Essential oils are active at the cellular level of our bodies. Better said, essential oils affect the biochemistry of our cells. Two of my favorite essential oils are Cinnamon Bark and Oregano. Their main chemical constituents are cinnamaldehyde and carvacrol, respectively. When taken internally, these oils have a variety of interesting beneficial effects on cellular biochemistry.* I will illustrate just two examples.
1) Cinnamon Bark. The colon is a prime target for toxic insult. In a recently published preclinical study (May 2015), dietary cinnamaldehyde was found to activate the Nrf2-regulated antioxidant response in colon cells, which protect the colon cells against oxidative and toxic insult.(3)* Nrf2 is a DNA regulatory protein, and its activation is being studied quite extensively for its ability to unleash the antioxidant activity latent in each cell. Without an activator, this powerful endogenous (internal) antioxidant activity lays dormant within the cell.
2) Oregano. Well-regulated levels of inflammation are key to good health. Inflammation is actually mediated by the immune system. In a recent preclinical study (June 2015), ingested carvacrol decreased levels of the key immune system inflammatory particles called cytokines.*(4) Cytokines are small proteins that act as messengers for the immune system. An immune system under stress can sometimes overproduce cytokines and other inflammatory molecules, which can lead to adverse effects throughout the body. For example, when we undergo acute bouts of intense exercise, we trigger a natural inflammatory response. Carvacrol may help assist the body’s normal immune system response to such stressors.*
These are just two examples of the many means by which essential oils affect cellular biochemistry.* Given the vast numbers of molecules that orchestrate cellular life, it is compelling that essential oils can have such potent effects on our cells.* SEE MORE