Dear Essential Oil Users:
I may sound pissed and indeed I am...Let me back up a couple of years back and explain a little.
I was first introduced to essential oils (EO) at the beginning of 2013 (approximately 3 years ago) while I was pregnant with my second child. Well, my mom used to talk to me about essential oils way before that; but I did not really start paying attention to them until I and a group of friends were introduced to Doterra Essential Oils, a multilevel marketing business, during a baby event. We all went to this “green diaper bag” class where a consultant from Doterra taught us how to make baby wipes, baby powder, diaper rash cream and hand sanitizer using natural everyday oils like coconut oil in conjunction with their essential oils. I bought their “started kit” with 10 or 12 EOs. It included very small, almost useless little pamphlet about different ailments and the essential oil you could use to treat. The consultant came to my house in the following months a couple of times to talk more about oils and the use of essential oils as a substitute for different over the counter medicines for my family and kids; as substitute for harsh house cleaners, etc. And, of course, to see if I was interested in joining her to sell essential oils. My group of friends and I use the essential oils to the extent that we had learned at the “green diaper class”. I personally used some lemon EO to clean my house, and that was about it. I did not like the fact that I could not have an actual guide on how to use Doterra essential oils.
Then, at the end of 2014 I was introduced to Young Living essential oils, another multilevel marketing business, by one of the moms that I know. After speaking with her I started to get interested in essential oils again. This time what I really liked was that she actually had quick reference guides that explain much more about how to use and apply essential oils. It seemed that I had people (support group) readily available if I needed any help. I bought their “starter kit” with 10 EOs. I bought their quick reference guide specific to Young Living EOs. I bought a few more reference guides by the same company, I joined the local Facebook support group, I went to a few meetings. I started to use essential oils every day several times a day for my kids, my household, myself, my husband and then for a few of my friends and family. Slowly I started investing quite a bit of time and money; such as droppers, books, cases to put my EOs, carrier oils, other products that Young Living offers (Ningxia Red, body products, toothpaste, mouth wash, etc) all from their website, which came with quite a high price tag (but your health is worth way more, isn’t it!). I started to spend quite a bit of time reading their books and searching on-line and reading their testimony website about different oils that I could use to heal my family. At one point in my life, it seemed that every other word that came out of my mouth was about essential oils; because, Young Living makes you believe that we live in an impure, nasty world and essential oils are the answer to everything and anything. Essential oils are better, safer, and more natural than any medication. They are better for your life, your family, your animals, your friends, your health and it almost seem that their brand is the only one good for you as well.
Sounds familiar…essential oil users!!
I know I am going to piss some of you, my dear fellow moms…
Even though, I was gracefully pushed to sell essential oils by Young Living consultants, something kept stopping me to fully get myself into selling essential oils. I was not sure that I truly understood these “little potent gems”. And I wanted to know more about them. I was on page #2 of Essential Oils pocket reference 6th edition by Life Science Publishing. This guide is a publishers work that shares Dr. D. Gary Young (founder of Young Living essential oils) research about therapeutic and clinical potential of essential oils to maintain physical and emotional wellness. A paragraph on page #2 says:
“The European communities have tight controls and standards concerning botanical extracts and who may administer them. Only practitioners with proper training and certification can practice in the discipline called “aromatherapy.” In the United States, regulatory agencies have not recognized these disciplines or mandated the type and degree of training required to distribute and use essential oils. This means that in the United States , individuals can call themselves “aromatherapists” after attending brief classes in essential oils and can apply oils to anyone -even though the so call “aromatherapists” may not have the experience or training to properly understand and use essential oils. This may not only undermine and damage the credibility of the entire discipline of aromatherapy, but it is also dangerous to the patient.”
I stopped reading right there and close the book. I was in disbelief of what I had just read in the 2nd page of this guide. That should have been my 1st red flag. I few days later, I asked my Young Living Facebook support group if anybody knew of an aromatherapy school in Tampa, no one answered my question. That should have been my 2nd red flag. I surprisingly found a close by aromatherapy institute (Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy) and I called to make an appointment with an aromatherapist.
You have to understand that by this point I was fully using essential oils not only applying them, but also ingesting some of them in my water like grapefruit and lemon EO. I was drinking Ningxia Red (supposedly an antioxidant drink) that has essential oils in them. I was applying them to my kids everyday, I was also putting EO in my husband’s water like my water. I had given a few sample of diluted essential oils (to apply) to some of my friends to help their kids with stuffy nose, ear infections, etc. After all, it was all what the consultants had advised me to do with myself and my family.
I learned at my appointment with the aromatherapist (Sylla Sheppard-Hanger LMT, who has been practicing as an aromatherapist for more than 20 years and is the founder/director of Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy) that EO are not meant to be drank “daily” in your water like the Young Living and Doterra consultants tell you to do (read Sylla’s blog post about that topic here). Like the Young Living books tell you to do as well. Essential oils are meant to be used internally only at specific times and diluted in the right way. Essential oils should not be diluted in your water as oil does not mix with water so the oil just kind of float on top of the water and sticks to your lips when you drink it (duh!! I thought to myself for not catching that simple truth from the beginning). Besides, some of these essential oils can even be corrosive to your stomach and esophagus if not taken correctly and with over use. She told me that essential oils are mainly meant to be placed in a diffuser (hence the the word aromatherapy) and if they are applied, they need to be diluted correctly and applied in the right place according to the person’s age and need. Also, she explains that these essential oils are out of your system rather quickly, so to use essential oils to actually prevent illness (like colds) it would not really do anything because, as mentioned before, they get out of your system rather quickly; unless, you know exactly when the exposure to an illness could happen and apply then. Funny thing is that I was applying “thieves” all the time to my kids to be able to prevent illness, it was like an obsession. Furthermore, a lot of these essentials oils are not meant for kids or pregnant women; but these guides that I was using from Young Living, and all the testimonials and support groups that I was reading from Young Living pretty much advise you to use the essential oils blends (bottles of essential oils that contain more than one essential oil together) that were not really meant for kids or pregnant women.
Why fellow essential oil users, should we follow the medical advice on how to use essential oils (that pretty much behave like medicine) from random friends, moms, fathers, business men, neighbors, gym partner, the friend of a friend; if the majority of them do not know anything about medicine. When you go to your primary physician, he/she usually refer you to specialists (orthopedist, neurologist, pulmonologist, psychiatrist, etc) when the care requires in depth study. Why suddenly your random non medical essential oil consultants, who have maybe bought a handful of essential oil themselves, 3 months ago, becomes an expert on how to cure your son’s ear infection, your mother’s acid reflux, your husband’s foot pain. Why accept medical advise when they know nothing about what medications you take or apply, what medicine allergies you have. The blind leading the blind. Why do I know that?Because I experienced it myself.
The aromatherapist, advised me to read her website were she talks about side effects of wrongly used essential oils. Her institute is the only one that actually maintains and encourages essential oil users to report side effects of EO, something that I have never read or seen before.
Please, stay tuned to my next blog post…it may save you from a bad side effect of wrongly used essential oil.