Raindrop Messenger Archive

Official Newsletter of C.A.R.E.
The Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education

Volume 2, Number 1

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1. The Merck Manual

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information in this newsletter is not meant
to diagnose, prescribe, or substitute for professional medical
assistance. It is provided as information only for your better
understanding of holistic health. In case of medical need, please
consult an appropriate licensed professional.

(The following is an excerpt from Dr. Stewart's upcoming book
(God's Love Manifest in Molecules)

by David Stewart, Ph.D., R.A.

Consider these two publications published by Merck & Company,
New York, NY:

Merck’s Manual of the Materia Medica, published in 1899,
192 pages.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, published in 1999,
2833 pages.

The intent of the Merck Manual is to describe every known
disease and condition to assist doctors in making diagnoses.
The two Merck Manuals listed above are a century apart in
their printing. The first one published in 1899 was only 364
small pages in size while the 1999 edition is more than 2800
large pages. Does this mean we have more diseases today
than they did a century ago?

While the modern version focuses on surgery, radiation, and
pharmaceuticals, the19th century medical guide actually
suggests prescriptions for the following eleven essential oils:
bitter almond, cajuput, eucalyptus, wintergreen, juniper,
mustard, mountain pine, scotch fir, rosemary, sandalwood,
and thyme. It also lists castor, cod liver, and olive oils as
medicines along with oil of terpentine.

Croton oil (Croton tiglium), a strong laxative, is also
recommended for oral use, but with caution. According to
Merck (1899), croton oil can be poisonous for which they
recommend antidotes of opium or cocaine.

Today, oil of bitter almond is not used by aromatherapists
because of its potentially lethal cyanide content, but it was
an oil used by doctors a hundred years ago. The 1899 Merck
Manual lists bitter almond oil as not only being a medicine (if
properly prescribed), but also as a “poison.” As an antidote,
it suggests “ammonia” or a shot of “brandy.”

Mustard oil is also not used today because its vapors can be
damaging to the lungs and nasal tissues, but it was used by
doctors of the 19th century. It was recommended by Merck
to be compounded as a liniment for poultices or compresses
“with much water.”

In all instances, the essential oils recommended by Merck are
U.S.P. grade (United States Pharmacopeia) which are usually
not true therapeutic grade oils with healing qualities. USP
means the oils have been manipulated by refining, denaturing,
rectification, or adulteration with synthetics to fit a USP
standard. USP grade oils are usually produced by drug
companies. Aromatherapists who heal do not consider them
to be therapeutic.

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy is the book
used by physicians everywhere to diagnose and prescribe. It
contains a description of every disease and condition known
to mankind as of its printing (1999) and has been revised,
updated, and expanded seventeen times since its first printing
in 1899. It is not legal to diagnose anyone else outside of your
own immediate family unless you are licensed to do so, but
this is a useful text to have in the home in order to self-
diagnose or to corroborate or understand a doctor’s
pronouncements, prescriptions, and prognoses. The latest
edition of the Merck Manual does not recommend essential
oils at all.

Merck Freaks Out Over Wintergreen

The only mention of essential oils in the 1999 Merck Manual
is in the section entitled “Aspirin and Salicylate Poisoning.”
Doctors call this type of poisoning, “Salicylism.” Chemically,
aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid (C9H8O4). In over a century of
its use, aspirin has been the cause of many deaths and visits
to emergency rooms.

Natural oil of wintergreen consists of approximately 85-90%
methyl salicylate (C8H8O3). You can see by the two formulas
how similar the oil is to aspirin, at least superficially. The two
molecules differ only by one atom of carbon (C) and one of
oxygen (O), with the number of hydrogens (H) being the same
in both.

For therapeutic purposes, wintergreen oil acts in a way that
is similar to aspirin in that it is an excellent analgesic for pain
relief when applied topically directly to the skin where it hurts.
Used in this way, natural wintergreen oil is quite safe. Merck
would disagree.

The 1999 Merck Manual states the following on page 2273:
“The most toxic form of salicylate is oil of wintergreen (methyl
salicylate); death has been reported from ingestion of less than
a teaspoon in a young child. Any exposure to methyl salicylate
(found in liniments and in solutions used in hot vaporizers) is
potentially lethal.”

Apparently, Merck has changed its mind about wintergreen oil
since its 1899 edition. At that time the “recommended dosage
was: “5-20 minums of a 5% spirit.” Translated into modern
language, this means 5-20 drops of a 5% tincture (alcohol
solution) of wintergreen oil. The 1899 edition issues no warnings
and mentions no untoward effects whatsoever.

“What’s going on here?” you are thinking. “How can wintergreen
oil be safe when today’s medical profession says it is potentially
lethal even when applied in simple ointments or when inhaled
from a vaporizer.”

The answer to this is in the chemistry. When the literature
doctors read talks about essential oils, it is only talking about
USP grade oils, which, as they exist today, are not therapeutic
in nature and which can be toxic and harmful. In particular,
when allopathic writers refer to “oil of wintergreen” they are
not talking about the oil as it is distilled from the plant, they are
talking about synthetically produced methyl salicylate. Pure
methyl salicylate.

Natural oil of wintergreen that has been properly distilled,
unrefined, and untampered with is only 80-90% methyl salicylate.
The other 10-20% of natural ingredients changes everything.
While pure methyl salicylate from a laboratory is toxic, methyl
salicylate produced by a plant such as wintergreen (Gaulthria
procumbens) or birch (Betula alleghaniensis) is safe.
This is not only because the natural methyl salicylate
accompanied by companion compounds that work together to
create a safe therapeutic oil, but the methyl salicylate from
a lab is not even the same mix of isomers as the natural

Isomers are compounds with exactly the same formula (C8H8O3
in this example), but with different molecular shapes. (You can
take the same assortment of C, H and O atoms and put them
together many ways.) Laboratories do not know how to make
methyl salicylate in the same isomeric mix as nature. Different
isomers of the same compound can have entirely contrasting
properties from extremes of helpful to harmful. So there is good
methyl salicylate and bad methyl salicylate. (We will talk a lot
more about isomers in the next chapter.)

Hence, the allopathic version of “oil of wintergreen,” referred
to by the 1999 Merck Manual is unnatural and toxic and should
be considered dangrous, as they say. But what they say has
nothing to do with natural wintergreen which has been used quite
safely hundreds of thousands of times in raindrop technique as
well as in other simple applications, like on-site relief of
arthritis pain.

The earlier 1899 edition of Merck, that recommends
wintergreen oil, was probably referring to a natural distillate
with minimal manipulation. 100 years ago, USP some USP
grade oils were relatively pure and effective. However, the
1999 edition is talking about a pure synthetic product, which
is potentially “lethal,” as it says.

It is references such as the recent editions of the Merck Manual
that some British aromatherapists and some members of the
American National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists cite
as their basis for objecting to wintergreen and its use in raindrop

What this points out is that just because something is published
in what seems to be a reputable scientific resource, does not mean
that it is true. In fact, when it comes to reading the literature of
scientific medicine, one has to be extremely discriminating not to
be misguided into many untruths. Medical research literature is
rampant with erroneous, misleading, and self-serving information
because most of it is financed by commercial interests (i.e. drug
companies) rather than seekers of true healing. With this in mind,
consider that Merck & Company is not just a publisher of medical
manuals. It is a drug company. One of the world’s largest.

Now you can understand why most MDs do not approve of or
appreciate essential oils. Their training is against it, from medical
school all the way through to the references they daily use. They
have been propagandized and manipulated and don’t know it.

And now you know why I call the “Merck Manual” the “Murky
Manual,” because it isn’t clear in that book what is true and
what is not true.

NOTE: Dr. Stewart's new chemistry book, from which the above
was extracted, will become available some time after mid-2004.
Dr. Stewart is also the author of Healing Oils of the Bible
available from Essential Science Publishing, (800) 336-6308
or from the web site http://www.RaindropTraining.com. To
take a chemistry course with Dr. Stewart, note the CARE
Seminar schedule listed below.


Official Newsletter of C.A.R.E.
The Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education
Rt. 4, Box 646, Marble Hill, Missouri USA 63764
(573) 238-4846