Proteins, Enzymes, Vitamins and Essential Oils


Scientifically about Essential Oils, Dr. David Stewart answers the common question:

Do Essential Oils Contain Proteins, Enzymes, Vitamins, or Hormones?

by David Stewart, PhD

You may have heard that Essential Oils contain proteins and/or that they contain hormones, vitamins, or enzymes. You may have even heard such statements at functions sponsored by Young Living, including Young Living Conventions. The short answer to the question in the title of this article is: “No. Essential Oils do not contain any of these molecules.” Having said that, let me explain.

Proteins and Enzymes
First of all, Proteins and Enzymes are very large molecules that cannot pass through the distillation process required to produce an essential oil. The range of molecular weights that can pass through distillation ranges up to 500 amu (“amu” stands for “atomic mass unit.”). Proteins and Enzymes have molecular weights that range well above 10,000 amu. Amylase, an enzyme necessary to digest sugar, has a molecular weight of around 45,000 amu. Most proteins weigh considerably more than that. Besides, the heat of distillation breaks down proteins and enzymes so that they could not survive to be found in an essential oil.
So you won’t find any protein or enzyme molecules in an essential oil, with the exception of oils cold expressed and not distilled. The only expressed oils Young Living sells are the citrus oils, pressed from the rinds of the fruit. These can contain traces of proteins, but the proteins do not participate in healing since they cannot penetrate skin, administer to cellular levels, nor circulate in the tissues of the body as do the smaller molecules of a distilled oil.

As for vitamins, they could theoretically be found in essential oils since the molecular weights of some vitamins (like Vitamin A, C, and E) are less than 500 amu. Other vitamins, like B and D, have larger molecular weights. Vitamin B12, for example, has a molecular weight of 1355 amu while a molecule of Vitamin D weighs 793 amu. In case you were interested, the elements contained in Vitamin B12 are Carbon, Hydrogen, Cobalt, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Phosphorus and have the formula, C63H88CoN14O14P. So now you know why you need a trace of Cobalt in your diet.
However, even though some vitamins could pass through the distillation process because their weights are less than 500 amu, they are generally not found in essential oils. I have never seen an analysis of any essential oil indicating the presence of a vitamin. So while there could be traces of Vitamin A, C, or E in an essential oil, their presence would not be significant enough to consider that oil to be a source for these vitamins.
Because the citrus oils are cold expressed, they can contain larger molecules, like beta-carotene, whose molecular weight is 544 amu. Our bodies can break a beta-carotene molecule into two equal halves and attach an oxygen atom to form two molecules of Vitamin A with a molecular weight of 288 amu. Beta-carotene is found in carrots, which mothers have traditionally advised their children to eat “because they are good for your eyes.” Since carrots contain beta-carotene, which leads to Vitamin A, which is necessary for eyes to see, mothers are scientifically correct in this assertion. But when it comes to essential oils, the traces of beta-carotene in some citrus oils cannot be considered a significant source as a precursor for Vitamin A.

Regarding hormones, their molecular weights all range under 500 amu. Hormone molecules have to be small enough to traverse through the tissues to reach their destinations between organs at cellular levels. For example, Estradiol, Testosterone, and Progesterone are natural hormones we all manufacture in our bodies. Their molecular weights are 272 amu, 288 amu, and 314 amu, respectively. So theoretically you could find compounds that would be classified as hormones in essential oils, but like vitamins, such ocurrences are so rare you never see hormones mentioned in the chemical analyses of essential oils.
The above discussion establishes the non-existence, or virtual non-existence, of Proteins, Enzymes, Vitamins, and Hormones in essential oils. But wait! There is more.

Blueprints and Templates
First of all, the electromagnetic imprint of a protein can be passed into and carried by an essential oil. Chemistry deals only with physical attributes of atoms and molecules, not their electromagnetic fields or frequencies. Hence, a chemical analysis is not a complete description of an essential oil, nor is a chemical formula a complete description of a compound.
When you were conceived, two different cells comprised of proteins (a sperm from the father and an egg from the mother), united to form a single cell which then divides to become an embryo and eventually a complete human being comprised of trillions of cells. Once a person has grown into an infant or an adult, there is no trace of the original proteins of the original cells from mother and father to be found in the body, yet the body faithfully reflects the characteristics of the original cells. While the original proteins have long disappeared, the blueprints they contained are still manifest in the human being that grew from them. The features we inherit from our parents remain with us for life even though the original proteins carrying their genetic codes have long disappeared.
The same is true with essential oils. During their formation in the plant, certain proteins and enzymes of the plant participate in the formation of the oil molecules and their electromagnetic imprints and frequencies are carried into the oil. So in a sense, essential oils do contain proteins and enzymes vibrationally even though, they are not present chemically.

Frequencies and Electromagnetic Fields
We know that essential oils contain a spectrum of frequencies emitted by the vibrations of the various electromagnetic bonds between the atoms of their molecules. These frequencies have been measured and described. According to quantum physics and modern string theory, all creation and all matter consists of vibrations that, on a gross level, appear as the solids, liquids, and gases of our universe tangible to our five senses. Beneath tangible matter and our visible human bodies lies a subtle electromagnetic template or blueprint invisible to the five senses, yet exists as an essential foundation for the physical reality we experience.
So it is true, in this sense, that essential oils contain “proteins and enzymes.” We do know that essential oils enhance enzymatic activity in the body which is why they are added to the enzyme supplements that Young Living sells. We also think that essential oils stimulate the body to produce enzymes. Essential oils stimulate the growth of proteins in our bodies during the repair and regeneration of wounded tissues. In fact, the healing processes stimulated in our bodies through the vehicles of essential oils all involve the creation of proteins and enzymes.

How Oils Enhance Vitamin Activities
Similarly, essential oils enhance vitamin utilization in our bodies, increasing their absorptivity and utility. That is why Young Living has added essential oils to its vitamin supplements. We also think that essential oils can stimulate our bodies to make its own vitamins, which are facilitated by the living flora in our bodies. Most people don’t realize that the living colonies of friendly bacteria that dwell in our bodies, not only help us with the metabolism and digestion of nutrients, but they also participate in the creation of necessary vitamins for our health and wellness. Essential oils nurture these colonies and, thus, enhance our levels of necessary vitamins.
While you won’t find high levels of actual vitamins in essential oils, as mentioned above, taking oils into our bodies helps to create and maintain a healthy vitamin balance.

How Oils Act in a Hormonal way
Regarding hormones, oils do not contain any hormones manufactured or needed by human bodies, but the molecules of essential oils can act like hormones in that they can occupy hormonal receptor sites and, thus, trigger beneficial hormonal actions in support of our endocrine system. Also, as in the case of proteins, enzymes, and vitamins, essential oils can stimulate and support our bodies in producing the actual hormones we need. Since hormones are small molecules that can come through the distillation process, it is possible that essential oils do contain traces of plant hormones which can be beneficial to our well being.
Since the presence of hormones in essential oils would only be in very tiny amounts, not detected by a chemical analysis from a laboratory, the “hormonal” properties of oils would be more in the way of support and enhancement of our endocrine systems, assisting in the manufacture and balance of the hormones our body naturally makes.

So there you have it. Do essential oils contain proteins, enzymes, vitamins or proteins? A full answer would be both, “Yes and No.” And now you know how this can be so.

NOTE: For additional information on how essential oils work see “The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple”, by David Stewart, available at and other sources.
Reprinted from The Raindrop Messenger, a free eline newsletter, with permission from Dr. David Stewart. To subscribe or download back issues, visit the archives at