Listen to A Review of the “Estrogenic” Essential Oils: Fennel Oil Part II in less than 8-minutes below.
Listen to this blog in about 5-minutes below.
Since the misleading headlines in the news exclaiming that essential oils are “endocrine disruptors,” I proceeded to debunk this claim and took on the task of defending the good name of essential oils for hormonal balance. In my series of selected essential oils deemed to be “estrogenic,” I just resuscitated fennel essential oil’s reputation for endocrine harmony. You can read it here. A few weeks earlier, I demonstrated why clary sage essential oil is making a positive comeback. The bottom line was that these essential oils are examples of how synergism promotes healing and wellness. There is no conclusive evidence that fennel or clary sage oil is estrogenic or acts as estrogen in the body.
Now, I will start with a review on the third essential oil that needs a reputation makeover from rumors on disruption of sex hormones, sage oil.
The articles in the sage series are going to be a bit of doozy.
First, I will review its properties and basic applications.
Next, I will highlight some of the safety concerns that are frighteningly similar to the sclareol-scare-all-clary sage link and the estragole-fennel connection. This is so that you will have a general knowledge of the complexity of the essential oil. With this understanding, you will be able to dismiss any previous, current, or future hype in the headlines that state there is “evidence” of essential oils’ acting badly but are based solely on a few constituents.
Finally, I will go into details about sage oil and its hormonal claims. (Where did I put that soap-box?)
Important Note: Sage Oil Does Not Equal Sage Extract or Sage Herb
Sage is a well-known plant and it’s important to note that the essential oil and the herb or extract will contain different compositions. This makes each have varied mechanisms of actions and applications. There is a lot of information on “sage oil” on the web, and I’ve noted that even some of the experts are extrapolating herbal or extract effects to the essential oil. I admit, back in the days, I may have fumbled similarly.
While sorting through the literature, I have made sure to keep my references to the essential oil. This is explained why more below.
Sage Oil- The Mind-Bending Chemical Soup of Over 900 Species
Many may assume that clary sage and sage oil are similar. Although they both belong to the genus Salvia and are in the mint (Lamiacea) family, there are over 900 different species within it. (source, source, source) (Are you similar to your siblings and family…not always. ;))
According to a 2014 article in Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, sage essential oil has a wide range of uses from heart, respiratory, endocrine, and digestive support. (source). As its namesake proclaims, Sage officinalis, the species with the highest amount of essential oils, has been studied for its memory-restorative and enhancing properties. It also has been shown to have microbe-inhibiting effects and act as an antioxidant. (source, source, source) Another species, salvia lavandulaefolia (Spanish sage) is also recognized for its effects on memory. (source, source, source, source, source).
In the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, the authors review these applications and report on the different components of the plant based on its genetics, variations in the climate, and the season. This means that different effects could result from the same species and oil depending on how these aspects impact the constituents produced by the plant. I have included some of the details from the article below. This is for fellow geeks who want to compare the compounds and get a summary of their biological properties.
The essential oil of Salvia species has various compositions depending on the genetic, climatic, seasonal, and environmental factors. Some chemical compounds like flavonoids, terpenoids, and essential oils are present in different species of Salvia [Figure 4]. Essential oils are very important sources for the screening of anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and free radical scavenging agents. S. officinalis (common sage) is considered to have the highest amount of essential oil compared to the other species of Salvia.[5,12]
In all analyzed samples of S. officinalis, the major components, although present in different concentrations, are: 1,8-cineole, camphor, borneol, bornyl acetate, camphene, ?- and ?-thujone, linalool, ?- and ?-caryophyllene, ?-humulene, ?- and ?-pinene, viridiflorol, pimaradiene, salvianolic acid, rosmarinic acid, carnosolic acid, ursolic acid, etc.[7,12]
Studies have shown that some biological properties of the essential oil of Salvia depend on camphor, 1,8-cineole, ?-thujone, and ?-thujone. The essential oil of sage contains about 20% camphor, and as the leaves expand, the camphor content also increases. In a study, the most powerful scavenging compounds were reported to be ?-thujone and ?-thujone, bornyl acetate, camphor, menthone, and 1,8-cineol in the essential oil. In the same study, the essential oil of Melissa officinalis and S. officinalis showed better antioxidant activities than some other Lamiaceae plants. (source)
It’s important to note that, like every essential oil, the quality and distillation technique, along with the factors listed above, will also result in variances in molecules, properties, and safety profiles of sage oil. (source) This is reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Again, there’s more details in the alphabet soup of constituents below for my nerdy oily lovers.
The factors affecting oil yield and quality of essential oils from Dalmatian sage (Salvia officinalis L.) are analyzed. Distillations of oils from individual plants and GC analyses revealed the presence of three chemotypes with different proportions of alpha- and beta-thujone (alpha/beta 10:1, 1.5:1, and 1:10). Different accessions could also be classified as having high (39-44%), medium (22-28%), or low (9%) total thujone contents. Flowering parts of S. officinalis had higher oil contents (1.6 versus 1.1%) and beta-pinene levels (27 versus 10%) than leaves and lower thujone levels (16 versus 31%). Major seasonal changes were found in the composition of oil distilled from a flowering type of Dalmatian sage, but oil yields from healthy, established plants did not vary greatly. Total thujone levels were lowest (25%) around flowering in spring and summer, so autumn or winter was the best harvest time to obtain oils with high thujone levels. (source)
Natural Product Research reported on a comparison between Sage officinals from various European countries in 2007. The authors found it was those from Estonia with the highest level of thujone. This is important when assessing the safety of Sage oil, which I will get to later on in this series. (source)
I went down the rabbit hole of chemotype and how secondary metabolites differ in a plant based on distillation and other factors previously. You can get even more into the nitty gritty of this in my review of rosemary, another oil known for its support with memory.
The bottom line with sage oil is that with over 900 species, and varying quality essential oils on the market, buyer beware! Due to the different constituent’s present based on these factors, different companies’ sage oil will likely have a mild-moderate different symphony of biological effects.
Next week, I’ll go into the safety saga on sage oil and then we’ll complete the review with its hormonal effects, or lack thereof. Stay tuned!
Now, I’d like to hear from you.
What have you found with sage oil, have you used it for memory?
What’s your favorite use?
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I, or of my personally selected leader based on your inquiry, will follow up with you within a few days of your contact and/or your first order!
Many blessings from my heart to yours!
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
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