2014 was a doozy of a year for rumors, myths, and really dangerous essential oil use ideas. Did you fall for any of these?
1. Essential Oils for Ebola?
During the height of the ebola scare sales reps were feverishly tossing out really bad essential oil ideas like this advertisement. You’d be given a laundry list of essential oils that are strong skin irritants, known skin sensitizers, have dose-dependent carcinogenic and toxicological effects, and lack documented effectiveness in human cases of hemorrhagic fever. If you notice the small print in the above image you’ll see that the quote indicates the lack of survival in the essential oil itself. So, if ebola were isolated in a petri dish we could all celebrate because these essential oils might kill the virus on a plastic plate, yaay!
But to have the same kind of action in the human body is a study in pharmacology and no one seems to want to mention you might go into organ failure or give yourself cancer trying to find the right dose to cure ebola in the body. Yowzers! Things got so out of hand in the mania to sell essential oils as ebola cures that the FDA got involved threatening federal imprisonment and massive fines hoping to stem the nonsense.
Image: Ebola outbreak prevention oils via Pinterest
2. Essential Oil to Cure Cancer?
If you went overboard with the carcinogenic essential oil doses for ebola prevention, not to worry! There’s a cure for your EO-induced cancer, too! Except, maybe there really isn’t…let’s take a closer look at this rumor: Research into Frankincense’s anti-cancer activity has been going on for a few years now and occasionally makes headlines. Much of the research is focusing on some promising active ingredients found in the resin, one of those is boswellic acid, a non-volatile, triterpene that doesn’t come across in hydrostillation. Huh? Distillation extracts the volatile compounds from plants, which means Frankincense essential oil does not contain the anti-cancer compound boswellic acid that is getting all of this research attention. Ohhh!
Image: Frankincense oil cancer treatment via Pinterest
3. Did Jesus Use Essential Oils?
Aromatic oils have a lengthy history, and yes, that would include Biblical times too. But don’t let that fool you to think the form of aromatic substances available in Jesus’ time (7-2 BC – 30-33 AD) is the same substance we call essential oils today. Per the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Vocabulary of Natural Materials (ISO/D1S9235.2), essential oils are defined as:
“a product made by distillation with either water or steam or by mechanical processing of citrus rinds or by dry distillation of natural materials. Following the distillation, the essential oil is physically separated from the water phase.”
The aromatic oils that were available in Jesus’ time were herbs infused in hot oil and plants macerated in animal fats. Herbal medicine was alive and well in Biblical times, folks, but not essential oils. The wise men didn’t bring Jesus steam-distilled Frankincense oil, they brought the resin which has different therapeutic properties to it in this classification of herbs.
Robert Tisserand informs us that, “…essential oils are produced by distillation, and distillation was invented in the 10th century by Persians, it could be said that aromatherapy began 1,000 years ago.”
Image: Jesus Essential Oil Meme via Pinterest
4. Is this Pinkeye Remedy Safe?
When I last checked, the only documented essential oil usage for the eyes and areas around them is the in vitro (petri dish) and in vivo (human body) research conducted on the use of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) on eyelash mites known as demodex. I can’t find any documentation that would suggest a 1% dilution of Lavandula angustifolia would be effective against the different kind of conjunctivitis or that this would be safe. After reading Robert Tisserand’s blog on Essential Oils and Eye Safety I’ll be sticking with more time-proven remedies than shot-in-the-dark, might-turn-me-blind ones like this.
Image: Petrified by Pink Eye? via Pinterest
5. Essential Oil Laxatives?
I’ve already debunked the notion that Essential Oils are not Water Flavoring Substances and cautioned against drinking essential oils in a glass of water in my viral Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils blog post. Lemon essential oil is a powerful dish degreaser for all of the post-Christmas cleanup I’ve been doing. When you put it in a glass of water and chug it the same active constituent irritates the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and stomach. If you do this often enough you’re likely to face the myriad of negative health effects being reported ranging from organ damage to gum damage and pockets in the esophagus. This rumor is one I’d stay far, far away from my friends! Drain cleaner in a glass isn’t the least bit appealing to me!
Image: Essential oil laxatives via Pinterest
6. Essential Oils and the Feet?
I’ve previously debunked the application of Essential Oils to the Feet, as has Massage Today magazine, and Aromatherapy United.
The more unfortunate part of this meme is that this particular blend of essential oils is contraindicated in children under 10 years of age and is a strong skin irritant and known sensitizer. So why is anyone suggesting this would be safe for children? Oy vey!
Image: How to use EO? via Pinterest
7. Should I Drip Undiluted Essential Oils Down the Spine?
There’s a plethora of problems with using undiluted essential oils on the skin, namely toxicity, skin irritation, neurotoxicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, and hepatotoxicity (Tisserand 2014, Battaglia 2003, Buckle 2003). Massaging essential oils onto the body at 50-400 times the concentration used in a normal aromatherapy massage is cause for alarm! This increases the risks to both the user and the “practitioner” (usually someone that doesn’t meet education guidelines to practice aromatherapy and/or massage), and has gotten a lot of internet traffic as new injury reports came out last year of miscarriages and poisonings.
To give you a broader sense of why you should run far away from these two “drop therapies”:
- My colleague in Dallas poses the question, “If the two largest professional aromatherapy organizations in the country believe that Raindrop Therapy is an unsafe practice, shouldn’t you?”
- The country of Norway banned Raindrop Therapy.
- A White Paper was published in 2001.
- Aromatherapy Undiluted: Safety and Ethics was published in 2005.
- Dr Andrew Weil urges patients to avoid this therapy.
- the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) does not recommend or support the use of undiluted essential oil applications.
- the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) does not support the use of “drop therapies” and undiluted essential oil applications.
- “encouraging untrained people to apply concentrated essential oils to themselves or others is unwise and unsafe.” per Tisserand Young 2014.
- The Aromatherapy Registration Council strictly bans the use either of these undiluted applications and considers this a public health risk.
Images: Raindrop and Aroma touch pictures via Pinterest and Pinterest
8. Essential Oils in Your What-What?
Peppermint essential oil is a mucous membrane irritant which can cause ulceration, burning sensation, and inflammation (Tisserand Young, 2014) in some people. Rosewood is a vulnerable tree that has seen a great deal of over-harvesting since colonial times. Aromatherapists do not purchase Rosewood essential oil because it is hard to find an ethical source for a tree that has nearly been wiped off the planet.
A good herbalist will gladly tell you that vegetable glycerin makes a lovely, warming, personal lubricant that can be infused with dried herbs to enhance its therapeutic effects. Unless you’ve got the training to make cosmetic formulations in your laboratory so they’d be safe for vulnerable areas like genitalia and the vagina, I’d avoid this DIY project.
Worse-case scenario inserting essential oils into the vagina? Read about this woman’s horrific experience with vaginal scarring in the Injury Reports from the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy.
Images: Essential Oil lubricant via Pinterest
9. More Essential Oils Near Your Eye?
Someone started circulating this myth that Lavender essential oil could strengthen and volumize your eyelashes. Too good to be true? Yep. Robert Tisserand tackles this topic in: Lavender Mascara.
In short, Lavender essential oil does not:
- Increase volume,
- Increase length,
- or Strengthen your eyelashes
If you do manage to get an essential oil into the eye you should immediately, and continuously, flush the eye with water for 15 minutes. If irritation still exists you should consult with a medical professional.
Image: Lavender in mascara via Pinterest
10. Essential Oil ‘Morphine Bomb’?
These ads promise pain relief that will “amaze” or “blow” you away. What if it triggers a heart attack for you like it did this unsuspecting user?
The use of essential oils by mouth should be advised only by a practitioner that is trained in aromatic medicine and has a license to prescribe you medication. If your sales rep doesn’t hold a degree in aromatic medicine from France or Switzerland and doesn’t have an M.D. following her name you should be asking yourself if you’re comfortable taking medical advice from someone inadequately prepared to give you such advice. Your neighbor is also not equipped to handle an adverse reaction without proper training in first aid and a robust malpractice insurance policy that will cover your medical care should you find yourself in the unpleasant position of being quite harmed by this dangerous recommendation.
In the event of a poisoning you should contact poison control or seek medical attention at the nearest hospital. Children are especially vulnerable to poisonings and any accidental ingestion by a child should lead to an immediate call to poison control. Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets. Do not ingest any essential oils (never mind how pure the sales person may tell you it is), unless under the direct supervision of a physician that has formal training in aromatic medicine (folks, they don’t teach this in medical school or at the sales rep holiday party).
Images: ‘Morphine bomb’ pictures via Pinterest and Pinterest
It is fun to get a chuckle out of ‘Pinterest fail’ slideshows and blogs lamenting DIY projects gone terribly wrong but the subject of gross misuse of essential oils is no laughing matter. When used according to national and international safety guidelines, aromatherapy is a very safe and pleasant therapy, one in which I enjoy practicing and benefiting from on a daily basis. Our friends over at the Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy have collated the Top 10 Worst Injuries from Essential Oils in 2014 which I think you’ll agree is a must-read following this article.
Do you know how to use essential oils safely for your wellness goals? If not, I suggest you talk to a qualified aromatherapist today!
Very well done Amy – as professionals within the industry we can see the funny side to this sheer idiocy, the unfortunate downside of this greedy driven marketing nonsense is that some poor unsuspecting person or more probably large numbers of them are being put at real risk of injury by these unsafe practises. Just goes to prove that time honoured axiom – “ther’s a sucker born EVER minute”
Thanks, Mark! With more and more injury reports coming in I think we’re moving fact towards “large numbers” of adverse effects from questionable uses. Someone pointed out to me this week that the monthly purchasing quotas are so high with some of these companies that you can’t possibly need that much essential oils for everyday wellness. You have to step up the game and put them in your water, in your soup, on your salad, or down the toilet to keep your position with the company. :-/
What do you think of Dr. Axe. He has studied many fields of the medical and Homeopathic avenues and recommends a lot of ways to use essential oils. Including helping his mom with frankincense when she had cancer. It included of course what you direct to.. healthy eating and diet. However he has a lot of recipes given to help those who use therapeutic grade e.o. I use YL. I started doing it for my health and my sons. I’ve studied much on herbal remedies along with the studies with them including e.o.’s. For 20 years. As for regular physicians… they learn all of two hours on nutrition in their schooling. The rest is what medicine to prescribe for what symptom. That would be lay off salt or sugar for well known illnesses. I have balance for both. I love my physician and at the same time.. he knows I do my research and make choices for myself vs. meds. Please check out Dr. Axe. I think with your field you will appreciate all the research and work he has done. Much problems that come from e.o. is people using them wrong. Can they be consumed. Yes. Can they be diffused. Yes. Topical. Yes. But not all. And when you do there is a period of how long.. how much and what to use. Some people just get too happy with it and end up hurting themselves and others causing a bad light on those who do know how to use them.
I’ve never seen anything that would suggest this chiropractor has received formal training in aromatic chemistry. Giving misinformation like taking Frankincense essential oil for cancer is both dangerous and highly unethical for a practitioner. See Martin Watt’s article under Marketing here: http://aromamedical.org/articlesarchive.html.
Well said! I believe there is a lot of information about essential oils including Frankincense on pubmed
Unfortunately charlatans like Dr Axe would like to have folks believe that the essential oil of Frankincense is a well-studied, anti-tumoral agent. Evidence-based information in articles like these attempt to reestablish facts versus fiction: http://tisserandinstitute.org/frankincense-oil-and-cancer-in-perspective/, https://apothecarysgarden.com/2016/05/26/medicinal-frankincense-faq/.
yeah.. those are quite extreme but I have used colloidal silver for pink eye and it works great .. no burning.. can’t even imagine rubbing EO in my eyes.. who the heck thought of that??
Didn’t know you could safely use colloidal silver in the eyes! I’ve only seen research against it. Herbs would be my first choice.
We use virgin coconut oil for pink eye. Just swipe it in. No stinging. Works like a charm.
Colloidal Silver can SAFELY be used in a seconds old new born’s eyes.
I’m not saying to use it on a new born in any way though.
I’m repeating what I read in my fathers medical text books from the late 1940’s-early 1950’s.
Colloidal Silver (C.S.), gold & copper “were” the antibiotics before antibiotics were made/discovered.
Monks, druids and other types of healers started using C.S. approximately 850 A.D.
So its use and safety have many years to draw upon.
It is true you can turn yourself PERMANENTLY a shade of BLUE by using vast quantities of it daily OR by putting SALT in the water used to make it OR by not using the correct type of pure sliver OR “over-cooking” it OR a combination of the above.
And by vast quantities I mean 1 litter or more a day every day for several years. The largest amount I’ve seen in print to use was 1/4 cup a day for 90 days for some illness. I believe 1 teaspoon a day to maintain health is the standard dose. Maybe less ma
Personally I don’t use this product, May, but if I did I’d want more recent data on safe usage guidelines than the 1940s-1950s. A lot has changed in safety guidelines over the decades and this marriage of traditional use plus current research can be empowering! I love hearing when an herb or essential oil’s traditional use lines up with modern scientific research in terms of dosing and applications, it doesn’t work out that way all the time though.
They have not use colloidal silver in decades. It is not considered safe anymore and there are newer products that do the job better and safer.
Awesome job Amy on putting these myths in one place and clearly delineating why they are not just myths but very unsafe practices. Great job!
Excellent article, Amy…loved the unfortunate irony of the photo ads. Thank you for explaining clearly and concisely why these practices and recommendations are so dangerous. Experienced Aromatherapists who have studied and trained to learn the correct usage of essential oils would never advise doing any of these things–they are basically sale pitches, and false ones at that.
Wow! A very interesting article to say the least. That would explain why essential oils aren’t in newer medical text books anymore. Didn’t realize that what was used centuries ago, is not what is pushed today. I found a product that is used topically on the lips for appetite control. Told not to ingest it and for good reason. Have I used this product without any problems? Yes, I have. I never thought I’d ever be using anything based on essential oils, especially after reading about some companies out there. It seems like greed is the motivating factor. I look at the integrity of the company’s leadership, and not just their products.
Thanks, Garth! I love aromatherapy’s role in addressing the root issues of our relationships with food. Aromatherapy really shines when it is used in a holistic manner that treats the individual!
Very well done! Thank you. I’m sharing your article in hopes we can educate folks and prevent anymore injuries. When I began my schooling on EO at ACHS I unknowingly allowed my neighbor to “gift” me with a doterra Aroma Touch and I paid dearly. I asked her what she would be using and she either was not familiar with her oils or chose to not tell me and it turns out she used wintergreen oil…..I am allergic to aspirin! Need I say more? I’m lucky to be alive. Did she comprehend the severity of the situation? Well, she is still peddling those oils…..
Oh goodness! I’m so sorry to hear that happened to you, Christina. Did you report your adverse reaction to the anonymous Injury Reporting database yet? Here’s the link if you haven’t: http://www.atlanticinstitute.com/injury-reporting/.
Can this article be posted in Pinterest??
I’ll look into creating a graphic that could be shared. Stand by!
Well done once again Amy, this will be a great yearly project!! Love the clever way you write and great points! Keep it up, and hope we can get you for a class in Florida in the future!!
Thanks, Sylla! And thank you for the work you do on the injury collecting and reporting, there sure were some doozies in that top 10 round up! Ouf!
Excellent, timely article. Thank you!!
i thought it was common knowledge that oil and water don’t mix therefore flushing your eye with water if you get oil in it, is stupid. It won’t help. You have to use fractionated coconut oil to dilute the offending oil.
Actually, putting coconut oil in your eye would drive the essential oil constituents further into the eye socket resulting in more damage and pain. Flushing the eye with water doesn’t dilute the essential oil but pushes it out of the affected area.
Thank you! I was told to only use oil to flush out EOs also! Another example of the danger of believing what your friends say rather than getting truly educated. Heresay is the basis for certain oil companies. Sigh… Thank you for truth, at the risk of alienating “friends.”
Thank You for your informed blog on EO safety and the risks people take by not heading the safety rules of this powerful healing modality. I appreciate your responses to these issues. Theresa
This is such an excellent article! I’m glad to see professionals starting to speak out against some of these unsafe practices. I would love to be able to share this on my Facebook page as well as my Pinterest board!
Excellent piece, gives me even more of an incentive to run my workshop next month on debunking myths and advising on the safe and informed use of essential oils. There is a scary variety of misinformation out there given professional Aromatherapists a very very bad name. This info needs to be shared! So thank you.
I have totally found myself a new blog hero 🙂 thank you for bringing to light some myths about EOs
I am in a bit of shock about what EO can and can not do. Loved reading this and being made aware of the other side. I’m now looking at EOs in a different light! What books do you recommend to a new EO user? It’s all so confusing!
I’ve seen this video being posted on numerous sites, & honestly it almost infuriates me. As a trained medical technologist I KNOW this is not true, but I was wondering if you could possibly address exactly WHY it’s not. In the first part of the video it shows coagulation of the RBCs. Putting an EO on your feet is NOT going to change that! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPO8D57-mbE
How magically impossible! This would be a good one for a future myth-busting blog!
Thank you so much for this article….. As a “baby” eo user I felt the EO for everything…. drink it, clean with it, wear it attitude was just scary! I also saw great results from asking certified aromatherapists questions and getting answers like “essential oils are not a cure all….. or with essential oils less is more”. Then I decided to enter into the essential oil journey by being educated from a well-respected school…. not an oil-peddler… scary to think that a complete first time buyer can advise anyone on buying or using oils with NO education! No good will come of it until people understand the power of the oils.
I have a relative who made a concoction (nasal spray) consisting of lavender and lemon. He has been sucking this up his nose for about 6 or more months. He has ongoing chest pain and his heart palpitates a lot. He can’t figure out what is causing this. Could the oils be contributing to this?
Ouf! Lemon essential oil is a pretty powerful mucous membrane irritant – flushed into the nasal cavity would be LAST place I’d want that! If he hasn’t seen his primary care physician yet that’d be my first recommendation. And he would do well to talk to a qualified aromatherapist about safe uses.
Thanks for attempting to educate people and stop this mass hysteria designed to encourage the overconsumption (read=spend money on oils!) of essential oils. I have been sharing with people the hazards of using undiluted oils for years!
Great article as usual Amy! As you know, I’m on your side too. I have many friends who constantly bulldoze past my/or logical and safe use of EOs, posting the “school of thought” argument. Hopefully soon people will stop fighting to keep using EOs irresponsibly.
Thanks, Shannon! It is discouraging to see sales trump safety time and again. With the rise in injury reports I’m seeing folks ask questions about safety and want information on how to assess risk versus benefit. It is encouraging on one hand but so sad on the other that it is taking a lot of injury reports to bring about change. I get so discouraged by the mass “guinea pig” effect of unorthodox usages. 🙁
I am so happy that I decided to research EOs first before I bought them. I went to a EO party yesterday and they served me water with lemon EO in it! I of course did not know anything about EOs. I listened and was so excited. I received an undiluted neck massage with PastTense while I drank my water with oil in it. I made my list of things myself and my family suffer from and then my friend told me all the oils I needed to get. I told her I would go over it at home and pick two to start and get back to her on Wednesday. Well tonight I had a few minutes to sit down and not be an idiot and educate myself first before I buy or use. Your site is a huge eye opener. I still want to try a couple oils, but will definitely not be ingesting it or applying it to my body or my children’s body with out coconut oil. She told me to apply it directly to my feet and then later in the day to my neck. Now I know not to do that without diluting it first. I am going to buy a diffuser from Amazon. How can I tell my friends they are not giving proper medical advice and what they are advising their friends and clients to do is actually very harmful. I know they will all say that they go to class all the time and this is proven, but like you I agree if you did not go to school in France or Switzerland or obtain your MD you should not be prescribing EO to be ingested or make capsule to swallow.
Thanks so much for the information! I have had essential oils for a little over a year and so glad my common sense kicked in against the advice given out. I will definitely share this on my facebook page. I share other things from Robert Tisserand and Atlantic Institute. I think some people read it. Others get defensive—it’s like a scary brainwashing:(
There’s quite a few psych experts that have made a correlation between the MLMs and a cult. Brainwashing sounds like the right term to me! So glad you went with your gut!
I too- use and am attempting to build up to sell oils- not for ingestion or topical application- but for an alternative to cleaning products. I have done a lot of research (how I came across this article) that go along with my beliefs- I refuse to be brainwashed or follow the whole religious aspect. That’s how they draw people in– if they were intelligent enough to research and learn- they would know the oils of today are VASTLY different- more potent and have who knows what added to them that are not disclosed. I do believe some can replace harmful chemicals for cleaning- and if you think about it- as mentioned -these oils are so potent they can replace CHEMICALS that we would never apply to our skin, inhale much less INGEST! Oils CAN be used safely- but to learn- one must ask questions and not pretend to be a doctor. I’m not a doctor- I do warn people the oils are highly concentrated and should be treated as any other house cleaner- heed the warnings and to consult a physician and to keep away from children. People get mad- but honestly- I don’t care. I’d rather be safe than stupid. It’s said one company’s peppermint oil- one drop equals 230 cups of herbal peppermint tea– yet these people don’t mind playing doctor and guilt-tripping over the religious aspect- all for money.
I always feel a little cynical when the most expensive per ounce essential oil is listed as an ingredient in some miracle cure…
Me too, Jeanette! Money talks in my book.
Does it mean that EOs do not have any health benefits?
Quite the contrary, you might read some of my others posts on how I support clients with their wellness goals as a clinical aromatherapist: https://www.thebarefootdragonfly.com/blog/.
Fantastic information. Love your exertise and sense of humour too. In my book Complementary Nursing in End of Life Care, that recently came on the market, I cover some 30 essential oils and crushed some myths on essential oils and uses of them. Safe aromatherapy is so important to us all, especially the most fragile patients. Thanks for sharing.
In reference to the essential oils in the eye. That is always a NO, NO! It has never been recommended to do this. I have accidentally gotten some in my eye off my fingers and water does not do anything for relief but after one drop of coconut oil in the eye the burning was gone.
The coconut oil will drive the essential oil further into the eye. Flushing with water is the recommended first aid response to essential oil exposure to the eye.
good job Amy! Fortunately these MLM companies haven’t landed here in Brazil yet, but we know there are people itching to start a “pyramid” here…Commmon ground is that usually these are people with no valid qualifications in healthcare and not inclined to study either….
As it happens in the USA, there’s here too an army of current or ex- reps of MLM companies ready to jump on the next miracle products line…As long as they keep on peddling fake “natural” cosmetics and ridiculously high priced fruit juices or “shed-ten-pounds-in five-days shakes…But if they start applying their “knowledge” to essential oils and aromatherapy, sooner or later the government would take measures that would affect the entire industry and true Aromatherapy as a whole would suffer the consequences of restrictions (like, for example, only MDs would be allowed to use, as it is already happening here with herbal tinctures). So it is important to counter this disservice and misinformation and draw a line before govt agencies step in. Thanks Amy and keep it up.
When I was at art college my friend put one drop of essential oil of bergamot into his cup of ordinary black tea in the belief that it would transform it into a cup of Earl Grey. The look on his face is something I will never forget. I told him it’s probably more like I drop per tea chest full.
What are your thoughts about diffusing essential oils?
This is fascinating to me as a newbie in exploring essential oils. Apparently I’m lucky in that I don’t have anyone pushing me towards “OILS IN ALL THE THINGS!”. If the oils are as pure and potent as “they say” that they are… I really don’t get WHY people would use so much. The less-is-more approach makes so much more sense to me! Isn’t that the same way one approaches medicine as a rule???
I do have an addendum/question to #10 though. I’d definitely be leery of using a “Morphine Bomb” internally, especially in the volume specified in those recipes!, but I have had success using Frankincense, Marjoram, and Lemongrass (diluted at about a 1 to 4 ratio, essential oils to coconut oil) as a topical pain reliever. I was actually shocked by how well it worked. I haven’t needed to try it again, but… given the potency and that dilution, what are your thoughts?
There are many, safe ways to shift pain perception with aromatherapy. But no, 25% dilution isn’t recommended, and that Lemongrass needs to be closer to half a percent to avoid adverse effects. Have a chat with a qualified aromatherapist for dosing and dilution guidelines – it’ll be well worth your time and money in the long run.
Interesting! Thank you very much.
There has been a lot of misinformation about essential oil, I agree. But I’ve experienced first hand many benefits. But the FDA has clamped down so hard on these companies and their reps that you can’t even give personal testimonies about them. So what’s the alternative. Pharmaceuticals that have such a long list of side affects that they can kill you? Or addict you? Doctors don’t help cure diseases anymore, they just ‘help’ you manage the symptoms. And many could be cured through diet, essential oils, and natural herbs. I believe God gave us all we need on this earth to keep us healthy or to cure what ails us. But there’s not as much money in doing that as there is in patenting an exclusive formula. Yes, natural, homeopathic medicine makes millions, maybe even billions, but pharmaceutical companies make trillions and their greed knows no limits.
The problem with making claims about a product one sells is it easy to get carried away. Whether this is an essential oil or a pharmaceutical the salesperson is selling makes no matter. Fortunately in this country we’re quite suspicious of someone trying to sell us a “cure,” and for good reason, we’ve got a lengthy history of folks selling all manner of products in unethical and illegal ways.
The alternative is even better than you’ve imagined! The way aromatherapy is setup in this country is this:
– a practitioner goes to school for a year or so and trains in anatomy and physiology, the chemistry of essential oils, and how to treat the individual instead of treating symptoms like a pharmaceutical drug does.
– the customer seeks out the services of this educated practitioner to find ways to incorporate aromatherapy into his/her life in addition to healthy lifestyle, the good diet, and the regular exercise he/she is doing or working towards.
– the salesperson may also go to school to better understand what makes a good essential oil good – he/she may take classes in the art of distillation, may travel to visit the farming practices of growers, will have a thorough knowledge of each step it takes to get an essential oil with the highest quality possible starting with the seed and soil.
– after a visit to his/her aromatherapist the educated customer now has a care plan in place and knows which essential oils will support his/her goals and which ones will exacerbate them. the customer will seek out the salesperson and purchase what he/she needs without the salesperson ever having to overstep their role.
The FDA just serves as a reminder that we each have a role to play and that role has standards and expects a level of education and professionalism. For the sake of the consumer we owe it to ourselves to clearly define where our interests lie. If a salesperson is most interested in education than he/she should go to school and practice as an aromatherapist, leaving sales to someone else. It’s a good opportunity for some soul searching – what role does your heart want to play? Are you endlessly fascinated in the process of essential oil production? Or are you endlessly fascinated in supporting the body’s innate healing abilities through aromatherapy? Whichever you choose I wish you the best of luck because we need passionate hearts on both sides! <3
I don’t want to sound stupid, but where do you recommend applying them if not on the feet? Our pediatrician has advised us TO apply essential oils on our children’s feet.
Dose form depends on what the treatment goal is, always.
I recently started using fractionated coconut oil as lotion. I use a few drops of eo (usually lavender, melaleuca, frankincense or Rosemary) with the coconut oil. Do you think that that is safe?
Fractionated oils have substantially fewer skin supporting components than their virgin versions. Dilution dosing is dependent on the goal and the chemistry of the essential oils chosen.
Thanks for all the information I’ve always wondered about oil’s
Thank you so much for this (almost a year-old at this point!) post. Within my local community the people peddling their oils has reached critical mass, where there are several of them in every classroom, church, mother’s group, etc. I have been a user of EOs for 15+ years and am always horrified at the reps recommendations to use these oils undiluted! I actually had one woman suggest that I put lemongrass oil directly on my 3yo son’s swollen lymph nodes on his neck to “draw out the toxins!” But it’s hard to push back on this misinformation without making a ton of enemies in the community. Another area of concern is that several children in my son’s classroom wear these oils either directly on their skin everyday or in terracotta bead bracelets/necklaces and I find the scent to be extremely distracting when I volunteer in the classroom. I don’t think it’s fair that every child in the class has to be exposed to an aromatherapy treatment like this! What do you think?
Lavender oil bath is still recommended by midwifes if you have suffered from tears and grazes during labour. I understand it’s not inserting it in the vagina but it is still using it on that area.
I make aromatic rectal suppositories and vaginal pessaries for midwifery clients all the time! The difference is that the dose and the dose form are based on known safety guidelines and an intake with the client.
Hi, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Since YL raindrop technique and DT Aromatouch technique use some very different oils, and Aromatouch uses less oil, is there any possibility that you would write a comparison between the two based on your knowledge?
Hi Rachel – happy to share, and thank you for reading! I’m a bit befuddled by your request considering both practices go against industry standards for safe and efficacious use of essential oils, what exactly would I be comparing? Undiluted topical applications continue to warrant calls to poison control centers, visits to the emergency room and skin specialists and allergists, and so forth. I get phone calls on a regular basis from folks seeking answers to why such practices continue to be recommended when they go above and beyond safe dilution guidelines, and in some cases above dermal lethal doses. From my point of view this is like asking me to compare the short and long-term damage of holding your hand over an open flame from a fire pit versus from the gas stove.
Thank you so much for such an informative post.
Some great information here. My site has been posting most of this since 1994. I will not use blog sites and so my information is often pirated by others to include on blogs where replies cannot be made without joining and no emails are given. I detest the way blog sites are being used to gather information on users and confidence tricksters are using them big time. This one is a nice one to come across.
I had read not to try to flush essential oils out of the eyes with water (water and oil don’t mix), but instead to use olive oil to dilute/flush it out. You mentioned to use water to flush the eyes in the Lavender Mascara section of your article. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.
It is the current standard in hospitals and is the advice you would get if you called poison control, Kristie. Olive oil would drive the essential oil further into the tear ducts. Hope this answers your question! 🙂
Yes, thank you 🙂
You don’t fill in the ‘About Me’ section, so it’s kinda hard to find out your background. On purpose?
You must have missed it, Susan! My bio is here under Meet Amy: http://www.amykreydin.com/about/meet-amy/. And my curriculum vitae is here: http://www.amykreydin.com/amys-cv/.
I wanted to thank you for this article. I have recently begun researching EO’s. I have done so quietly, as it seems I am surrounded by those that tell me to drink them, eat them, and put them … everywhere! I appreciate your straightforward approach and levity. As I desire to understand the nature of EO’s and how they work with the body before making potentially serious choices for myself and family; I wondered if you ever share information on reputable classes or schools in locations other than Texas. I’d love to attend your classes, but I’m on the West Coast.
And I’ve just now found your list of associations to contact! Thank you for your thorough approach. I’ve spent many hours researching, but until your blog, had not come across such a well structured, comprehensive look at EOs.
Recently I was recommended by a sales rep for a oil company that was not a aromatherapist to put some drops of wintergreen in some water for my fibromyalgia pain. Turns out wintergreen is like concentrated aspirin. I was in ICU for three days in severe condition similar to a serious aspirin overdose it depleted all my natural vitamins anencephaly came very close to killing me. Probably would have if I had drank more or not made it to the hospital in time. Thank you for raising awareness on how dangerous these claims actually are. There are good uses for oils but if your not trained in what the product is and it’s uses DO NOT recommend to anyone else please. I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else
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