Is your medicine cabinet filled with an assortment of prescription medications? Most of us do not realize how much medication we actually consume through the course of the year.
We buy over the counter pain killers for headaches and other body aches.
When we feel some kind of digestive distress, we immediately reach out for any pill that promises instant relief.
The moment we start sniffling or coughing, we rush out to get a prescription for more meds and cough syrups.
It never ends. After all there is prescription medication available for every known ailment and it sounds like a welcome quick-fix when we are experiencing pain or any kind of discomfort.
Over the past few years however, there has been a lot written about the dangers of over-medicating ourselves.
In 2004, the FDA issued a warning involving these drugs producing a greater risk of depression or suicidal thoughts in those using the drugs. The following statement by Russell Katz, a director at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research was made: “We don’t know that the drugs are responsible for these behavioral changes, but nonetheless we’re telling physicians and families to be aware of this and that if the behaviors do emerge, to get treatment right away.”
It is often the case that drugs depress natural healing functions, instead of proactively addressing the issue at hand.
One 2008 report, published by The Internet Journal of Academic Physician Assistants, research numerous scholarly articles, reviews and books over the span of 8 years. The goal was to explore the impact of the pharmaceutical industry on the prescribing habits of healthcare professionals.
The researchers concluded that pharmaceutical companies do have a huge influence on the prescribing habits of medical practitioners – influence which is, in some cases, unethical.
According to a second report, most drug companies apportion staggering amounts on marketing and have a considerably lower budget for scientific research and development. The report quotes that Pfizer, one of the world’s premiere pharmaceutical companies (according to their own website), spent $11.4 billion on marketing in 2013, while spending only $6.6 billion on research and development.
With so much emphasis on quotas and the inherent profit, most sales reps are shockingly ignorant to the ingredients, efficacy or side effects of the product they’re selling.
Doesn’t it make you wonder why we blindly trust Big Pharma with our most precious asset – our health?
The truth is when the underlying goal is profit, very few people actually pause for thought in respect to your health. Ultimately, you need to do the legwork yourself in order to make sure that whatever pill you are popping is safe for you and will not result in other problems.
Even the purchase of daily body care products, laced with man-made chemicals is money lining the pockets of huge conglomerates at the expense of consumer health.
Read on to take a peek behind the scenes of the pharmaceutical industry and to find out what’s really being put into your body via pharmaceuticals and assorted body care products.
What Big Pharma is Putting into Your Body
Not many of us really know or understand the working mechanisms of the “active ingredients” in our meds and whether or not they will have consequences on our health at any time in the future.
What we do know for certain are the possible side effects of each drug and the only reason we know this is because these companies are required by law to list these ingredients.
Of course, more often than not, these ingredients are mentioned in the tiniest script possible. If you’ve ever taken the time to do some research on the side effects of each ingredient you would see that in many cases the side effects are as disturbing (or more so) than the illness itself.
What’s more, the side effects can sometimes occur after taking just about any pill, from your everyday aspirin to the latest drug on the market.
From skin irritation and gastrointestinal issues to the indiscriminate killing of healthy cellular activity, the side effects of pharmaceutical medicines are staggering. And they’re not natural, in the least.
Even the coatings on drugs or supplements can contain dangerous chemicals. According to this 2011 report, coatings are sometimes laced with plasticizing chemicals called phthalates, which have been linked to a number of reproductive and hormonal issues.
Even worse, you may not be able to avoid drugs with phthalates by reading labels. Pharmaceutical conglomerates aren’t required by the FDA to list them on their packaging if these phthalates are considered inactive ingredients or are used for drug delivery systems that are trade secrets.
The phthalates are beneficial to the packaging and longevity of the product, because it is flexible and resilient while helping to regulate the release and delivery of drugs for absorption. However, some studies have found that high phthalate content has been linked to chronic digestive tract inflammation and cystic fibrosis.
Does This Mean Medication Does Not Work?
No, it doesn’t. However, these drugs are usually effective in addressing symptoms of a disorder and not necessarily the cause. And almost always, there are healthy functions in the body which are compromised as a result of the medication. One such example is cholesterol drugs.
There are 3 main types of cholesterol drugs – statin drugs, bile acid sequestering agents, and HDL boosters.
- Statin drugs help reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver and in doing so they impact the method by which LDL cholesterol enters cells. This has a domino effect which, in turn, could potentially lead to muscle inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, liver toxicity and sight conditions.
- Bile acid sequestering agents absorb the acids created by cholesterol in the intestinal tract. Once they are excreted, cholesterol levels in the blood are reduced. The short-term results of this can range from nausea and bloating to constipation and a reduced ability to absorb vitamins. Long-term results may even cause bleeding or vision related disorders.
- HDL boosters lower triglyceride levels in the body and increase HDL levels. Though effective, yet again, there are consequences. According to this study, published by the World Health Organization (WHO), these pharmaceutical agents increased fatalities in their users by 44%. Though it suppressed fatalities from cardiac conditions, it appeared to have increased fatalities from gall bladder complications and cancer.
The point is, whichever pharmaceutical option you choose, you are essentially springing 10 more health leaks.
Another example is the over-prescribing of amphetamine and amphetamine-like drugs for kids diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. The abuse in prescribing these drugs is well documented, the purpose often being to turn a hyperactive kid into a zombie.
Another Health Offender: The Cosmetic & Cleaning Industries
It may come as a surprise to many to know that there are several ways that toxic chemicals enter the body. Not only are we taking toxic chemicals into the body through the use of pharmaceutical drugs, we are also absorbing toxic chemicals through nearly every type of body product or household cleaning product we use or that we come into contact with.
Consider health and beauty products. Some of the common chemicals in products – from parabens in your shampoo to aluminum in your deodorants – have the potential to be severely destructive. Let’s take a closer look at these two.
Parabens serves as the base not only for shampoos but for several other cosmetic products such as deodorants and sunscreens for instance). Parabens have been shown to possess a high rate of absorption. Excessive absoortpion of parabens has been linked to early puberty, organ toxicity, hormonal cancers or birth defects. In effect, they interfere with hormonal balance by impacting estrogenic activity.
Now let’s just consider the need for metal in a body care product – does not seem logical or practical, does it? Take a look at the ingredients in your average deodorant or antiperspirant lately. Aluminum is used in several different deodorant brands to reduce sweating. In some antiperspirants, it makes up as much as 25% of the total content in the product.
When absorbed into the body, aluminum can cause breast cancer. Women who shave their underarms are particularly susceptible as shaving increases the absorption of toxic chemicals.
According to a study published by the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, “Aluminum is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells…Results reported here demonstrate that aluminum in the form of aluminum chloride or aluminum chlorhydrate can interfere with the function of oestrogen receptors of MCF7 human breast cancer cells.”
In men, too, antiperspirants have been linked to prostate cancer, yet the FDA hasn’t yet banned this ingredient’s use or even taken steps to classify it as a carcinogen.
These are just two of the many dangerous ingredients found in everyday products. Other common toxic ingredients incorporated into everything from soaps to detergents include talc, propylene glycol, DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), phthalates (yes, those phthalates, again), triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, 1,4 dioxane, formaldehyde, toluene, and any number of synthetic dyes or fragrances whose ingredients can be concealed under the guise of trade secrets.
If you Google search any one of these active ingredients, you will be horrified to discover their potential side effects and/or the user’s increased susceptibility to cancer resulting from their use.
As pharmaceutical prescriptions continue to grow, so do deaths from overdose. Data from the CDC illustrates the detrimental effects of painkillers and prescription drugs.
According to the CDC’s statistics, there has been no discerning overall change in the amount of pain experienced by Americans, and yet during the years from 1999-2013, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed quadrupled, as did the fatalities from prescription overdoses (over 16,000 during this period). This is largely due to alterations in how prescriptions are dealt by providers.
Moreover, the CDC’s statistics show that, every single day, at least 44 people die from overdosing on pain killers in the US alone and even more prescription users become addicted to the drugs and leading to drug abuse.
In fact, the CDC states that “in 2013, nearly two million Americans abused prescription painkillers. Each day, almost 7,000 people are treated in emergency departments for using these drugs in a manner other than as directed.”
This issue is treated as an epidemic; an epidemic that is not likely to find closure anytime soon, as long as Big Pharma is making bank.
Fortunately, there is an effective and safer alternative to Big Pharma prescription medications and these are essential oils.
Essential oils are natural extracts from plants that have been used for millennia to combat common health problems. Modern research regularly validates the innate therapeutic properties of various essential oils.
The essential oil industry is worth US$300 billion a year globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Synthetic Drugs vs Natural Essential Oils
I recently read a very interesting and insightful article ‘The Chemistry of Essential Oils‘ written by Dr. David Stewart, Ph.D. . In discussing the pros/cons of essential oils, Dr. Steward puts it in a really easy to understand way. This is what he says:
“Drugs and oils work in completely opposite ways.
Drugs toxify. Oils detoxify. Drugs depress the immune system. Oils strengthen the immune system. Drugs clog and confuse receptor sites. Oils clean receptor sites.
Antibiotics attack bacteria indiscriminately, killing both the good and the bad. Oils attack only the harmful bacteria, allowing our body’s friendly flora to flourish.”
How true! Consumers like you and I are now catching on to the fact that Big Pharma may not have all the answers…or our best interests.
Essential Oils for Wellness
Alternatives to health and wellness include a nutritious diet, fitness and natural solutions. Mother Earth has provided us with the very substances to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. Essential oils are part of this natural solution.
The drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies produce in the laboratory do not work like the natural therapeutic oils obtained from the earth. Essential oils detoxify the body, while pharmaceutical medications toxify it. Essential oils enhance immune system function, while pharmaceuticals depress it.
The body does not meet, respond to or rid of pollutants introduced by man-made drugs. Essential oils are introduced into the body topically, inhaled or consumed. The oils remain in the body for the desired amount of time and are eliminated naturally.
Simply put, essential oils and the human body complement each other perfectly because both are 100% . Pharmaceuticals, made of spliced-together chemicals, are notnatural and so they’re greeted by the body like alien invaders from another planet.
Other ways in which essential oils differ from pharmaceutical drugs include their ability to differentiate between harmful bacteria and normal flora found within the body. Essential oils are capable of distinguishing between the two, while pharmaceuticals kill indiscriminately.
Moreover, a single essential oil can offer a full-spectrum of therapeutic properties, while most prescription drugs are rather one-dimensional.
Essential oils are homeostatic, meaning they are well tuned to changing body conditions and can adapt. Pharmaceutical drugs, on the other hand, are the lazy and un-ambitious coworker – they do their one job, without taking any more initiative than is deemed necessary…and they don’t pick up on social cues.
Unlike essential oils, which demonstrate no side effects if properly applied, pharmaceutical labels usually come with a long list of possible side effects. This is because drugs are not designed to address the underlying issues of disease.
Instead, they misinform cells, receptor sites, or the brain in order to waylay symptoms, like pain. Though they are successful in their efforts, temporarily relieving you from stress, normal bodily functions are often impacted by this misinformation.
Essential oils proactively assist optimal bodily function. For example, in this study published by JYP, the study’s objective was to uncover the mechanism by which lemongrass essential oil was effective in protecting against gastric ulcer. The oil’s gastroprotective activity was due to its synergistic interaction with the endogenous prostaglandins, which help modulate the stomach’s bicarbonate, mucus, and acid secretion, thereby protecting against injuries in the mucous membrane.
The oil works, not by confusing the body’s cells, but by proactively supporting them, in turn fortifying various biological systems.
Clary sage produced antidepressant properties in this second study, published by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. After committing lab rats to a forced swim test, clary sage (along with rosemary, chamomile, and lavender) was found to have powerful anti-stressor effects.
The mechanism by which this oil demonstrated such antidepressant properties was its interaction with the DAnergic pathway (dopamine pathway), a neural pathway of the brain that helps transmit dopamine – the neurotransmitter involved in activating the brain’s pleasure and reward centers – thereby helping modulate dopamine in the brain. Unlike psychotropic meds, the risk of suicide is not a side-effect of essential oil use.
It’s easy to see that talking too much medication can eventually create adverse reactions in the body. With that in mind, more and more people are turning to essential oils for healing as the safer alternative.
Why Not Patent Essential Oils?
Why doesn’t the pharmaceutical industry just patent the oils, slap a brand name on the bottle, and provide a relatively safe and natural product to the consumer?
The answer is that natural products cannot be patented, because if they were, a single pharmaceutical company could nab up the patent on lemon and lavender and chamomile and all of these beneficial oils and would immediately have a monopoly over the entire pharmaceutical sector.
By melding together inorganic substances into pills, but were never really meant to be metabolized by the human body, pharmaceutical companies can patent to their heart’s content, while your body tries to metabolize, break down, and dispose of these synthetic substances when they are done “curing” you.
Additionally, pharmaceutical companies create their products in a laboratory, where everything is controlled, down to a decimal point. This makes it easier to meet market demands as they come, rather than to rely on the growth of a crop, which often depends on the success of the harvest. With such uncertainty, natural companies may not always meet consumer demands if they want to ensure quality, as therapeutic-grade oils do.
All-natural, organic substances are much easier for the body to metabolize or eliminate once they’ve done their job. Essential oils access the receptor sites of cells much easier, interact with these cells much more naturally and, once their therapeutic function is complete, they are flushed out of the liver and kidneys, just like any other natural substance.
Are you ready to detoxify your life with aromatherapy and essential oils? On this site you will find several articles that will help you get started.