Death by Ben-Gay: Synthetic vs. Natural
What’s the Difference?
David Stewart, PhD

The American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) is an international scientific/medical society of clinical laboratory professionals, physicians, research scientists and other individuwals involved with clinical chemistry and clinical laboratory science disciplines. Their website is

Their motto is, “…improving healthcare through laboratory means.” In discussing compounds found naturally in herbs and essential oils, the AACC refers to natural medicines as being “highly prized in ancient times but now often created synthetically in the laboratory.” The AACC has more than 10,000 members. These are the people who design drugs for the pharmaceutical companies to patent and from which they profit.

Clinical chemists may be able to duplicate the chemical formula of a compound found in nature, but what they do not know nor recognize is that the chemical formula is not a complete description of a substance. Beyond chemistry and beyond the measuring/detecting ability of laboratory apparatus is an energy field behind every substance. This subtle energy field depends, not only on the chemical formula, but also on the origin and history of the substance.

Humans Can Detect What Instruments Cannot
Physical instruments may not detect nor respond to the subtle templates that underlie physical matter, but we, as living beings, do detect and respond, whether we know it or not. When compounds are applied, inhaled, or ingested into a human body our human consciousness and energy fields respond, not only to the physical chemistry of the substance, but also to its energetic frequencies. There are some people who can actually see these fields of light that surround physical matter.

While our human sensitivities are capable of perceiving the subtle fields of matter, for the most part, physical instrumentation cannot. There is one exception. Kirlian photography is one means to detect at least some measure of this unseen universe and record it visibly as photographic and electronic images.

If you do raindrop technique, you are dealing with these unseen energies. The reason essential oils are dropped several inches above the back of a person receiving raindrop technique is so that the therapeutic energy field of the oils begin the healing process in the energy field of the receiver before the oil even touches the skin. Once on the skin, the oils penetrate into the cells of the furthest extremities of the body, working both the magic of their chemistry and the music of their vibrations. Oils grown and distilled with the intent of healing are imbued with energies not present in oils grown and distilled with the intent to flavor foods or make perfumes.

In Dr. Masaru Emoto’s famous work with ice crystals imbued with various thoughts, friendly and unfriendly, he found that loving thoughts expressed toward water result in beautiful, well-organized crystals while hateful thoughts result in chaotic, ugly crystals. In all cases, the chemistry of his experimental material (water) was the same. The formula is H2O, two hydrogen atoms joined to one oxygen atom, identical for every molecule. But the energetic properties of the molecules could be altered by simple thoughts or feelings.

Both the pretty and the ugly ice crystals had the same chemical formula, but their different freezing patterns demonstrated differences in the underlying energy templates beneath each molecule. (See Emoto’s book, “Messages from Water,” for more.)

Homeopathy: An Example of Applied Energy
For an example of making use of the subtle, unseen energies that support physical matter, consider the science and practice of homeopathy, a 200-year-old healing modality that has proven effective for many maladies. Homeopathy is based upon extracting the energy field of a mineral or compound and applying the energy, not the chemistry, of the substance. The basis of homeopathy is not understood by classical chemists.

Therefore, when scientists, such as those of the AACC claim that what nature has made can be duplicated synthetically in a laboratory, they speak from an unawareness of what material substance really is. They do not understand the full nature of matter, which is more than protons, electrons, neutrons, atoms, and molecules. Natural and synthetic substances may appear the same on a material level and can even have identical chemical formulas, but they can differ significantly on an energetic level. This is one of the reasons that natural substances, such pure premium essential oils, have beneficial effects upon us while synthetic substances always carry negative side effects. While natural substances harmonize chemically with our physical bodies, they also harmonize energetically with our electromagnetic fields.

Life Force in Natural Substances
The energy field associated with a natural substance is like a life force with discriminatory intelligence. The energy field associated with a synthetic substance is dead with the intelligence of a robot. When a compound has been created through a living process, such as through a plant, it is imbued with many attributes that support human healing and wellness on an energetic plane.

If the compound is part of a complex of compounds, such as an essential oil, and it was grown, harvested, and distilled with healing intent, the compounds of that oil containing additional vibrations in its subtle field that cause it to work in harmony with our bodies. When a compound has been synthesized in a factory it does not contain the attributes that harmonize with our bodies and spirits. Such substances always contain disharmonious, chaotic aspects that result in negative reactions in our bodies and to our minds.

For example, arsenic produced in a laboratory is poisonous and small doses can accumulate in our bodies until a lethal dose is reached and we die.

However, there are traces of arsenic in our soils and in the foods we eat. Yet, over a lifetime we don’t accumulate enough to die. Why? The reason is our bodies can metabolize organic sources of arsenic and eliminate them so they do not accumulate. When arsenic has passed through a living process before we ingest it, it has acquired a mode of vibration that causes it pass on through harmlessly. But when we regularly receive trace amounts of arsenic that has not passed through a natural process, manufactured in a lab, the protecting vibrations are not there and our bodies cannot eliminate it. We eventually acquire a lethal dose, get sick, and die by accumulation.

The Death of an Athlete
On April 13, 2006, Arielle Newman, a 17-year old track star and cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, New York, died. The New York medical examiner said the cause was “salycilism.” Her body contained a lethal amount of methyl salycilate.

For many months, in preparation for athletic competitions, Arielle had been pushing herself to her limits and regularly applying “Ultra Strength BENGAY(R)” to her legs and aching muscles. The BENGAY package states that the active ingredients are: 4% camphor, 10% menthol, and 30% methyl salycilate. The package warnings say not to use on wounds, with a heating pad, or on a child under 12 years of age with arthritis-like conditions. Except for cautions about avoiding contact with eyes, etc., there are no other warnings. The package recommends BENGAY for “simple backache, arthritis, strains, bruises, and sprains.”

Natural camphor is a major ingredient in Rosemary, Juniper, Sage, and a number of other essential oils. Natural menthol is the principal compound in Peppermint oil (39%). Methy salicylate is the dominant ingredient in Wintergreen and Birch oils (90% or more).

The Truth About BENGAY(R)
BENGAY is an over-the-counter medicine that has been around since 1898. Its patent is owned by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. When first formulated over 100 years ago, it derived its camphor, menthol, and methyl salicylate from essential oils as products of nature. BENGAY was a safe topical ointment back then. That was before scientists learned how to create these compounds synthetically in a laboratory so Pfizer could produce their product more profitably.

Natural methyl salicylate, as found in wintergreen and birch oils, is of a specific isomer (molecular shape) and is easily metabolized by the human body. Its chemical formula and energy template harmonize with human tissue. It does not accumulate. It is not toxic like its synthetic counterpart.

Synthetic methyl salicylate consists of an assortment of isomers, meaning “same formula but different molecular shapes.” Furthermore, the laboratory produced compound does not have the right energy template to harmonize with the human body. When taken into the body, such as inhaling or through the skin in an ointment like BENGAY, the body does not recognize the compound, cannot easily metabolize it, and allows it to accumulate. Given enough over a length of time, lethal doses can accumulate and death can result, as it did for the promising track star at Notre Dame.

Of course, methyl salicylate is not the only synthetic compound in BENGAY. While the medical examiner blamed the salicylate for the deadly toxicity, the unnatural menthol and camphor could also have played a role. Perhaps without their presence, the synthetic methyl salicylate might not have been as toxic.

The “Merck Manual” is the Bible of all practicing physicians. The 17th edition (1999) contains almost 3000 pages of fine print describing every disease known to man with suggested modes of remedy and prescription. Merck is also one of the world’s largest drug companies. The Salycilism section of the book blames aspirin for the vast majority of salycilate poisoning.

However, it goes on to say the following: “The most toxic form of salicylate is oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate)…Any exposure to methyl salicylate (found in liniments and in solutions used in hot vaporizers) is potentially lethal.”

If that is all you ever read about wintergreen oil, you would be afraid to use it for any purpose at any dosage. What is not stated here is that to the editors of the “Merck Manual,” synthetic methyl salicylate and natural oil of wintergreen are one and the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. This falsehood has also been adopted by those trained in the British school of aromatherapy and members of the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists (NAHA).

The truth is that natural wintergreen oil contains many other compounds than just methyl salicylate. These additional compounds work in a way that mitigates the natural methyl salicylate and help to make it safe. When compounds in an oil help tame the possible unruly behavior of another compound in the oil, which is called “quenching.” In addition to the quenching effect of the other compounds in natural wintergreen, the molecules of methyl salicylate from a natural source are of a specific isomeric shape while the formula of laboratory-produced methyl salicylate can actually have up to nineteen different shapes. Since the shape of a molecule determines which locks (receptor sites) on cell membranes can be opened, the organs affected by the synthetic version are not all the same as those addressed by the natural version.

If BENGAY had continued to use natural wintergreen in its ointment, Arielle Neuman would be a winning alive today, enjoying the fruits of her hard and dedicated training regimen. Her name would have been on the sports pages, not in the obituaries.


The short and the long of it is this: Synthetic compounds are significantly different than their natural counterparts in a number of ways, even when they have the same chemical formulas.

1. The isomeric shapes of the molecules are usually not the same.
2. Their vibrational energy fields are not the same.
3. And the intents with which they are imbued in their production are not the same.

God created our bodies to handle his creations, the substances of nature. Our bodies recognize them and know how to use them beneficially. They can also eliminate them when their tasks are complete so that they do not accumulate as a toxin.

God did not create our bodies to handle unnatural substances. Most man-made pharmaceuticals consist of molecules that never existed on planet earth before and our bodies don’t know how to utilize them beneficially nor to excrete them as unwanted.

The objective of drug companies is to create patentable molecules to secure for them a profitable monopoly and to promote and maintain a drug-dependent public.

~ ~ ~

Reprinted from The Raindrop Messenger, a free online newsletter, with permission from Dr. David Stewart. To subscribe or download back issues, visit .”

For a more thorough understanding of Chemistry, see “The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules” by David Stewart available at and many other places.