|Lavender growing along my fence|
With the vast conversational chatter about Young Living, doTerra and Organic essential oils, it is complicated for a consumer to understand what an essential oil truly is and how someone can best use them medically.
As a physician, I happily explain to my patients about the choices, what to look for as quality indicators and indications for use.
This post will help you to make these decisions for yourself and your family.
Curious about Essential Oils? Learn about their production and safety from @DrJeanLayton
What are Essential Oils?
An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic (doesn't like water) liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. An oil is "essential" in the sense that it contains the "essence of" the plant's fragrance—the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it is derived.
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation using steam or solvent extraction. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.
How are they made?
5 different ways: Steam Distillation, Expression, Supercritical CO2, Vacuum distillation, and Solvent Extraction
Safe for Organic oils:Steam distillation-using water vapor to carry the oils out of the plant material, re-condensed the fluid is called hydrosol. Many hydrosols are used in aromatherapy.
Expression-manually squeezing the plant material to extract oils. This method is used extensively with citrus oils.
Supercritical CO2 (gas)- pushes the oils out of the oil glands
Dry (vacuum) distillation-sucks the essential oils out of the glands without any additional chemicals
Not Permitted in Organic Oils:
Solvents- use with Caution-Hexane or Ethanol can be used but do not need to be listed on the label.Low level exposure to hexane has be associated with neuropathic (nerve) damage. (1)
Ethanol can be a skin irritant and faciliate chemical penetration of the skin (2)
How do they work?
Essential oils are antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial. (3) Some are antioxidant rich. Each essential oil is different, and needs to be researched for the intended use.
Cautions for use:Citrus oils (orange, lemon, lime, bergamot, tangerine) exaggerate sun response, creating sunburn possibilities.
I'm NOT in any way saying that doTerra is best source for safety information but these guidelines will help.From the DoTerra site: Italics are my additions.
Be sure to use only pure, therapeutic-grade (a trademarked phrase by doTerra) essential oils and follow all label warnings and instructions. If redness or irritation occurs when using essential oils topically, apply a vegetable oil - such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil - to the affected area. Essential oils should not be used in the eyes, inside the ear canal, or in open wounds. In the event of accidental contact with the eye, dilute with vegetable oil NOT water.
Do NOT consume an essential oil internally unless labeled with a Supplement Facts box with specific dietary supplement, use instructions, and warnings. Only doTerra oils would have these Supplement Facts
Discontinue the use of an essential oil if you experience severe skin, stomach, or respiratory irritation or discomfort.
When using on children, apply a very small amount of the oil to test skin or other sensitivity. Do not use oil on a child's hand as they may transfer to their eyes or mouth.
Consult your physician before using essential oils if you are pregnant or under a doctor's care or have other safety questions regarding essential oils.
It is important to remember that therapeutic-grade essential oils are highly-concentrated plant extracts and should be used with reasonable care. Consulting with someone who has experience with essential oils will make your first experience with essential oils more enjoyable and rewarding. As you learn how to use essential oils through personal experience, share your knowledge with others in a safe and responsible way and encourage others to do the same.
One concern I have, that doTerra has trademarked Pure Therapeutic Grade as a phrase but then uses the same phrase as the sole way to make sure you get great quality essential oils.
When I purchase essential oils for my practice, I make sure to purchase only Organic oils. Those are certified by an outside source for quality materials.
The FDA has been concerned about doTerra
August 2014. Based on our review, FDA has determined that several of your dōTERRA Essential Oil products including, but not limited to, “Melaleuca,” “Oregano,” “On Guard,” “Clove,” “Eucalyptus,” “Frankincense,” “Geranium,” “Lavender,” “Lemongrass,” “Myrrh,” “Peppermint,” “Rosemary,” “Wintergreen,” “Clary Sage,” and “Vetiver” are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)(B)]. The therapeutic claims establish that these products are drugs because they are intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The intended use of a product may be determined by, among other things, its labeling, advertising, and the circumstances surrounding its distribution, 21 C.F.R. § 201.128.
As described below, the marketing of your dōTERRA Essential Oil products with drug claims and without FDA approved-applications is in violation the Act.Your consultants promote your above mentioned dōTERRA Essential Oil products for conditions including, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), bacterial infections, cancer, brain injury, autism, endometriosis, Grave’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, tumor reduction, ADD/ADHD, and other conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners.
Moreover, your consultants redirect consumers to your website,
And Young Living
August 2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed websites and social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) for several Young Living essential oil consultants that your firm refers to as “Young Living distributors.” FDA also reviewed a 2012-2013 product guide found on your website http://www.youngliving.com. Based on our review, FDA has determined that many of your Young Living Essential Oil products, such as, but not limited to, “Thieves,” “Cinnamon Bark,” “Oregano,” “ImmuPower,” “Rosemary,” “Myrtle,” “Sandalwood,” “Eucalyptus Blue,” “Peppermint,” “Ylang Ylang,” “Frankincense,” and “Orange,” are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs under section 201(g)(1)(B) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)(B)], because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. The intended use of a product may be determined by, among other things, its labeling, advertising, and the circumstances surrounding its distribution, 21 C.F.R. § 201.128. As described below, the marketing and distribution of your Young Living Essential Oil products without FDA-approved applications is in violation of the Act.
You market your Young Living Essential Oil products through paid consultants; your compensation plan for your consultants is explained on your website www.youngliving.com/en_US/opportunity/compensation-plan. Your consultants promote many of your Young Living Essential Oil Products for conditions such as, but not limited to, viral infections (including ebola), Parkinson’s disease, autism, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), dementia, and multiple sclerosis, that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners. Consumers interested in your Young Living Essential Oil products are then redirected by your consultants to your website, http://www.youngliving.com, to purchase your products and/or register as members (i.e., consultants)
So where do you turn for impartial education about essential oils?
And some online information:
To sum it all up: I love essential oils but consider them the most powerful of plant medicines, akin to pulling out the most powerful antibiotics.
I NEVER use them internally with the exception of clove oil for a toothache
I use them in teeny, tiny amounts, well diluted in a carrier oil like olive oil or salve for topical use.
I use diffused oils only when the people in the room have be introduced to the original plant material.
In children's rooms, I use very few diffused oils, I've seen too many respiratory irritations from inhaled oils.
I never, EVER put essential oils onto a child, their tiny bodies cannot process this complexity of intensive intervention.
This research validates my caution:
In my 15+ years as a practicing physician, I've used less than 4 ounces medicinally.