural phenols are not bad. The problem truly lies in the body’s struggle to process them due to the changes along the epigenome. In nature, even the ones ‘we’ make, have a purpose. In the plant world, they are free radicals, protecting the organism from bacteria and viruses. This is why oregano, for instance, is so popular. The anti-microbial effects are real. At the same time, if our body is unable to inactivate them, then the phenols begin to disrupt our bacterial flora. Not to mention, they are neurotoxic at high levels .. there again, this only happens when the sulfation pathway is disrupted. And when you combine the natural phenols with the manmade ones, the body is overloaded AND the manmade ones have been found to destroy the important bacterial colonies in water treatment.

I could go on, and the bottom line is, understanding what they are and how they are involved in systemic instability gives us the chance to assist the body with restoring stability, ease and comfort.

In the meantime, I’d love it if you’d join my email list as well as check out my 31 Days of Essential Oils blog AND, be sure to let me know if you have a blog suggestion