Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Warning Letter of the Week: essential oils don't cure Ebola

Dear Mr. Young:

...Based on our review, FDA has determined that many of your Young Living Essential Oil products, such as, but not limited to, “Thieves,” “Cinnamon Bark,” “Oregano,” “ImmuPower,” “Rosemary,” “Myrtle,” “Sandalwood,” “Eucalyptus Blue,” “Peppermint,” “Ylang Ylang,” “Frankincense,” and “Orange,” are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)(B)], because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease.  The intended use of a product may be determined by, among other things, its labeling, advertising, and the circumstances surrounding its distribution, 21 C.F.R. § 201.128. As described below, the marketing and distribution of your Young Living Essential Oil products without FDA-approved applications is in violation of the Act. 
...On the website,, under the heading, “Young Living Versus Ebola Virus”:
Under the subheading, “Be Prepared”:
  • “Since I have become an avid Young Living essential oil user I have learned all about the anti-microbial properties of so many oils, including ANTI-VIRAL constituents in many of our essential oils.”
  • “Viruses (including Ebola) are no match for Young Living Essential Oils”...
...On the website,, under the heading, “Are you panicked about the Ebola Virus after watching the news this week?”:
“[T]he Ebola virus cannot survive in the presence of a therapeutic grade Cinnamon Bark and Oregano essential oil.” 
I suspect that FDA basically plays a giant game of Whack-A-Mole regarding quack websites like this, but hey, could be worse.


  1. Hey, I bet not a single consumer of Young's Essential Oils has contacted Ebola so it must work right?

  2. Shortly to be followed by advertising by the local ambulance chasers, "call now if you or your dear-departed has died from Ebola, you may be eligible for a cash settlement from this 1 trillion dollar lawsuit".

  3. Wow, they all cure Ebola? It doesn't matter what plants they come from or where they are, I guess, as long as they smell good.

    In related news , Taco Bell employees have started dying in large numbers of diseases that look like those experienced by the test subjects for the antibiotic in Andromeda Strain, while perfume counter employees at Macy's have gained superpowers and are now uniting to march on Washington.

  4. Idiocracy is coming true.

  5. "...Essential oils don't cure Ebola"

    Ya think?

    But maybe Hap is right - can I get some superpowers with that order?

  6. Lol funny to see so many people make claims that can't be proven to be true.
    Don't bash something because you don't understand it.

    1. Well, when you make a claim, it's your job to provide evidence. When you claim something and provide no evidence, and the claims you make fall under the FDA, you get whacked.

      As a sidebar, have these essential oils cured anything, other than the poverty of the people selling them and the purchasers' surpluses of cash? Data, please.

    2. In a vast failure of critical thinking and logic, the claim is fundamentally "100% of the people that used these essential oils never contracted Ebola" or some such drivel. Close examination of that statement is the real LOL, Anon.

      One of the fundamental rules of practical statistics and epidemiology is "Correlation does not imply causation." We are in dire need of more of that kind of education.

  7. O.K., let's look at the evidence.

    Essential oils are anti-bacterial

    Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria
    Filomena Nazzaro, Florinda Fratianni, [...], and Vincenzo De Feo

    Essential Oils are anti-viral

    Phytother Res. 2010 May;24(5):673-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2955.
    Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils.
    Astani A1, Reichling J, Schnitzler P.

    Essential oils have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties (including against peroxynitrites which are implicated in a vast array of diseases)

    Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Essential Oils:
    A Short Review
    Maria Graça Miguel

    Peroxynitrites play a key role in the pathogenesis of the ebola virus and Alzheimer's disease.

    Pathogenesis of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in Cynomolgus Macaques
    Evidence that Dendritic Cells Are Early and Sustained Targets of Infection
    Thomas W. Geisbert, Lisa E. Hensley, [...], and Kelly J. Davis

    In addition, peroxynitrite alone, or with NO, can mediate direct toxicity as well as activated inflammatory cascades via NFκB. Combined, these events may lead to organ injury and contribute to the multiple organ failure that is characteristic of EBOV infections.

    Widespread Peroxynitrite-Mediated Damage in Alzheimer’s Disease
    Mark A. Smith, Peggy L. Richey Harris, Lawrence M. Sayre, Joseph S. Beckman, and George Perry

    Unfortunately, the ingestion of essential oils can cause liver and kidney damage so this likely prevents them from being used against bacteria and viruses with the exception of airborne pathogens.

    Via aromatherapy, however, essential oils can be almost directly inhaled into the part of the brain most damaged by Alzheimer's disease. A small-scale clinical trial (Jimbo, et al. 2009) with various essential oils partially improved cognition in patients with dementia and especially those with Alzheimer's disease.

    Essential oils protect plants against various pathogens and other toxins. It is neither irrational nor far-fetched to suggest they can help treat a variety of diseases in human beings.

    The people who use the terms pseudoscience, quackery, and snake oil to apply to essential oils have failed to look at the evidence.

    1. If you say something works against Ebola, you ought to have actual evidence that it does so - lots of extracts/compounds have antitumor/antibacterial/etc... properties in culture dishes, but don't work in real life. That's why the FDA normally asks for actual trials in people before approving drugs. Random papers in random journals =! clinical evidence of efficacy.

    2. There are probably many things that work against Ebola and other virus' 'in-vitro' --that's the problem. I'm sure the essential oils could work in-vitro ' in the lab '--- but since they are a non-patentable substance I doubt highly they will get a drop of funding from all the 'well spent research funding' that is thrown at a bunch of diseases.

      Our charity funding gets spent to research for profit drugs. It's all back door FDA policy, and I'll tell you. I'm not expecting the FDA to protect anyone but Monsanto and big Pharma. Just saying. Then we police each other so well, make those natural plant extract hippies responsible for actually conforming to the system that is created to exclude these substances. Exactly.

      Some would take away the right of the many to help themselves with plant extracts by using the fact that it rubs corps the wrong way to suggest that these substances may just have medicinal properties. Ya think? Well Chemo agents are made from tree bark. Almost every single drug out there is developed first from a natural extract.. Only our system says they need to be synthesized from their natural form and tested for tens of millions of dollars before they can actually be considered medicine. ANYTHING else that could help- HASN'T BEEN TESTED!! ARRGGHHH- SHUT EM DOWN people. That's a threat to the profit flow. Just saying again.

    3. Problem is, lots of things don't work against cancer or Ebola (lots of things do less than that, even - hemlock or amanita mushrooms, for example). The only way to tell is to test, and test in a way that distinguishes between something that cures and something that makes you think it cures. Finding that out is kind of hard and expensive, but is the only way to find things that work if one is interested in doing so. Saying something cures without any evidence that it does is worth less than a warm pitcher of spit.

      Of course, if we're going to play the "Cui bono" game, the supplement market is not exactly negligible, although the amount of data and actual cures they've made is.

  8. I beg to differ. The science says differently!

  9. Here is the abstract
    Research on prevention and treatment of hemorrhagic fevers.

    Joniec J1, Kołodziej M, Bartoszcze M, Kocik J, Knap J.
    Author information


    Viral hemorrhagic fevers are severe zoonotic diseases caused by RNA-viruses classified into 4 families: Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, Filoviridae, and Flaviviridae. They are present on all continents except Antarctica, their person-to-person spread is easy, and there is a high risk of them being used as weapon by bioterrorists. So far, efforts to develop effective drugs against these viruses have failed, and typical therapy usually relies on symptomatic treatment. Search for substances that could effectively inhibit this type of infections is now a priority. The presented paper gives an overview of different approaches used in combating the viral hemorrhagic fevers. Researchers look for safe antiviral agents with appropriate properties among natural sources, such as various types of herbs plants, algae, or essential oils obtained from trees, as well as investigate the use of various synthetic substances. The aim is to broaden the pool of available antiviral drugs that could replace hitherto applied medicines such as ribavirin, which is not always sufficiently effective and may have side-effects. The scientists focus not only on combating the diseases, but also on their prevention. For this purpose, recombinant vaccines or various types of immunomodulators may serve as a useful tools. Results of the latest studies are promising and encourage further work which may eventually lead to the solution of the urgent problem


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20