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Essential Science: A Scientists Mission To Bring Essential Oils Research To The Masses

A Scientists Mission To Bring Essential Oils Research To The Masses

by Nicole Stevens,

(article from doTERRA Living Magazine, Spring 2012)

My research with essential oils began completely by accident. I had just started a Master’s Degree program at Brigham Young University, and my original thesis plan was a study of medicinal plants of Oman. The project was even going to include travel to the Middle East to collect specimens and talk to shamans. I began learning Arabic, got a passport, packed my bags and waited excitedly. The trip was scheduled for Sept. 14, 2001. But then, on that fateful September 11, the whole world changed.

So did my thesis project. My program advisor told me about something that had been waiting on the back burner for some time – a study of the natural plant extracts called essential oils that were suspected to have activity against cancer cells in vitro. I jumped at the idea. My dream has always been to delve into cancer research.

What a joy it was to discover that essential oils not only had remarkable anti-cancer activities, but they made the whole lab smell delightful!

After completing my Master’s thesis in which I screened seventy essential oils and several oil blends against five different cancer cell lines, I yearned to continue studying these amazing compounds. As a researcher at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, I looked at whether essential oils might fulfill another role in the fight against cancer, paired with a strong dose of light energy. At the University of Utah, I found that doTERRA’s essential oils showed impressive antimicrobial potency as well,even when extremely diluted.

If my experience has shown me one thing, its that scientists have barely uncovered the top of the iceberg when it comes to essential oils. Their potential for promoting health, fighting disease, and enhancing life is incredible. The challenge is, how do we spread the word? How do be bring true science to the masses?

I think “SCIENCE” (that nebulous, sexy, fear-inducing, eye-glazing notion) is rather like dietary fiber. Everyone knows we need it, and they like the idea of it, but its just so darn indigestible! Anyone can find an article on PubMed, but you would probably need a dictionary and a degree in molecular biology just to slog your way through it.

There is a disconnect between the exciting scientific research currently happening and how accessible it is for regular people who would love to understand and apply it. That’s where doTERRA’s Scientific Advisory Board comes in.

When Dr. David Hill approached me several years ago with the idea of a Scientific Advisory Board, I was stunned. There would be experts in the field of medicine, science and analysis, colleagues who could coordinate their own research and being to distill down the mountain of other research results available; perhaps digest some of the scientific jargon into everyday language and brainstorm about all the projects we’d like to do. Yes please, sign me up!

I’m very pleased to be a member of doTERRA’s current Scientific Advisory Board. Although our group is new and still discovering its potential, I believe it is truly revolutionary. We want to apply science to a field of study that, for too long, had been considered ‘homeopatic mumbo jumbo”. Many modern Americans prefer their FDA-approved synthetic drugs without even realizing there may be natural alternatives with scientifically proven benefits.

Perhaps we area at the brink of a mighty wave of change, a fusion of our ‘enlightened’ Western medicine with centuries-old traditional medicine. More people are experiencing for themselves how essential oils work. The members of the Scientific Advisory Board hope to add even more relevance by dabbling in the why.

I plan to continue my own research with essential oils, which includes a project that explores how essential oils affect enzymatic activity. There are several references in current scientific literature about the ability of certain essential oils to increase beneficial enzymatic activity, and I hope to obtain results on how doTERRA’s oils compare.

Scientists, petri dishes, and test tubes all over the world are providing thrilling evidence to support what essential oils users have known for years – that these complex, beautiful plant products really work. And hopefully, with greater scientific understanding comes a greater acceptance of essential oils as legitimate, highly useful players in medical practice.


Nicole Stevens is a member of doTERRA’s Scientific Advisory Board. She has a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University and has spent much of her career working to develop the credibility and scientific understanding behind essential oils. Nicole has worked with the UNLV Cancer Research Center to study a procedure that uses targeted photosensitizing chemicals and specific wavelengths of light to destroy cancer calls, and she has also worked with the University of Utah to further study the efficacy of essential oils in eliminating microbial pathogens.