Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS
Enter the words “essential oils” in the search function of a scientific research database and you will get endless pages of content. In the last two decades alone, more than 10,000 studies evaluating essential oils and their constituents have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In the history of modern science, less than 300 human clinical trials evaluating the effects of essential oils on the human organism, in a real world environment, have made their way into scientific journals. And, almost all of those published clinical trials were conducted in an academic setting, by entities without any connection to the essential oil industry. The lack of clinical research is one of the primary reasons that essential oil use was fringe within the eyes of the health community for so many years. As the only name in essential oil science, doTERRA is single-handedly changing that.
What Is Clinical Research?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), clinical research is scientific investigation that involves living humans1. Unlike experimental research, the sole goal of clinical research is to determine if a specific treatment or behavior is a safe and effective means of inducing healthy change in humans. Human clinical trial participants are exposed to new substances (personal care products, dietary supplements, essential oils, pharmaceuticals), new treatment processes or methods of application, or behavioral modification in order to assist researchers in gathering data to make conclusions about what is the safest and most effective way to promote a specific outcome.
Why Is Clinical Research Important?
Clinical research is important because it is directly relevant to you. Research conducted in a laboratory environment in non-living organisms (in vitro), simulated on a computer (in silico), in animals (which doTERRA does not conduct or support), or isolated human cells (in vivo) provides insight into what may occur when a human is exposed to a new substance or treatment. But the results are not as powerful or generalizable as clinical research because an agar solution in a petri dish is very different than a human in their natural environment. In medicine, every new pharmaceutical or treatment begins with a clinical trial and must meet accepted thresholds for safety and efficacy to be allowed for use in the U.S. by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)2. Personal care, dietary supplements, and complementary medicine are a little bit different; because the risk associated with use of these products is generally minimal, clinical research is not required. And what is not required is not commonly done. Clinical trials are extremely complex, time-consuming, expensive, and the results may not be what the investigators expect or want. Because of this high risk and cost, clinical research is rare within the essential oil, dietary supplement, and personal care industries. The results of experimental research is often all we have to go by regarding the safety and efficacy of these products, but not at doTERRA.
Clinical Research at doTERRA
Visit doTERRA’s global campus at any time of the year and you are likely to see multiple clinical trials on-going. doTERRA has an entire team of scientists dedicated to research and a specific department who focuses solely on clinical trials. Previous studies have already been published, and in preparation for convention, doTERRA scientists conducted seven clinical trials within the last few months on single oils, new blends, and dietary supplements. The results of several of these clinical investigations will result in scientific publications. No more relying on experimental research conducted by outside entities. doTERRA is revolutionizing essential oil, personal care, and dietary supplement science by proving the safety and efficacy of their products through in-house clinical investigation. So you can be sure that their products are the most tested and trusted in the industry.
Don’t forget to jot down notes from convention and follow social media for updates on all the amazing clinical research being conducted at doTERRA.