Convention: New Discovery of Essential Oil Pathways

Essential Oil Pathway: A New Discovery

Presentation by Dr Jeffery Talbot from Roseman University of Health Sciences

Roseman University is a private non-profit health institution. We currently enrol 1600 students from 16 countries, we have a strong teaching mission with a research focus. We are a mastering learning institution with a 90% pass rate.

We have a strong interdisciplinary team of scientists who’s interest is in nutraceutical science and it’s therapeutic properties.

We have a wide array of expertise.

We are unbiased and independent, we are scientists.

We have independently verified what we will share today, we have made discoveries we feel are dramatic and significant and that we believe are perhaps industry changing.

Our data suggests that each essential oil has a unique and singular biochemical fingerprint. That fingerprint we believe can predict the biological activity of the oil and can be used to assess the quality of the oil, even to the point of identifying and detecting adulterated oils.

Our relationship with doTERRA began two years ago in a barn at a social event being held there. I had a chance conversation with a doTERRA representative.

I wanted to pull the conversation back to science and tell him we had been investigating doTERRA oils independently.

Unbeknown to doTERRA we had tested oils compared to other companies. We’re very interested in where is it absorbed, how is it used, where is it metabolised.

We have been interested in finding nutraceutical effects on biomarkers. One of those enzymes is MMP8 which is an enzyme that breaks down tissue in gums. On Guard is a potent inhibitor of MMP8.

It’s well-documented that essential oils have high antioxidant properties so we purchased several – ylang ylang, black pepper and ginger and utilised a scientific method for detecting antioxidant activity.

We found that each of these doTERRA oils had robust antioxidant properties. What did surprise is when we deconstructed the oil and purified the individual components, those components alone could not replicate apart nor after trying to reconstruct it synthetically. That did not work.

doTERRA competitor oils did not replicate those antioxidant properties.

These are independent observations from our laboratories, at this stage we’d had no interaction with doTERRA.

But those findings were so striking we began to hypothesise what we call “the oil effect”.

Our observations suggest there are three hallmark characteristics of this.

doTERRA oils exert therapeutically relevant cellular effects. Effects are associated with whole oil, not individual components and the effects are not replicated by doTERRA competitors.

This became the essence of barnyard conversation, we suggested there may be interest in working together to explore more.

We’re scientists so we pushed forward on own. The process of scientific discovery is earnestly trying to prove self wrong. You work really hard to make a discovery and you turn around to try to disprove it, that’s good science.

That brings me to Dr Tim Le and Dr Yasuyo Urasaki – everything shared after this is Dr Le’s work.

To the best of our knowledge this is the first of its kind anywhere.

We wanted to test the hypothesis of the “oil effect”. Would it hold up to more scrutiny?

Dr Le realised that a by-product of those studies was he would be creating a biochemical fingerprint for every oil he tested.

For several years he’s been using advanced methodologies in Nanofluidic Proteomics, which is a large-scale study of proteins in the body.

Proteins and protein activity is the basis of life, it allows us to have health. But when it goes awry it’s the basis of disease as well.

Dr Le has been studying disease states – obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer etc and what we did, he began showing effects of essential oils on human cells.

The explanation is described as nanofluidic proteomics via a high-throughput and multiplex capillary isoelectric focusing immunoassays.

This is a robotic system, it takes all the proteins throughout cells and separates them based on size and charge. Once they’re separated they can be probed so Dr Le will take very specific antibodies that recognise types of proteins and it allows him to probe for protein changes and the activity of the protein or enzyme.

We did these studies in human liver cells, so all information presented is relevant.

Time applied essential oils for 24 hours, using copaiba, green mandarin and pink pepper.

He then analysed three pathways(growth and proliferation, metabolism and immunity) and explored how the cells responded.

Each pathway has multiple components – a cascade – so when cell responds to a stimulus like an essential oils, a cascade happens. This is a cellular effect that can lead to systemic responses. It’s like tipping over a row of dominoes.

We can turn these systems on and off. Sometimes we want more activity sometimes less.


We had a control, which was no essential oil. After treatment there was less inactive cells and significant increase in the active. That’s the change that we look for and it indicates copaiba increases the phosphorylation state in human liver cells.

These cells have signalling pathways with multiple components, we didn’t stop at MEK1.

Copaiba in human liver cells after 24 hrs has a varied and complex response on our pathways. Each associated with a systems response.

Repeated studies with Green Mandarin, Helichrysum, Melissa, Pink Pepper and Turmeric. We saw a complex picture of focussed regulation of cellular activity.

This is the beginning of the biological fingerprint.

We next asked, what happens if we compared with competitor oils?

Green Mandarin, Turmeric, and Pink Pepper compared to competitor under the same conditions.

I think you will be surprised as much as we were.

After 24 hrs of doTERRA green mandarin treatment there was a robust increase in the phosphorylated state of Stat3 but when we compared to a competitor oil we didn’t see no change, but that oil inhibited that pathway.

Dr Le wanted to check on single constituents.

We know that limonene makes up Green Mandarin so he bought some limonene from a lab supply company and used it at a specific concentration. We saw the same effect of the competitor oil.

This data suggests to us that perhaps the competitor oils have been adulterated or spiked with a  simplified component which doesn’t have same effect.

Other test with turmeric. The competitor again led to reverse result and that again suggests oils have been adulterated or spiked and lack the same biological activity. The effect was mimicked by tumerone.

A third example, Pink Pepper. The competitor showed no change, doTERRA showed result. Again suggest spiked or adulterated.

The doTERRA effect was very different than other oils, the competitor could be replicated with a single constituent and that suggests spiked or adulterated which would not yield therapeutic results.

In summary, we believe these tests give credence to this Oil Effect, that a whole oil has robust relevant effects on liver cells.

These effects cannot be replicated by a single constituent. Essential oils from other companies had minimal or opposite effects on cellular regulation.

Quality is the combination of chemistry and biochemistry

Biochemical analytics are required to fully assess the quality of essential oils.

You might be able to disguise the chemistry of an oil but your cells know the difference. That’s the implication of the study.

In that sense, your cells are the perfect lie detector test.

The implication is therapeutic potential – data suggests that the potential of essential oils is highly dependent of composition and that means sourcing, processing, and characterisation are critical to move that work forward.

Lastly, qualitative assessment is a new rapid way to assess essential oils from anyone.

The work Dr Le will share is absolutely revealing and worth your time.

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