Essential Oil Claims – The Dangers Keep On Coming

Today I am going to focus specifically on one essential oil blog which came to my attention through a Facebook post about making your own “dry shampoo.” Why did I click on it? Sigh. Well, I did. I ended up at an essential oil seller making not just bogus claims, but downright dangerous claims. Of course, this seller protects herself with the standard FDA fake medicine disclaimer. Let’s look at a few of the more dangerous suggestions on the site.

Let’s meet Dana. Dana says she is doula and certified by DONA international. A doula is basically a coach for the birthing process. It does not signify any medical training. Yes, before you comment, I know there are nurses and other medical professionals that also serve as doulas. But she does not reveal any medical training. So in essence, she is a coach for the birth. She says:

My mission is to provide women with the information they need to make confident decisions about their labor, the emotional support to motivate them to the next level and the physical comfort to embrace their birth experience.

Based on the information on her website, she isn’t doing a great job of informing.

Let me also interject here before the comments come about my medical training. I never pass myself off as a medical expert. I teach science, and I am educated in science. I also write about various science. I consult experts in biology and medicine when I need clarification. I would never pass myself off as a place you should solely seek information on a topic in medicine and biology. However, I do feel my science education and experience adds weight to the evidence and conclusions presented. A person’s education and experience should always be one part of the overall evaluation process of any writing. Now, back to the blog.

Let’s look at the information on how to become a “home healer,” which turns out she admits simply means you use lots and lots of the product she is selling. She starts by selling an over $150 “family physician kit.” I find this claim to be dangerous, as well as a bit insulting. Being a physician requires medical education and years of training. To call yourself a physician is a bit like calling myself a professional hockey player because I occasionally shoot the puck around. Here are a few of the claims of the oils in this kit:

You may have already heard me talk about how I only ever use doTERRA’s essential oils, because they are 100% certified pure therapeutic grade. This makes me feel great because I know that what I’m putting in/on my body and my family’s body, is safe and natural. There are no synthetics or fillers in the doTERRA oils and they are highly potent and effective.

What does 100% certified therapeutic grade mean? It turns out the phase is a registered trademark of doTERRA. The great irony is the proponents of these oils claim “big pharma” is shady. I can only imagine how they would feel if “big pharma” reviewed their own science without any FDA or peer review – because that is exactly what doTERRA is doing here. They have no science or any details on what this process means. In other words, it is nonsense.

The next claim is that what you are putting in your body is safe and natural. These are fake (alternative/homeopathic/natural/naturopathic/etc) medicine buzz words. Just because it is natural doesn’t make it safe all the time and in every case. And natural is another weird word. Usually in fake medicine circles as “coming from a plant,” it has no real meaning since the chemicals in the oils are still processed to make them “100% certified therapeutic grade.” So is that natural?

The statement about highly potent and effective is interesting. Because one of my problems with these oils is that because they come from plants, and there is no oversight as to how the oils are processed, the potency is a bit of an unknown. Plants can contain different levels of compounds due to genetics, growing conditions, etc. This is why peppers can vary in hotness and why small batches of beer have different flavors, even if the same recipe is used. Large food companies use extensive testing to ensure a consistent product in terms of flavor. We don’t get that same assurance from doTERRA.

This “home healer” also makes this claim:

Oregano, and OnGuard cured us of the flu. Yes it took a good 2 days of feeling pretty crappy and smelling like a pizzeria, but I truly believe the oregano got me through this flu case faster than any antibiotic ever would have. I also used Peppermint for my fever, Lemon to detox, and Breathe for cough and congestion.

Let me ask you, do you want to take medical advice from someone who doesn’t understand that influenza is a virus, and antibiotics would not be effective anyway? Likely, the illness was not flu but simply a cold, which would go away on its own in about 2 days with a low fever and some respiratory symptoms.

The next claim is in a blog titled “Drink up! It’s good for you.” Of course, there is not a shred of evidence for any of the claims in the blog. One section in particular bothered me, and it is the one on grapefruit oil and the suggestion to drink tea with a few drops of this in it. Grapefruits and the juice contain an enzyme which interacts with dozens of drugs. Because we do not have a good idea of the manufacturing process, we have no idea if this enzyme is present or in what amount. This, along with the usual “immune boosting” claims for virtually every oil, shows there is a bunch of medical nonsense and a few dangers in this advice.

Another claim that shows up in several posts is the “mood enhancing properties.” In this blog post selling you an intro kit, both lemon and lavender are claimed to either cause calming or enhance mood. Pretty much every post claims some sort of mood improvement. There is some evidence – though years of studies still only show small, preliminary results without any larger follow-ups – that the scents of some oils can help reduce anxiety. Again, these are small studies, most without good controls, and no plausible mechanism has been found other than the placebo effect. The setup to use the oil could be the thing causing the relaxation (such as putting it in a warm bath).

The dangers in this claim are a bit more subtle. My concern is when people are told something will make them feel better and they trust that, it could prevent them from seeking real help if it is needed. If someone is depressed and seek legitimate medical help, the doctor knows and understands a particular medicine or a single session of therapy is not going to be enough in some cases (probably many). So the doctor might adivse the patient to follow-up to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment plan in a specified amount of time and can adjust if necessary. Will modern medicine prevent every bout with depression or suicide? No. But at least there is an admission of this limitation. If we were to believe the oil claims, the cure is 100% effective every time (it’s not – not even close).

Another danger of lavender in particular is it can be harmful to skin. The doTERRA blogger suggests rubbing some on the forehead to cure watery eyes from allergies. A quick search in PubMed tells me this is a really bad idea. In vitro tests show lavender oil is harmful to skin cells, with a proposed mechanism of membrane damage. If left exposed to air, lavender oil oxidizes, forming chemicals very irritating to the skin – with the study both identifying the oxidized components causing the irritation as well as showing irritation on patches of skin on test patients. Sounds like a bad idea for your skin.

The claims that really bother me the most are the ones for children. Like most essential oil proponents, they think because the word “natural” is involved it is OK to just apply this stuff to your kids. For example, there is a post with instructions for homemade baby wipe solution that includes Melaleuca (tea tree oil). Much like lavender, when exposed to air and/or light, other products form that can be harmful to the skin. It can also be poisonous when ingested. It is generally not advised to use tea tree oil on children or pregnant women. It can may cause hormone disruptions in boys before puberty and lead to gynecomastia. Any of the claimed benefits such as treating nail fungus have had mixed results. Just don’t put this on your kids. Do not.

Another claim for children is to not use Tylenol to treat a fever and instead use peppermint oil applied to the forehead. Once again we have possible skin irritation issues. Ignoring that for a moment, we have another issue with the science here. It isn’t “curing the fever” as claimed while “allowing the immune system to do its work.” A fever is part of the immune response. By treating it, you are in a sense suppressing the immune system. But of course, fevers are uncomfortable, and above certain levels can be dangerous. The mechanism employed by the  peppermint oil is evaporation – the same effect you could get from a damp washcloth. Peppermint gives off a strong scent, which is due to the relatively higher vapor pressure of the oil – meaning it easily evaporates. When something evaporates, the remaining material and/or the surface it was in contact with cools – because evaporation is a phase change that absorbs a significant amount of energy. So avoid the cost and possible irritation and use a damp washcloth. And if needed – use the Tylenol. And please, don’t delay treatment because you think the oils will fix your kid’s illness.

The anti-science bend to these essential oil pushers is disturbing. The claims made are bogus at best, and can be dangerous in many ways. The sad part is the oils do have some legitimate uses. They smell nice – so as a scent for a relaxing bath or just to provide a pleasing scent in the home is a nice treat. In concentrated forms, they can kill bacteria on surfaces and even repel bugs. The constituent ingredients have the possibility of being good pharmaceuticals. But none of that justifies the misapplication of science to the point of being dangerous. Of course, they might not sell well enough to support the MLM structure if they stuck to just the legitimate uses. And as we know, pseudoscience sells.

About Eric Hall

My day job is teaching physics at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. I write about physics, other sciences, politics, education, and whatever else interests or concerns me. I am always working to be rational and reasonable, and I am always willing to improve my knowledge and change my mind when presented with new evidence.
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541 Responses to Essential Oil Claims – The Dangers Keep On Coming

  1. The Wood says:

    I enjoyed the shit out of this. It is maddening to think that people, usually impressionable new mothers trying to do “the best thing they can” for their new families, believe they are helping under the pretense that “if it doesn’t help, it certainly won’t hurt – it’s safe and all natural!”. That, as we all know, is not always the case. Sometimes it CAN hurt, and every time, it will be a waste of money when trying to treat actual conditions that could have been otherwise cured easily with OTC medicines, etc.

    • SwampWitch says:

      Right on, Wood! Adequate hydration, good food, and good sleep will get pregnant women (and everyone else) in a better state of health that all those “pure and natural ( and what ever additional b.s.) remedies put together.

      And, by the way, a very naughty thing that my middle school class mates used to do is rub peppermint oil all over the toilet seat (home, school, where ever.) The unwary come to sit and commune with nature, and jump up hollering because they now have a big wide circle of a mild burn all around the backside……….this is not what you should be rubbing on a child’s forehead for any reason whatsoever.

      • Mel says:

        Ooh! I’ll take a night nanny and a personal chef, too, please!! A maid wouldn’t hurt for helping with rest time! 😉

      • Kimberly says:

        First the FDA went after Electronic Cigarettes and vaporizers trying to protect big tobacco, and now they are going after essential oil companies to protect big pharma. I am obviously against making claims that essential oils can cure a disease or a condition, but they are many other benefits to Essential oils which have been used for centuries. The best way to diffuse is actually to either vaporize or nebulize. here is one that offers vaporization http://www.herbalizer.com and here is one that offers nebulization https://richaromas.com these actually break down the oils to a particle size small enough for the lungs and body to absorb them rapidly. There are many many scientific studies showing the benefits of essential oil for a variety of things. NOT curing cancer or a disease but for acne for example and clean air/aromatherapy. So if crazy claims are not made then yes you can benefit from essential oils. Just don’t fall for stupid MLM companies that make outlandish claims to sell their crap.

        • Noah Dillon says:

          Tobacco companies make and sell electronic cigarettes. The government stepped in because there was no regulation and they were being sold to kids. Let me underline that: nicotine, one of the most toxic drugs available, and one that is extremely addictive, was being sold to children. I use an e-cigarette, but that’s not a blow against “Big Tobacco.” It’s money in their pockets. I use one because I’m addicted to nicotine.

          The point of this essay is the exact thing you point out: essential oil vendors are making claims that their products can treat or cure conditions, and that they should be ingested, applied topically, etc. If you are “obviously against” that kind of thing then what are you talking about that this is “to protect big pharma.” They can’t treat or cure, ergo they’re not a threat to pharmaceutical medicine. They do pose a danger to people, though, who gullibly ingest unregulated substances supposed to cure cancer, headaches, impotence, etc.

        • Dennis Martinez says:

          Please cite any of the scientific papers you claim.

        • chuck says:

          Where are theses studies??

        • Michael Patrick King says:

          “Particle size”? Wtf is that supposed to mean?

          A “particle” is a proton, a neutron, an electron, a lepton, a quark…!

          Do you mean to suggest that airborne blobs of an oil–which must be at least molecule-size to retain its chemical properties–are reduced to the size of particles?

    • I did too. I was recently attacked for telling the truth just as you did here. It’s such a dangerous business. I wish everyone would read this.

      • Leslie says:

        I agree with you! I was attacked when I told that DDR prime gave me acid reflux that burned my esophagus during the night and I have a lot of problems because if it now.

        • janet says:

          I would never take these oils internally. My reason is that they are very strong. Theses oils were made to smell and also be fully diluted with a carrier oil before they are put on the skin.

        • john says:

          DDR prime has never bothered me but I do believe there products should all be organic and non GMO but they are ride every Oil does have a medical property just like medical marijuana it’s Not that medicinal until its concentrated into an oil.

          • Michael Patrick King says:

            John. May I call you ‘John’?

            A brief lesson in pharmacology here:

            Every plant in existence has an essence. That essence is two things: a poison and a medicine. Our bodies have receptors designed to receive these essences, as though they were enzymes or hormones.

            The difference between a poison and a medicine is one of amount: a therapeutic dose is usually extremely tiny in comparison to a toxic one. One example is atropine, the essence of Atropos plants (e.g., nightshade, eggplant, tomato). Another is aspirin, the essence of willow. In both of these cases, where a tiny dose can treat a number of symptoms, a larger one will result in death.

            Your statement that “Oil [isn’t] that medicinal until its (sic) concentrated into an oil” smacks of ignorance on a monumental scale. Indeed, the very opposite is true: unless it is “stepped on” thousands of times, it isn’t a medicine but a poison.

            Another case in point is cocaine. Cocaine is the essence of the Coca plant. Chewing a few coca leaves will enable a runner to go for hours on little food by imbuing him with the ability to utilize oxygen more efficiently. Sort of like tightening the combustion-air doors on an airtight wood stove. A slightly larger dose can be compounded with other substances to block tooth pain during dental surgery. However, snorting a huge dose of pure cocaine up your nose is never a great idea.

      • Tara says:

        I like using the essential oils. I tell my clients they need to talk to their doctor first before trying anything, especially if you have poor health. I have poor health and I have to be careful of what I because medications can interact with certain essential oils. I am an educator and an advocate for alternative health. Some do not like me to tell clients about researching their choices before they buy. Yet, I can’t under my own conscience, not tell them to do research and ask their doctors. Each person reacts differently. I show them how to research, an the. Apply safely so they will not get hurt. I also tell them to make sure their doctor is aware of what they are taking. It’s about having open communication and learning how to ask the right questions. I would not share a product if I didn’t know anything about it.

    • Lynn says:

      Totally agreed. Here is what I tell people about the “all natural” label when they mistakenly think natural is fine: “Snake venom is all natural, so it must be safe, right?” Castor beans and water hemlock plants are also very poisonous to humans, hey, but they are “all natural”? Some people aren’t very smart.

      • I agree Lynn. I always reference poison. I say that is a natural chemical residing in the plant. It will ruin your day. The big issue here is experience and education. The claims have some validity in ethnobotany and old compendiums but some of these same old compendiums recommend laudanum and even worse things. Still, if used correctly essential oils can help quality of life. I have been using oils for 15 years but I have no direct affiliation with these cults. I consider the MLM to be a type of syndicate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, like people who look for health info/advice on a website called skeptoid. -_-

    • Janie says:

      Do you really think OTC’s are never a waste of money and that they are not dangerous or have no side effects?

    • Turd Fergeson says:

      You all are some p****’s!!!! Picking on the dangers of essential oils. Why Don’t you all grow a set of b***s and pick on the Phamacutical companies? They will f**k you in the a*s and leave you for dead!!! How bout the dangers of those? Yeah, that’s right!!! I think I just answered my own questioon.

      • Noah Dillon says:

        Are essential oil companies are benevolent charities? What are the side effects of their products? What are the dosages? What evidence do they have for efficacy? What are the contraindications?

      • Post malone says:

        Yeah but at least big pharma has to follow federal guidelines and test on acuall people… you would probably eat rat poison if some tree hugger told you arsenic can cure the common cold, I’ll stick with day quill and take my chances

        • Robbie Rogers says:

          They buy the f d a and anyobe elese that get in there way.if u thankthe gov is workibg to keep u safe you are creazy.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            The essential oils industry is worth $12 billion annually. The alternative medicine industry is worth about $34 billion. And they’re buying lobbyists and congressmen and celebrities to sell their worthless drugs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA0wKeokWUU

            If you think those companies are trying to keep you safe then you’re crazy.

      • helemae says:

        well spoken !

      • Timbra says:

        This heroin addict agrees. But one problem existing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight another.

    • LJR says:

      This comment is in no way to address the above but a general statement to address many comments below and I apologize to the person reading who has not yet had a chance to read anything thus far.

      Can people just use a little common sense and actually read everything before making the ridiculous statements that are being left? Do I use essential oils? Yes….do I use OTC and prescribed medications? Yes. How hard is it to understand that if you are going to use any of the named that using with caution is necessary and that no matter what your method dangers are followed with EVERYTHING when it comes to treating ANYTHING! What I am taking in a whole from most of the comments being stated is that you can NOT believe everything you read while researching the world wide internet! When it comes to treatments, whether it be to induce sleep or cure a headache that your child has you should be doing your research and when I say research I do NOT mean thinking that just because a few, or even 100 sites say the same thing that it means it is okay. You should be putting yourself, your family and loved ones on the top of a pedestal and especially when it comes to well being. Research sites that have references and sites with qualified people who can direct you from one reference to another who can prove they have the qualifications to back up what they are saying. If a family practice doc tells you that you need brain surgery do you say “well okay let’s schedule this thing” NO, you look into your symptoms and get a few more opinions with doc’s qualified in this field specifically and wonder why the hell a family practice doc is telling you this and not referring you to a Neurosurgeon. Same goes for a blog your reading who may indeed seem full of information and have a well written paragraph but the writer is an every day joe who may be interested in eo’s but has no reference or qualifications and got the info from another blogger who just happen’s to be an affiliate for a company who tells you about this new peppermint oil that is wonderful for you skin if you smear it all over yourself, and of course a link to where you can purchase the miracle oil.

      I personally will take an Ibuprofen if I am suffering a headache and antibiotics if I have strep throat but if I have a ton of congestion then a few drops of the appropriate eo diluted into a diffuser for 15 minutes out of every hour using oils who’s properties have been proven with studies to help me breath, open my airways and clear my nasal passages is what I will do to help aid in feeling a bit more clear. If you are using any type of medicines, aromatherapy or modern medicine you should be competent in regard to understanding the proper use and dangers that may follow. You do NOT ingest EO’s EVER and you do NOT put certain EO’s on children or yourself for that matter if not properly diluted or at all with certain ones and especially on children under a certain age or pregnant women including diffusing the air they are in direct contact with just as you wouldn’t tell a pregnant women to swallow a few ambien for sleep or to take ibuprofen for a headache. Do you give your child prescribed or OTC med’s without direction of either a doctor or at least a label that states the dose for your child’s age or weight? Of course you don’t so why would you not study a reputable EO companies warnings and side effects, age group for certain oil’s.

      To many people are completely missing the point with the comments addressing other comments and it is turning into a circus. You do what you do, what you feel works but a lot of the point is to do it with caution and don’t believe every thing you read. Their are far to many people who are naive and although I really hate analogies that steer away from the topic I am going to use one because it is unfortunate that today’s market is feeding off people who have just jumped on the EO bandwagon….I am a HUGE Green Bay Packer Fan and Always have been. When they sucked, prior to Favre, when they excelled, and when you just didn’t know which way the team would go but marketing companies all over put out more merchandise Green Bay related when they all of a sudden got great, and every non packer fan in Wisconsin or other states turned into fan’s. The companies make money and people get carried away based on the “now” or because of the economy are doing what they can to save money. It is the same with EO’s and the business’ who sold nothing eo related who want to make an extra buck. A lot of these people jumping on who are selling EO’s or starting blog’s on diy recipe’s are not doing it in care of your health or your well being (not all) but to make money. Not that all of a sudden putting on a packer jersey will hurt your health (unless your wearing it at a viking or bears game on there side and in there city) but the point I am trying to make is to be sure you have knowledge before jumping into anything health related if you don’t have experience with it.

      To attack some of the comments for stating to use caution and know how to use eo’s is so absurd to me because you are missing the point! They are not attacking the use but are instead stating they fear people are misusing the products because of everything they read. To attack someone for stating snake venom is all natural is also absurd to me because it is only a point to keep yourself educated on what words and terms actually mean, allowing for naive readers to understand a more realistic definition in terms of not everything that states it is all natural or all organic means put it on or in your body. Misuse of essential oils ARE dangerous and let me make this clear for the person who just skimmed my rant….SO ARE OTC AND PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS. Knowledge, proper use, and some common sense people….that’s all!

      • jaclyn says:

        that was awesome. thanks.

      • Kayla says:

        Nicely put, albeit a bit long : ) I was raised a Packers fan as well. Now, back on topic. Essential Oils. I avoided sales pitches from my sister-in-law (who sells doTERRA) like the plague for years and really wanted nothing to do with that type of company or their products; it was all hype and placebo responses. I studied biochemistry, and graduated with my 4.0; I thought that essential oils were just another “thing” to get into, a passing phase of those around me. However, I never ever stop studying and am always reading studies and medical journals so once I realized potential, I began researching deeper.

        I am very sensitive to antibiotics, and have avoided taking any antibiotics for near 10 years. However, recently I had the lovely experience of waking up in the morning peeing blood and in agony with a UTI. After several days of OTC medications and vitamins with 70 oz of water a day, the pain was too much. It was nearing an 8 on my pain scale; completely natural childbirth only got me to a 9. I was scared that it would progress into a kidney infection because I used to get them regularly, so I called and got a script filled for antibiotics. I never took it.

        I was doing a urinalysis each morning to track the progress of the infection and it just wasn’t getting better. That same day I called in a script I decided to contact my sister-in-law, thinking maybe she had experience with UTI’s. I was willing to try essential oils in place of antibiotics even if I did end up with similar intestinal side effects. I was DESPERATE.

        This is where I’m going to stop adding to the verbiage on this page and tell you to read the whole story on my blog. I am currently writing a series on antibiotic resistant bacteria and the potential of using essential oils in place of antibiotics in some circumstances.

        Here is the link to the oregano oil article:
        tinyurl.com/OreganoAdventure

      • Ashley says:

        Well put. Essential Oils have a place in the AIDE of relieving pain/anxiety/allergies/mood/respiratory issues and that’s great. I would love for more studies to be released on the actual effects, and it’s important to do your research, but whatever works for you – do it. That being said, be smart and research it. Research your companies. Understand the MEANING of pyramid scheme before you throw that around at direct sells companies too. I sell products that utilize essential oils in their scents to help with moods and I’ve seen great things and nothing bad from smart usage. TLDR, don’t be an idiot.

    • Zagara says:

      Like for everything, you need to educate yourself, be informed and be open to learn new things. Too many of the FDA approved medicatons have being taken off the market because of birth defects, death and many other more serious symptoms than the ones people had before taking a medication. Like the disastrous effects of the anti-nausea medication given to pregnant women in the 60s (Thalidomide), which caused malformation of the limbs in many children. Had they used peppermint or ginger essential oils we could have saved many lives.
      I use doTerra oils aromatically, topically and internally. And I follow the warnings, reccomandations given and study them. Essentials oils have been used for over 2,000 years and specifically by medical doctors in Europe for over a century (Dr. Rene Gattefosse , Dr. Jean Valnet , Dr. P. Franchimme to mention just a few) it may be a “new phenomena” in the USA.
      I have made a cough syrup and the cough stopped in one day (after having it for 2 days and they generally last 5+ days). Tooth pain disappeared with 1 drop of clove without the need to take pain killers, which are becoming the new drug addiction in the USA. A couple of my friends are using peppermint for nausea due to chemo and they are finding relief.
      All I am saying is to educate yourself and be wise. There are various good essential oils on the market (I have used Young Linving too). Just make sure they are pure and extracted via distillation and not with chemicals, and are tested by a third party. The Essential Oil University (affiliated with University of Indiana) tests doTerra , Young Living and many other essential oils. Take classes, consult Naturopaths , be informed and make the decision that works for you. You can truly take care of many aliments on your own. All the best to all of you and thank you Eric for being interested in talking about such a great topic. You will love the information available about the essential oils properties 🙂

    • Rick Dains says:

      Exactly. Hemlock is all-natural. So is Poison Ivy and the venom of South American frogs. And a cocktail of these three ingredients will definitely cure my headache… FOREVER.

  2. TicTac says:

    I usually point out that Uranium is all natural, too. I don’t see anyone rubbing it on their kids.

  3. Desiree says:

    Really well done

  4. Tony Larkman says:

    You say that tea tree oil “…can cause hormone disruptions in boys before puberty and lead to gynecomastia.” This is NOT true: have a look at this post by Robert Tisserand please: http://roberttisserand.com/2014/02/estrogens-in-plastic-labware/ for the full story. There is more from the same author here: http://roberttisserand.com/articles/TeaTreeAndLavenderNotLinkedToGynecomastia.pdf. There are several other excellent articles on Robert Tisserand’s website and they are all well worth reading as is his book Essential Oil safety 2nd Edition which should be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the field of essential oils.
    You are right that it (TTO) is a poison (classified as Schedule 6 in Australia) so should only be used topically and is contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women as well as for very young children. You are also right that TTO (and lavender and many other essential oils) can degrade if it is not stored correctly but like all medicines a ‘use by’ date and careful management of its use means it can be safely used for what it is intended as an anti microbial, anti fungal and anti inflammatory that works and has been proven to work. See http://cmr.asm.org/content/19/1/50.full?eaf for more on this.
    Please don’t cherry pick the research resources available: this is a trick that some of the people you are complaining about use, please don’t fall into the same trap.
    On the whole tea tree oil is generally recognised as safe and the benefits of its use (within the limitations of any recommendations arising from carefully considered research outcomes) usually outweigh any risks that are associated with it.
    More information is also available from the Tea Tree Industry Association’s website http://www.attia.org.au.

    • Eric Hall says:

      You are confusing the 2 different types of data. Your data is using far more leaps in logic than the studies which point to the oils being the cause. In fact, PubMed has 3 different publications showing similar outcomes with young boys getting gynecomastia. If your author’s link to the plastic were true, boys should get gynecomastia from any product in plastic – but we don’t see that to be the case. So I believe using your one non-peer-reviewed source is not as dependable as my sources. However, because these are all case studies and small in number, I should correct my statement to reflect the level of plausibility.

      My larger point was just that – the blogger was making unsafe claims under the guise that because it is natural it is safe. So we agree that these products should not be used on children as she suggests.

      So – we found an error in my language. We agree on the dangers she is promoting. What are the benefits? What scientific data is there for the use of these products as described? Yes, many of these oils will kill bacteria on surfaces. But how is that any more helpful than soap? Is it less dangerous? While I do think there are some uses for these oils – the uses with legitimate science backing it is very small in comparison to the claims being made. Even in those legitimate uses, there are side effects – so the claim of 100% safe and natural is also dangerous.

      • Tony Larkman says:

        The links between TTO and gynecomastia are casual rather than causal in all instances reported in PubMed and yet due to a single flawed case study from 2007 TTO (and lavender) are repeatedly implicated without a shred of evidence to support this. The fact that in the Henley et al study only 2 of the three products used actually contained any TTO and in one of the two with TTO in it the level was so low it was virtually undetectable indicates that a causal link between TTO and gynecomastia is drawing a very long bow indeed yet this is exactly what you do.

        The real cause of the gynecomastia in Henley’s subjects will never be known but he did some ‘in vitro’ laboratory work using 96 well plastic trays which contain phthalates to ‘demonstrate’ the estrogenic and anti-androgenic effect of TTO. I am NOT inferring that the gynecomastia in the boys was caused by the plastic bottle – this is NOT plausible. What I am trying to explain is that in Henley’s test system he used plastic apparatus and cell lines that are exquisitely sensitive to xeno estrogenic compounds such as phthalates and/or nonylphenols which have been proven to act as estrogen mimickers.

        This link to plastic IN THE TEST SYSTEM is new and untested but is nevertheless a plausible hypothesis: TTO is a solvent and excels at dissolving phthalates from plastics (personal observation: 2011, 2012, 2013 unpublished data) so if a plastic system is used to test for estrogenic activity there is a real chance that a false positive result will occur due to phthalates being dissolved into the media used and impacting on the cell lines used.

        Your larger point about the commonly used “it is natural so it is safe” comment is valid and I applaud the thrust of your article. I also agree that there is a level of risk in using ANY product as a therapeutic agent. The risks need to be weighed up against the rewards and if on balance of probabilities the risk outweighs the potential reward the product should note be used. “100% safe and natural” applies to nothing – even pure water is dangerous, if it is used incorrectly.

        I only object to your linking TTO and gynecomastia without any evidence to support it and therefore presented evidence to allow both you and your readers to make their own minds up about this. I did not confuse the two types of data; I presented information that, if carefully considered, refutes the flawed evidence presented by Henley et al in 2007 and then presented through the links a plausible explanation for the results of Henley’s work. Please carefully read and consider the information provided through PubMed here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24556344. If you don’t have access to the article please contact me & I will send you a copy.

    • michelle says:

      Totally agree tony. We are so preconditioned to let doctors and pharmaceutical companies dictate what is GOOD for us. We pump our bodies full of harmful useless medications daily. Don’t badmouth people trying to find an alternative to the poison government pushes down our throats. You should take a look at why there is not a lot of controlled and documented research…..it is becausethere is no funding by pharmaceutical companies or efforts for fda approval. How do you think our ancestors survived without manmade medications…… I second the cherry pick comment.

      • Eric Hall says:

        How long did our ancestors survive without those medications? If you want to live without modern medicine, your chances of dying before 50 go up pretty dramatically.

        • Lara C. says:

          My thoughts exactly. They were lucky to live long enough even to be tweens.

        • Melissa Glazier says:

          Actually, if you look back through the Bible, people lived for quite some time, many over a hundred years. Life expectancy numbers were so low because of the infant death mortality. However in this day in age people are getting sicker and to be honest modern medicine is not the end all cure. The Bible tells us that we must heal not only our bodies but our spirits and essential oils were used for healing and anointing. Modern medicine is missing the mark today and people are seeking out a lost art. God created everything we need and fail to forget this sometimes. Over the counter and prescriptions medicines today have just as many side effects if not more. In fact many drugs from “modern medicine” have killed people. So maybe do your research a little more before making this claim!

          • Eric Hall says:

            Honestly – the bible is not data in any sense of the word. It is a collection of parables, and should not be evidence of any scientific data.

          • RZ says:

            I was waiting for this to be an “argument”. Always some dolt using the bible as a reference. Might as well site Dr. Seuss as well to back up your claims.

          • James Potter says:

            Good point. I was rereading the Harry Potter series the other day and noticed that Dumbledore was a stunning 150 years old! I’m sure he didn’t get his prescription drugs at a Walgreens. Am I right? He used only natural potions and tinctures from the potions department at Hogwarts.

          • Rick Dains says:

            Holy Crap. (That’s a biblical pun). The bible used to counter scientific fact? I guess its done every day… it just seems laughable in this instance.

          • mrz80 says:

            The Bible does state that at root, all of mankind’s problems are spiritual. But it is a gross misuse of the text to claim that any physical substance can treat a spiritual issue. The only “healing to the spirit” specified in the Bible is repentance and submission to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

            Or as Egon would say, Don’t cross the streams!

            I wouldn’t read Luke (even though he was a physician) to gain insight into treating my sinus infection, any more than I’d read Gray’s Anatomy to assess my relationship with God.

        • eTherapist says:

          I hope that everyone knows that today’s drugs are all made from plants one way or the other. God grew them and that is how it is. Argue with him all you want and see how far you get!

          • Uh no many unique compounds used in medicine do not originate from plants. Like for example agatroban is an extracted element of snake venom. If you are trying to argue that snakes eat plants.. they don’t.Many medicines like aspirin were unusable until they were modified chemically to be safe and effective. Penicillin is a yeast extract arguable the most successful drug ever. Not from a plant. so like the other assumptions not correct. As far as god producing them. Squeeze a rattle snake if you are having a heart attack and see how much the good lord provides lol

      • James King says:

        “How do you think our ancestors survived without manmade medications…” Wow, did you really type that on purpose? In 1900, the average lifespan of an American was about 47.3 years; today it is 78.8 years. Today’s average lifespan is largely a reflection of modern medicine, which certainly includes today’s medications, medications that I suspect would have been viewed as miraculous in 1900. The “alternatives” you refer to are generally akin to what folks had available to them in 1900… which tells me how our ancestors tended NOT to survive without our modern medications. Yes, yes, I know someone will be itching to come back with a reply that improved hygiene, clean water, and safe work environments also play a factor in a longer average lifespan, but really, how often do you hear of people dying from from an abscessed tooth these days? Abscessed teeth used to be a leading cause of death. When comparing deaths in 1900 that were caused by infectious disease to deaths of similar cause today, the infectious disease death rate per capita is down by 97%. Why? I suspect modern medicines play a huge part in that comparative statistic. Am I suggesting that these oils have no medicinal value? Of course not, though I suspect their medicinal value is minor compared to modern medicine. Why pay tens to hundreds of dollars for some oil of vague and largely unproven medicinal value when a modern OTC medicine—that is actually approved by the FDA—is more effective and can be acquired for a few dollars?

      • Lizzy says:

        First the FDA does actually regulate what EO companies and their distributors are allowed to say for every single company that distributes essential oils including dOTERRA which you seem to love to bash instead of just oils themselves.

        http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2014/ucm415809.htm

        http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2014/ucm416023.htm

        Not every person that uses oil’s in their homes does so blindly. Some of us research for safety and risk. Some of us use a mix of modern medicine and oils. Yes they can work together. I agree the idiot who said they got better from the flu because of oils instead of antibiotics is a fool. THE FLU IS A VIRUS. But no where in your slam blog do you list your resources or where you found the evidence that dOTERRA created CPTG all by themselves. All medicines are created from natural resources initially then they are synthesized. But all this you know…so I ask who’s blog are you calling out, or are you only man enough to bitch about it instead of confront it.

    • AQW says:

      my concern is the oils travel into the blood stream and will affect the brain. Imagine 1 or 2 years AFTER you used the product on skin NOW person acts differently…different personality or becomes much more religious or becomes a strong believer in government conspiracies. unfortunately EVEN if someone’s personality DID change 1 or 2 years later NO ONE NO ONE NO ONE would EVER EVER EVER be able to say that the tea tree oil actually CAUSED it– BUT WHAT IF THE TEA TREE OIL OR ESSENTIAL OIL REALLY DID go into blood stream and actually did change the mental construct of the person to be in 1 to 2 years. PEOPLE WOULD be saddened that the person is different now but 0 people would agree to attribute the odd new behavior to using a product 1 to 2 years prior.

      • Always Alicia says:

        Please tell me this is an Onion type satirical comment? Otherwise you seriously need your head checked if you believe Chemo is safer than essential oils! I’m so done with the lack of logic here. :/

        • Jenn says:

          The poster said nothing of cancer. Why did you make that leap? And of course, if you are going to address cancer, chemotherapy has a toxic effect- that’s how it works, which is a major downside, but it can improve someone’s chances of beating cancer. The same cannot be said for essential oils, if you are going to make a legitimate comparison of the two. There is no benefit to using the oils in response to cancer, but there is a risk of other problems caused by them. If I had cancer and the choices were 1) do nothing and die, 2) use essential oils which do nothing to eliminate the cancer, possibly cause more problems, and die, or 3) accept the downsides of chemotherapy if it is estimated to improve my chances by a large percentage,and possibly live, I’m going with 3.

  5. Raguel says:

    Information like this is great to find. I have a friend who bought into the whole Young Living Essential Oils nonsense. She frequently posts anecdotal stories about how healing oils are: stopping her husband’s snoring, magically healing her children’s cuts, and CURING OVARIAN CYSTS (simply by rubbing on the abdomen!). I’m dumbfounded by how willing she is to buck “big pharma” but is happily participating in what is essentially Mary Kay for essential oils.

    It’s hard to find good, solid information on how exactly most essential oils are ACTUALLY supposed to affect people. I appreciate your research. It’s frustrating to try and find out how helpful something like tea tree oil might actually be for acne or as an additive to a homemade cleaner and find out that it AMAZINGLY with only a FEW DROPS cures acne, fungal infections, warts, cuts, scars, stomachaches, headaches, coughs, dandruff, fibromyalgia, MS, cancer, and makes a great window polish!

    Personally, I love using diffusers for essential oils, and in my laundry, but that’s purely because of the smells. (Though, I’d be lying if your post didn’t make me wonder about any dangers of inhaling diffused oils; more information to hunt for!)

    • Everyday I see a story or 5 just like this. People listen to these people then buy into the madness.

      • Lynn says:

        Yep, the “I have a friend thing” is actually not a friend, it’s the actual person selling it being a poser. They are posting in the hopes someone will look into it more or ask them a question, and then they can send you their link. And hopefully someone will buy it.

        • michelle says:

          When just diffusing oils kept my son out of the doctors office for over a year I would say it is pretty good proof. I don’t sell anything. I got tired of doctors pumping medicine down my two year old’s mouth for nothing. No one wants to treat the root cause of the illness they only want to patch up the symptoms to keep you coming back. Useless manufactured medication did nothing for my son. So don’t knock people who have success stories. I havent had a migraine in a year thanks to oils. I couldn’t say hat with medication. To each his own. Let people who find solutions alone. We ingest poison everyday from McDonalds and processed junk, medications with words no one can pronounce but heaven forbid someone testify to the fact that something not mainstream and advertised by Kim kardashian be good for you or actually work. People take a hard look at things around you.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Have you considered the increased attention to which you are paying to your health might be the reason for the improvement, and not the oils?

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Eric, I was a very sickly child. I’m now 42. I’ve been in dance and in fitness education most of my life. Healthy eating, vegetarian for 14 years, eating meat again in the last 1.5 years. So I’ve been consistent with study and practice for years. So no, no increase in health changes, just consistency.

          • Kat says:

            I also have found positive benefits in regards to migraine relief with essential oils. I believe to each is own. I was once a sceptic oi essential oils too until I tried them.

          • Eric Hall says:

            So, most people tell me arsenic can make me sick, but should I try it myself to see if it makes me sick?

          • Melissa Glazier says:

            Well said Connie and Kat. I thought my sister-in-law was crazy until I tried them. We use essential oils for head colds, headaches, to balance moods and I am even trying them for diabetes and addictions. Some things are amazing while I find no results for others. However we feel better and are enjoying the benefits. You are right to each his own but for me and my family our success stories are enough for use to continue our use of essential oils.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Which is absolutely scary you are treating addiction and “moods” with oils. This is why I fight against these – because that is a dangerous mindset and will end up killing people.

          • RZ says:

            Placebo is one heck of a drug.

          • kaylenebrown says:

            Placebo sure is one heck of drug! Just think, just by believing something is getting better it does! Consider the power the mind!

            I seriously don’t get it when people say placebo effect like its a bad thing. Awesome, you got better all on your own, just by faith and believing. That’s the human brain!

            Smelling an Essential Oil stimulates our olfactory center in our brain and send signals to react accordingly. This is really not a hard one to find tons of studies on.

            Even if it WERE a placebo – best money spent ever, in my opinion.

          • AQW says:

            my concern is the oils travel into the blood stream and will affect the brain. Imagine 1 or 2 years AFTER you used the product on skin NOW person acts differently…different personality or becomes much more religious or becomes a strong believer in government conspiracies. unfortunately EVEN if someone’s personality DID change 1 or 2 years later NO ONE NO ONE NO ONE would EVER EVER EVER be able to say that the tea tree oil actually CAUSED it– BUT WHAT IF THE TEA TREE OIL OR ESSENTIAL OIL REALLY DID go into blood stream and actually did change the mental construct of the person to be in 1 to 2 years. PEOPLE WOULD be saddened that the person is different now but 0 people would agree to attribute the odd new behavior to using a product 1 to 2 years prior.

    • Rob says:

      There are many good resources and “solid” information sources. Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare by Jane Buckle is a good example. Look up peer reviews and scientific studies on the oils and their effects. Obviously DoTerra and Young Living is not a place to gain knowledge.

    • Julie says:

      I’m really glad I “bought into the whole Young Living Essential Oils nonsense”. With the help of YL, I got my health back from 2 autoimmune illnesses and got off 4 Rx drugs I previously couldn’t function without back in 2005. I have an (almost) chemical-free home, and am equipped to deal with all types of minor injuries and health concerns that arise from day to day. I have real solutions in my home to handle hundreds of health concerns. Do I rely exclusively on essential oils for my health? Absolutely not. But they are one of my best-loved tools.

      Julie =)

      • Noah Dillon says:

        Your home is not chemical free. You are made of chemicals. Water is a chemical. Air is made of chemicals. Every single bit of matter in the world is a chemical. And it looks like you sell essential oils, which are also chemicals. It’s very troubling that you came here to do some marketing and try to gin up sales, to try to enrich yourself. Please stop.

      • Amber says:

        Hi Julie, big oils user I use doterra, you mentioned auto immune, could use some advice getting off the MS meds 🙂

    • AQW says:

      my concern is the oils travel into the blood stream and will affect the brain. Imagine 1 or 2 years AFTER you used the product on skin NOW person acts differently…different personality or becomes much more religious or becomes a strong believer in government conspiracies. unfortunately EVEN if someone’s personality DID change 1 or 2 years later NO ONE NO ONE NO ONE would EVER EVER EVER be able to say that the tea tree oil actually CAUSED it– BUT WHAT IF THE TEA TREE OIL OR ESSENTIAL OIL REALLY DID go into blood stream and actually did change the mental construct of the person to be in 1 to 2 years. PEOPLE WOULD be saddened that the person is different now but 0 people would agree to attribute the odd new behavior to using a product 1 to 2 years prior.

      • Anna says:

        Can you please stop spouting this nonsense? It was funny (hilariously so!) the first three times, but now it’s just OLD! Its rather ironic that you mention conspiracies in your reply, as the ideas you put forth are seen as your own ill thought out ‘conspiracy’. I mean, ‘imagine’ if even HALF of what you are saying is true? ‘Change the mental construct’…seriously?!?! Delusional much?

        • safe says:

          the fda is trying to kill you GMOS ARE BAD FOR YOU IT IS A CHEMICAL THAT KILLS YOU EARLY ESSENTAILS OILS ARE THE BEST THING FOR YO U THE FDA IS TRYING TO KILL YOU EARLY BECAUSE IT IS A POPULATION CONTROL THEY KEEP MY SON OUT OF THE DOCTORS FOR 34 YEARS STOP BEING A J*****S AN SOUPORTING THIS S**T THEY ARE HARMLESS NEVER BELEIVE THE FDA THE MURDERD INNOCENT PEOPLE THAT SOLD IT THE ARE HARMLESS

      • v meadows says:

        I need more info asap!!!!! plz

    • Always Alicia says:

      My teenage daughter suffers from chronic headaches. I’m a NURSE (20 plus years). I’ve seen and done it all including hospice. I’ve witnessed incredible healing and restorative balance as a result of more gentle treatments with little to no side effects. And yes, you can achieve maximum wellness results even while dying on hospice! It’s about RESTORING BALANCE to achieve maximum results. And least intrusive is always best! So for my beautiful daughter to avoid the awful short and long term side effects of Advil, I utilize a series of gentle treatments in a specific order often including one drop of PEPPERMINT essential oil via a carrier and proceed to provide a healing temple, earlobe and neck massage. 9/10 times she avoided taking the Advil. So lady? Unless you WORK for big pharma & have something to gain bashing essential oils and those you use them, please just stop! You aren’t helping anyone other than big pharma continue their death spree. You certainly aren’t helping MY child, that is for certain!

      • Eric Hall says:

        Perhaps you should stop doing what the doctor says AS A NURSE and do whatever you think “feels” right. Or maybe better advice is surrender your nursing license if you don’t believe in the evidence on which your profession is based.

        • Jackro says:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3873673/

          Debunk NIH then. They found EO’s to be very effective against bacterium, including some rather nasty ones.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            That’s an interesting study. It seems to indicate useful areas of research for drug companies to figure out which chemicals in some oils might have (I think) topical antibacterial effects. It looks like it was published in the journal “Pharmaceuticals,” which is what drug companies make, I think. From the mechanisms they’re describing here, I wouldn’t want to put any of this stuff on my body without further research into safety, or efficacy. The authors don’t seem to have tested any of this stuff themselves, but are using other studies to speculate about possible areas of research, so it might be useful to check out the experiments on which their analysis is based and see how that holds up.

            Have you read this stuff?

        • Lauren says:

          Our “nursing profession” as you call it was originally based on fresh air, clean conditions & plenty of light. Basically, common sense. If you think taking medications that destroy the good right along with the bad or improves symptoms with multiple side effects…I think you should keep your advice to yourself. If you would watch someone battle an infection while being pumped full of antibiotic after antibiotic only to see their immune system give out and worse problems arise or maybe a loved one die from cancer while being promised that the chemotherapy they endure will give them time. Combination therapies with medications and alternative therapies could be beneficial but physcians are so ingrained with modern medicine that they have lost sight of the bottom line, helping people. If you have any sense at all you would realize that pharmaceutical companies only have themselves in mind, not the “number” they are treating.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            If you don’t want antibiotics or chemotherapy, that’s cool. I’d prefer those treatments to cancer or infection. I’ve seen both of them save lives. I’ve never heard of someone going into remission simply with sunlight and buying scented oils.

            I find it funny that people criticize pharmaceutical companies for selling medicines that work, but are totally cool with essential oil vendors for selling chemicals that don’t seem to work.

          • Lauren says:

            Seems to me you wouldn’t see the positive in anything but what you believe. Dangerous in and of itself. I’m not completely bashing pharmaceuticals, amazing research has been done because of that industry. I just think the time & research goes where the money is. Essential oils, even at $150 is a miniscule expense when a brand maintenance drug can run thousands.

          • Noah Dillon says:

            Why would you assume that I don’t see anything positive? I’m open to new ideas, but I don’t see any evidence to back up the claims for essential oils. Believing in something without evidence seems pretty dangerous to me, in and of itself. $150 is way more than a amoxycillin. And while cancer treatments may run into the thousands they have efficacy behind them. It seems that at $150, for a product that has shown no benefit, money goes toward essential oils like it would go into a gutter. I don’t see why, if essential oils work, drug companies don’t sell them.

          • Kim curio says:

            I concur. Doctrate in nursing here. I remember the good old pharmacology days. Use or mechanism of action. All the patient teaching. Of course all of those nasty and at times irreversible side effects. And no we no we do not and are taught to not blindly follow physicians orders without question. And yes I have had to place 20 and 30 and 40 year olds in body bags because of a reaction to chemotherapy or from bleeding internally from a drug that the fda released into the market without a reversal agent. I could give you 100 stories about medications killing patients and not the initial medical diagnosis. I have collegues whom are medical doctors who agree. Tread lightly people. I also have seen antibiotics cause terrible disease or allow terrible disease to penetrate a host (human). No I do not trust the fda, no I do not trust an essential oil company to be a place to build knowledge and research on essential oils. PERIOD. I have read studies ON HUMANS in the United kingdom that used a frankencense oil for skin cancer with great success. I have also read that lemongrass oil has been used successfully in HUMANS with leukemia. There is real research to be done here.

          • Pat says:

            Kim curio ” I have read studies ON HUMANS in the United kingdom that used a frankencense oil for skin cancer with great success. I have also read that lemongrass oil has been used successfully in HUMANS with leukemia. There is real research to be done here”. Kim, what you are saying is “hear say”, unless you have 100% scienific proof that essential oils have cured skin or any kind of cancer……People have been cured of cancers with placebos!

          • chuck says:

            what about countries with socialized medicine and no copyright protection on pharmaceuticals… are they out to GET PEOPLE!

            p.s. chemotherapy is a treatment not a cure, evidence suggests it can work as a treatment more than not

      • chuck says:

        definition of NURSE?

    • James Graul says:

      I started to have colored plegm until I quit the diffusers. I do not think it is heathy to breath diffuser infused air.

  6. perfume says:

    Essential oil is however pretty save when put in considerate concentration in perfume. There has been inconsistency between the “all natural militants”, “anti-fragrance militants” and some “dermatologist militants” about the degree of plant extracts (essential oils, resins, or absolutes). But these three militants have one thing in common: they like to ban something by scare monger. Their scare mongers have gone too far that it destroy several industries like GMO and perfumery industry.

    It is then paradox that essential oil is sold freely (in 100% concentration) but there are so many restriction regulations for perfumery (which uses essential oil in only ~1% concentration in the total product).

    I link a petition made by the fragrance protection below, and let you read that patch test does not represent the real utilisation of perfume. While perfume usage is sprayed in trace amount and letting the perfume evaporate, the patch test is done in a much higher dose for 48 hours without letting them evaporating.

    http://www.parfumo.net/petition/

  7. Mark Chapter says:

    Poison Oak/Sumak/Ivy is all natural. I suggest rubbing the skin lightly with a few green leaves to treat mood disorders such as happiness and contentment as well as skin problems such as smooth skin, lack of dermatitis and to fill the need for itchy miserable pus filled sores, that, if scratched can lead to inflammation, bleeding, open wounds, infection and possible disfigurement. – All fully tongue in cheek of course. But isn’t it just as stupid to apply oils from various other plants to the skin, or worse, ingest them when the only testing done is by the MARKETER who stands to make a significant PROFIT from the sale of their products? How can the same people calling for product labeling and 100% organic everything just trust these massive corporations to tell the truth when the truth is tied directly to the bottom line? It makes just as much sense to go pick some poison oak and apply it to your body. At least you know where it came from and it is 100% organic.

    • Janie says:

      And who do YOU trust to tell the truth? Big pharma? I am sure they have your best interest at heart.

      • What is big Pharma a person, a company a secret society? I mean really don’t ask for the truth look at the research and follow the evidence.

        • Keri says:

          So if pharmaceuticals are studied, and still are credited with killing 100,000 people each year, why would you say “studies” are so important? There are 20 documented EO related deaths since 1995.

          • I am not just giving that your number is accurate, cause of death has a complicated category of statistics 100000 is to round a number to be accurate. Lets assume it is accurate. I know what the risks and benefits of drugs are because it has been researched. This stuff does nothing so it was 20 wasted lives for no appreciable benefits. Drugs in the US are tracked and categorized, followed and reevaluated. How does anyone know how much or how many people use this stuff. Who knows what the real cost has been?

          • Eric Hall says:

            [Citation Needed]

      • Eric Hall says:

        Essential oils is at minimum a 1 billion dollar industry, and is likely double that. YL oils company alone does over 100 million dollars annually. Do you trust big oils?

        • Flavor and Fragrance is a $21 billion dollar industry. Doterra and YL alone will soon boast nearly a billion in sales. IFF and Givaudon deal in many essential oils and Coca cola and the snack food industry spend several billion on natural and artificial flavors many of which are essential oils. This industry is huge. It is more like big pharma than most people realize and primarily owned and controlled by Utah mormons.

      • Always Alicia says:

        I’m as certain that big pharma has our best interest at heart as I am that Monsanto, a company with a dark history since early 1900s and a death toll of well into the 100,000s (Agent Orange, DDT, PCBs, etc) is trustworthy in our food industry. I trust big pharma like I would trust Subway Jared to take my 4 year old to the park. I trust Big Pharma like I would trust myself in a cage with an untamed Lion. Except for Janie & Lizzy, you are all sad, indoctrinated and plugged in tight to the matrix. Have a very lovely dreamy slumber…

    • kaylenebrown says:

      Psssst…. They don’t make a poison ivy essential oil 😉

    • Brenda says:

      Drug companies are also massive corporations with a bottom line why trust them either? How many “FDA approved” drugs have been taken off the market due to deaths and horrible side effects? Honestly, on some of the commercials on TV that advertise drugs, the side effects sound worse than rubbing myself with poison oak. Not that I’d do that either…

      • Noah Dillon says:

        Acknowledging problems with the FDA or with drugs that you don’t need to take isn’t an argument in favor of taking an unknown, unregulated substance with no evidence of its efficacy. Imagine I proposed to you that rubbing yourself with poison oak would cure baldness. Is my claim any stronger if I point out that Viagra has side effects? No. The two have nothing to do with one another.

        • This entire thread has went south. Im floored by the nitpicking BS. The Im right your wrong. Holy Crap people, bring something intelligent into this conversation fast. Its sinking.

          • Connie Dunn says:

            People don’t read the thread and realize their queries have been covered, on both sides of the argument. I think he should shut the thread down.

      • Always Alicia says:

        Come on Brenda! Nothing wrong with a little rectal bleeding or some lymph node cancers as side effects. All good! And Alzheimer’s as a result of thermisol and alluminum? Come on! What’s the big deal? Losing ones mind and deteriorating to skin & bones is super fun!

      • safe says:

        THEY ARE SAFE DICKS

  8. A.Marie says:

    I read your article with interest but am left wondering why you felt it was necessary to not only include the woman’s name but also her blog?

    • Eric Hall says:

      I don’t know – why not? I guess if you have a specific reason as to why I shouldn’t have done so, please feel free to leave a comment and I can address it. I am always willing to edit my blogs if it is warranted.

    • Always Alicia says:

      Exactly! Smells like big pharma troll to me

      • Noah Dillon says:

        Yeah, definitely. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to trick you with a blog that includes entries on why bigfoot is fake and why Nazis didn’t actually have flying saucers. That’s why Merck is so powerful. Because of this blog and its comments section. You figured it out.

      • Betty Lou says:

        Thank you!

  9. Eric Hall says:

    This is one of the scariest comments yet. Oils to treat PTSD? I am sorry your boyfriend has to live with PTSD, but if you think the oil cured him, you are putting him in danger. Please don’t think he is cured. Please seek professional help for him.

    • Iana says:

      I agree! I have struggled with PTSD for many years. Essential Oils are not a cure (I used to work with them many years ago when I made cosmetic products, until I learned how harmful they can be. They are, in general, skin irritants that smell nice. They can be very poisonous) PTSD is a very serious psychological disorder that needs real medical & psychiatric attention. Don’t be surprised if PTSD symptoms return without proper treatment, and if new health issues arise. Like other posters said, natural does not mean safe. And essential oils and claims made by companies selling them are not regulated by the FDA.

    • I agree as a mental health professional. Please get him help.

      • ash hart says:

        Well you as a mental health professional need to do your jobs better. He did seek medical help n they threw him in a padded room. So take your profession n shove it

    • Lynn says:

      Ignorance is a bad thing, especially when it comes to mental health issues, and yes, if he has PTSD, he needs to seek pyschotherapy and psychiatry. Not a frickin jar of perfumes. OMG

      • anybody that cares says:

        Most drugs are but a synthetic copy of components in plants. Essential oils are made from whole plants, thus when used correctly can be very effective on mental states. Our bodys recognize the information that is whole and aincent. With the right information we facilitate healing. Not perhaps as a cure all but as a helper.

      • Mudguts says:

        Geez, so this is what skeptoid blogs attracts now??

        The glue sniffers seem to have gone up market tho..

    • Stacy Chiappetta says:

      There is NO cure for PTSD. Meds and counseling may help, but let’s face it, the VA Hospitals in this country are crap, and have been busted nationally, and it’s been all over the news. It is ridiculous that our vets have to wait so outrageously long for any and all appointments and how quick the “dr.’s” are to push any and all types of meds down these poor vets throats, and pretty much zombie-fy them. My husband suffers PTSD and I’m a medical professional (paramedic and RN) and I couldn’t stand how horribly our local VA hospital was and writing a script for 6 months of mood-altering meds with NO follow ups? Seriously?! No physician I’d ever known would ever be that STUPID, but this VA psychiatrist was. At that point I found him outside PTSD counseling (for free because he’s a combat vet) and a better psychiatrist that monitors his meds and works with his work schedule(something the VA hospital here NEVER did). The combo was working to some degree but he was still in rough shape. I chose to try Young Living Essentail oils, and the combination of doing therapy, meds, and the oils, has gotten him grounded, able to function daily, no more night terrors, anger controlled, no more depression, etc. To each their own, but I’ve worked in the medical field for years and chose to leave it to be a stay at home wife and mother, and chose to use the oils daily for my family, cooking, cleaning, and to help with my family’s ailments. Our family has been happy and healthy with no OTC drugs, dr’s visits (besides check-ups), and my husband has come off his blood pressure and cholesterol meds (with dr’s approval, and she’s asked what he’s done differently, he told her about the oils and she has said to keep using them). No dietary or exercise changes different than when he was taking the meds. Only difference is, the oils aren’t damaging his liver as the medicines were. To each their own, but this is what has worked in our house.

    • Justin fox says:

      I am the boyfriend she was talking about. First of all I want to say F*****G P**S OFF. Don’t tell me what I need to do especially when you have no clue what “help” Iv had. Iv tried the “seeking” help which landed me in a god dam hospital which thinks shoving f*****g pills that don’t work down your throat is the solution. And by the way f****d me up more . I tried these oils/vitimans believing they would not help but guess what. Since Iv been taking them which by the way has been about a year, my ringing in my ears are almost gone, I don’t go into episodes at all, my anxiety is dramatically decreased, and I feel like a person again. So again next time you tell someone to do something stop and think before you speak and then shut the f**k up and don’t say it. You are one of these people that think they know it all but in f*****g reality you don’t have a dam clue.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Based on your response and your girlfriend’s response, I don’t see how you consider yourself helped. I hope you are able to get help and find some peace in your life. Best Wishes.

      • lise mac says:

        I understand your anger. Pills for PTSD are dangerous for some. My 17 year old daughter was prescribed an SSRI off label for fibro pain. She had a psychotic response, hearing voices, hallucinating, akathisia… Terrified her. Months later and she still does not feel like she has her self back. She’s described it as her crawl out of Hell. Doctors don’t recognize this and just want to prescribe more pills. I’m sorry this happened to you.

        • Eric Hall says:

          Doctors actually do recognize this. Doctors understand many of the “brain drugs” are an imperfect solution, but also understand statistically it is better than doing nothing. We need to find better medications with less side effects (and better effectiveness) for sure, but that doesn’t mean setting up a false dichotomy fixes this problem.

          It would be a little like saying we should flavor salsa with mint because for a subset of the population, cilantro tastes like soap. The mint doesn’t make it taste good just because for some the cilantro didn’t enhance the flavor.

    • Mother Bitch says:

      I’ve got to say…your approach here is not endearing anyone to your cause.
      I am pretty sure that “motherfucking” everyone in a setting where people are offering sage, professional advice is making you look intellectually challenged.
      Having grown up with someone who required anti-psych meds, and becoming a spouse to someone with neurological issues, I can attest to the advice being given.
      I’m hardly ignorant.
      I work with Vets and warriors with PTSD daily.
      Some swear by smoking weed, some by canine therapy, and others by just muscling through, the tough guy way.
      The only complete transition for someone with ptsd, is the realization that there is no cure, just coping skills.

      Any number of things can be helpful, but nothing will work unless the person with ptsd is confident and comfortable with the plan.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Based on your response, it seems this is an emotional topic for you. Perhaps your view isn’t objective because of your emotional investment in trying to help someone. It actually makes me sad, because I feel like there is so much turmoil in your life and your boyfriend’s life. It seems you both really need help. I hope you are able to get the help you need. Best Wishes.

    • Always Alicia says:

      Anyone who claims abutting can CURE anything is wrong because extremes are dangerous! Is there a cure for death? Of course not! Living a healthy lifestyle is about finding balance! And preventing as much as possible! IF a disease or disorder takes hold and a cure isn’t possible than one can seek many alternative methods to treat sumptoms, restore balance and create wellness. That is reasonable. Not extreme and common sense! And even IF a cure is possible (as in alcoholism), it never ever ever leaves the person. You will always be an alcoholic whether you actively drink or not! You will always be a diabetic whether you actively take insulin or not. You will always have cancer whether you have tumors or not or it is in remission or not. So seeking, restoring and maintaining balance in all areas is the key to FEELING ones best no matter actively sick or not and it is key to preventing most major illnesses as well. As for PTSD, that is one of the most comlicated diagnoses I’ve ever come across. As a holistic nurse, I would say attacking it from every angle is best hope for achieving wellness. And certainly regular Reikki sessions and essential oil AromaTouch treatments would be extremely beneficial and complimentary to exercise, individual or group therapy, holistic nutrition & medicine of absolutely necessary! But FYI Tumeric, amino acids, sage and carrots have had incredible results in helping alleviate depression, stress and anxiety simply because it helps relieve systemic inflammation and puts necessary proteins, fatty acids and minerals into the body that are often depleted in depressed, suicidal or PTSD humans. And that isn’t witch craft or quackery, that is a scientific fact!

  10. Mel says:

    I always appreciate the skeptic’s point of view. I think the majority of us new moms know it’s snake oil, understand the dangers, and choose to use them to some degree for our own purposes. We know not to put peppermint on babies. I think the best point you bring up, is the danger associated with all folks that put more trust in pseudo science, than in real medicine. Vaccines are chief among the most dangerous beliefs. People, children, are dying because of the absolute non-sense. I can see your concern that if we continue to support oils, might we then be supporting children or others suffering because of it? Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed it!

  11. Allmatty says:

    I’m a microbiologist. My sister sent me a vial when my kid was exposed to bacterial meningitis. I know diseases well and am well versed on what kills them or inhibits there growth. Only an essential idiot would treat meningitis with that.

    If smells in general had physiological benefits then why are the oils always generally pleasant. Wouldn’t some bad smells also have beneficial properties as well. The opposite would be true as well? I do not see any essence after a day of hard labor in a field smell, old grandpa farts, or the smell of dirt. Why no bad smells? easy answer. Housewives would not buy them. Magic reality has the world cured by pleasant scents. Reality is sometimes things are not always pleasant.

    Why not just plant oils and not animal? Unsaturated vs saturated? Oil off my greasy Italian uncles neck smells, and is organic. Motor oil? All natural, organic, made from plants, concentrated in a distillation process. Therapeutic grade…..I mean 10w30 grade.

    She claimed that one product, which dissolved a styrofoam cup (due to some simple chemistry) dissolves petrochemicals in the body. I asked how and what products are made? Where do they go after being dissolved or metabolized or whatever (her mechanism is so vague I am not sure what word to write) Are they safe? No answer. In reality of course not all chemical break down products are safe or pleasant. Our livers know this and regularly take hits from a host of metabolites. Acetaldehyde is a toxic breakdown product from alcohol comes to mind.

    Kid was treated with real medicine, my jocks were treated with oil in the wash. My sister is trying to “calm her skin” (WTF) with oils.

  12. Heather Liner says:

    I was told to use grapefruit extract on my daughter for some ailment. I asked the lady if she was aware that it wasn’t safe with certain medications. She said it was all natural and very safe…. My daughter has Grave’s Disease. When she was diagnosed, it was already at the point where it could have killed her. Somehow, our sadly misinformed, and now fired, pediatric ion told us her issues were cause by Tourette’s. Turns out he was wrong. Anyhow, my lovely daughter is doing splendidly, as long as she stays on her medication…. That will react to Grapefruit. As will my pregnancy medications that I am on due to complications. These women are worse than blindly jumping into an MLM, they are putting people’s lives at stake.

    For the person that made the claim this is the Mary Kay of essential oils, I would hardly agree. I sell MK, for the money of helping women learn about how to apply make up, and therefor raising their self esteem. I have yet to tell any client any of my products will heal anyone. However, I see your correlation. This is an MLM, but how on earth are these women trained? We would be sued for making these claims. Here, put this cream on, now your cancer will leave you!!! Said no reputable sales person EVER. This just scares me.

    Thank you for the articles, I am a new fan, and for the commenters, thank you. I love reading the comments as much as I love reading the articles. Except for that one. The bad spelling made my eyes burn. I’m afraid my corneas will never heal. Perhaps with a bit of peppermint oil….

  13. Gina says:

    I would say the use of essential oils takes common sense along with research and even trial and error. We all know that in this world of so many different people, there are too many without common sense. These people need to be taught by professionals. The article does state that a mother had her son drink vetiver before a test. Anyone with common sense knows you don’t drink the oils. The other was someone that had too much peppermint I think but where’s the common sense? I didn’t stop a life threatening medication and I use 2 tiny little drops of DigestZen in a capsule instead of taking a prescription for my GERD. That works for me. Trial and error is that I sometimes take that once or twice a day depending on my need. If it didn’t work, I wouldn’t do it. The other example was a woman was told to stop her cancer treatment and use the oils. Where’s your common sense lady. I might add some oils and diffusion but wow some people. LOL I also think the author gets a little carried away in her warnings. But everyone should research and make a educated decision on their own.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I would strongly disagree that using yourself as a test subject in an uncontrolled test is “common sense.” It could be dangerous.

      • Shandra says:

        My mom actually got off of her monthly infusion for MS and is getting an aromatouch massage 3 days a week along with taking the vitamins and many other oils throughout her day. I beg to differ that people who choose to live this way “don’t have common sense.” You are truly the ignorant one. My mom has never felt better and is now off all NINE of her medications. Her doctors are amazed.

        • Marie says:

          It appears the negative comments about essential oils are due to lack of knowledge. Most of the oils I use don’t smell like perfume. All of the formulas I make are based on the traits of each oil. I know which oils are hot and need to be diluted. I know of only four that can be put directly on the skin undiluted. They do not need to be ingested. They are absorbed through the skin. As I stated earlier, I tell my clients to continue taking their medications. But if the essential oil cream or massage oil lessens their pain and they don’t need a perscription pain killer they are very happy. I just took a cold and flu formula to a friend. She messaged me in a few minutes and stated her sinuses were clear. Another friend said her feet had been numb for months. I made up a cream for her and thenext day her feet weren’t numb and her pain went from an 8 to a 3. If I keep my blood pressure down with essential oils, I don’t have to take a prescription medication that doesn’t work very well anyway.
          I would also encourage anyone considering using essential oils to research the company selling them. There is a difference in the quality from how they are distilled. The company I buy from turns their inventory over every few months. By doing that, their oils have a two year shelf life.

          • Another special pleading argument. Your magic is not as well formulated as my magic therefore mine works when yours doesn’t…. Prove it show us the data.

          • Elle Emme says:

            If you are indeed making creams that lower blood pressure and cure nerve damaged feet, where is your company? Surely if you could cure people ailments, you would want to share this with the world? Are you a selective healer?

        • Elle Emme says:

          Then her doctors will be writing up her case and including it in a professional medical publication, correct? Please let us know when and where to read that, as physicians author single case studies whenever a patients surprising conditional changes warrant them. A woman with MS being able to stop taking nine pharmaceutical drugs because of aromatherapy and vitamins will definitely warrant an article at least in the NEJM.

          Ridiculous.

          • Sally says:

            True that. Oils do not cure autoimmune diseases. My 10 year old son has Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac. Oh let’s stop injecting insulin and eat gluten because we can rub oils on our skin. Ridiculous indeed. Scary to boot.

          • Elle Emme says:

            Not only are these people rubbing the oils on their children’s skin, they are putting the oils directly on the roof of the mouth.

            Something is very wrong when a select group of people can tell the general public they have found “cures” for major diseases and health conditions, yet only their loved ones get the “cure” because they believe, and BUY. what’s crazier is the fact that others will blindly accept that.

            As if a mother with a kid with Type 1 diabetes ( which is VERY serious) would some how hold back on something that was sure to cure it? The self righteous , better -than -everyone- else- at parenting of the EO people truly is disturbing.

  14. Conrad Zimmerman says:

    I would like to ask whether essential oils in skin care pose the same risk? I too am tired of the endless essential oil nonsense that pervades the Beauty industry, anyone learning Cosmetology has to learn Aromatherapy massage and the purpose of essential oils and how they supposedly ‘help’ skin. If essential oils were all we needed no one would have wrinkles!!! The constituents that come with them are extremely irritating, girls in my class avoid facial class every week because they know they will break out from the essential oil products we have to practice with. It is so confusing and too much conflicting research on them. I would rather not use them at all, most formulations are just that; carrier oil + essential oils, carrier cream + essential oils. They then go on to claim and advertise whatever they want to about that specific products function and you know what…..it doesnt deliver!

    • Heather Liner says:

      Fragrances, used in the beauty industry, are many times essential oils that they mix in fragrance labs. I work as an independent beauty consultant for Mary Kay, and while it is a direct sales company, their skin care has been around for over 50 years. They spend billions in research. All of their research has shown that fragrance, from essential oils or otherwise, causes skin irritancy. Most of our old line had fragrance in them from various essential oils, because that was the fad at the time, and it caused break outs. It made everyone allergic to the skin care line. We no longer use fragrance in ANY line for skin care or cosmetics, and now we have very few, and I mean like very, very few people who have reactions to every line. If you go to any high end skin care company in the mall, the results will be similar. Oils are bad for the face, especially the eye area, and it clogs pores. Fragrance causes reactions. Using essential oils would seem like a doubly bad idea. Just my opinion.

      • Marie says:

        I agree those used in the beauty industry have unwanted results because they aren’t the best quality oils.

        • kaylenebrown says:

          Once tinkered with in a lab, they are scientifically denatured and become more synthetic than essential oil. Again, quality matters, as do ALL the chemical constituents being there to balance each other out. EOs are chemically extremely complex, and the more its altered the less benefits and more side effects, according to the scientific initial theories and widespread anecdotal evidence.

          Anyone’s skin can react to an undiluted oil. That’s a risk factor, but to me not a super huge one.

          • “Once tinkered with in a lab, they are scientifically denatured and become more synthetic than essential oil. Again, quality matters, as do ALL the chemical constituents being there to balance each other out. EOs are chemically extremely complex, and the more its altered the less benefits and more side effects, according to the scientific initial theories and widespread anecdotal evidence.”

            uhhhh no that is what we call superstitious nonsense-magic. You can’t detect it. It is too complex. Looking at it will make it different and it won’t work. Very convenient. The naturalists version of “God did It”

            PT Barnum would be proud.

          • kaylenebrown says:

            Definitely DID NOT SAY you can’t detect it. Putting words in people’s mouths isn’t a great argument either.

    • Iana says:

      I’m a skincare consultant & makeup artist with 15+ years under my belt (not for any cosmetic company), I’ve studied skincare, skincare ingredients effects on the skin, longer than that. Essential oils are skin irritants. Period. The way most facials are done are very irritating, including; steam (the heat from steam can cause over-production of oil in skin, leading to breakouts, as well as broken capillaries), essential oils (depending on the oil, they can cause breakouts, dryness, itchiness, rashes, and most are so harsh they can cause damage to the cellular structure of the skin, resulting in premature aging), clay or mud masks (generally too drying and almost always a skin irritant). Basically, anything that makes your skin tingle, burn, or turn red for more than a few minutes, should not be applied to the skin, especially to the face.

      • Marie says:

        I have sensitive skin and don’t have reactions to essential oils. I use the best grade oils and they are always diluted. I’m afraid too many people experiment with them without researching their proper use.

  15. kyky says:

    To anyone working for Mary Kay, I don’t see how you could proudly say that is your job. I don’t believe in testing on animals, ever. Humans are not rats, or beagles, or chimpanzees, OK maybe some people act like monkeys but that’s not scientific, just sociological. The thing is, Mary Kay products contain more toxic crap than essential oils could. You are just picking your poisons. Did you know that your lipstick is made up of lead? Do you know how hard it is to find lipstick NOT MADE WITH LEAD? The average woman consumes 9 sticks in her lifetime, if you don’t know the dangers of lead, or haven’t a clue about alpha decay, educate yourself.

    Along with parabens, phtalates, arsenic, mica, beryllium, cadmium, aluminum, talc, paraffin (petrol product) and way too many other to list here, and defending this garbage company because its been around for so long, well a LOT OF companies that have sold HORRIBLE TOXIC things have been around longer!! The whole anti fragrance in Mary Kay is also a LIE.

    , Plumeria Alba Flower Extract , Nymphaea Gigantea Flower Extract , Silybum Marianum Fruit Extract , Momordica Grosvenorii Fruit Extract..these are flowers, no? So this is just a filler or a fragrance????

    Stop with your hypocrisy.

    • Mary Kay has not signed onto the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which is an industry effort to eliminate the use of carcinogens and otherwise harmful ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products.

    • Mary Kay does not include a comprehensive list of ingredients on its Web site and has lobbied against legislation requiring disclosure of any hazardous chemicals in cosmetics products.

    Pot, meet Kettle. The FDA does NOT require cosmetics to list all ingredients due to “trade secrets.” which is why LEAD is SO POPULAR.

    Jesus Christ, I’m going to just start my own blog now about this crap.

    • Heather Liner says:

      Kyky: Mary Kay does not test on Animals in the US. In China, all companies are mandated to test on animals before selling their items in that country. They also won’t accept imports. So MK US manufactures here, MK Asia, a seperate entity practices their procedures in Asia to their standards. They are also working with China to get this reversed by teaching them the technology we have here for using human and computer trials. However, you clearly got your info from PETA. Also, I do not defend Mary Kay. I was defending direct sales and the ethical issue of saying that their products (essential oils) is proven to heal anything. Not once do I give my website. I am not soliciting for Mary Kay, I was giving a response to essential oils. I will not defend my statements and I’m a little thrown off to your hatred for something so off topic.
      FYI, call ANY rep, and they can give you the full list of ingredients of every product. I have to do this for one of my clients every time she buys a product due to he Lymes Disease. She has to avoid many ingredients. Lastly, there is no Lead in Mary Kay. Call corporate and ask. I’m not going to take up this blog any more with Mary Kay. I’m here to learn more form people’s experiences over the topic of essential oils. I stated what I do so that people would know I am from a direct sales company so that I know we cannot give false claims, as that is illegal. Just FYI, hatred isn’t healthy. If you want a blog on hating Mary Kay, there already is one. Feel free to go there and rant away. I’m not concerned with people approving of my career choice. However if you feel the need to talk about how you hate MK, simply go to Pinktruth.com. Spend weeks there. It is full of people who are upset and bitter.
      Back to essential oils…

  16. Aimee says:

    So why hasn’t the FDA or the Fair Trade act not out their foot down? I can make no medical claims concerning my supplements even though I have an amazing testimony. Not complying would result determination of my DSA supported distributorship. So how are they getting away with these claims.

    • Sam Friedman says:

      The FDA doesn’t care. The FDA lets gmos in foods and is being paid off by big pharma. Look at “Seeds of Death” on youtube. Further, Alex Jones and others say that the global elite’s plan is to kill off as many human beings as possible, i.e. many vaccinations to kids, USA, has highest infant mortality rate in the world. Their are many that would like to see us sick or dead and so they don’t care and therefore back anything that will make us sick or dead, especially in the usa.

      • IDK about the other stuff u r reporting. But your dead wrong about infant mortality. 5.2% infant mortality rate compare to libia at 70%, russia 7.2 or austria at 4.2 % we are a the top 2 % overall for countries. Given that we have a large immigrant population, much larger than other countries with lower rates we are exceptional. hardly the highest infant mortality rate in the world.

      • michelle says:

        Finally someone with some sense!!!!! It is all about money and politics. Thank you Sam for bringing up what so many people fail to realize. The same people yacking about harmful tea tree oil probably frequent McDonalds and Starbucks to get pumped full of toxins!

      • “USA, has highest infant mortality rate in the world…”

        Could I get a source on that please? Oh wait, can’t find one. That’s because it doesn’t (unless you buy into the psuedoscience on antivax websites) exist. Or are you really expecting people to believe that my kid that’s born here, with some of the best medical facilities available, is more likely to die than some kid born to a primitive tribe out in the middle of BFE.

        I find it appalling that people would be so blind to the truth as to endanger themselves and their families rather than admit that their belief might be wrong.

    • Plummy57 says:

      The FDA does care and has required them to remove a significant amount of text from their advertising as a result. The FDA came down on them for misrepresenting their product as a drug without testing, verification, and oversight. You can read a copy of the letter on the FDA website.

  17. Andrew says:

    1. “They have no science or any details on what this process means. In other words, it is nonsense.”

    Just because you didn’t bother to look up the science behind doTERRA’s claims doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact, the company quite loudly promotes its extensive testing, and gives a good amount of detail as to what the CPTG standard amounts to.

    https://www.doterratools.com/documents/CPTG_Testing_Methods.pdf (Sorry for .pdf)

    2. “Usually in fake medicine circles as ‘coming from a plant,’ it has no real meaning since the chemicals in the oils are still processed to make them “100% certified therapeutic grade.” So is that natural?”

    Again, had you bothered to look up anything that you were talking about, you would have seen that the processing that doTERRA does is limited to steam distillation or cold-pressing plant matter.

    If you squeeze a lemon peel to get the oil out of it, does that make the oil you get a “natural” product? I think most people would say so.

    doTERRA’s claim that their oils are 100% natural amounts to an assertion that the only things you will find in a doTERRA oil are the chemical compounds that the plants put there.

    3. The claim to safety comes from the fact that essential oils have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Because of their volatile nature and distinctive scents, experimental design is very problematic. What substance can be a placebo for lavender oil that smells exactly like lavender oil, but is metabolically inert?

    EOs carry some level of risk — including a risk of skin irritation — but these risks are well-known from long-experience, and easily avoidable. The most serious risk is systemic toxicity caused by overdose, but this is a risk of consuming quite literally any substance — i.e. don’t eat polar bear liver — and it would take ingesting a very large amount of an essential oil to give rise to toxicity.

    4.Your proposed mechanism for why peppermint oil might reduce fever is entirely ad hoc, and not supported in any way. If peppermint oil cooled by evaporation, then every essential oil would have a cooling effect, since all essential oils are mostly made up of components that are volatile at room temperature.

    Peppermint oil has cooling properties because it contains menthol.

    5. “In vitro tests show lavender oil is harmful to skin cells.” The fact that the testing is “in vitro” means that the skin cells in question are part of tissue samples — probably newly excised in a plastic surgery procedure. In other words, they do not acurately model the reaction of skin cells that remain connected to the metabolism.

    Proponents of essential oils assert that lavender soothes damaged skin, and also that it speeds up healing. If the former property is a result of the latter, then it would not show up in a tissue sample, but only in live skin.

    There’s a reason the FDA will not approve products on the basis of in vitro testing alone.

    6. “If left exposed to air, lavender oil oxidizes, forming chemicals very irritating to the skin.” You left out a very important point. Lavender oxidizes if left exposed to air **over a long period of time.**

    Lavender oil applied to the skin will evaporate and/or absorb into the body before a significant amount of oxidiztion has occurred.

    That said, even without oxidation, lavender can irritate people’s skin in certain cases. This is why every bottle of doTERRA’s oils instructs users to dilute them in a buffering carrier oil, which will act as a prophylactic for possible irritation. This is usually unnecessary, but there it is…

    7. I do not have time to continue my point-by-point analysis, but the upshot is… Your assertions in this post are based on prejudice, naked appeals to authority, and ad hoc myths that you have cobbled together from your own extremely limited exposure to the subject matter.

    If you do not care enough to do the research, then you do not care enough to write the post.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I will try to address each point:

      1. I read the doTerra link. They use a nice science word salad to make it seem like they do testing – but nothing about how they ensure consistency. They only mention they test for the presence of the compounds – but are they present in the same percentages every time?

      2. Processing it and distilling it means it is no longer in its natural state. And I think you’d admit – oils are chemicals. So claiming it is chemical-free and natural are both buzzwords. If you truly wanted to be natural, you’d rub undistilled plant material on you, not a distilled version.

      3. Argument from antiquity. Surgeons used to leave the blood on their hands and clothes as a sign of expertise. We used to bleed people to cure disease. People ingested pure mercury as a cure for all sorts of things. Past use does not equate in any way to good. Also – what is your evidence of hundreds of years of use in the specific applications mentioned?

      4. Peppermint oil (menthol) has a vapor pressure about 3 times that of Thymol. Physics says this will have a cooling effect as it evaporates. So yeah – it has something to do with it. Cooling is a moving of energy – and unless menthol has a really high specific heat, evaporation is the only other plausible method for this to happen.

      5. Essential oil people tend to not believe the FDA anyway. But, since you bring it up – you are confusing effects. The FDA wouldn’t every approve the a drug based on effectiveness in vitro. However, harm in vitro could be enough to have a drug either not approved or pulled if the effect is large enough. I never suggested this was definitive, but it should make us be cautious.

      The case studies on treating burn victims with lavender are just that – case studies. They are not dramatically more effective than current treatments, and while interesting, is not convincing evidence. Do a larger, repeatable study – and that would be strong evidence. Based on the case studies, I am going to guess the effect will be very small.

      6. The oxidation concern isn’t on application – it is on the bottle design, the evaluation of an expiration date, etc. If the bottle is half full, is it not being oxidized? How well do the bottle seal? If this is stored in a bathroom, will that speed up the oxidation process? You must have not understood my concern here.

      7. I don’t have 30-40 hours a week to write a piece I do for free. I do still spend at least 5, usually closer to 10 hours per piece. I am not intending this to be THE source – but instead a resource for people to look more and provide other links for further study. However, I don’t base it on “myths” but on evidence (or the lack thereof). BTW – I noticed you only provided one source (doTerra). Can you provide evidence for your claims?

      • Andrew says:

        1. By “science word salad to make it seem like they do testing” you mean, of course, that they state explicitly that they do testing, and name some of the tests they do (which you could look up, if you wanted to).

        I didn’t intend the doTERRA link to be an exhaustive resource. It’s just to show that science is being done.

        Again, do the research.

        2. You are imposing a definition on the word “natural” that people who care about using natural products would not care about.

        Admittedly, “natural” is marketing language rather than scientific language. That’s because a thorough understanding of scientific language, and how it works requires significant amounts of training that most of the population do not have access to and/or aptitude for.

        Just because it’s marketing language does not mean that it is devoid of content.

        I would argue that what people who would be induced to buy a product because of it’s “naturalness” are looking for is a lack of synthetic compounds. That’s what doTERRA is providing.

        3. Look up the FDA’s DESI designation. These are drugs that are basically approved by the FDA as safe on the basis of usage history.

        Yes, the ancients did some crazy things, but I wasn’t making the argument that we know essential oils are effective because of ancient use. I was making the argument that the risks involved in using essential oils are well-known, and using oils is thereby generally safe.

        This is not because the ancient Egyptians used them a long time ago. it’s because essential oils have been in continuous use for centuries, and are still in use. You probably use them, yourself, in cosmetics.

        Every time you eat a candy cane, you are ingesting synthetic versions of the compounds contained in essential oils.

        4. You are mistaking what the “cooling effect” of peppermint is. It’s not a transfer of heat. It’s a “cooling sensation” — a metabolic effect that works (in part) on the nervous system.

        That’s why York peppermint patties are marketed the way they are. They contain menthol, too.

        Point being… you made something up, and passed it off as fact.

        5. Your response here to my criticism is a reasonable position. You might want to revise your original article to make it line up.

        In vitro testing certainly raises some concerns about skin irritation, but that (plus long experience) why the general guideline for topical use has essential oils being diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil.

        Lots of people apply essential oils neat without having an issue, but… there it is.

        6. You should clarify your concern in the original article. In context, it appears that you are issuing a warning against topical use of lavender oil, period. In fact, the warning should be against using oxidized lavender oil, specifically.

        As for doTERRA… that’s what the amber bottles, orifice reducers, and expiration dates are for. Lack of exposure to light and heat impede the process of oxidation, and — if you don’t take too long to use your oils — you’ll have nice, unoxidized oils to use for a long time.

        7. You have embarrassed yourself. If you don’t want to do that, do the research. If you don’t want to embarrass yourself, and you don’t want to do the research, then don’t write the article.

        As for resources, I would suggest Dr. Rob Pappas. He’s a chemist working in essential oils, who helped doTERRA formulate their purity standards, and does a lot of their testing. He is also admirably dismissive of some of the nonsense that travels around essential oils circles.

        Here’s his organization’s Facebook page: [removed by author]

        Here’s an article that has some little bearing on what we’re discussing, but which I mostly link to it because you will like it. He does a takedown of some of Gary Young’s nonsense.
        [removed by author]

        Just because you haven’t looked for resources doesn’t mean they’re not out there. i’m not going to do your research for you.

        • Eric Hall says:

          So again – you are saying the company selling you something is OK to set their own standards – but not if it is a pharmaceutical company? That’s certainly a double standard.

          There is no difference between a natural and synthetic compound. If I combine hydrogen and oxygen in a lab, I still get water. You cannot tell the difference between the molecules.

          As far as menthol – I didn’t make it up. Let me clarify:

          Menthol does give the sensation of being cooled, and can actually have an effect on the body. It interacts with the cold sensation nerve endings specifically. This can actually trigger a reduction in local swelling–or a constriction of the blood vessels in that area. Here’s the thing – that does nothing to reduce a fever. In fact, a constriction of the blood vessels would cause heat to be retained. It could actually have the opposite effect. However, it does have a relatively high vapor pressure, and thus it could reduce a fever a little, much like a wet washcloth could. But to use oil only in place of tylenol and a cool bath is very dangerous. There is also a danger that if a child has the possibility of chicken pox (with the anti-vax movement) – there is a low but non-zero risk of Rye’s syndrome. So, back to the point in my blog – this is not the way to treat a fever in kids. Period.

          So in one sentence you call me reasonable, and then you say I embarrassed myself. I guess civility could only hold on for so long…

        • Eric Hall says:

          I also want to provide additional resources as to why using this on kids is dangerous – the original point in my blog:

          The Downside of Camphor, Eucalyptus, and Menthol
          These three ingredients are not recommended for long-term use or excessive use during colds. Too much skin or oral exposure can cause camphor or menthol overdose or poisoning, especially in children (NIH, 2011; NIH, 2012). Eucalyptus can also cause negative side effects; it should not be used in combination with other herbal remedies and a large number of medications because of potentially toxic interactions (NIH, 2012). Eucalyptus may result in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in some people. Oral overdoses of these remedies can result in death. Children and pregnant women should not use cold remedies containing these ingredients.

          http://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/natural-cold-remedies

          • Just to chime in here Eric. Children have lesser motor control and swallowing/gag reflex. Aspirating(or breathing in) even small quantities of oil can have devastating consequences. Exogenous Lipoid Pnuemonia is a life threatening infection. There is absolutely no reason to expose your children to this dangerous complication. Not for the unproven systemic benefit for oil pulling and certainly not as a dental mouthwash. Even safe effective otc mouthwash is to be avoided in children. They just don’t need it. Plus is doesn’t carry a lipoid pnuemonia risk. Children should not be subjected to oil pulling for any reason.

  18. Andrew says:

    1. A wet washcloth doesn’t reduce a fever. It makes your forehead cooler, but it doesn’t significantly affect internal temperature. People put wet washcloths on their heads when they have a fever because it feels good.

    And I never said that the menthol in peppermint oil or the cooling effect from the menthol has anything to do with its purported fever-reducing properties. I just said that you have no evidence to assert that evaporation has something to do with its purported fever-reducing properties.

    You made that up.

    2. As for the dangers of essential oils, I’m not saying that essential oils carry no dangers whatsoever, but you are wildly exaggerating them. “Too much skin or oral exposure…” of pretty much anything will cause you problems. The dose makes the poison.

    The question is whether the dosage needed to obtain the desired effect from a substance puts you close to the dangerous dosage. My sense is that the general practice in essential oils circles is to use a really minimal dose — one or two drops. I have seen up to 7 drops of a given oil recommended, but that’s an outlier.

    The studies that demonstrate toxicity from essential oils are talking about dosages that are much, much higher than even the outliers I’ve seen.

    Nothing in this world is without danger, but essential oils are really pretty safe.

    3. As for internal standards — most products that you use rely on internal quality standards. Even in the pharmaceutical industry, the relatively rigorous standards imposed by the FDA are mainly enforced according to an honors systems. Manufacturers get their facilities inspected maybe once every three years, and the system works by self-reporting other than that.

    This isn’t the fault of the essential oil companies. It’s just the way it is. Generally, we can’t know if any of the products we buy are genuinely compliant with any meaningful standard except insofar as they do or do not perform the tasks we desire them to perform.

    Also, I have issued no criticisms of pharmaceutical companies here. You imputed that to me.

    4. “There is no difference between a natural and synthetic compound. If I combine hydrogen and oxygen in a lab, I still get water. You cannot tell the difference between the molecules.”

    First, you can’t actually make water in a lab from hydrogen and oxygen.

    Second, there often are differences between natural and synthetic compounds, even presuming that the two compounds you’re talking about are chemically identical — which is usually not the case when you’re talking about a compound that occurs in nature and its synthetic counterpart (consider synthetic Vitamin E versus its natural variants).

    Synthetic compounds in a lab generally come out in a purified state in large quantities. A chemically identical compound found in nature will be bound up in a complex system of other compounds. If you’re talking about a metabolically-significant compound, then the associated compounds are going to be extremely important.

    Context matters a whole lot.

    Beyond even this, there are lots of nuances to the way any given molecule exists. For instance, there are certain components of essential oils that are chiral molecules. In nature, they tend to be produced with an emphasis on one or the other of the chiral forms. In the lab, they are always produced in an even ratio.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    Etc.

    5. I didn’t mean to be uncivil. I just want to point out that criticisms of others’ statements based on ad hoc narratives of your own devising does not constitute genuine skepticism.

    6. Stephen, yes. You are quite correct that aspirating oil is bad news. In fact, there was a product recently that came in for quite a bit of criticism because it was delivering oils for inhalation in an unvaporized form. I heard there were a few cases of lipoid pneumonia.

    In ordinary usage, however, oils are allowed to vaporize either as applied to the skin or through the usage of a diffuser. In that form, inhaled oils enter the bloodstream almost instantaneously, and never build up in the lungs so as to give rise to a danger of lipoid pneumonia.

    • Andrew I appreciate the civil tone. That said you are proposing this as a cure all. It is the proponents who need to explain the mechanism. They need to perform well constructed and controlled experiments that demonstrate either a biological effect or a curative one. Then replicate that effect by other researchers. Anecdote is not proof of anything. Saying it doesn’t make it so. Saying that the oil contains large unknown, yet biologically significant molecules that are critical ingredient is not a sign that this treatment is good. Inferring that they should be used be cause they are natural is unwise and dangerous. “A chemically identical compound found in nature will be bound up in a complex system of other compounds. If you’re talking about a metabolically-significant compound, then the associated compounds are going to be extremely important.” That is not proof that it works just proof you don’t know what it is. You believe it is ok to use because you associate natural with good. Lead is natural, mercury is natural, uranium is natural. Tetanus toxin is a large biologically active natural molecule that doesn’t mean I want to swirl it around in my mouth. Even if it’s going to take out toxins(what ever that means). I have a higher standard of proof before I start using substances.
      “In ordinary usage, however, oils are allowed to vaporize either as applied to the skin or through the usage of a diffuser. In that form, inhaled oils enter the bloodstream almost instantaneously, and never build up in the lungs so as to give rise to a danger of lipoid pneumonia.” When you make a claim like that you need to back it up with the research you can’t just guess and say it’s ok so give it to kids.

      • Marie says:

        Eric, one of the problems with actual controlled studies is that in most cases these oils are distilled from plant matter. The distilled oil varies with all the variables the plant experienced. Temperature, rainfall, insect infestations, geographic location, etc. change the characteristics of the oil.
        An essential oil can have up to 350 naturally forming chemicals. For sake of argument; there are studies that show lavender heals burns. But when all the chemicals in lavender are separated out, none of the single chemicals will heal burns. One specific oil may relieve pain for one person while having a sedative effect for another. When I make a preparation, I use more than one oil. And as Andrew stated, we use drops of essential oils. For my 1/3 ounce roll on, I use 18 drops and the rest is carrier oil.
        I know the oils I use are safe. Anyone who uses my formulas are advised to do a skin patch test before using. I don’t advise them I have the cure. So far the results have made my clients very happy.

        • This is called a special pleading when you decide arbitrarily that the effects are variable and undetectable or a combination of undetectable interactions. Bottom line you can scientifically test if this is effective on humans verses standard treatment. IE Sulfa silvadine ointment. Please show me that data. SS has no sedation almost no side effects, prevents infection, and speeds healing as well as relieving pain. It is proven to do so in well controlled and replicated research. It is inexpensive and has been generic for decades.

    • Just FYI Andrew mix hydrogen gas and oxygen gas in a volume strike a match and you get instant water with a explosive type reaction. Not recommended but you definitely can do it in a lab.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I make water in the lab every semester. I run some electricity through water. I allow the hydrogen gas to build up in a vessel for a minute. I bring a flame to the hydrogen. It combines with the oxygen in the air and makes water vapor. I’m not sure why you think I am making that up…

      No, a wet washcloth can genuinely cool you down. While it feels good, water has alot of thermal inertia. It also takes a high amount of energy to evaporate. It is the same reason sweat is able to cool you down – the thermal inertia – and more so the phase change of the water provides a significant cooling effect. And again – what I was saying is the only plausible mechanism for the oil to work on the fever would be the evaporation (which it does) – but the amount at which you would apply it would not be enough to provide significant cooling (the latent heat of vaporization is a energy per unit mass thing). I know you are trying desperately to try to prove me wrong. While I may not have been very clear in my post about this issue, I assure you my reasoning is sound.

  19. Andrew says:

    Also, why did you remove my Rob Pappas links, when you didn’t remove my link to the doTERRA .pdf?

  20. Andrew says:

    Sorry. I was wrong about the water. You can make water in a lab.

  21. Andrew says:

    1. “That said you are proposing this as a cure all.”

    I have actually not made any efficacy claims whatsoever in my arguments on this page. I have limited myself to addressing the criticisms in the original article, and I have made the following points.

    — The titular “dangers” are way overblown and misinterpreted.
    — Eric has criticized the claims made by essential oil enthusiasts not on the basis of facts, or solid evidence, but on the basis of ad hoc misinterpretations of the claims being made.

    I continue to stand by these assertions.

    2. “They need to perform well constructed and controlled experiments that demonstrate either a biological effect or a curative one. Then replicate that effect by other researchers.”

    Agreed. I would not be comfortable making general claims about essential oils’ efficacy until such studies have been done beyond saying things like “some people use X oil for Y.”

    Safety is a different matter. In law and in practice, a record of use is generally considered sufficient to establish the safety of a product.

    As I noted previously, everyone who has commented on this thread has used and/or ingested essential oils without even thinking about it. A long list of essential oils are listed on the FDA’s “GRAS” or “Generally Recognized as Safe” list.

    Unfortunately, there are some major obstacles from a study design standpoint that make efficacy studies difficult. If you’re looking for a placebo for a pill, that’s pretty easy. If you’re looking for a placebo for a product that has a distinct odor, and which is volatile at room temperature, your options are basically zero.

    This and other study design problems are in addition to the tremendous financial cost of double-blinded studies of any significant size. In order to make it possible for the FDA to require these sorts of studies from drug companies, Congress had to grant patents to drug companies that last significantly longer than ordinary patents. Drug studies are funded by monopoly profits.

    In an essentially unregulated market (which will remain unregulated because most of the buyers of essential oils are large food and cosmetics manufacturers) for a product that cannot be patented (only Avicenna could assert any sort of claim for inventorship), these sorts of studies aren’t economically feasible.

    In the meantime, the lack of conclusive data is not the same thing as the lack of data simply. There are in vitro studies, animal studies, and — yes — anecdotal evidence.

    For scientific purposes, these are not nearly enough for a conclusion — whether for or against any efficacy claim. For practical purposes, however, I think it should be left to an individual as to whether or not they want to try them. And if an individual feels like they work, then there is absolutely no evidence to contradict their conclusion. To counter “yes, but there’s no conclusive evidence for it either,” as if to suggest that their conclusion *i*s incorrect is an argument from ignorance.

    No one has the right to criticize a person for interpreting their own experience merely on the basis that said experience has not been vetted by a scientific process that is not even feasible.

    3. “Saying that the oil contains large unknown, yet biologically significant molecules that are critical ingredient is not a sign that this treatment is good.”

    I didn’t make that argument. The components of most of the oils on the market are actually very well known, and some of these components have been isolated and subjected to multiple in vitro studies.

    Dr. Pappas actually maintains an extensive online database of just this sort of information.

    4. “You believe it is ok to use because you associate natural with good.”

    I never said that. In fact, I said that I consider the term “natural” to be “marketing language.” It’s intended to sound good to people who are culturally predisposed to it.

    I happen to require a bit more detail from a company if they’re telling me something is “natural.” Sometimes I find what they mean to be meaningful. Sometimes, I don’t.

    I happen to have done some research into essential oils, and I do think that doTERRA’s use of the word, “natural” has a meaning that is relatively significant. There are big problems with adulteration in the essential oil industry, and getting a “natural” product as doTERRA seems to define it means getting what you pay for — a genuine essential oil that does not contain cheapo synthetic fillers or residual solvents.

    5. “‘A chemically identical compound found in nature will be bound up in a complex system of other compounds. If you’re talking about a metabolically-significant compound, then the associated compounds are going to be extremely important.’ That is not proof that it works just proof you don’t know what it is.”

    Here, I was not seeking to show efficacy. I was simply countering Eric’s statement that a synthetic version of a natural chemical is identical to the natural chemical.

    And I don’t think that what I said is controversial in that light. Haem and non-haem iron behave very differently in the body despite the fact that they are both iron.

    6. “’In ordinary usage, however, oils are allowed to vaporize either as applied to the skin or through the usage of a diffuser. In that form, inhaled oils enter the bloodstream almost instantaneously, and never build up in the lungs so as to give rise to a danger of lipoid pneumonia.’ When you make a claim like that you need to back it up with the research you can’t just guess and say it’s ok so give it to kids.”

    The resources I have found online seem to indicate that lipoid pneumonia is diagnosed by finding a film of the problem-causing oil in the lungs. Let’s think about what would be required for an essential oil to cause such a film when used topically.

    An essential oil is a mixture of a large number (between 50 and 1000) different compounds — mostly alcohols and small-molecules lipids. When you apply these to your skin, not all of these compounds evaporate.

    Of those compounds that do evaporate, some part of the total amount applied is absorbed by the skin. Most of what then evaporates is lost to the air.

    Of what is actually inhaled, and is not an alcohol, but is a lipid, some amount will be absorbed into the bloodstream, some amount will remain suspended in the air and will be exhaled, and some amount will be trapped on the walls of the alveoli.

    Would you like to venture a guess as to how long it would take that miniscule subdivision of two drops of liquid to build up into a film?

    7. Allow me to approach the peppermint evaporation issue from a different direction.

    everythingessential.me, a popular reference website for EO enthusiasts lists the following protocol for fever:

    “Lemon or Peppermint can be added to water with honey or agave and sipped.”

    Are you seriously suggesting that any apparent fever reduction from this protocol would be a result of evaporation?

    Also,

    “Apply Peppermint to the forehead, back of neck, and bottoms of feet. Apply frequently, 15-30 minutes, till the fever goes down.”

    The usual amount of oil used is going to be about two drops. Do you really think that two drops of oil spread over that amount of surface area every 15 minutes is going to effect a significant heat exchange?

    You have no experience with using essential oils, you have done little to no research on how they are used, or what basis rests behind claims about them. Your arguments consist of ad hoc narratives about how you suppose they might work based on general principles of physics.

    That’s not skepticism. That’s myth-making.

    You add to this assertions that doTERRA provides no backup for its various claims, when you have made little to no attempt to look at what information is actually out there.

    Again, that’s not genuine skepticism.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I believe you are making this error: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/no-true-scotsman – There is no such thing as a perfect skeptic – and perhaps you should soften your standards a little and understand I am both trying to teach as well as learn.

      I think we agree mostly on the facts, but you have reached a dramatically different conclusion. You are saying people should use these oils and do the studies later. I am saying that while the oils are safe to use as nice smells, the danger comes in the CLAIMS made by those selling oil. They claim to cure all sorts of things (Mike Adams and whichever oil company he promotes for example claimed an ebola cure). There is no proof of this – and there are hundreds of documented cases of people forgoing real medicine for nonsense and it ends up killing or hurting them.

      For the peppermint – I already explained – the cool feeling does not reduce a fever, but could actually do the opposite. There is a small plausibility of cooling via evaporation, but because of the amount used, water is better because it has a much larger thermal inertia both due to its specific heat and the amount in a washcloth. Plus, water also fairly readily evaporates at body temp (which again is how sweat works) – so it is a much better treatment (along with tylenol). Forgoing a real treatment for a fever is highly dangerous if the fever gets high enough – and that’s where my concern is – using oil instead of regular treatment as most oil practitioners suggest.

    • Eric Hall says:

      And again – I’ve looked at doterra. Tell me, how much of each compound are contained in a bottle? If I take tylenol, I know it contains 500 mg of acetaminophen, and I can also get an ingredient list and proportions from the manufacturer. I don’t get any assurances as to how much active chemical is in the oil.

      The marketing practices are deceptive and the claims of purity, etc. are suspect. It is also deceptive to position themselves as somehow better or even the antithesis of drug companies when their practices are as deceptive if not more so than drug companies. At least drugs that have been around for awhile have safety AND efficacy evidence.

    • Despite the volume of your reply I see no data, research, or otherwise that shows what is in the oil and the replicated results of benefit. Claims that the website has this information doesn’t make it so. I have been through the pappas site. Out side of spectra-graph data related to contents of one sample there is no evidence of anything just testimonials. That is not data.
      I am not the one making any claims related to benefits of an implausible fever reducer that has no known physiologic action on the hypothalmus, arterial vasoconstriction, or metabolic rate.I am not the one claiming that I don’t know why it works. I am not the one indicating that unknown impurities are critical factors in why it works. You fail with the most basic premise “does it work”. There is no evidence that it works. Your best evidence is fever reduction. Recording changes in fever is not a method to determine if a substance is an effective as fever reducer. Fevers change over the course of a day with out any external stimulus. Plus fever vary with environmental exposure, changes in humidity and fluid balance. Fevers can and do change over a 12 hour period without any external influence. You demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of basic science and human physiolology. No anti-pyretics were developed first on the basis of fever reducing. Tylenol for example has a defined dosage and duration yet the ability to reduce the fever is variable and not dependable. I have an intimate knowledge of the physiologic response of fever please show me your evidence. I am willing to listen to anything specific about the possible mechanism of action. There is none on the pages you have offered. I am willing to look at the palcebo controlled trial showing an effect at least close to acetaminophen. For you see I am not claiming that it works they(and you) are. The burden of proof is on you not us. Testimonials carry strong emotional weight they carry zero medical weight. For thousands of year people swore by blood letting never even realizing that they were harming people. I find nothing on the web pages that is research in any form. Admittedly they are complicated and convoluted this is the closest thing I can find approaching research and it is not anything but an ingredients list.http://prntscr.com/5dokit. I did find this however http://prntscr.com/5dolbt. Not a ringing endorsement.

  22. Nope says:

    It seems that most of your followers are following you instead of doing their own research. Why don’t you recommend they think for themselves. Oh, that’s right, because that in and of itself is dangerous. Essential oils should be respected, of course, but insisting that they are pseudoscience is false. As a scientist in the medical and mental health fields, I immediately lost respect for you after reading this post. However, I’m also intelligent enough to know that you don’t care. Disseminating your information and having followers is all that matters. Stick to what you know, which is clearly not essential oils.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      You seem to confuse thinking for yourself and doing your own research with believing whatever essential oil salesmen claim. That’s totally different from science and is far more dangerous than basing your belief about factual claims on proven results. People can think all sorts of things for themselves. That’s great. But if you think the moon is made of green cheese, and encourage people to buy special ineffective ointments with special healing properties based on that belief, then you’re encouraging them to waste a bunch of money on junk. That junk can be extremely harmful, especially if they’ve got conditions that it won’t treat but medical science can and will, cheaply. I’m intelligent enough to see that you’ve got a pretty cynical attitude about truth and don’t really care what’s actually real unless it comports with your beliefs.

  23. Chris says:

    How about these studies on peppermint oil with headaches….
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20456191
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8805113
    I will grant that these are small studies. They are also measuring something based on a persons perception. But they are indication enough that it’s something work investigating more. However no one will. A big pharma company will need to see the $$ value resulting in the outcome to finance the company. EO companies don’t want this as it would make their product a ‘drug’ under the FDA and they would not be able to sell it as they currently do.
    For now, its up to the person. If you have a headache, you can take a chemical that doesn’t work for everyone, and has pages of listed possible side effects or first you can try inhaling some peppermint and trying to see if it helps (and if it doesn’t you can still take the chemicals).

    Yes, this is a simple example but the original article wanted to dismiss all EO as useful for anything other than smelling pretty. This is the polar opposite of the blogger being discussed who feels that EO can cure anything and everything. The truth, I think, remains somewhere in the middle.

    I love reading what people post. Then I like to do my own research. My kids are vaccinated. I get the flu shot every year but I will always try Peppermint EO instead of advil/alive/tylenol etc first if I have a headache (not for my kids though, peppermint oil is counter indicative in young kids under 6).

    • Chris a very logical and well thought out reply. My only answer is why would you use a unproven and untested medicine for a headache? Even if it is effective, what dose is toxic, and what dose is effective. How often can you have it safely.
      My point is this Tylenol is effective, but if someone hands you a jar of tylenol powder and say take as much as you need to make your headache go away that would be extremely dangerous. The problem is not just that it might work(as you pointed out anecdotal evidence), but also that you must find out how to use an effective amount that is non-toxic. Everything is toxic and everything is safe depending upon the dose. It least with OTC medicine you know what is a safe dose and you know what the problems are. The only thing peppermint has going for it is a perception that it is safer because it is natural. Whatever that means. As I have said many times before nature doesn’t care about you, most things in nature will kill you. That is why you don’t walk around your property eating random plants looking to make your headache go away. You have to do the proper double blind, replicated, placebo controlled studies to see if something works. If you don’t you don’t do that you don’t know what it does. If your promoting something and not even trying to do that research then you clearly don’t want to know what it does. Since poison will most probably get you arrested, mostly the recommended natural substance does nothing. A human saying that something works for medical problem X is akin to zero evidence, since we are extremely unreliable about such things.
      You vaccinate your kids, good, you looked at the logical risks and benefits and made a choice. A good one I might add. Hold your own treatment to the same level of evidence you demand from vaccines.

      • Brenda says:

        People take Tylenol (an FDA approved drug) for headaches all the time. I seem to recall it getting pulled from shelves quite a few times in the recent past…

        • Noah Dillon says:

          I think you’re mistaken and that’s also a red herring. There was one event in 1982 where someone had put poison into Tylenol in Chicago. He had purchased the pills, opened the containers, put cyanide into the pills, and then put them back onto shelves, after which they were purchased by consumers. Tylenol can be toxic to the liver if taken by children, by those with liver conditions, or if taken in doses higher than recommended on the label. It is probably more toxic than is currently acknowledged. HOWEVER, the fact that Tylenol is not safe in many circumstances does not mean that essential oils are effective medical treatments or that they are not also unsafe. The benefit of Tylenol is that its manufacture and dosage is known and controlled. Anyone can put any oil in a bottle and sell it as a supplement. The fact that we know the specific dangers of a drug such as Tylenol actual is an indication of how much information we have about it. Do you know what the toxicity of a given essential oil are? Whether it’s contraindicated with other substances? What its LD50 is? What its route of excretion is? What its active compounds are? What its mechanism of action is?

  24. smfarris says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have several chronic health conditions, including neurological disorders. It pains me when I am in support groups for Tourette’s Syndrome and Dystonia to see people using oils on their kids instead of real medicine. People who sell oils and people who just fall for Dr. Oz-esque medical advice are constantly suggesting it to me, too. I am so frustrated with those people that I just wanted to do some research to respond back knowledgeably, instead of just shutting them down with “I have brain damage,” which does work–usually.
    The people who sell it are really just predators who are taking advantage of the chronically ill who have already tried everything or are preventing people from seeking the real medical attention that they could need.

  25. Rahul says:

    Great post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.

  26. Keri says:

    So I’m one of those crazy stay at home moms thinking about selling doTerra. I use it in laundry detergent, baths, cooking, cleaning, a few drops in Eucerin lotion, etc. I do not think it should be used for alternative medicine. Do you still think it’s dangerous used as I have described above?

    • Eric Hall says:

      I think to sell it the way they want, you’d have to venture into that. If you like the scents, I’d say be a buyer. Here’s why: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/mlm.html

    • Janet says:

      I use mine for cleaning and in my laundry soap, and I have made my own lotion with them as well as added them to plain lotion. As long as they are diluted you should be fine. Also in cooking just remember one drop is extremely concentrated and that one drop is probably all you need. I do ‘sell’ DoTerra. I signed up so I could get discounted oil for myself. I am under no pressure by the company or my upline or anyone in any way to sell to other people. I let people know I use them and what for. I don’t make any money because I choose to just let people let me know if they are interested.

  27. D says:

    There’s something I’d like to point out. My step daughter’s Mom uses YL oils for everything. Literally a cabinet full of combinations for anything that could go wrong. Therefore, my 6 year old is having the oils used on her. The problem is that it has taught my daughter to be dependent on a product to help her with her “problems”. Taking calming oils to school because she can’t behave without it, can’t come to my house and sleep at night because she doesn’t have her diffuser, and wont use my OTC medicine when she gets a cut because they aren’t good for you. To top that off she asked me if I didn’t believe in God because I didn’t believe in oils. Yes my 6 year old went there!.She said God made plants which makes oils, so if I don’t believe in oils I don’t believe in God. I’ve never been so insulted and worried that THIS is the kind of B.S. she is being taught!. So whether I disagree or not on whether oils actually work, or are safe, or any other topic people are talking about, I wanted to share how I see it as a psychologically dependent product. It breaks my heart that my daughter thinks she NEEDS these oils to function everyday

    • Really says:

      She is her mother’s daughter, not yours. If her mother feels that is she wants to raise her child, that is her choice. Sounds like by your response, this little girl will need more than oils (counselling and her faith)to keep her even. Time to get off the critical train and go talk to your husband. If a diffuser makes her feel comfortable, run it without oils in it. Your job is to make her feel comfortable and loved; not overpower her mother’s beliefs.

      • Really, she may be her mother’s daughter but she also has an obligation as family and a responsible adult to point out b.s. when she sees it.

        This scenario right here is the main reason that I am so anti-oil. The people that I know that use it (which, thankfully, are few) use it as a cure all for everything.

        Kids acting up, slather on oils. Homework not getting done? Take your oils. Bowel movements are green? Use oils. The people that get hardcore into this use this as a placebo for actually raising their kids.

        I know one lady that has several children that use these oils. At least three of the children have A.D.D. More than one is prone to violent outbursts. Most of them do not listen to any adult figures period. There is one that will even flat out ignore reasonable rules/requests by adults simply because he doesn’t want to.

        This woman will literally bathe her children in these oils without having any idea of the biological effect it’s having on her children simply so that it makes her job as a parent easier. That to me is wrong. The children with ADD should receive medication and the rest should be taught how to respect adults rather than just hoping some pretty smells would take care of it.

  28. omega says:

    I was hoping someone could comment on the physics of the (expensive) oil diffusers sold by these companies. Seems to me that the oil droplets being diffused into the air might travel a few feet, then just fall to the floor. I have friends who spend a lot of money on these “disinfectant” oils (Thieves, OnGuard, etc) and seem to be counting on oil diffusion to get their families through cold/flu season by ridding the air of germs. Even if the oils in these blends do have some disinfectant properties, this proposed mechanism of cleansing the air seems pretty ridiculous to me.

    I will say, I enjoy EOs as fragrances in my home — as an alternative to synthetic perfumes containing phthalates, etc — and I’m open to the possibility that some of these oils may have medicinal value. However, I tend to agree with Eric, whose main point was: be cautious. I am an MD, and medical research is my career. I know that designing and carrying out GOOD research is tough. It usually takes many studies (by many different groups of investigators) before convincing conclusions can be drawn. I will admit, I have not done an exhaustive search of every study on every essential oil, but from what I have looked into, there just doesn’t seem to be enough research out there to ensure the safety of EOs for many of the proposed applications (eg topical and ingestion) — especially in children. Not enough to convince me to use it on my children, anyway. I have a toddler and a new baby at home — I’d love nothing more than to slather the bottoms of their feet in organic coconut oil infused with lavender and cedar wood, and have the whole family sleep soundly through the night… IF I could be sure it would cause them no harm. Until then, I’ll continue waking each night to comfort them.

    • Keri says:

      I have two small children- ages 5 & 2. My thought is that most of us expose our children to genetically modified foods containing Roundup and other chemicals. We feed them animals that barely get to move and are fed government corn and soy instead of grass and the grains they’re meant to eat. We feed them bleached sugar and wheat with no nutritional value. We serve them this non food in plastics full of chemicals made in China, and god knows what really goes into it. They play with toys full of chemicals. We wash them with crap made with parabens. You get the idea. It seems to me that exposing them to a drop of oil that is minimally processed from a plant and could have benefits isn’t the worst thing you could do to your children. Just sayin’.

      • Mira says:

        You Keri are right on! These guys parading here with their “oh it all needs to be so scientific and FDA-approved”, who actually, are rather rude to any comments sent by us women and those who dare to differ with them. But it is obvious they would be able to think outisde the box. They´re so in it. But we, the mothers, can not afford to. Those tested and well proven medicines kill thousands, perhaps millions and what is peculiar, they often do so when the prescription and the amount taken is just right. So they kill even if it´s not just an overdose or something like that, but the excactly the right dose -resulting to death! And these guys are insisting “why don´t you take the asprin blaa blaa” for a headache in stead of rubbing on two drops peppermint, thieves or some other suitable oil. Oh no! That could be way too dangerous, it might NOT cause your stomach to bleed. Funny. Really. If it wasnt so annoyingly tube-brained, all glory to FDA -bullshit- sciencene -religion -stuff. Using essential oils at present and, thank you very much, after this prejudistic disinformative article. I´m from Finland, a mother of two young boys, and if my spelling has flaws it´s because of me not being a native speaker and being in a STATE after reading all frustratingly tube-brained comments of these, especially two, proud males Eric and Stephen.

        • Noah Dillon says:

          Ah, yes, you’ll notice how the writer and commenters have never made an issue of the gender of people making claims about essential oils. They haven’t because it’s irrelevant to this conversation. This has nothing to do with sex, gender, or sexism, which is a total red herring. Thank you for making such a spurious claim, rather than providing any actual evidence. I’m sure there are plenty of women (including other Skeptoid bloggers) who recognize the paucity of evidence for essential oils as medical treatments, and I’m sure there are plenty of men (some of them commenters here, I think) who don’t really care what the effectiveness and safety of essential oils are, or if there’s any data about their costs and benefits.

          • Connie says:

            I imagine that, if a person is bringing a red herring into this discussion thread and has no real working knowledge of scientific validity, measurement and testing, is it still fair to assert that a person would be conscious of such diversionary tactics? I would consider that seeking and teaching balance is more attractive than trite philosophical jabs that teach philosophy and not science.

  29. omega says:

    I appreciate your reply, and agree that our children are exposed to many harmful compounds every day. In fact, some of my research involves the effects of phthalates (found in many plastics, cosmetics, etc) on the development of infants and children. However, as research comes out and provides us with better information on these dangers, I would like to think most of us change our practices (especially as parents) in order to do the best we can for ourselves and our families. For example, I try to feed my children organic foods and whole grains, heat their foods in glass dishes, serve in plastic dishes that are only phthalate/BPA-free, etc. Knowing all along that we may later discover the alternatives to these harmful compounds also have negative effects — but, we’re doing the best we can with the information we currently have.

    As I mentioned, I’m open to the idea that EOs and other natural compounds can have medicinal benefits. Willow bark, for example, contains an anti-inflammatory compound from which aspirin was later derived. However, aspirin should not be used in children. I have no information on willow bark in children, but I personally wouldn’t use it on my kids, knowing the negative effects of aspirin. (just an example)

    I know this may be taken as knit-picking, but I always cringe a little when I hear the phrase “it isn’t the worst thing you could do to your children”. I think we should always be doing our best. And, although there’s no doubt in my mind that putting certain EOs on the soles of my children’s feet won’t land us in the emergency room, I don’t have enough evidence of it’s effects to convince me that it’s safe and the BEST thing to be doing.

    If EOs are having a real effect on a child (not just a placebo effect), I want to know the mechanism of action — what exactly is happening with the biochemistry/physiology in the body to cause the changes we might see? If the effects are indeed REAL, then something is happening biochemically… and I want to know what that is before I use it in my children.

    I’m not claiming to have evidence that EOs are harmful — but I also don’t have the evidence to support the physiological mechanism of their benefits.

    • Keri says:

      I think that’s a great response. Before I knew that doTerra or YL existed, I made mosquito repellant out of white vinegar, vanilla extract and lavender oil. We live in Austin-West Nile is prevalent. Is rather put my concoction on my kids than Deet. We know the negative effects of Deet-could a minuscule amount of lavender really be worse? Vicks contains eucalyptus oil, so I’d rather put one drop of that oil with coconut on my kiddos. I wouldn’t, however, douse them in oregano oil as it kills good bacteria that are hard to replace. I think Eric has it right-be cautious about use.

      • omega says:

        I completely agree with the mosquito repellant. I also use natural sprays on my kids when I feel the need to use a repellant (although I buy it, because I don’t have any knowledge of mixing appropriate ingredients). We know there are harmful chemicals in many of the “regular” sprays — I think this is a great example of doing the best we can with the information we have.

        I wanted to clarify one thing from my first post: I’m not totally opposed to using some natural compounds on myself or my children. I would put a few drops of lavender in a tub full of water and let my 2.5 yo bathe in it — no problem. And, when I try to tame her unruly curls, I occasionally use a natural hair gel that contains some EOs — not at all concerned about that. The caution kicks in with what I consider to be extreme uses (ingestion, direct inhalation, or topical application in high concentrations) intended to elicit a physiologic response — especially in children.

        Although somewhat skeptical, I’m very interested in EOs and their potential health/wellness benefits. I’d like to learn more, and I hope good research continues in the near future. I would be inclined to believe (like someone suggested above) the truth lies somewhere in the middle of “EOs have no medicinal effect and are only harmful” and “EOs can cure anything without any side effects”.

      • Eric Hall says:

        Yes, in concentrations, some of these oils can be insect repellents – or even killers. I use oil derived compounds around my kitchen in the summer – because even though I have to apply it more often than a lab derived killer or repellent, I like the smell and I find it doesn’t get as sticky as some of the residues – so it seems cleaner to me. Outside, I still apply stronger, lab derived repellents to keep out most of the critters.

        Topical anti-bacterial properties and insect repelling properties are known and studied in the lab. That doesn’t mean it automatically extends to the magic claims some make regarding oils.

    • Really says:

      Can you tell me the mechanism of action of acetaminophen?

  30. Connie says:

    When skepticism prohibts a person from trying something as simple as an essential oil that God created (or you could say nature), I have to wonder where the logic is in that. People eat poisonous food daily and don’t seem to be worried about the causes much. You’d rather take a synthetic substance go right ahead..but health studies that attest to the healing power of plants would be more reliable and show more than any certified therapeutic concern could. Besides, if big pharma is the biggest thing out there, it’s going to be tough to get people to naturally heal. Makes no sense to me, but people trust “the devil you know…”

    • Eric Hall says:

      Are you willing to try various arsenic compounds because nature created them? This is a classic example known as the naturalistic fallacy.

      Can you please link to these studies which attest to the healing power of plants? We’ve already addressed several here.

      • Connie says:

        I will go in for more studies once I’m in front of a desktop computer. Are you looking for peer reviewed studies that are specific to a particular company or to its healing benefits? Because those exist…

        http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/aromatherapy/healthprofessional/page1/AllPages

        Any of this relevant to you? are the sedative, analgesic, detoxing, anti-inflammatory or antiseptic effects not some evidence of the plant oil having a healing ability? Most important in health care is when the body undergoes illness, that it first underwent silent inflammation, referring to the imbalance that builds in tissues without pain, prior to the onset of illness. If one takes preventative measure by using the oils, would that not be relevant? I’ve ingested the oils for years and have not even had a cold, in years.

        • Connie thanks for your well thought out response. From a medical physiologic standpoint, silent inflammation and imbalance that builds in the tissues are nonsense medically speaking. It is the type of scienc-y speak you often hear on alt med web pages. It has nothing to do with the reality of how our bodies work. I have done some literature research on this subject. The research is in vitro(in a dish) or subjective, poorly controlled small studies that have no duplication. You see that pattern consistently with “alt med” research. It is a stack of cowpies no matter how big the stack it is still cowpies. If you have a ton of research done and it all consistently avoids addressing the question of “does it work.” That pattern of behavior is consistent with people who either know it doesn’t work and want filler for their reference pages, or believe that it works and want something to confirm their preconceived notions. Many of the proposed benefits lacks plausibility, it is often based on a superficial understanding-wrong view of how our bodies work. Then the researchers don’t apply proper rigor to the research, like they don’t really want to know the truth. The more and more bad research done just gives more weight to the “it doesn’t work category”.

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Thanks Stephen. I assume you are in the medical community to some capacity? Can you, or anyone who cares to, then relate to me what constitutes a product as “working,” from your standpoint? What needs to physiologically change in the body for one to consider the oils as having done the work? And are we talking about a sustained change over a period of time? Because I’m trying to connect this to something that is valued as a more concrete “working fix” from the medical view, for I haven’t seen one substance, synthesized or natural, sustain a body’s natural regenerative ability without consistent, mechanical effort. Forgive me if i haven’t applied the correct terminology. If this is “alt-med nonsense” talking, versus medical science, which doesn’t seem to me to make much sense either, we are discounting another culture of doctors, botanists and chemists who formulate these products. Is this just an ages old debate that falls flat on both sides, or is this missing information able to be tied back in to create a greater picture of what’s really happening? Because once again, from my humble experience, I am experiencing profound advancement. Maybe you are saying this is a family of variables. I’m listening. I’m here for the long haul.

          • It is simple Connie, science is the only reliable method for determining if a treatment is effective. The research surrounding alternative medicine is bad science. I say something “works” when that product is shown to be effective and safe compared to placebo in large well structured and blinded studies. That the research is replicated following systematic and scientific progression. IE in vitro, followed by animal trials and subsequent human trials. Plus that the results are replicated reliably at every one of those levels at a proven effective and safe dose. Then I say that it “Works”. Even then once it put into use it needs a reliable monitoring system to make sure that is safe and effective.

            I have no idea what”I haven’t seen one substance, synthesized or natural, sustain a body’s natural regenerative ability without consistent, mechanical effort” means from a physiological standpoint. You cells utilize diffusion constantly is that “mechanical” not sure what you mean there.
            Only careful, systematic and logical evaluation of a potential medical treatment is the only way to know if something works. When alternative medicine does this type of research it fails universally, or it claims with a hand waiving explanation as to why its magical properties evade detection. More often the research is either so poor or preliminary that it says nothing at all.
            Call it alternative, call it complementary, call it magic it is all the same. It preys upon people’s poor understanding of science and the scientific method. It takes advantage of the compelling nature of personal anecdote and evaluation.
            Like the old the maxim about representing yourself in court, You are an attorney who has a fool for a client. Trying to be your own doctor and treat illness by self observation, anecdote and self experimentation means you have a fool for a patient, and that is true even if you are a doctor.
            Alternative medicine depends upon you being a foolish patient.
            I am open to new ideas, just don’t cut corners, guess, rely on anecdote, and rely on poor or preliminary research. If it works it is easy enough to prove it. Just do it.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I am sure Stephen will respond at some point, but let me give you a quick summary –

            It works when evidence says it does. What is measured depends on the substance and the desired outcome. If the outcome desired is measured with enough of a difference over say a placebo, it can be said it works. When this is replicated, it gains more confidence it works.

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Okay thank you Eric. Now I have a better picture of what I am looking for when I read these studies.

        • Eric Hall says:

          From that page:

          “This lack of standardization has led to poor consistency in research on the effects of aromatherapy, because anecdotal evidence alone or previous experience has driven the choice of oils, and different researchers often choose different oils when studying the same applications.”

          That is not scientific evidence. It is people selling stuff.

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Yes, I see this. I found another website that supports this idea. Forgive me if I am replicating a site that has been seen. I’m just trying to understand.

            “Many conventional drug studies are funded by the pharmaceutical industry. There is little motivation for these companies to fund research on natural plant substances because they cannot easily be patented, limiting the potential for profit. Thus, finding funding for essential oils studies can be challenging.”

            http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/what-does-research-say-about-essential-oils

            This site has a number of references. But now I’m wondering about studies on the chemical constituents of the oils. I find it hard to believe there won’t be studies that discuss the effects of terpenes on physiology.

            here’s an abstract on terpenes. I’m still searching.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11955818

            conversation on frankincense and boswellic acid

            http://essentialoils.org/frankincense-essential-oil-and-boswellic-acid/

            plant physiology (maybe you’ll find it interesting )

            http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1677-04202010000200003

            bud terpenes. …sounds like essential oil…
            http://terpenes.weebly.com
            http://www.ch.ic.ac.uk/vchemlib/mim/bristol/thc/thc_text.htm

            And just for fun…
            http://www.theweedblog.com/terpenes-and-the-smell-of-marijuana/

            I know, I get the bigger picture now…but if terpenes in Marijuana are effecting physiology, it makes me think that if someone gets on the ball, they may find the need to kick up their game. I have more of a skeptical eye turned towards big pharma and not wanting more competition, even more than the issue with patents. Even Marijuana is under big debate right now to give it a medicinal status, though studies are showing its cancer healing connection, including cannabis oil. Stephen, Eric, am I incorrect in wanting to make this connection? Thanks for your scientific insight.

          • That is good research and I like the way that you are thinking connie but the cut into big pharma profits is just a fallacy. For example the drug cochicine has been around for 80 years it was a legacy drug produced generically used by millions for gout and is effective. A drug company realized that, as a legacy drug(like aspirin), it lacked research and hadn’t been formally patented. They did two studies on it. Patented it and now are the exclusive producer and charge a huge amount for it. Jerks made a generic into a label and charge people a lot. The moral of the story is that it is not expensive to patent, own, and charge a lot for something. Just because somehting is available now doesn’t prevent patenting it. SO the though that it would cost them profits to grab low hanging fruit like something you could buy at the supermarket is just a fallacy. Sound good but a corporation wouldn’t pass up on easy money like people are suggesting. If that is the best argument why it is being suppressed it just doesn’t hold water. More likely that they don’t want to spend the money because it is not promising.

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Wow. You’ve given me a lot to consider Stephen. Thank you.

          • kaylenebrown says:

            Yes. It’s really sad that there aren’t enough good studies. There are a ton of awesome initial studies, but very little funding to further alternative medical studies. No money in making people better, so why bother, right? The drugs we’ve got make lots of capital.

            That IS scientific evidence. Evidence that it often kills or makes people worse. But it is people selling stuff!

            Just saying, the money behind the motive argument works both ways.

          • Several fallacies here first of all you can have a cure for any disease, and like std’s or strep throat they just keep coming back. I hear this argument a lot. Ok what does EO cure first of all? Many claims, ridiculous theoretical claims in my opinion based on in vitro studies. But sure lets say you found the cure for all cancer in an EO.

            Cancer will always reoccur whether due to age genetics and exposure etc. So by your logic there is no value in a owning patenting and marketing a easily obtained inexpensive cure all for cancer…. or make it pain(I mean no one ever gets a Headache twice). I mean really! Drug companies spend billions to find new drugs. You think that if something cheap and readily available, plus it works they won’t bother to prove it patent it and charge a boatload for it? Doesn’t matter if it is Olive oil, if you can prove that it is a drug and it works you can do the research and then own it and charge a boatload for it. It’s been done before.
            Your argument is drug companies are greedy therefore they won’t use a cure they will suppress it. I say the opposite…if it works they will snap it up and patent it so nobody else can use it.
            They spend tons to find this stuff the low hanging fruit is all gone. Some guy swirling oil from his pantry around in his mouth is not going to be the next Fleming lol

      • Monica says:

        Just jumping in because I’ve nothing better to do this morning. Came across your comment on arsenic compounds and it made me smile because of this: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/business/fda-bans-three-arsenic-drugs-used-in-poultry-and-pig-feeds.html?_r=0

        Yes, it’s from 2013, but notice, just recently, the FDA was all in favor of us eating various arsenic compounds.

        It rescinded its approval of them as it has rescinded approval of 35(!) other drugs it previously approved.

        I no longer use “FDA-approved” as much of a standard for judging the efficacy or safety of any drug whatsoever.

        I also realize that the claims made for the healing potential of any essential oil are mostly overblown, and if there is any anecdotal evidence of healing, it can mostly be attributed to the placebo effect. Many of these claims are made by MLMers who narcissistically defend any criticism made of the product they (hope to) profit from overly-vehemently, with bad spelling and grammar and even worse logic.

        Essential oils aren’t going to be going through any double-blind studies soon because the drug companies aren’t going to pay for any studies that they aren’t going to profit from and the essential oil companies, though the biggest ones could afford to pay for them, aren’t going to because selling them as non-drugs with the implication (that many of their sellers, including mine) that it just might cure what ails you is working for them.

        In the absence of official studies, and in the presence of an immedicable situation, I intend to try an essential oil (a few drops, in a carrier, rubbed on my skin, from a non-MLM source) to improve things. That way I can see if it works for me, (and it’s something that’s quite objective and not the least subjective) and at least for myself I’ll know if it works or it just smells nice. Then I will know if at least one blanket statement may not be true.

  31. Rae Vince says:

    I know I’m late coming to this ballgame but perhaps I just needed a safe place to vent since I’ve been attacked for simply requesting that my friends “do their research” before using oils. I honestly don’t have an issue with someone using oils if that is their forte. What I take issue with is being treated like I’m stupid because I dont. I also take issue with everyone who uses oils now assuming they are a health and wellness expert. I don’t have any doctorate credentials – I have a BA in Psychology. But I’m not stupid enough to smother something on my baby every single night just because a mommy blog tells me to. I’ll admt, I’ve used some of the oils (peer pressure mostly), and enjoy the occasional lavender on my pillow at night or peppermint when I have a migraine. But it’s insulting to me when you look down on me for giving my child vaccines and the occasional Tylenol (yeah I know better than running Tylenol over here several times a day too), while you’re over there asking for advice on stainless steel sippy cups because the oils that you FEED your baby EAT THROUGH THE PLASTIC ONES. Do you guys hear yourselves? I also take issue with everyone assuming they’re a physician and “if it’s natural it’s safe” (opium is natural too btw). I have pregnant friends who almost lost their babies due to people acting like experts and feeding them oil nonsense. I know people who put oils on their children when 3 minutes of legitimate research tells me that’s not an appropriate oil for a child. On the flip side, I know oil users making claims such as “better not use this one too much, it will mess with your hormones” which ALSO takes 3 minutes of legitimate research to see its not true. All I’m asking is for these people to have a balanced approach and do some research and I’m crucified as the evil anti-oils lady. I am turned off alltogether by the lack of knowledge with which people become obsessed with these oils (and I’m talking 5 different oils, mixed together, several times a day on their KIDS. Some of my friends have car diffusers and NECKLACE DIFFUSERS so that these oils can be absorbed on a molecular level into their lungs at all times. And you’re telling me I’m killing my kid by giving her a teaspoon of Tylenol a few times a year when she is teething or sick? I call bullshit sorry!)

    Another thing. Just because “we used essential oils centuries ago” doesn’t make them legit either. We also used leeches for fevers and drilled into the skull for headaches. …although all it would take is another mommy blog to say those are beneficial too and leeches will start being sold on eBay.

    • I think it is easy to say that we completely agree. The reason why people believe these things are because they hear compelling stories and see results in thier own lives. People are unaware that we are predisposed to place great weight on others opinion as well as emotional narrative, and that we tend to only see evidence that confirms our preexisting convictions. The more you fight with someone the more hardened their opinion becomes. People just don’t like to be wrong. Try to be gentle with your friends. Try to find common ground, something you can agree on that is just as unlikely as this, and use it as a vehicle to show them that they are thinking similarly about the oil issue. You will be less frustrated, and be assured that you are helping them to learn critical thinking even if they don’t change their mind about this in particular. We all have things that we cling to illogically, try to remember that rather than get frustrated yourself. 🙂

      • Keri says:

        So to sum it up, we know 2,000,000 people have died from correctly prescribed drugs, not to mention incorrectly prescribed drugs or people who OD on prescriptions since the mid 90’s, and only a few from essential oils in the same time frame. This logic seems fairly cut and dry if the stats are correct.

        • Josh says:

          Well, for one, that’s a number’s game your playing. More people die from handgun violence than from lawn chair violence because more people use handguns in violent acts.

          However, Rae makes the claim that he knows people who almost lost their babies due to using essential oils, but isn’t that exactly the kind of claim we’ve been touting against EOs: lack of causality? Women almost (and do!) lose their babies all the time all over the world without the benefit of EOs.

          (That said, using anything during pregnancy that isn’t offered by a professional and has lots of scientific support is silly.)

          I’m neutral on this issue, and I’d like to make sure one side doesn’t go full hypocrite on us.

      • Booterra says:

        My experience with doterra: I have depression, but I tried to go off medication while dinking around with the gradual realization of this condition. I ended up in the worst depressive phase I’d ever been in. It was scary.

        So my “friend” comes to town. I explained my situation to her prior to the visit. She knew about my depression before this period. Her husband has depression and her mother is a therapist, so she clearly knows her way around this condition. Yet her lust for selling snake oil was so great, she gave me the doterra shpiel while I was sunk into my sofa, barely 3 or 4 days back on an antidepressant. She was very careful to not say that it could replace medication but she got as close as one possibly could to claiming it could cure me.

        It was simply shocking. The depressed state from which I was crawling out was as close to life-threatening as it had ever been. The thought that a “friend” would elevate her MLM needs above my life is sickening.

        The problem I have with belief in the unproven is not that individual use makes a person happy for whatever reason. It’s when a person uses that belief without examination and it negatively affects others or uses belief as a blatant lie to make you part with your good cents. And to use our friendship and my health vulnerability is simply without conscience. But that’s the nature of belief. If you use a belief, if you try to convince people to believe in something for whatever reason – money, fame, influence – you might just believe it just enough that you would be willing to put a friend’s life in danger.

        • Connie says:

          Booterra, that is an unfortunate situation you had and I’m sorry this has rerouted your ideas on what natural health can do for you. Having said that, that was NOT the moment for you to have been given this information but to also see that your friend may have been as desperate as you to help you with something they’ve seen help others. I guess what I’m hoping is that you don’t blame the oil, the person, or natural health, but that you blame the timing of the message. That’s like expecting yoga to fix all your problems today and to not be able to see the bigger picture of what time and exposure does to improve a situation. Scientific studies are much the same in the sense that they don’t prove what happens today. They prove what happens over time. Hopefully you will be encouraged to research every avenue for your health so that you know what assists your healing…OVER TIME.

          • Booterra says:

            nuh-uh, ain’t buyin’ it. It wasn’t the timing of the message. My friend was in the business of selling doterra. The idea that she was “desperate” to help me? Yeah, she used that talking point, too. In fact, she used the story of being introduced to doterra when her daughter had a stomach bug. I’ve seen that same story, almost verbatim, on the internet. That she used it on me during a vulnerable time is unconscionable.

            I’ve done a little poking around on doterra. It’s all about selling it. How it works better as an MLM because of (manufactured) conspiracies about people won’t understand it unless you can chat about it face to face while staying on the good side of the FDA.

            Don’t quite get why you made a leap from my concerns about my friend to thinking I expect something to fix all my problems today. Gee, even antidepressants take a while to work. But thanks for the hot tip.

          • Connie says:

            Because you seem pretty hard on someone you call your friend. I also have quite a few friends who suffer from depression. I noticed a pattern in what your friend was doing. No matter what the source or product etc., I think many try to help a friend who seems to be out of options. Hope you get the help you need.

          • Marie says:

            In 1986, I had to go on medication for clinical depression. While the medication helped regulate me, I didn’t feel well on them. Believe me many were tried. I have used alternative treatments. In the past few years Vitamin D has helped tremendously. My holistic chiropractor also had me try serotonin which helps, too. This year I have been doing very well. When I took certification training for aromatherapy I discovered the essential oils bergamot and grapefruit that I used for air freshener and in laundry detergent may have been helping. Perhaps your friend meant well but doesn’t have enough knowledge about the oils. Also, I would not recommend anyone go off medication without a doctor’s supervision. Antidepressants are very difficult to wean one’s self off of.
            When researching regulations for essential oils, I found that the FDA lists essential oils as GRAS; which means generally recognized as safe. They will require licensing for any oils that are used as drugs.

          • Booterra says:

            Connie, good try. If you read my post, you’ll see that I was back on medication – not “out of options”. And that my friend has experience with her husband and depression (much worse than mine) and her mother is a therapist. If she was trying to sell me Tupperware while I was recovering it would be too much. No, the selling was more important than her friend. She was coming to town and when she heard my story saw an opportunity to sell products.

            Marie, what do you mean by your holistic chiropractor had you “try serotonin”? From what I understand, you can’t *take* serotonin. You can take supplements, such as 5-HTP, that supposedly help your body *make* serotonin.

            I believe you all believe you are in this to help people. But when help comes in the form of an MLM, it is disingenuous. This is how it appears to the person you want to “help”: you are selling an expensive product so you will say nearly anything to make the oils sound like they are the cornerstone of a healthy life. It’s not a sincere discussion between two friends when a sale is involved. You should know this – how people view what you are doing – because it may save you from trying another MLM when this one poops out.

          • Connie says:

            Booterra, MLMs and essential oils are not the devil. Neither is western medicine. I think with more information you can make an informed statement on a reputable product and a company that has had to fan the flames on their claims, but does not change the intense work that goes into what they’ve built.

            As far as my options comment goes, so be it. I’m not “nice try”ing to do anything. You came in with negativity for your “friend” and I responded, hoping to offer perspective. I think people who don’t study both sides of the argument are doomed to have a subjective opinion and lopsided focus on why a person would try to help, oils, medicine, shoulder to lean on, etc. I can’t say I would approve of attacking anyone’s character for thinking someone just wants money. But then who wouldn’t? It just sounds like your friend needs to do more research. All you have to do is say that you’re okay and you have what you need, not take it personally and assume someone needs character defamation for being with an MLM.
            Meanwhile I will agree with you, that some people push product, no matter the price. Some people are just pushy. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      I couldn’t resist adding that leeches are currently used medically (just not for fever reduction), and that there is limited evidence, but ongoing additional research, suggesting that trepanning does increase brain blood flow and can be beneficial.

      • Lee although what you say is true about current uses for leeches. It does not mean that bloodletting and its basis “the humors” is anything other than nonscientific nonsense. Just because leeches have been used in some skin grafting techniques to provide better survival for new tissue doesn’t mean in any way that leeches are hiding some panacea that the ancients knew and we are now dismissing. Trepanning is nonsense. Drilling to relieve spirits is of course silly. Craniotomy is done in emergency situations to relieve intracranial pressure. Yes burr holes are drilled into the skull when we have to preserve brain function. It is not currently being researched, it is an established treatment. It is not logical to say that because we do a treatment for a specific medical purpose that is similar to a pre-scientific nonsense; therefore the nonsense is valid. Also it is not valid to say that the bloodletting or the trepanning led us to those treatments. That is not the history of the development of either of those treatments. Making videotapes of drilling a whole in someone’s head to relieve depression is not research.
        It’s not that we think X doesn’t work, it’s that there is no evidence to make us think it does work. It is not up to us to prove a negative. It is up to the person making the claim to provide the supporting evidence. If I told you that putting a poker chip in your gas tank would give you better mileage, you should ask me to prove it. You shouldn’t feel obligated to either put a poker chip in your tank or do a study to prove it didn’t work.

    • Rae… I couldn’t agree more. Although the people that I know that use it are a lot calmer in their disagreements than yours sounds, I get much the same treatment.

      I especially love how I’m considered to be some kind of barbarian because I can’t absolutely prove these oils may be harmful. Yet, in the same breath, these people will try to convince me of their superiority to actual medicine with absolutely no scientific basis whatsoever.

    • Pat says:

      Rae, Your words are verbatim to what has been happening around me. My long time best friend and neighbor invited me over a year ago to an YL oil party. I didn’t buy anything and she had told everyone at the party that “I was an Non believer “! I told her I had to do more research on them. All HELL BROKE LOOSE AFTER THAT STATEMENT. I am very healthy inside and out at the ripe old age of 58. I do not need to take or use anything to make me feel better. Why would I try anything that my body doesn’t need? I walk everyday, I don’t eat out or drink sodas, I rarely need OTC drugs, and I am not into taking pharma pills unless the is no other choice for my well being. My friend walks around like a Zombie now, she drinks, eats, makes her own meds, diffuses and puts the oils undiluted on her skin throughout the whole day. I honestly think she is addited to the oils, she has drawers full of them. I really didn’t think after all these years she was so messed up physically and emotionaly that she needed the oils as her meds. Now she is a Dr of all cures with these EOs. Besides, there are better ways through everyday items we consume that work to make you feel better that your grandparents used and your parents used when you where sick. Epson Salt for aches and pains, sores, inflammation. Apple cider vinager for ailments that help relieve gout, heart burn, kidney stones, finger nail fungus, lowers high blood pressure, soothes bug bites, helps relieve migraines, etc. You can gargle with salt water for a sore throat…etc….Rae, I don’t want to loose my friend…I just stay away more now then I use to, I don’t need her for my doctor, but I really care about her and I wish she would see what she is turning into, not her old shelf I use to like.

      • Leah says:

        She’s not addicted to the oils. She’s become an MLM-bot and needs deprogramming.

        • Pat says:

          Leah, it will be much harder to try and deprogram her now. She has no health insurance at her older age, she has migraines every now and then, that is all I thought she had, as far as health problems. Her adult daughters and chiropractic son and family members are all into this cult (I say cult, because if you have any doubt about their products, you are a non believer and insult their Dr mentally) like MLM OEs company. Her one (stay at home mother) daughter is a past MLM seller of other products to try to make some extra money. I (my hubby) moved 1580 miles away from my family a couple years back to become my best friends neighbor, to retire and hang out with her ( and her hubby ) and travel. She and her adult childern now attend YLs conferences and classes and have many YL OEs parties with her daughters often to recruit more members. I have not seen her much for over the last year. She is a grandma, and uses Yl oils ( I guess there are oils now for infants and toddlers?) continuously on her young infant and toddler grandchildern for every booboo….but that is okay because their family really believes the OEs healing availability. I am a new grandma and I would be FURIOUS if my grandsons other grandma is exposing these oils on him!! Her home smells like an oils factory, I can smell it 500′ away before I get to her house. My friend smells awful!! I never where perfumes, I am hypersensitive to any smell, and I have told her that many times, to much of one smell gets me sick. I never burn candles in my house to make it smell better. I am not telling people not to use them, like Rae said, “it is their forte”. These representatives need to think twice before trying to push these products for healing mentally or physically, they ARE NOT DOCTORS! These sales reps NEED TO REALIZE THAT THERE CAN BE COMPLICATIONS AND REACTIONS FROM THESE OILS. I would never want to be an OEs sales rep, because I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I FEEL GREAT, and am not broken, so why do I need something to fix me? I rarely ever get sick. Like I mentioned before, if I am congested, I like eating fresh ginger root, not an oil….a banana helps strees, not stress oil… Chicken soup works wonderful with a cold…I can go on and on and on about everyday natural store bought products to make me feel better…it is not all about an “oil fix” for everything….BTW, if my friend reads this, she will know who I am…..but all said…I really like and care about her still and I wish I had my old friend back…

          • Pat says:

            ****Opps…I meant EOs, not OEs on my last post…typo error, sorry…****

          • Leah says:

            I know a little bit about being an MLM-bot. My husband got us into Amway 25 years ago, and it was truly cult-like. Friends who questioned our decision were called “dream-stealers” (in other words, there was to be no critical thinking on our part) and we were urged to separate ourselves from “negative” people who only wanted to drag us down. We didn’t stay in Amway very long, fortunately, only long enough to lose a bunch of money and alienate friends. I know how it goes. Perhaps your friend will see how things are going and quit.

            Also, I’ve come to the conclusion that essential oils are only another way of super-refining things that ought to be whole.

          • Pat says:

            Leah, my best friend for 38 years and her family are the only people I know when I moved here 4 yrs ago to retire with my hubby. I am still friendly with her and I go out of my to tell her that I am happy she has found a wonderful new business with her children selling YL EOs for the last year. The problem is, she has turned into a totally different person, sometimes in a high euphoria (zombee state) from all these EOs. She is a preacher of YL EOs wherever we go,that is all she talks about with people we are around. I am tired about hearing how wonderful EOs are and how it has changed her life….what the heck is Oola? Her God? I miss my best friend and the fun things we use to talk about and go places with…. BTW, i did like Amway, but only bought it a few times, it was pricey, and some Avon. My favorite was Tupperware, they backed their products…so I don’t hate MLMs, I would and still don’t want to be pressured to sell them.

  32. S says:

    Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for some. Everyone just wants to have something to gripe about.

  33. Josh says:

    I am not a doctor. Well, I am… but the PhD in Literature sort who hated Chem 111. And 112. I did enjoy physics, as I was good in math (not on your level, but good enough for Differential Equations… I digress). I did enjoy the massive word war above as I scrolled down to find the comment section!

    My addition to this is that we used (I believe) oregano oil on my7-year old’s warts on her foot. The doctor had had us try another medicine that had a side effect of sometimes causing warts to disappear. When that didn’t work, he said he would have to “burn” them off (or “freeze”… all these big science words 🙂 ). My wife insisted we try the oregano oil (I’m a skeptic at heart) and, to my utter amazement, we watched the warts peel off of her foot painlessly over a period of a month or two (maybe less… memory is such an unreliable mistress). We applied it every night with a Q-tip and the warts just peeled off like layers of an onion. This was a fantastic development as my daughter has an aversion to pain (i.e. my daughter is a handful when getting a shot).

    Also, my wife bought peppermint oil and suggested I try smelling it as a “wake-up” when I had to drive home from a conference late one night. It was not the same as taking a caffeine pill, true, but it did give me about ~30-45 minutes of alertness, which was enough to get me where I needed to go, and (as I am caffeine sensitive) it didn’t keep me up all night.

    These are anecdotal, to be sure, and I’m not proposing that all EOs work. I don’t quite know how I feel about them. All I can attest to is what I have witnessed, and there it is.

    • Eric Hall says:

      There’s a couple of possibilities here:

      One is that (though the data is also weak so far on this) that duct tape can cure warts on the foot. The proposed mechanism is the change in the environment (either reduced oxygen, change in moisture retention, etc – or some combination) which causes the virus to lose its ability to replicate and die.

      Another possibility is the wart simply resolved on its own and the oil simply aided in removing the skin lesion left over. Many warts do resolve on their own over time, and in fact unless painful, large, or changing is often the treatment plan doctors choose.

      Also, what other ingredients were in the oil? Is it possible the carrier oil or other ingredient was actually active in this case?

      It is also possible the oregano oil did actually cause the cure. Many oils in concentrated form on surfaces are known to kill viruses and bacteria. It is possible this aided in killing the viruses in the wart and it resolved. So if this is the case, it also has the possibility of killing healthy cells too. Is that something people should put on their body indiscriminately?

    • AQW says:

      my concern is the oils travel into the blood stream and will affect the brain. Imagine 1 or 2 years AFTER you used the product on skin NOW person acts differently…different personality or becomes much more religious or becomes a strong believer in government conspiracies. unfortunately EVEN if someone’s personality DID change 1 or 2 years later NO ONE NO ONE NO ONE would EVER EVER EVER be able to say that the tea tree oil actually CAUSED it– BUT WHAT IF THE TEA TREE OIL OR ESSENTIAL OIL REALLY DID go into blood stream and actually did change the mental construct of the person to be in 1 to 2 years. PEOPLE WOULD be saddened that the person is different now but 0 people would agree to attribute the odd new behavior to using a product 1 to 2 years prior.

  34. Marie says:

    The problem with people who sell doTerra and Young Living oils is lack of training. They are usually more focused getting people to buy the kits. For lack of a better description,”pyramid scheme”. Essential oils have been used for 5, 000 years. Most essential oils have anti bacterial and antiviral qualities. I just finished my certification training because I had great success using the oils. We tell our clients to continue taking their prescribed medications. If they get relief from pain using essential oils and don’t have to take pain medication the oils were successful. That is just one example of a use. I took a sample of one of our creams to a friend whose feet have been numb for 3 years. She had messaged me she was desperate for pain relief. I talked to her the next day and she was so happy she had circulation in her feet and the pain level went from an 8 to a 3. Anyone who knows the oils and how to use them will tell you there is only one oil pregnant women can use safely! I know of only 4 oils that can be used neat (full strength). We also know the age and strength of formulas for children.
    One good source for anyone wanting more information is Aromatherapy A to Z, by Patricia Davis.
    I agree with all the posters who say all natural means nothing. I buy organic!

  35. Lish says:

    I don’t sell oils but I have used them. Tea tree oil has helped my acne along with coconut oil verses otc treatment. Lavender has promoted sleep in the same way nyquil does. I personally can do research on oils to determine if I deem them safe for use. Tylenol can cause liver damage and ibuprofen can cause kidney damage. People who overdose on these items and survive often have some degree of organ failure from it. Everything has risks. It’s called life.

    • Yes but the risks are known for those drugs, and what is a safe dose or dangerous dose. Outside of your saying that oils work for you there is no evidence that they do anything. NO way to know if they are dangerous now or in the future. No way to know what is an effective dose and what is dangerous. Your just guessing based on a guess that it helped you.

      • Marie says:

        If you google, “clinical studies for essential oils” there is a lot of information about them. Cleveland Clinic uses them to complement their care. If your dentist has used clove oil on you, you were exposed to an essential oil. It is well known as an immediate pain reliever. Essential oils and herbal remedies have been used for thousands of years. The company who sells to me is afiliated with 34 medical facilities.

        • Eric Hall says:

          And over, and over, and over we have said to actually look at the studies. They are always small. They are always preliminary. They rarely are repeated or have repeatable results. A single study is not the standard by which to judge if something is effective. Neither is argument from antiquity. I guess give up all of your modern medicine, use oils, and live to a ripe old age of 30 on average!

          • Marie says:

            Do you know what “complementary care ” means? How many studies did you research? What research studies are you using to base your opinions? The one you cited from PubMed about tea tree oil actually states,”the topical use is relatively safe and adverse events are minor, self-limiting and occasional.” To minimize reactions they suggest avoiding ingestion and diluting them with a carrier. You stated, “if we were to believe the oil claims, the cure is 100% effective every time.” I have been researching essential oils extensively over the past 5 months and have not seen any of those claims. You also state, “We do not have a good idea of the manufacturing process.” Most oils are distilled. The citrus are cold pressed. If you research the distillation process, the oil from first distillation is what aromatherapists use. If you find cheap oils they probably are very low quality. Oils in health food stores aren’t desirable either because one has no idea how old they are.
            It’s rather odd you would make the statement, “Give up on modern medicine, use oils and live to a ripe old age of 30 on average.” Where is the research proving that statement? The bottom line is there are medical facilities who see the value of using essential oils. They realize the side effects from prescription drugs require more medications to treat the side effects which cause side effects. There are people who don’t respond well to man made chemicals and these facilities recognize that and are finding ways to help them.

          • Maureen says:

            No one from doTERRA has ever said use essential oils and give up modern medicine, or that they cure. Essential oils have been around for thousands of years and have been used by most cultures. They aren’t “new”. They are a wonderful way to support a healthy lifestyle. What I LOVE about doTERRA is that along with the oils they promote the importance of good nutrition, exercise, rest and stress relief and the oils help support the body. And just like nutriton IS preventive care, so are the oils.
            Why do you need to be so extreme and dramatic? No one is saying eliminate modern medicine.
            Besides…. When something works for someone (and works for millions) then why are you hating on someone’s positive experience on getting healthy?

          • Noah Dillon says:

            Lots of cultures practiced slavery, divination, witchcraft. Japanese monks would sometimes eat lacquer and poisonous streams full of arsenic. Mayans and other pre-Columbian Latin American cultures would shape the heads of their children. The Chinese used footbinding. I don’t know what evidence you have that people have been using these oils for thousands of years, but whether they do or don’t that doesn’t mean that they do anything except smell nice and make you feel good because you like things that smell nice. That won’t prevent pretty much anything.

            There are people who say that we should ignore modern medicine. They see it as a scam (until they need to go to the emergency room). Being critical and thinking critically about the potentially dangerous junk that’s sold to people, with no oversight, no protection, no regulation, isn’t “hating on someone’s positive experience on getting healthy.” It’s caring enough to tell someone, “You might want to think about what you’re doing with that oil. Except its pleasant smell, there are no benefits, it costs kind of a lot of money, and it has some potential downsides.” I’d much rather someone tell me that than to just cheer me on when I’m doing something poorly considered, which I do about as often as anyone else does.

          • Marie says:

            Historical accounts prove the oils have been used for thousands of years. Are you familiar with references in the Bible of Frankincense and Myrrh? Cleopatra found them useful. There is no comparison between essential oils and witchcraft, slavery or any of the other practices you mentioned. If you knew anything about healing you would have knowledge of botanicals having been used thousands of years. Specifically 8,000 for herbal medicine and 5, 000 for essential oils. Where was aspirin discovered? There is a reason why they aren’t widely used. They can’t be mass produced therefore they aren’t promoted.
            As a general rule, quality essential oils don’t smell like perfume.
            Cite your proof anyone is stating forget modern medicine as I have not seen that anywhere.
            As far as potentially dangerous junk, that’s why the ingredients are listed on labels. There are regulations in place.

          • Connie says:

            Hi Marie. There are regulations in place for substances that have been scientifically proven and monitored over the course of extended periods of time in double-blind, peer reviewed research. Oils are hard to test and therefore hard to regulate. There are way too many variables and lack of accountability in the consistency needed for research. Having said that, I am a regular user and distributor of oils, and I feel safe ingesting them. However if there would be deep signs of illness present in the body, I would not hesitate to reach for western medicine. I personally use an east to west approach to healing. If the presence of imbalance goes past the point of reasonability, even the east turns to a western answer…meanwhile herbs used in oils are in fact, a western approach really, to a large degree.

          • Marie says:

            Complementary medicine! I don’t know how the skeptics got the idea an essential user is against modern medicine. They haven’t cited their source. I wouldn’t hesitate to use modern medicine when necessary.

          • Connie says:

            Hi Marie, it’s because many don’t. I’ve been having some extensive conversation with the writers of this blog and scientists, and also doing a lot of my own studies and research. There are plenty of people who post in with a ton of subjective, unfounded commentary that is emotionally charged and not scientifically defined. I think that is all the skeptics here anyway, are commenting on (although they are using a bit of their own emotional angles to state their truths as well).

          • Marie says:

            I agree Connie. I think they should follow their own criteria when making statements.

          • Nancy Stedtfeld says:

            Well now here I would agree with you, Eric. Certainly any studies I have read are small and not much replicated, and frequently only involved studies on animals. And there are WAY more anecdotal stories than research studies. But as one comment pointed out, there is not much money for research in the matter of essential oils, and since dosages or purity grades are not controlled, research would have to be brand specific to begin to have value. But if one or two drops of peppermint oil diluted in three or four drops of coconut or olive or canola oils used topically helps relive my symptoms of sinus headache or back pain, are you sure it is MORE harmful than OTC pain relievers or decongestants? You seem to be about as fervently religious in your warnings as are those who would advocate for use of and sell me the oils. I am already 69, so not sure using a little essential oil can do much to kill me by age 30. And absolutely, I remain convinced I would have never survived my childhood without modern, patented, well researched medicine. There are too many selling essential,oils who overreach their own limited or nonexistent medical knowledge in recommending oils can “cure” disease rather than possibly help with symptoms, but an awful lot of patented medicines do the same. You see one ad for an antidepressant, the next is for a law firm seeking remuneration for victims of the side effects of the very medicine just touted. And the side effect disclaimers attendant to medications, you know, the ones read at 600 words per minute, if they don’t scare you, you are one brave fellow indeed. The oils I have and use do come with some warnings, by the way, such as to avoid sun for 12 hours after use of citrus oils, to not ingest certain ones at all. Kind of like my prescription drugs advise me to take only before eating, or only with eating, or early, or late. Many people just don’t read the dang warnings and instructions! Maybe because by the time you are old enough to need many medications, the 6 point font size is beyond difficult to read? But that’s another issue I suppose.

          • Eric Hall says:

            I think we pretty much agree Nancy – but we just have 2 different courses of action we choose to take. Again, if you want to rub a drop of oil on yourself and it helps you relax which in turn can help with minor pain and other minor issues, I don’t have a problem with that. The problem becomes, as you point out, is the not just occasional but in my eyes consistent overreach by those selling these products. For example, they don’t say “cures depression,” but almost ubiquitously they will say “improves mood.” Most don’t say “cures cancer” but will say “fights aging.” They also make claims of cures, but then will put the keyword “may” in front of their cures to avoid FDA oversight.

            And this is my problem. I am not saying automatically substitute some pharmaceutical for the oils. My problem is these are done without any professional oversight or diagnostics. Someone with depression needs at the very least help from a professional, and sometimes medication. But if they believe the oil bottle, they may convince themselves they are better – until it is too late. Or a pregnant woman who uses it because her oil bottle said good for inducing labor and ends up waiting too long before visiting the doctor and the baby dies. My point being, is the vague claims and miracle insinuation make them dangerous that people will delay real treatment for too long, or use them improperly and cause harm without any real benefit. Hell, even the OTC pain meds say if the pain lasts longer than a week or two that you should see your doctor – the oil bottles carry no such instructions.

            So, this is not a simple dichotomy of don’t use oils ad instead take the latest medication. It is understand the oils have no real effect beyond maybe being a way to relax and don’t delay real medical advice because of some claim about oils.

          • TJ says:

            Marie, I would say cite your proof of frankincense and myrrh in the Bible. I have done my research and maybe I’ve overlooked it, but there is nothing that says those were used to cure any disease/ailment. Offerings, anointments, etc.

    • C.o says:

      Totally agree!!

  36. TJ says:

    I have first hand experience with these oils because I know people who sell them. I personally can’t stand them, and find them to be nothing more than smelly oil water that costs $20/bottle on average. What irritates me are the parent(s) that forgoe modern medicine for this new fad, and that’s all it is, a new fad and a company trying to sell you their product. I have read the propaganda it is sickening. Companies prey on the gullible by saying oils were used in biblical times and therefore are the answer. No, no, no, the word oil may have been used in the Bible, but that does not mean that is the cure for sickness, etc. This company is taking a word, turning it, and making others (I would say 99% are women with children) buy their product. Several issues with Doterra: 1) their chief of medicine received his degree in chiropractic medicine……he is not a medical doctor, 2) they claim that their products do not treat, diagnose, cure, etc., yet they sell a physicians kit….but its not medicine????, 3) when this ebola scare came about, the companies got in trouble by the FDA about their claims which came from sales consultants, stupid, scary, yes, but here’s my question….no one from Doterra headquarters said anything or did anything to stick up for their product, only that they were discussing with their consultants not to say what they said. Interesting, yet you are promoting physicians kits, etc. And, if you ever do get to read their handouts, please read the maternity handbook…..I’m sorry, but no oil what so ever can prevent a miscarriage, but yet doterra says certain oils MAY prevent a miscarriage. Nope, done. When will they go out of business already. When will people snap out of it and just trust their doctor.

    • Kim says:

      TJ – here is why people do not trust their doctors…..I had a terrible fall and ended up in a hospital where a doctor tried to fix my leg. He knew he was out of his league, he knew he shouldn’t have tried. Ego and money got him to make the effort anyway. It took *several* surgeries to fix what he ruined, including having to regrow bone loss (extremely painful and very time consuming). I am forever changed since his mistake and given where I live, I was not able to sue him for his mistakes. I had another doctor, who spent a total 60 minutes with my 11 yr old son over the course of 3 office visits and decided he should be on anti-psychotics because she felt he had adolescent schizophrenia (even though his therapist told said “doctor” over and over it was just a severe case of ADD). At the last visit I refused meds and was determined to get a 2nd opinion. This same “doctor” called me back and continued to try to talk me into trying the meds, only admitting at the end of the phone call that my son’s case was really too complicated for her and she was just “trying it out to see how the meds affected him”. REALLY? I should trust that? No thank you…..I have had a few really excellent doctors, but more often than not I have had dozens of bad experiences, where I trusted doctors who made mistakes, rushed and just didn’t give a damn about what was going on with me or my family. Maybe it’s the changes in US healthcare, or Obama’s fault or whatever other blame game someone wants to play – all I know is I am being much more careful these days. In the case and refuse to drug my son unless it is life or death for him. So, I tried something else – I tried Young Living oils. My son, the one who couldn’t sit still for very long…the one who would say to me “mom I cannot listen to you because it’s too loud in my head”….the one who couldn’t sleep at night because his natural clock didn’t work like other people was finally able to finish tasks he would start. He has always struggled with his temper – the oils help keep that in check. He doesn’t have the noise in his head that he had before and has thanked me so many times for helping him feel better. My son’s best friend has ADD and takes pills. That kid is a zombie when he’s on them and it scares the crap out of my son because he knows that could have been him. I selected Young Living because they control the process from the time the plant is placed in the ground until the oil is placed in the bottle. You may think no oil can help or prevent things from happening, but I can tell you I have seen real change in my life with these oils. And regarding miscarriages….did you know that low progesterone levels are a serious concern for women in the early stages of pregnancy? I struggled to get pregnant with my son and started progesterone cream therapy (at the advice of my doctor) while trying to conceive and had to continue it through my first trimester.

      I will continue to use the oils as long as I feel better while using them. If you want to only go to a doctor and try nothing else, that is your prerogative, but you shouldn’t slam others for making an alternative choice.

      • TJ says:

        Kim I will slam them when they promote a false sense of hope/security. I do understand progesterone. My wife had a miscarriage and what we went through was terrible. After extensive research I understand that it was just not a viable pregnancy. No “oil” can fix that. Yes you can take things to raise hormone levels, or in men to raise testosterone, etc. But to say it “may” prevent a miscarriage is bogus. This claim they made hits me personally and makes me absolutely sick that they are giving women this false sense of hope/security. Doctors go to medical school, residency, etc. They know what they are doing. You, me, the average Joe have only read stuff on the internet and think we are all now able to cure someone with our oils when we could be doing more harm. Do I think there are bad doctors out there, yep. I’ve been to some myself, but I just found another one I trusted.

  37. Marie says:

    Booterra you are correct about seratonin. The formula has 5-HTP to produce serotonin. From all the commentary, the testimonies are about distributors who don’t have certification to promote any essential oils. I do not sell for doTerra or Young Living. Nor do I tell anyone I have a “cure”. And definitely won’t tell them to stop taking their medication. I have taken certification training. I can buy their formulations or I can make up my own specific to the client’s needs. The FDA has given essential oils the category GRAS meaning generally recognized as safe. Properly trained aromatherapists know how to make formulas. Most of the oils are diluted with a carrier oil. The percentage is usually 1% essential oil to 99% carrier oil. That is the percentage for adults of approximately 150 pounds. The FDA sent letters to doTerra and Yl because their distributors were claiming the oils could cure ebola. I haven’t seen their response but they have to apply for licensing to make any claims of cures. I have made formulas for joint/muscle pain that have been very successful. I would much rather apply an essential oil than become addicted to pain killers. They work within minutes and over time the pain is less frequent. Most of the oils are antibacterial/antiviral. Some are antifungal. Most have multiple characteristics. Just google, “medical facilities using essential oils” and you will read how they are being used for complementary care.

  38. Janet says:

    I like what you said in most of this post. I use DoTerra oils for various things, but I question people I know all the time for the ways they use certain oils. There are some, like Melaleuca, that should not be used neat, should not be used on children or animals, and certainly not ingested. In fact, on all of my charts the company says not to ingest it, yet I read posts about people taking it all the time! I completely agree that oils are not a cure-all. I had salmonella three years ago and it almost killed me. I rather appreciated my two month course of antibiotics and pain killers. (It is SO painful!) It upsets me that there are people out there who don’t do any research, who use their kids as guinea pigs, and who declare things this particular company (and possibly others) does not claim. I also read many blogs about moms using this and that oil to treat any number of illnesses and I can’t help but wonder why their kids are so sick in the first place, all the time. My family and I are rarely sick (other than that bout of salmonella) and I chalk it up to good diet and physical maintenance. I like my oils, I think they are useful for various things, and I’m sorry that people are giving them a bad name. We’re not all nutty. Oils just have a time and a place. Thankfully there are just as many people in the groups to which I belong who will vehemently tell others, “Go to a doctor! This should not be handled at home!”

    • Michelle says:

      I cant use regular moisturizers either because my forehead gets TOTALLY shiny. You need to use a moisturizer that is “matting” – which means it removes oil and shine. Go for the Citrus Clear Control Moistruizer – they sell it at the shop down the street from me, and totally works in getting that shine off my forehead – and does not break me out.

  39. Eric Hall says:

    Author’s Note: I removed a comment and several replies at the request of the person who made the original comment. I feel it is important to note here in case anyone notices them missing. We do our best not to censor anyone, unless it is simply a personal attack and not about the subject at hand. However, if anyone notices this one thread missing, this is why.

  40. Sette says:

    If someone uses oils and likes them, who cares! I don’t see any actual facts or actual data to claim they are “bad” for you as you claim. This is just simply your opinion. Yes, anything can be harmful if not taken appropriately or consumed in large amounts. That’s a given. Who’s to say you are an expert in this area and why should I listen to you? There’s no need to force folks into thinking the way you think and that is all I see here. If someone likes it and it works for them then that should be ok – as well as vice versa. That’s what’s wrong with society these days. To each thier own right? If I am going to listen to someone boast about thier “opinion” while they shred someone else’s, I am going to think twice about the resource. I will also want to see more than just an opinion.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      This isn’t simply opinion, it’s factual and evidenced. No one is forcing anyone to do anything. And it’s better to have more information about what the actual effects of things are than not. One problem with the “to each their own” position is that people get fleeced by quacks and con men, or they treat conditions with useless or harmful curatives, or they use a product inappropriately that causes harm, or they ignore actual medical advice in favor of fake treatments. You can see this in the California measles outbreak, or in people who attempt to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases with showers, washing with bleach, drinking elixirs, and so on. In such cases it’s rarely just the person who uses the sham treatment who ends up being harmed. The “to each their own” position favors selfishness, shortsightedness, and pseudoscience over community, long-term consideration of consequences, and fact-based agreement on the real, material world.

    • Eric Hall says:

      So, my claim that antibiotics don’t cure viruses is an opinion? Or that lavender oxidizes and causes skin irritation is an opinion? Please, check out the links embedded, along with a book on biology. These are the sources in which I based my “opinion.”

      Do I expect you to trust me as the only source? No. Absolutely not. But, at some point you must make a decision on which “opinion” is better – the scientific community with evidence, or the oil blogger/salesperson with anecdotes.

  41. Keri says:

    Eric, does 2% of the population have a serious adverse reaction to water? No. 2% of the population has an adverse reaction to prescription medication. My analogy was ridiculous in the same way that snake venom is a ridiculous analogy because millions of people would not administer snake venom to their families.

    • Eric Hall says:

      So you admit your analogy is ridiculous? And that you are misusing statistics in a purposeful way? We have a start anyway.

      • Connie Dunn says:

        I don’t think snide rebuttals and attempts to make others appear to be “stupid” or misinformed, is a positive way of teaching whatever objective is present, for either side. No one who uses oils will stop. No one will be able to produce the type of research skeptics need. No one will fund the level of research necessary.
        What else is possible?

        • Eric Hall says:

          I don’t see it as snide. I was asking a legitimate question. And actually, my writings have provoked thoughts in many people – and I have emails from some of them.

          I also will get defensive when people blindly blast the comments with misinformation, gish gallop, and claims with no or limited evidence. I don’t mind opposing viewpoints, but it should be a conversation.

          • Connie says:

            Yes Eric, I agree that you have been a thought provoking person for me as well, if you remember our intelligent exchange some time ago, though it was mostly with Stephen. I also see you as a leader. Some of your comments do come off as a bit snide and arrogant at times. I enjoy when you power up those scientific details. That’s what attracted me to your site.

  42. Keri says:

    My analogy was hyperbole to show how ridiculous the arsenic statement was. Based on your sarcasm, I’m a little surprised that got past you.

  43. Melissa Glaizer says:

    I hate to tell you this but my kid’s Doctor recommended that Tree Tea Oil be used in their shampoo after a bad case of head lice went around the classroom. The Dr. informed me that the over the counter CHEMICALS only killed the live bugs and that Tree Tea Oil was being used to prevent lice. I used this for quite some time on my kids with great success. Maybe you should do a little more research before making your claims as more and more Doctors are encouraging the use of essential oils. In fact many hospitals are starting to used essential oils with a treatment plan for cancer patients. Just food for thought!

    • Eric Hall says:

      http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/head-lice/expert-answers/head-lice-prevention/faq-20058386

      “…However, these products are classified as “natural” so they aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and their safety and effectiveness haven’t been tested to FDA standards.

      Because instructions for using these products aren’t regulated either, it may not be clear how to use them safely. In fact, some products may:

      –Be flammable
      –Irritate the lungs if fumes are inhaled
      –Be toxic or irritate skin

      Head lice prevention products can also be more expensive than typical hair care products, and they need to be used repeatedly to maintain their protective effects. Without a guarantee that the product will work, the cost may outweigh the benefits, especially if you’re treating more than one person.”

  44. Scutterbuck says:

    A few things:
    Let’s leave the BigPharma vs BigEssentialOil argument in the dust. The corruption plaguing BigPharma doesn’t absolve BigEsOil of the same – or vice versa. Everyone wants to make money, they all find the best way to do that. Ethics stays out of it; after all, it’s just business. The ongoing debate about the benefits vs harms of clot busters (tPa) for stroke demonstrates well that even seemingly well-designed research may fall prey to corporate meddling and doctored results. How much more frightening is a company that doesn’t have to justify its research, that doesn’t undergo peer-review, and that doesn’t face the scrutiny of multiple professional groups? Not to start the argument that either of these (pharma or oils) does or doesn’t work: the point is, the integrity (or lack-thereof) of either group does not validate, or condemn, the other.
    Regarding mortality statistics: sure, pharmaceuticals kill lots of people. Essentially oils hopefully don’t – we don’t have the data. Of course, pharmaceuticals are treating people with (supposedly) deadly, or at least life crippling, diseases. Their life expectancies should be significantly less than an otherwise healthy person. That’s why they’re taking those medicines. On the other hand, most people I’ve known taking essential oils have been young, otherwise healthy people who are frusterated about their or their child’s ear infection/headache/allergies/anxiety/etc. If they kill anyone in this group, it should be a tragedy. Doctors don’t give tPa to young, healthy people. They give it to stroke victims whould would otherwise live a crippled life. Essential oils, on the other hand, may have the potential to kill an otherwise healthy person. Hydrocarbon inhalation leads to a well-documented pneumonia.
    Regarding the historical argument: cultues have, indeed, been using plants as “tonics” for thousands of years, some even for heart problems. In fact, that’s where we got the idea for digoxin – the cardiac medication. It came from digitoxin in the foxglove and several related plants. It’s a cardiac glycoside – a natural occuring medicine, of sorts. Of course, eating the foxglove will kill you, and taking digoxin may kill you (or, you may just die naturally while taking digoxin). It has no effect on mortality what-so-ever; but it may keep you out of the hospital – that is, it may make you feel better. Important point = the medicine is vastly safer than the plant, though I wouldn’t call either “safe.” Jimsonweed can help with asthma – it has atropine in it which can be especially potent when you burn it. However, it can also give you hallucinations and also kill you (anticholinergic). Natural, helpful in select situations, and mostly deadly. On the other hand, milkweed has been labeled as “poisonous” by several sources; however, I know several foragers who very much enjoy the flavor. It, like foxflove, possesses “cardenolides” (similar to cardiac glycosides, like digitoxin); however, these seem to be mild enough that they haven’t killed the foragers who eat them. Does this mean they’re safe? I wouldn’t go that far, and to me, the risk-taking behavior is similar to those who try essential oils on the basis of being a self-experiment. Why not just go eat a burger, right? [That’s a discussion for another day]. The one small difference for me is, I have yet to hear of an illness cured by oils that isn’t self-limited or subject to placebo (seasonal allergies, upper respiratory tract infection, ear infection, etc.). Don’t get me wrong: I love placebo, it is remarkably powerful. It has been known to improve pain in people with anatomically proven degenerative joint disease and improve symptoms in people suffering from Parkinsons, both with sham procedures. But I worry when a placebo comes with side effects, and espeically when the adverse events may involve children (who, for some reason, just really need to know how those nice smellings drinks in the pretty bottles taste).

  45. Couldn’t agree more! So sick of these people praying on ignorance and want of money to push off snake oil!

  46. Cogcrit says:

    Who could disagree with such scams? No one. That said it might be nice to see you take a more considered argument and perhaps, as a Science teacher, read some of the vast literature around critical theory of science and in particular how scientific facts are ‘constructed’ or ‘crafted’. There is much peer-reviewed, highly acclaimed and reliable classical study of this available in the disciplines of anthropology, philosophy and even psychology. And this is coming from someone who moved into the humanities seeking better answers after having been medically trained, and unsatisfied with, if not disturbed by the gaping holes in medical knowledge particularly across neuroscience, pregnancy and birth, chronic pain, chronic illness to name but a few. I write disturbed because western medicine is rather arrogant in its dismissal of alternative approaches (an opinion you clearly share) and the fact that it often does a great deal of harm, which we (the western pundits) have been trained to simply accept under Western medicine’s own untouchable disclaimer words ‘risk-benefit ratio’. In sum, be a little more critical, your students deserve it.

    • I disagree totally.
      Medicine doesn’t dismiss claims it just doesn’t have unlimited resources to check out every implausible and physiologically naive claim that comes down the pike. If you keep doing index studies and don’t do controlled research then claim that anecdote is all you need to go forward with use, this is synonymous with quackery. That is not arrogant dismissal, that is careful evaluation of a claim that fails muster. a substance that lacks even any reasonable evidence to overcome decades of knowledge about the human body and how it works.
      If someone hands me a plastic poker chip and says put this in your gas tank and it will double your gas mileage. For you see 100’s of people say it works.I am not going to do that either. It is not arrogant to say “prove it to me” before I try that. Once that chip is in I cant get it out. Your car is a replaceable mechanical device, your body is not. It makes no sense to be less prudent with your body than your car.

  47. Melanie says:

    I find a lot of these comments ignorant and misled…I have a daughter who is now 6 1/2 yrs old…since she was 3 she has been in and out of the hospital with reactive airway disease whenever she gets a simple head cold…howany of you would like to see your child pumped full of steroids and breathing treatments knowing the long term effects this will have on her fragile little developing body? I decided I had enough of the drugs..so yes I was desperate and tried the essential oils while also adding in supplements to help build her immune system, good probiotics and vitamins.
    Not only has it kept her out of the hospital but she is able to fight off a lot of kindergarten germs and is a happy healthy little girl without being shot full of steroids! Is it the oils? Is it the good supplements I give her? Is it the way the moon is positioned in the sky? I don’t care which one of these it is, the only thing I care about is that she is healthy!! And trust me if it were your precious little baby girl you would feel the same way.

    • Melanie,
      I haven’t had as much luck with my oils. I began to feel like I got ripped off. Maybe I am using them wrong. I want to believe they work but I am losing hope. Where did you learn to apply them?
      Thanks

      • Connie Dunn says:

        Free Woman, I am an avid user of oils with amazing results and the “magic” doesn’t work for everyone. I think that Eric is onto something that for many, there could be other factors at play that affect your goal and results. As a holistically centered coach in health, fitness and mind body work, When we refer to holistic care, we are looking at a number of changing points that can positively affect change. Combining methods usually work the best. If I sit on my butt watching TV and use the oils versus using the oils in meditation, I will be assured to secure victory, even though I believe in plant constituents such as plant terpenes having a possible physiological shift in the body. Anywho, I can’t wait for the studies to become conclusive on this idea.

  48. Leslie says:

    I’ve posted on a few sites about Doterra’s DDR prime and people jumped all over me with their comments like they lived through it and not me. DDR prime burned my esophagus after taking it at night before I went to bed. It woke me up with severe reflux and I’ve had the problem every day for over a year now and have to be on two prescriptions. I was 28 and still have to be on a limited diet and sleep on an incline and will probably need surgery to fix my esophagus sphincter. All I wanted to do was tell people to be careful what they ingest.

    • Connie Dunn says:

      Hi Leslie, that’s horrible you had that reaction. I’ve taken DDR Prime and so have many others I know. It burned us all! LOL I think it’s the potency of the nauli leaf oil. Anywho I took to rubbing it on my feet and stomach and got a much better response. And also maybe it’s not the right oil for you, and that something else may work better.

    • Maureen says:

      The oils are VERY potent. And if you are using a brand like doterra a dose is 1 drop. It’s best to start with using them on the bottom of your feet and on an area of concern with a carrier oil like coconut or avocado oil. For higher sensitive people they might do best with taking the oil in a soft gel.
      I’m sorry you had such a harsh experience. I hope your throat heals. Marshmallow root, aloe Vera, and DGL can be very healing to your throat. And if u still do use the oils using frankincense on the outside of the throat with coconut oil might be helpful too

  49. Amber Mayhon says:

    In this review there is mention of “skin irritation” caused by essential oils and being essential oils being unsafe for children…Research what can happen to a child if you give them aspirin. Or Research what can happen if a child gets sick and needs ABT for an extended amount of time and the risk for ototoxcicity. People have extreme and deathly allergic rxns to Antiboitcs all the time. Ever heard of Stephen Johnson syndrome? I literally seen that KILL people. Don’t believe all the hype about modern medicine!!!

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Why should I believe all the unproven stuff about essential oils? Isn’t that “hype” also? Isn’t it more hype than science-based medicine? I mean, if a treatment has costs and benefits, then doctors and patients should be honest about them. I wouldn’t expect any admission of the possible costs associated with using essential oils to treat someone, and I’ve seen the benefits extremely hyped, here and in other places.

      • Connie Dunn says:

        I think we are all beating the proverbial dead horse now. It’s like the omnivore vs. herbivore. No one is going to try living in the others’ shoes, even if living as a veggie is creating nutrient deficiencies, or eating meat is causing disease. Same with plants vs. medicine. EO users will use them from personal anecdote and part of holistic practice. Medicine users will use it for its quick relief of symptoms.

        • Kimchee says:

          I’ve enjoyed the debate here. I’ve rolled my eyes a few times at some of the remarks but have come to the conclusion I appreciate Connie’s thoughts. My perception: Do I use EOs? Yes. When I specifically choose an EO for a certain “issue” do I always get the response I hope for? Not always, but generally. Have I ever had a skin reaction or negative reaction from direct application to my skin? No, but I do follow recommended guidelines. Do I care if the positive response I receive from using EOs might partly be because of placebo effect? Nope. (I am prescription and OTC medication free for the first time in 12 years.) Do I believe EOs can have a positive effect where conventional means are not needed? Absolutely. I’m just waiting for some of you science-y folks to fund all the research to prove us “users” wrong or otherwise. Will I use big pharma drugs ever again? Absolutely, if I needed to. I’m not completely stupid. I just don’t believe there is harm in trying an EO instead of an OTC med first, or diffusing an EO to give my emotional state a boost after a long day at work. Good grief, is having the faith to try something that might help you FEEL better seriously that difficult for some of you? I guess I don’t need science to prove every.little.thing. P.S. I challenge you to diffuse Lemon EO for 30 minutes and still be frowning. 🙂

          • If you don’t feel that science or information about a product is necessary they why not do whatever you want, why have guidelines at all. If they are just made up guidelines why follow them?

          • ” Truth is you have to look at each thing individually, natural or not and judge it individually. There is no category that makes one thing safe and one thing dangerous”. Well said!

            I agree, the fact is people are getting very sick using these oils. I have heard some people even seriously injuring themselves, and the sad part is since their is little science nor is it regulated taking proper recourse is difficult at best.

            What opened my eyes was the ridiculous amount of money I spent on oils and then realizing I have a lot of great smelling stuff with none of the so called promised benefits. I wouldn’t even give them away.

            Thanks Stephen!

  50. anonymous says:

    Thank you for your article.

    I nearly lost my child at 4mo pregnancy after attending a Young Living ‘playshop’. I was fed and massaged with peppermint oil and other oils which caused me to suffer a uterine bleed and near miscarriage. I would normally not have participated in this whilst pregnant but succumbed to peer pressure and the assertion of the woman running the gathering who claimed to have 20yrs experience in a health profession that the oils were safe for pregnancy.

    Her idea they were safe came from a weekend seminar the company ran on the oils. Young Living and DoTerra not only make outlandish health claims but also advocate undiluted and internal use of their oils. Aromatherapists train for years and do not recommend this. They are not listed with the TGA here in Australia.

    My husband posted a well referenced damning article about Gary Young on Facebook. We were personally attacked and I received a phone call threatening to bash him and harm my unborn child. This is why I remain anonymous.

    Two neighbours have since suffered severe skin reactions from these oils.

    I urge people to become aware and do their research on everything.

    • Good for you for speaking out. Gary young is a liar and a thief with a serious criminal background.

      • Connie Dunn says:

        Free Woman, wow. Is this true? Do you have a reference you can cite please? I’m curious about what info you’ve read.

        • I have seen more than a handful of articles explaining the charges and how they came about it and thats when I started to believe it. They are not hard to locate. Just do a little digging. It was an eye opener for me, I really love EOs and wanted them to work, but when they didn’t I started to dig to figure out why and thats when I found out about this mans past and lack of education in the field. All the best to you in your search!

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Awww that is sad to hear. I love oils and have much success with them. Unfortunately I have read articles online more frequently that come from uneducated blogs and unverifiable sources. Not everyone wants the best for everyone.
            I just thought maybe you had some credible info. Thanks for your well wishes.

        • I would say they are credible resources if they know the charges against him, in what states they happened in and when!

          • Connie Dunn says:

            Free Woman, I am making a generalized statement. I don’t see the citation in front of me, which is why I was curious where you found the info. I feel that it is important if there is a claim made, that we cite the info. Anyway I’m sad nonetheless to hear all of this.

          • Gotcha! I am sad as well!

        • Jenn says:

          Did you ever find the articals?, I’m curious 2 years later, as I have read many from Utah papers and such. (I actually went to library and found most of them, including his conviction/arrest records, it’s public data )
          Just curious iF supporters still support him after all this ?

  51. June says:

    I guess nobody has heard of all the work done with essential oils in Europe & other countries

  52. Laura says:

    Great conversation here.
    Robert Tisserand has over 40 researching essential oils and their chemical components.
    Medical hospitals are researching the effectiveness of lavender on stress in emergency rooms.
    I agree that the medical advice going along with multi level essential oil members is often the equivalent of believing everything on Wikipedia. I would rather put peppermint oil on the roof of my mouth than pop synthetic chemical drugs. I agree somewhat with the thrust of this argument but it is weakened by skepticism. As for the Bible, the Jewish people are proven historically the healthiest because early on they were taught sanitation ( wash your hands and don’t touch a dead person and then eat.) I have had enormous relief from pain with essential oils personally. I have also learned to dilute, as pure oils irritate my skin.
    I get the stupidity but there is legitimacy.
    The FDA has a long way to go in getting my vote of confidence.

    • Laura
      Interesting but you are making a lot of logical errors here. I am not picking on you but basically many make these leaps to judgement about many medical treatment.

      Many many things help stress because it is difficult to control and blind and it is subjective. Any medical attention properly done, including just talking to patients improves stress.
      Researching is just that looking at it, assuming benefit because it is being researched is false. It is still a question not an answer.
      The idea that natural is good and synthetic is bad is a human prejudice which has no basis in reality. Uranium, arsenic, lead, botulism toxin, snake venom, scorpion venom, spider venom, poison ivy are all 100% natural. Calling something natural and assuming it must be safer is just because people have been receiving lifelong marketing sales pitches that make you think natural must be better than synthetic. Truth is you have to look at each thing individually, natural or not and judge it individually. There is no category that makes one thing safe and one thing dangerous.

      Do you know that irritation to the skin is not a sign of effectiveness, and concerning. Just randomly diluting something doesn’t make it safer. They’re might be a very good and dangerous reason why your skin reacts that way to this oil. You should avoid it.

      Peppermint oil acts a a warming agent to the skin like Ben-gay or a heating pad but orally it was banned because of false claims that it benefited digestive health. Again if you assume natural must be beneficial you can harm yourself.
      Jewish people historically are proven to be the healthiest??? Compared to whom, when, and what does that even mean healthiest? If you measure longevity east Asian populations have the greatest average longevity. Historically longevity depends upon what period of history and I am not even sure how to define healthiest. Do you mean less infectious disease? Anti-semitic thoughts during the great plagues of western Europe blamed the black death on “the Jews”, that is hardly supporting the idea that they lived healthier or longer since many were killed.

      Also FDA has problems doesn’t therefore mean any crank claim has merit those issues are independent and need to be treated as such. Each claim of benefit and safety has to be individually assessed. The FDA in the united states is your only real safety barrier as weak as it is.

  53. Barbara says:

    Essential oils have been around since biblical times and research (mri’s) shows how things shift in the brain when smelling certain essential oils. Essential oils need to be used responsibly and personally I would trust herbal medicine since it’s got a long history of use where the use of pharmaceuticals kills over 600,000 people a year and has been around for a short time.

    • Total alternative medicine fallacy about medication deaths. Herbal medicine may cause millions of deaths we don’t know because it is not followed. Only when there have been egregious deaths such as those that occurred from a chinese herbalist where people died of alconite poisoning.
      I suggest you read Dr. Harriet Hall’s treatise about the subject. https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/death-by-medicine/

      I think she sums it up best when she writes, “I’ll be the first to admit that there is a great deal wrong with modern medicine, but it makes more sense to fix what is wrong than to reject the whole shebang. Alternative medicine is not a rational alternative; it’s a belief system with a very poor track record.

      If the doctor-bashers want to play statistics, how about comparing death rates with modern scientific medicine to death rates with alternative medicine and death rates with no medicine at all. That might really be interesting!”

  54. Donna G. says:

    I am a nurse and have used oils with many of my patients with incredible results; their doctor’s have been amazed at their healing progress. I have used oils on myself and my family with incredible results….experience has won me over.

    As for the FDA…weren’t they responsible for running a natural sweetener (Stevia) out of the country for a number of years because it posed a threat to the Aspartame (neurotoxin) industry. I have NO faith in the FDA whatsoever.

    I have seen the negative effects of FDA approved medications on my patients. And I have seen the positive effects of natural treatments, remedies and use of essential oils. Again, experience has won me over.

    The universities in India are teaching essential oils and their benefits. Why? Because they are not motivated by the almighty dollar.

    The negatives to capitalism are greed and corruption.

    I will take the nature over synthesized toxins any day of the week. Thanks.

    • Well Donna not sure where you are getting that info sounds like a very biased source. Aspartame is not a “neurotoxin” it been extensively looked at despite fantastical claims it just doesn’t exist. Stevia which is a plant based sweetener did have to go thorough a thorough vetting because it comes from a plant which is known to be toxic to humans. As to the claim that this was due to power from the aspartame industry. Cargil corporation brought stevia to market they are a multibillion dollar corp. and likely have as much influence as the owner of the NutraSweet patent. Your not talking about some home grown sweetener they are driven by the same greed. Yes drugs have problems but they are known. It says nothing about a treatment or sweetener to say it is natural. A meaningless statement. Personal experience is very compelling but it is deceptive and is not a reliable way to decide if anything works. Personal experience brought us witch trials, blood letting, and exorcisms. Scientific evaluation has brought us antibiotics, satellites, cell phones and sanitation. Up until modern medicine life expectancy was a fraction of today’s. Medical care was based on personal experience, fantastical magical beliefs, dogma, and anecdote. Sound familiar??

    • Eric Hall says:

      As a nurse – you should also see how many ways “nature” tries to kill us. This is the naturalistic fallacy at its most basic form.

      Let me ask you, as a nurse, do you spend more time then with those patients who you use unapproved treatments on? Do you then spend less time with the patients who rebuff your nonsense? Because that certainly could account for these non-measured differences in their recoveries.

      May I ask where you work? I would like to contact the doctors and ask them about these recoveries. If your anecdotes are true, it should be a shoe in to get funding for research to measure these dramatically different outcomes. If you are willing to have it measured, I might be willing to change my mind with said evidence.

  55. Leia Chester says:

    You give many claims that I think they are also precautions for me! Thanks!

  56. PJ says:

    I was born with a severe blood disorder which has no cure. Decades of treatment by traditional doctors did little to help and caused several other painful and serious conditions because of side effects of the drugs I have been on for years.

    After 10 years of severe pain, discomfort, and weight gain due to drugs, I was hospitalized for major surgery in Dec of 2012. I was in the hospital for 24 days and in the SICU for 5. Less than a full year later I was again hospitalized for a few weeks and out of work for 2 1/2 months.

    A friend had come to me in 2011 and told me about the oils. I didn’t buy it.
    She came to me again in between my surgeries in 2012 and 2013 and I got mad at her. I told her that I had a team of doctors working on me and she needed to “peddle her snake oil somewhere else”.
    After my most recent surgery I hit rock bottom and prayed for God to reveal an answer for me or let me die because I was tired of living the way I had been for the last several years.

    I contacted my friend last summer with an open mind and my life has been different ever since.

    I’ve read several of the comments in this blog and one thing I didn’t see….or may have skimmed past, was the number of people who are killed or develop other life-threatening conditions BECAUSE of what their doctor prescribed them. Just listen to any ad about any drug today and the list of side-effects is mind numbing.

    Below is a quote from the following article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/26/prescription-drugs-number-one-cause-preventable-death-in-us.aspx

    “Merck: With a long list of deaths to its credit, and more than $5.5 billion in judgments and fines levied against it, it was five years before Merck made its $30-billion recall of the painkiller Vioxx that I warned my readers that it might be a real killer for some people. After the drug was withdrawn, and 60,000 had already died, Merck picked up the pieces painlessly by getting a new drug fast-tracked and on the market.

    That drug is Gardasil, a vaccine that so far has been linked to thousands of adverse events and at least 49 unexplained deaths. It’s a situation that the FDA and CDC have been denying repeatedly, keeping their heads buried in the sand even as the adverse reports mount.

    Baxter: Dozens of recalls of products that caused deaths and injuries, at least 11 different guilty pleas to fraud and illegal sales activity, more than 200 lawsuits – many of them stemming from selling AIDS-tainted blood to hemophiliacs – and more than $1.3 billion in criminal fines and civil penalties.

    Pfizer: In the largest health care fraud settlement in history, Pfizer was ordered to pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company illegally promoted uses of four of its drugs, including the painkiller Bextra, the antipsychotic Geodon, the antibiotic Zyvox, and the anti-epileptic Lyrica.”

    I was one of these people. The drugs the doctors put me on since childhood cost me my uterus in my early 30s. I will never be able to have children because of the side effects of a drug prescribed to me by a trusted physician and taken properly. I also gained 100 lbs because of my prescriptions. I was a thin person from a thin family. The doctor told me that the drug would make me gain weight, but this was ridiculous. My kidney and liver function were steadily going down. That was the first thing that essential oils helped me with. My doctor has lab results to show that my kidney and liver function began to improve within a month of beginning oils. Today I have lost 35 lbs and every aspect of my life has improved.

    I’m not saying anyone should turn their backs on modern medicine or refuse any type of medical care, and I’m not saying that essential oils are the miracle cure for diseases, but I am saying that they have worked and are continuing to work in incredible ways for me.

    I still have my team of doctors and I love them. (They don’t know about my EO use because I don’t want to hear their criticisms), but they are all highly encouraged by my progress over the last year.

    I didn’t come here to argue or wave my fist in the air and I’m not someone who enjoys debating so I won’t reply if or when people attack me. I know my body and I know what works and doesn’t work for me.

    After reading these comments, I wanted to post a portion of my experience for those who might be searching for help. People like me last year.

    • Eric Hall says:

      If you are not willing to further discuss the situation, how could we then constitute your story as proof.

      Citing Mercola is a little like citing the onion. He misrepresents the data to skew things his way to peddle his own supplements.

      I noticed you haven’t stopped going to the doctor. If the oils are working so well, why haven’t you stopped completely listening to their advice? Why is it the oils and not their continued application of the latest science has to offer the reason for your recovery? I am not encouraging you to stop seeing your doctor, but I find it funny that if the oils are such a miracle that doctors are not all out of business at this point.

      • I am completely dumbfounded over people that use magic potions over medicine, and actually have the nerve to cite what is wrong with it! Can they be any more delusional about the poor and dangerous decisions they make? My goodness!! Sickening!!

    • Maureen says:

      Awesome PJ! I am so happy to here that you are experiencing health and healing. Give the body what it needs and it will heal… Great story, thanks for sharing your personal experience.

    • Mudguts says:

      Excuse me as I preen on a longboat sailing the sea or anecdote..

      At least Thor looks like me..

  57. Melanie says:

    Oils work! I understand because I felt the same way. But I have to many instances where they proved themselves:)

  58. debby says:

    This is an American blog with comments from Americans. Doctors and hospitals in European countries practice Aromatherapy. European doctors PRESCRIBE homeopathy and aromatherapy, in conjunction with modern medicine and supplements. It is common and standard. The AMA has fostered the attitude of it being “snake oil”. This blog post was written about a layperson that is possibly selling oils through a MLM company. The woman described here is not highly educated about EO, their properties and proper usage. It’s rather easy to pick her apart. I can only agree that there are many levels of knowledge and how to appropriately use EO. When used properly through education, they can be safe and highly therapeutic.

    In our modern societies, we can and should have all possibly therapeutic measures available to us. American medicine is rather short sighted. Food, diet, exercise, stress, and lifestyle all have a huge affect on our health. I am constantly amazed at how people are so willing to follow religiously any one medical or health philosophy to their own detriment. If you blindly follow ANYONE, you might as well be buying ‘snake oil’. Not so long ago, we had scientists testifying before Congress that smoking was beneficial to one’s health. It has only been in recent years that acupuncture and chiropractors have been acknowledged by the AMA, as opposed to referred to as quackery.

    For those that make the reasoning that a person would stop seeing their doctors if EO really worked is ludicrous and narrow minded. I have crossover auto-immune illnesses. I have trusted medical doctors, an acupuncture physician and a cranial-sacral therapist. I also use EO. All of my health care providers know about one another and are supportive of the care I receive.

  59. Dr. C. says:

    In all respect, I read with astonishment the following comment: “I noticed you haven’t stopped going to the doctor. If the oils are working so well, why haven’t you stopped completely listening to their advice?” Perhaps the OP is employing hyperbole to make a point, which I can understand somewhat. But it’s this very kind of logic that creates an elevated risk environment.

    I have suffered the pain of an auto-immune disease for many years and have taken everything from Vioxx and other non-steroidals, to steroids, cancer chemotherapy, and even genetically engineered biologics in an effort to control that pain. None of those drugs has resulted in more than a 30 percent reduction in my symptoms. All of those medications have data supporting their efficacy. Of course, just because they haven’t helped me much, it doesn’t logically follow that they don’t help others. Data doesn’t explain everyone’s experience; it can only suggest what is typical for a specific population. (It also matters how the data is collected and analyzed. Poorly designed research yields poor results.) Even medications backed by sound research will not produce the same response in all individuals.

    Until recently, I dismissed EOs as snake oil. As a college professor who teaches the scientific method, I wanted to see the data demonstrating efficacy of specific oils. A co-worker who had been urging me to try essential oils finally brought me some of hers, which I summarily dismissed as placebo in a bottle. I brought the bottle home and sat it on a table. Unknown to me, my husband tried the blend. He said it worked for his chronic back pain. I tried it on swollen joints and on Baker’s cysts. It worked. It doesn’t completely eradicate my pain, but it does make it tolerable, and aids in reducing swelling and inflammation. That’s more help than I’ve received from my $2500/month injected biologic, which carries more risks than I want to think about.

    I’m not suggesting everyone run out to try self-medicating with essential oils. My case is anecdotal evidence at best. I have no scientifically designed study to prove the efficacy of the blend I use. I can’t even verify that I receive the exact same blend every time I order it, or that the plants from which the oils are extracted have the same potency. I have no control group, and no control over intervening variables. My results could be a placebo effect, I suppose. It could be black magic. I do know it works for me.

    My skepticism about essential oils comes from a totally different place now that I have used the oil and found it to be helpful. I now believe there absolutely is an effect from the topical application of essential oils. My concern is that because they do enter the bloodstream, there is the potential for adverse effect. None of the oil merchants I have investigated list specific possible adverse reactions for specific oils, although a few do make broad statements about hypersensitivity, skin irritation and idiosyncratic reactions. It’s for this very reason that I would not consider using these oils without medical monitoring. My physicians know I am using the oils and I have requested tri-monthly blood work to monitor for adverse reaction. I consider the topical application of EO as just another tool–albeit an untried and unverified tool–in my medical arsenal. For that very reason, it seems to me to be even more important to involve my healthcare team in this approach, rather than to choose this as a substitute for scientifically based healthcare.

  60. Bree says:

    I appreciate that you like to check into claims and analyze dangers. There are many unscrupulous people out there. I don’t believe that every producer of essential oils is legitimate and I was also aware that there was no such thing and certified therapeutic and take that as a bit of a warning sign when I see it on an oil. I do however use essential oils from brands such as aura acacia, the most effective I have found is oil of oregano. As a former sufferer of childhood asthma… chest congestion is always the worst thing for me. Mixing this essential oil in warm olive oil produces a chest clear out like none of ever experienced. Usually within 10 minutes of drinking. So they do work but, the can be mis-used and deceptive labeling.

  61. Jackie says:

    Eric Hall, you are overreacting. Try them, maybe they will help your bad attitude! Lol

    • Noah Dillon says:

      I have essential oils. I like them. They’ve never cured me of anything, whether a headache or anything else. But trying something and having something get better isn’t proof that the two are connected. And the author certainly doesn’t seem to have a bad attitude, which is different from disbelieving mumbo jumbo. You can disbelieve something and have a perfectly fine attitude. If I accused you of having a bad attitude for not believing that the moon is made of tofu, you’d probably be really confused by why I would conflate the two, right?

  62. kaylenebrown says:

    Proponent of the powers of Essential Oils here, telling you I agree with the naysayers! Keep him on the oils that are helping him (I’m so glad they are!) but make sure he’s under a good doctor’s care and in a therapy! PTSD is no joke, as I’m sure you know. Essential oils should definitely be just one part of a treatment plan here, in my opinion. No replacement for good counseling!

  63. Skeptic says:

    When someone tells me that something is “natural” so it is safe to use, I reply, “Poison ivy is natural too but I don’t see you rubbing that on your skin or ingesting it.”

  64. Lawrence says:

    Even though EO’s have been around for thousands of years. Does not mean they are safe. It could be that only small amounts have been used over many years. Its only recently with YO and DoT that it has been a mass produced, mass used substance and with the MLM system perhaps even over used.
    My biggest concern is that without proper toxicity testing we have no idea what the long-term chronic exposures to these chemicals (EO’s) might be. We may be right around the corner from a massive epidemic that has been caused by the build of EO’s in the body from chronic use.

    Look at Absestos. It is a natural material. There are stories of how the ancient Egyptians used asbestos and so did the romans. It has been around for centuries. In the 20th century we discovered that it was a miracle substance- Fire and heat resistant, strong, durable, easily woven etc. So we started mass-producing and using it industry. It appeared entirely safe. Then all of a sudden 20 after the war we discovered thousands of asbestos workers were getting sick and dying from this so-called natural substance that has been used since the times of the bible.

    My other concern, which is similar in nature, is a term called sensitization. This happens in industry when workers are exposed to chemical and there is no immediate reaction to it. However after multiple exposures over a long period of time all of a sudden the worker becomes sensitized to that substance and has very adverse health consequences. We only recently have witnessed wide spreading application to children, who are often more susceptible to such things. Parents that are now showering their kids in EOS for what ever ailment could it be setting up there children for sensitization effects 10-15 years from now.

    Disclaimer: My wife is a Doterra IBO and my brother in law is a blue diamond

    • Elle Emme says:

      That is such a great point that I am not even going to write about the lead in paint that was used on toys and cooking utensils for many years, it’s the same story. Thankyou for authoring that.

  65. Michelle says:

    I was at a doTERRA home meeting yesterday. While I am a huge supporter of using less pharmaceutical drugs and improving diet and lifestyle instead (even growing herbs and using the leaves for health benefits), I walked away feeling very concerned at the haphazard manner in which these oils were promoted and distributed. In addition to having a small mister running with essential oils in it (6-8 drops I was told), the host sprayed a small bottle containing up to 10 drops of various oils twice during the two hour presentation and had all of us try peppermint oil on our hands (about 4 drops each), rubbing it between our hands and then inhaling repeatedly. Instead of feeling better, I left the meeting with a terrible headache. I asked about the possibility of overdosing, and was told that you cannot overdose on a natural product and that if you were to take over 40 drops a day of an EO then yes that would not be smart. The EOs were openly promoted as safe for children (in fact one mom, who was still breastfeeding, had her child playing with the oils in the room and shared that she regularly “treats” the two-year old’s illnesses with the oils), in addition to being used by the breast-feeding mom. And it was strongly promoted to ingest the oils as needed, either directly in the mouth or in empty gel capsules for the hot oils – which you could also buy from doTERRA. Something doesn’t sit right about promoting EOs to be used in this manner.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Yeah: coca leaves and opium are natural products that can be overdosed on. Arsenic is a natural poison. Carbon dioxide is a natural poison. Chlorine is naturally occurring and is poisonous, but if it is combined chemically with sodium, as in natural salt, it is harmless and essential for the body. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what sounds to be wrong with that presentation. Consuming unknown oils with unknown effects from undetermined dosages sounds like a really, really bad idea.

      • Leah says:

        Hypertensives would disagree with you about salt being harmless.

        • Noah Dillon says:

          OK, but still, relative to chlorine and sodium on their own it’s harmless. Even to hypertensives it’s still necessary to the body’s proper function and is consequently essential in small doses. Being exposed to to table salt isn’t going to do the same damage as chlorine gas or pure sodium.

    • Elle Emme says:

      Sure is funny the EO cult promotes the oils as being as a strong and effective as pharmaceutical drugs, yet the kids are playing with them. Wonder if they would let their kids play with blood pressure pills, or iron supplements, or insulin, because of how “weak and ineffective ” they are.

    • Robert says:

      I had a similar experience recently. My employer had asked me to work our booth at the local county fair. Sitting literally right next to me was a lady selling her essential oils. On the end of her table sitting right next to me was her diffuser that had who only knows what in it. Thanks to the fans in the building I had this blowing in my face for a good fourteen hours. I developed such a bad headache and nausea from this that I almost went home sick.

      Not only that but she had several pitchers setup that had ice water with various oils mixed in for free samples. There were children in there as young as two drinking a lot of this “water.” I asked her if this was a safe idea and she responded that it was all natural so of course it was safe.

      If I hadn’t been working I might’ve argued a bit on this but I just find it extremely reckless to let other peoples children ingest this stuff without having any idea of what it does to the human body. I don’t know what it did to those children but I know that if it made them feel even half as bad as I did then I feel very sorry for those children.

      • Leah says:

        I don’t go to my friend’s house at all anymore because she’s got her diffuser going and it’s my firm belief that we were not designed to breathe anything other than air. Yes, there are odoriferous molecules in the air, but they are supposed to be transient, you’re not supposed to be breathing them for hours on end.

        • Pat says:

          Leah, same here. My best friend and neighbor has been diffusing daily for over a year in her house. I rarely go there, the smell is so overwhelming, honestly, I know the EPA would put a sign on her door saying “Extremely Hazardous, Keep Out”….and have to decantaminate it….How can people be so gullible thinking EOs are their only salvation to feeling better mentally and physically?!

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  67. Lisa says:

    I think essential oils do have their uses. If used correctly they can be effective in treating certain ailments. I think one of the biggest problems is too many people use them incorrectly and do not educate themselves about how to correctly use oils. I cannot stand the MLS companies because of this. They rope unsuspecting people in to using oils, but the people who are selling them don’t know squat about the oils or how to use them correctly. They should be treated like medicine. Children should NEVER play with them. They should ALWAYS be used with a Carrier oil (and about a billion other safety rules these MLS companies don’t spew out while they are trying to steal your money). I do use essential oils. I do find them effective. I do like they I can use plant derived oils instead of other man made toxic chemicals, BUT I also believe they MUST be used with caution.

    This is one of my favorite videos about the uses of essential oils. . .http://beyondessential.com/oregano-essential-oil-vs-antibiotics/

    • Eric Hall says:

      I’m glad you are taking a cautious approach. However, you do still reveal your bias against science with your last sentence and what you shared.

      First, many drugs are plants based. Many plant oils are toxic. To create a false dichotomy of “plant based” versus “man made” is a classic logical fallacy. I can combine hydrogen and oxygen in the lab, it is still water even though it is “man made.”

      Second, the video says the student had “proof.” But notice the number of errors. First, Crohn’s disease is not bacterial and cannot be “cured,” only managed. So his hypothesis is based on a false premise. I’m fact, you see him rubbing it on his belly, which certainly could cause some absorption to get to the gut, but not more than rubbing it elsewhere.

      Next, he applies the oil wet, but simply applies the contents of the caplet and expects an equal comparison? Being a liquid versus solid, the vapor pressures would be much different. So by containing the bacteria in a closed container, essentially he would be creating a different atmosphere. So it is possible any oil or any liquid which evaporates easy could do it. It would be reasonable to think a few drops of alcohol would do the same thing.

      Finally, Amoxicillin isn’t designed to kill bacteria. It’s mode of action is to interfere with replication, allowing your body to kill off what’s already there.

      Thanks for the video as I will use it for another post. It contains many scientific errors and should not constitute proof of anything.

  68. Robin says:

    bahaha… so, you attack natural cures but say nothing of the dangerous side effects of “medicine”… we are all supposed to accept allopathic medicine and Drs. and their laundry list of side effects cause they went to school longer? Their schools are littered with propaganda from Big Pharma. Wake up!!

    • Eric Hall says:

      That wasn’t the point of the article, nor is false balance.

      Yes actual medicine has side effects. Those are both known and disclosed. There is a massive difference.

      I also want to point out the uses of the phrases “big pharma” and “wake up” are hallmarks of someone who doesn’t support science and what it has done to improve our health, lives, and dramatically extend the amount of time we live. It tells me that no matter how much evidence I show you, you won’t believe real medicine and will only be biased towards whatever supports your worldview.

  69. Mary says:

    Loved your article!!! Thank you! I have so many friends using/selling/pushing EOs that have absolutely no educational background to do so. Makes me crazy. It’s pop culture at its worst. I hope this fad passes. I’m not against oils specifically, but against the crazy marketing/home party atmosphere when it comes to a health product.

  70. Sharon says:

    Well, if people are going to worry about tea tree oil messing with their hormone balance I suppose they should also be worried about their water supply that they drink and bathe in having high levels of estrogen in it as well. And plastic containers. And lotions. Pretty much everything. So yeah, don’t bath in tea tree oil but I don’t believe using it for the occasional cold sore will turn boys into girls anytime soon. I am sure there is some balance between thinking oils are a cure-all and thinking they are the most dangerous thing since nuclear weapons. I personally just like using them to make my house smell nice and a little massage now and then.

    I think skepticism is good but it seems like you just want to rip on people. And honestly, that messes up your hormone balance. Better be careful or you will turn into one big boob 🙂

  71. Wow so many claims that make me worry, but everything have both side, right? I hope we can found the positive way to use the essential oil, because the reason we are looking for it is to have relax 🙂

  72. Lilian says:

    I bet most of these people commenting on how bad essential oils are have never tried them . Ignorance talking , people who are brainwashed by modern medicine and that only belive in that. Why don’t tall shut your mouth and try some , then come back and complain on how horrific they are for you .

  73. Tom C says:

    If you actually did some research you would see that doTERRA is actually third party tested as well as independently tested. Their products work amazingly well, and aren’t “snake oil”. In fact, through the centuries, it is essential oils that have been used before Pharmaceutical companies came along and synthesized the drugs that are on the market now FROM essential oils and plant matter. It goes back as far as Bible times where Frankincense and myrrh were given to the Christ child. All your modern day medicines are derived from the essential oil and properties of some plant or some combination of plants, but the essential oil is it’s “purest” form instead of all that synthetic junk. How many people die from Big Pharma drugs per year? Once you look that up, look how many deaths there are from people using doTERRA…. you can choose to not take something, but it’s not “witch Dr.” type stuff, it’s just natural health and wellness, and of course the FDA is going to try and shut things down that hurt the pockets being lined by big drug companies! I can tell you I am healthier now than I have ever been, and by using the products I have been able to naturally eliminate medications I have used for years by naturally supporting my own bodies ability to heal itself. Sure, CPTG is a doTERRA term, but it’s a term coined AFTER third party, non affiliated with doTERRA testing… so, since the FDA tests it’s own products, and labels it “FDA Approved”, because they did it themselves, it’s ok, but if another comany does the same type of thing, but then takes it one step further to take testing OUT of their own hands, and they put a label on it, it has to be “shady”? Sounds like you have a vendetta on something you know NOTHING about.

    • The “appeal to antiquity”. If it has “stood the test of time” it must work. In fact, antiquity is far better correlated with obsolescence than with efficacy. Contrary to popular opinion, science-derived knowledge actually IMPROVES over time.

      • Tom C says:

        Again, I ask, how many people have died from the use of essential oils, and how many people have died from reactions to “science evolved” modern medicine? The warning labels on all modern medicines, what is generally associated with the laundry list of “may cause xxx or xxx, or even death”? So if we can advance things from a natural state to be a greater risk to our health and body, does that actually “improve” something? I think not, and the simple fact that it still works proves another thing, that modern medicine in certain forms isn’t necessary. The over prescribing of Antibiotics is a HUGE problem in our Nation, and causes super bugs and other immunity to once effective medicines. Have you seen what antibiotics themselves do to the active flora and other healthy digestive enzymes in our guts? Have you seen the recovery time after taking those antibiotics? I am not against medicine as a whole, as I believe there has been great breakthroughs in modern medicine, but there are great advantages to using Essential Oils, and since I had used them, I have not been sick once, and as I stated have been able to get off other meds completely, including pain medication.

  74. christine says:

    hi, i found your information very interesting. i agree with you that a lot of essential oils out there are toxic. i have a liver disease and, after research, found out that peppermint oil is toxic to the liver but there are so many articles out there saying no such thing. what do you think about ingesting peppermint oil? the problem is people believe these self proclaimed experts on oils and, in fact, they are not. they are usually people promoting using their oils and do not care about compromising ones health.

    • Eric Hall says:

      If there is some specific reason you feel you want to or need to ingest peppermint oil to treat yourself medically, I would suggest asking your doctor.

      Otherwise, ingesting it in the amounts found in food for example are probably not going to harm you, again unless your doctor has advised you otherwise. I would imagine that nearly all concentrated oils would be harmful to the liver – but the dose would depend on the oil. Anyone with liver disease should probably be very strict in following the advice of their doctor and probably a dietitian as well.

      • christine says:

        hi, i would never ingest peppermint essential oil. i was just wondering if you read anything negative on ingesting it. i read it is very toxic to the liver and that info was hard to find because there are so many people trying to sell oils that all you see is people promoting it when, in fact, it is toxic. thank you for your comment.

  75. Angela Rectenwaldt says:

    I suggest everybody do there own research on essential oils, many oil companies are out there and not all of them are created equal.
    What works for one person may not work for another.
    Medical Doctors do not know everything, and they are not always right
    You have to question everything and everyone when it comes to your own health.
    If you are seeking alternative Medicine I suggest you seek out a qualified Naturopathic Doctor or a
    TCM Doctor who can address the “whole” Person.

    “Health is not a flower that you pick, it’s a path that you must follow”

    • Eric Hall says:

      If medical doctors don’t know everything, why would a naturopathic doctor know everything?

      Let’s assume you aren’t claiming that. And let’s assume a medical doctor didn’t have knowledge a naturopathic doctor has. How long do you think it would take for that knowledge to make it into medical school?

      It is a nonsense statement and possibly dangerous to say not to see a doctor for an unknown medical condition for which you are concerned enough to seek an evaluation.

      • Angela Rectenwaldt says:

        Where in that statement did I say “Not” to see a medical doctor???????
        I just said said that Doctors don’t have all the answers and they don’t know everything. It’s all perception and how you perceive something, I was saying if you were a person who wanted to seek out an “Alternative” Option, then seek out a qualified Doctor, and do your OWN REASEARCH!!!!!!!!!!!
        I would never degrade the medical community nor would I degrade an Alternative medical Doctor, it’s a personal choice that only you can decide.
        Just do your research, and be informed, that’s all I was saying ❤️✨

        • Eric Hall says:

          “Do your research” and “make your own decision” are also classic hallmarks of someone pushing an alternative agenda and a distrust of mainstream medicine.

          The problem with “doing your own research” is people aren’t trained how to do unbiased searching. Thus, they will type in biased terms and get results which confirm their suspicions, but may not reflect factual information.

          • Angela says:

            I personally don’t care what other people do as far as health care goes, I know what I do and what works for me, and I think people are a lot smarter than you are giving them credit for.
            It kind of sounds like you are one sided though, so what makes you right and everybody else wrong? Where are you doing your research ?? And why should anyone believe that??

          • Eric Hall says:

            Look at research articles for nearly any standard treatment versus the equivalent “alternative” treatment. That data, that evidence, that science, is the basis for my conclusion.

  76. lynn says:

    Dear Eric. This message is being sent to replace the one I just sent. I found a couple of typos and edited the previous message. Could not see where I could edit it from the previous email that is now on your website.

    After reading the above information, it is clear to me that you have not done your homework. doTERRA is being used in many hospitals, as well as by Chiropractors, Wellness clinics. acupuncturists, and massage therapists. doTERRA is also working diligently with the FDA to be compliant with their regulations, just as all other supplement companies have to do. However, you may check with Baylor Medical Center’s website and see their research that has been done with Boswellian Frankincense and that it shows that it kills cancer cells. doTERRA’s Frankincense is Boswellian. There has been, and is still being done, much research on essential oils, doTERRA in particular. Check out what Dr. Pappas, who is world renown as one of the top, if not the top, experts in essential oils. He founded the Essential Oils University, where they research essential oils from all over the world and doTERRA has hired him to test their oils. Because of Dr. Pappas, doTERRA is also advised where the best growers in the world are to get their essential oils from. Before attacking this great company, please do your research. The FDA will not allow doTERRA and other alternative supplement companies or their members to make medical claims; however, research speaks for itself. I can tell you that doTERRA’s products have afforded me to a better quality of life after much failure and side effects with traditional medicine. And, if allowed I could list many other testimonials where doTERRA has helped other close friends and family members to have a better quality of life. The only way you can possibly know in your heart and mind, the benefits of these products is to try them for yourself. Then you will be a believer. I thank God all the time for bringing doTERRA into my life and those of my loved ones and others I care about. And, you can take that to the bank.

  77. Debbie says:

    Excellent comments! I am a believer in Aromatherapy, but not as a cure, per se; but as a catalyst for the body to react with it’s own defenses. Unlike modern medicine, which itself causes cure, the natural response is limited by what the body is able to do. Modern medicine takes that a step further. Any experienced and knowledgeable aromatherapist would attest EO use does not negate the need for modern medicine (after all, why would we even have needed it if ancient therapies effectively “cured?”)

    The MLM companies are not training their sellers in more than pushing the product. They teach to overuse, abuse and rely on, all 3 of which are improper in correct use of oils. 1% dilution (5 drops to an ounce) is the maximum use for children, and a good number of oils are never to be used on, or around children (and very few, if any, should be ingested!) No one who has ever trained in any way would use “neat” (undiluted) oils in most applications, much less on children! That is absolutely irresponsible.

    On the other side, not only do trained aromatherapists insist in data sheets for every individual oil (because, as you mentioned, every plant within a species holds different chemical properties), but oils that were not handled correctly are never used. It is essential to know the producer in this way, which makes mass production a big question in the industry. A keen eye is kept on oxidation, expiration and purity, and the pre-mixed oils are rare, if any. The company (s) engaged in high-power selling are also selling blends, where the origin, dilution, and components of the plants are uncertain.There is no way a seller can know what they are affecting in these situations.

    I disagree that there is no evidence of effectiveness. There IS scientific evidence of response to oils. And, if oils didn’t “work” in some way, they wouldn’t be dangerous. But they DO evoke response (even if in calling white blood cells to attention–or affecting the skin with a reaction), so they DO “something”, and they do require caution. Thank you for bringing this up, as more and more people are causing damage to pets, children and others in the name of “health.” In the end, (even though D’Terra is highly-respected), home remedy was always to be used delicately, whether it be oils, tea, or even foods, and once pushing product (and becoming rich, as with at least one of the other MLM competitors) becomes the focus, the damage caused becomes less of a priority. That’s how we lose the right to use alternatives, and make our own decisions, without the FDA, and alongside the medical industry. We have a real need for strengthening of our bodies, as well as preventatives and assistants that do not hold the harmful side-effects risked by modern medicine. In a way, we’re all trying to find a happy medium–much against our modern culture (food, air, pollutants, chemicals…)

    Hopefully you can come at this from the other side and appreciate the potential, and be open-minded while remembering that many of our produced “cures” use, or mimic natural products. And hopefully the massive MLM production companies will come to understand they are causing degradation in the alternative field, in the name of fast profit, by over-using solutions that may actually offer advantages, in the right situation, especially as preventatives, to important conditions which include mood and system health. The cancer centers are proving the value of mood to health, and that doesn’t mean popping a few anti-depressants to mask the problem. How do we find a middle ground?

    • AQW says:

      my concern is the oils travel into the blood stream and will affect the brain. Imagine 1 or 2 years AFTER you used the product on skin NOW person acts differently…different personality or becomes much more religious or becomes a strong believer in government conspiracies. unfortunately EVEN if someone’s personality DID change 1 or 2 years later NO ONE NO ONE NO ONE would EVER EVER EVER be able to say that the tea tree oil actually CAUSED it– BUT WHAT IF THE TEA TREE OIL OR ESSENTIAL OIL REALLY DID go into blood stream and actually did change the mental construct of the person to be in 1 to 2 years. PEOPLE WOULD be saddened that the person is different now but 0 people would agree to attribute the odd new behavior to using a product 1 to 2 years prior.

  78. AQW says:

    I think using essential oils causes mental situations… I know a lady who used essential oil for pimples for over 6 months…this person was NEVER religious…NOW the person is very religious.
    I know another person who uses essential oils and NOW that person absolutely believes in government cloud conspiracies…also that person gargled essential oils and now that person has bone tooth problems

  79. Aqeersdrd says:

    know someone used essential oils on pimples over 6 months person was totally Nonreligious before but 1 year after person is now VERY religious…I believe essential oil mess up with your brain.
    I know someone else takes essential oils who NOW truly believes that the government is involved in cloud entrail ( not sure of spelling ) conspiracies and that the government is dooming everyone..this person also gargled with essential oils and now has tooth bone decay

  80. Michelle says:

    For saying you know a lot about science, and the teachings of it and that you consult other professionals when needed. You might want to consult them now. Read any non-company related book about essential oils and you will find information about how safe and natural they are. They do come from the plant, they are safer than pharma meds, it does require common sense to use them but this post is filled with false accusations. Essential oils penetrate the cell, unlike antibiotics, shouldn’t you know that as a teacher of science? dōTERRA does 7 tests for quality and potency from harvest to bottling, so to say they don’t test for quality is false.

    I hope you allow my comment through, heaven knows when we sensor others but not ourselves then we’re nothing more than a hypocrite.

    That persons website should be updated, it’s not legal to say that essential oils heal and they cannot be associated with a medical claim. One person doesn’t make up the large number of wellness advocates across the globe who are trying to get safer alternatives into the homes of families so they can take care of their home healthcare and not rely so heavily on doctors and too frequently prescribed medications.

    • Not legal what does that even mean? the world medical claim is not a legal definition. Simple it is a claim. Nightshade comes from a plant, ricin comes from a plant, oleander comes from a plant and they are some of the most toxic, by dose, substances on the planet. So why does something coming from a plant make them safe?

    • Eric Hall says:

      Go to any site selling or promoting oils – see if you see any dissenting opinions. Here? We rarely censor comments, with a few rare exceptions.

      What do these “tests” for quality consist of? They claim quality and potency – but based on their own standards. There is no actual measurement they reveal by which to measure these things. I couldn’t verify their tests, because they don’t tell us what they consist of.

  81. JC says:

    The writer of this article…is uneducated. Oregano and Lemon have “antiviral” properties therefore you look like a doofus. Look it up…dork.

    • Eric Hall says:

      If you look back in the article, as well as in the comments, I do acknowledge some of these oils can kill viruses and bacteria in vitro. This is much different than claiming they do the same in vivo. Bleach also kills viruses, but I would discourage anyone from using it as a treatment for the flu.

      Also, two names in one small comment. You win the ad hominem award for the day.

  82. christian says:

    I would be interested in seeing a post about oils you WOULD use and what they would be safe for in your opinion.
    I agree with you on many levels. I don’t think there is enough research that goes into what is safe for your body and what isn’t.
    I am doing a research paper on the affects of essential oils and would love to see what you could come up with.

    • Eric Hall says:

      They smell nice, and certainly some research suggests using them in that way can help reduce stress through relaxation.

      They can be used in very small amounts in cooking. The herb oils can be added to rubs and spice mixes and add nice flavor.

      Topically, there are a few indications it may help. I don’t think there is enough research to say which oils works best or if it is better than other alternatives, but some seem to have an effect on small abrasions, and maybe even some fungal infections and minor burns. I’m not opposed to better research on that.

      Oils do make a good insect repellent and even insect killer, though some in those amounts and concentrations can be harmful to humans. I use an plant-oil-based repellent/killer inside by my sliding glass door because I think it smells less offensive than other types. It isn’t quite as effective, but I am not looking to stop every bug, just keep it to a reasonable level. It works well for what I need because I get some effect with a pleasant scent.

      But again, in all these cases, it isn’t that it is danger free. I wouldn’t want my children to get this stuff in their mouth any more than I would a “synthetic” product – because at those amounts it could cause harm – depending on the dose of course.

      • Leah says:

        My daughter has fibrous dysplasia of the skull (we hope it’s not going anywhere else in her body). She had surgery to debulk it and we were in the waiting phase to see if or how fast it would grow again. My friend had just gotten into doTerra oils and she suggested frankincense oil: rub a drop onto her forehead and give her two drops orally. We did so, and had bought a few bottles of the stuff. Then she said that her upline had suggested lemongrass oil to actually dissolve the dysplasia. I pointed out that the dysplasia had destroyed and replaced the bone that was holding up her brain, and asked her to ask the the medical advisor for doTerra about it. I got a fairly wishy-washy answer, and when I pressed for more information, was encouraged to “just try it!” No thanks. The frankincense didn’t help either. After she had four millimeters of proptosis because of the dysplasia pushing her eye out of her skull, she had another surgery to debulk what the frankincense obviously did nothing for (and may have caused it to grow even more, for all I know).

  83. Alicia says:

    I have had health issues over the last year and so many people not knowing really what could be going on with me have suggested oils. I understand they are in love with their oils, but they and so many are just out there selling this stuff with little to no knowledge about the adverse reactions or how it can effect other conditions. I recently found out that I have a clotting disorder. When I did a quick google search, I found 26 oils I should not use… 26! One being the ever loved oregano! This was in the top 5 list!
    I also wonder if people are reporting all these things to their docs as medicines they are taking. If I was using this , my doctors should know. I am not against natural cures or alternatives, but I am against a bunch of people acting like doctors and putting people’s health at risk.

    • christine says:

      hi, i love essential oils too but i also have a liver condition and i can not use a lot of the oils too. i can’t use cinnamon, it is bad for your liver and the list goes on. people pushing these oils do not have any knowledge of the health hazards associated with them. they do not know what other problems people suffer from and that using some oils will kill them, no joke! thanks for sharing and i agree with you! these cults like doterra and young living actually have fda claims filed against them for all the reasons we are stating.

      • Alicia bowman says:

        Yes it could kill. I was taken from a surgery center to ICU for bleeding complications with an “easy” gall bladder surgery. If I had been using wintergreen for joint pain or oregano for a virus, it may not have ended with a few day stay in the hospital, but a lot worse.

  84. Mimi says:

    I’m very sad to have found these warnings only after all the damage I’ve gone through with essential oil ingestion.

    I ingested grapefruit and lemon oil for weight loss which resulted in a possible miscarriage and losing my tooth enamel. I was told to put 2 drops of each in tea and drink daily and after a month or two of regular use I realized my teeth were very chalky to the touch and sensitive. I hadn’t done anything different than the oils so I knew. In addition, I was told the grapefruit oil was “fun” and “tastey” to put in my water everyday as I was pregnant and on the 8th week at the doctor’s office I was told that my baby’s heart had stopped and I had miscarried.

    These oils shouldn’t be sold without a serious prescription and a licensed practitioner involved.

    • Mimi I am gravely saddened to hear that story. Take heart however miscarriage often have nothing to do with any external factor. So don’t let yourself be to blame. It is possible but highly unlikely that the combination EO ingredients had anything to with your miscarriage. Yes we strongly caution people that the risks are unknown on skeptoid. Still…. the benefits are implausible based upon what we know, high risk is also implausible from EO since most ingredients are innocuous. So please don’t blame yourself.
      We all agree that they shouldn’t be dispensed until convincing evidence is replicated.
      As to your dental enamel. I putting anything acid intentionally onto your teeth EO or not is unwise. So your giving a good cautionary tale there.

    • AQW says:

      I am so saddened by your loss. The product MUST be regulated–we should email a congressperson or a senator…a government agency MUST get involved!!..I also believe that the essential oils tea tree oil or other oils may change a person’s mental state… I believe if you even put the product on your skin the chemicals will seep into your bloodstream and then 1 or 2 years later may change the personality or mental state of the user..I have no evidence just a suspicion from seeing 2 users who now have very different personalities!!

      • christine says:

        good luck with getting anything tested and regulated by the fda, unfortunately the fda does not care. they have only tested 11% of all the chemicals in our regular beauty products today. i have liver problems and always look up the positive and the NEGATIVE side of all the oils i may or may not use. the beauty business is a several billion dollar industry and they live by the motto of profit over people as do most companies wether it be beauty or food, someone is always getting a big pay-off to keep toxic chemicals continuing in our beauty products and our food products (monsanto is the worse, they do not want us to know what is in our food). this is true and so sad that profit takes place over peoples’ lives. my heart goes out to her. essential oil companies…some of them do warn you…some (the cults in the business) just want to push products to make money, again, profit over people. sad!

        • So monsanto is behind FDA failing to approve EO lol? Is there anything that company cannot do??? Just FYI beauty products are not under FDA jurisdiction just the color additives they use. So you can’t blame the FDA for whatever it is that you are claiming is toxic. They do not regulate and manufacturers are under no obligation to prove what they put in their products are effective. I suspect that whatever beauty product advertising your reading is useless in all cases.

          • christine says:

            lol, if you read it correctly, i did not mention monsanto and oils, lol. i said monsanto and FOOD, no mention of them involved in oils, oh my gosh, i can not stop laughing. wow, do you work for monsanto. i even stated monsanto does not want us to know what is in our FOOD, yes food, not oils, read it again. hey, i just want people to have the right to know what is in EVERYTHING, we as americans should have that right and everything should be tested, chemicals, for food and beauty products. now you have to agree with that. and according to you, nothing is under anyones jurisdiction to regulate, well i see a problem with that then too, dont you. so read it again, and you will see you made an error in quoting me. monsanto is FOOD not oils, read it again. you were probably rushing and got too angry, maybe you should try some eo’s and put them in a diffuser and relax. bless you. i hope you calm down. okay, are you calm, now read it again, see, i told you, no monsanto relation to oils in my comment. smile!

  85. christine says:

    fyi, stephen propatier, fell free to admit your mistake, and yes, i am sure you are sorry, to err is human, to forgive divine, and i forgive you!

  86. Tony says:

    I couldn’t resist adding that leeches are currently used medically (just not for fever reduction), and that there is limited evidence, but ongoing additional research, suggesting that trepanning does increase brain blood flow and can be beneficial.

    • Tony
      Drilling holes in your head is a last ditch preserve brain function surgery when you are going to herniate your brain. It is NOT done as a primary treatment, rather it is used when we have no other choice for obvious reasons… infection-brain damage-hemorrhage. Trepanning was used in the middle ages to let the spirits out. It was done with out regard to physiology or anatomy. It was based upon the ridiculous idea that you had to let evil spirits out. It is about as close to surgical funduscopy as getting hit in the head with a baseball/cricket bat is similar to a craniotomy.
      Leeches have no benefit as a fever reducer. They have a very specific saliva that prevents clotting and it acts a local anesthetic. In certain types of hemorrhagic and vascular compromised wounds they seem marginally superior to other surgical treatments. They are a living organism an cannot be grown completely sterile so the do have complications. Using leeches for a very specific wound condition is certainly helpful.
      That does not therefore mean that bloodletting was helpful or that magic oil is proven beneficial.

  87. Hello Christine, I really like your writing, as the piece is so well researched and also I liked your tone. You are calm with your attitude towards life and can take life with a pinch of salt, good going, keep it up.

    • christine says:

      thank you melissa, i try lol! i always try to help people and people have to realize that we all are one. life gives us all challenges, smile, move on, try your best! i take everything, the good and the bad with compassion and a smile, it is how i live life, bless you.

  88. Michelle says:

    There is so much wrong with your article that I don’t even know where to begin, nor do I have time to pick apart every point. Essential Oils are natural if they are distilled properly. Meaning there should be NO synthetic chemicals in any pure, quality essential oil. They should not be used in place of modern medicine but instead used in conjunction with medicine as a support.

    Lavender is one of the safest essential oils and is not usually sensitizing. It’s one of the few EO’s that CAN be applied undiluted, although that is still not recommended.

    You should not disregard Robert Tisserand for one second. The man is one of the world’s leading experts on essential oils. From his website: I collaborate on projects with doctors, herbalists and pharmacologists. I am familiar with the foundations of oriental medicine, and Western herbal and naturopathic traditions, with their emphasis on cleansing, protecting, strengthening immune function and aiding natural healing processes.” Mr. Tisserand teaches, he writes books, he debunks myths about essential oils and he participates in one of the FB groups that I belong to. Not often, but he does occasionally chime in when we need him to. He is also one of my “friends” on FB although I do not know him personally. My point is that the man is not a quack, he’s highly educated, extremely intelligent and knowledgeable and a very kind man who absolutely promotes safe usage and education

    http://roberttisserand.com/about/robert-tisserand/

    It is true that “therapeutic grade” is a marketing term developed by doTerra. DT and Young Living are the 2 essential oil companies that are called MLM (multi-level marketing) companies and I personally stay FAR away from them. There are many other excellent companies out there that sell amazing essential oils, just as good if not better than DT and YL. They test their oils for purity using GC-MS – Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Any good, reputable company either provides the actual CG-MS of each oil on their website to download OR you can request it from them via email. Gas Chromatography (GC) is a method of separating the volatile compounds in essential oils into individual components and produces a linear graph that charts these components. Mass Spectrometry (MS) identifies each of these components and their percentages. This process is used to identify any adulteration of the essential oil tested. The precise breakdown of the chemical components in individual oils given to us by GC/MS reports are important as the therapeutic benefits and safety issues of essential oils are, in large part, determined by their chemical makeup.

    Purity is essential for potency and safety

    In order for essential oils to have a therapeutic effect we believe they must be pure plant extracts. Adulterated oils or perfume oils will not offer therapeutic effects and may in fact cause allergies, headaches and chemical sensitivities.

    I buy my essential oils from Plant Therapy and Nature’s Gift. There are several other companies that also sell pure, high quality essential oils such as Stillpoint Aromatics, Florihana and Eden Botanicals.

    I have multiple sclerosis and I do NOT use essential oils to try to cure anything. I’ve spent and will continue to spend many, many hours researching essential oils. Robert Tisserand, Dr. Robert Pappas and many other experts in the field of aromatherapy are the type of people that I get my education from. This is not hokey pokey quackery but they do need to be respected due to their potency, should never be applied undiluted, NEVER ingested, never used on very young children or during the first trimester of pregnancy, and NEVER used on cats as they lack the liver enzyme needed to break down certain substances.

    The problem with doTerra and Young Living (one of many problems) is that they still promote the use of essential oils in the ways I just said they should not be used. Both companies received letters from the FDA in Sept 2014 which can be found right on the FDA’s website, telling them to stop making claims that their oils can cure diseases. The whole issue started when DT claimed that a certain oil could cure Ebola!

    Anyway, I just said I don’t have time for this but I feel strongly about people getting a proper education in regards to essential oils and also not discounting their effectiveness. Education and safe usage…take them seriously and don’t use them in place of modern medicine.

    I don’t have time now to proof read all of this so I do hope there aren’t too many mistakes and it’s readable! Thank you 🙂

    • christine says:

      i am glad you said something about not using any oils on cats due to their liver not having the capability to break down certain substances due to the fact that a cats liver is different. they do lack the enzymes to do so. i have liver disease and there are many oils i can not use due to my liver and even if i did not have liver problems, there are so many oils that can affect the liver negatively. i know this page is for people but too many people are poisoning there cats using any products, not just essential oils. THANK YOU for bringing the cat part up!

  89. kelly says:

    I am someone who has been sucked into the world of essential oils, rather hesitantly and now regretfully. I started using several different oils in July. Yes, I bought the starter kit to help a friend with her “pyramid” (which they swear it is NOT). Purchasing this kit made me an automatic “distributor” which I had no interest in and knew I would not be participating in. I decided I would try these oils for myself. Im on a low dose hypertensive medication, which I really do not want to take. Thought I could possibly improve my htn with the help of these oils and supplement drinks. By one month into the oil use (topical and aromatherapy), I developed a sty, something I have never had before. Less than a week later, I had a second sty….IN THE OPPOSITE EYE! Please note, during oil use I NEVER put them on or near my eyes! Wondered if the oils were a contributing factor, but shrugged it off and continued. Now over the past 2 months I have had increase in heavy, thick, oily tears collecting in my lower lids and nasal corners of my eyes. Such thick and abundant tears that they blur my vision….literally, like looking thru oil puddles. Had my ophthalmologist take a look and now I have punctual stenosis. I find it hard to not attribute all these problems to the oils, given the fact that I have never had these issues in my life until one month after starting to use them. As a side note, my BP is still elevated. Im watching a few people I know make a lot of money and spend a lot of money on these oils and Im really struggling with it. They don’t belong dabbling in anyones health. Health = good diet, plenty of water and regular exercise. They bought into these oils, listening to the “testimonials”…..which I feel are fabricated, at least partially.

    • Leanna says:

      These oils are highly concentrated. Your body will absorb these oil and you can have allergic reactions to the oils. Because of the high concentration of the oils, the oils should be diluted in a “carrier” oil and they should not be used every day. Because something is natural does not mean you can not have an allergic reaction. Trees and grass are natural, but many people are allergic to them.

  90. Ashley Reed says:

    Agree with everything being said in the article. I think essential oils are highly beneficial for health and wellness but combining them with other random materials and creating miracle healers is a bad idea. I only use an essential oil diffuser at home to promote a healthy environment!

  91. RS says:

    Thank you. I’m working on a biology degree and I have enough under my belt to spot the BS. Last night my friends mother asked me to come to a wellness event. I was told it wasn’t oil related. Not true. I am now more horrified by the claims that Young Living makes. Apparently at their clinic in Ecuadore they give people with cancer frankensense IV’s as treatment, tell people they have ‘candida’ in their blood, and do some sort of blood test where they ‘read the various strait ions in the cells and the patterns formed as the blood dries on the slide. You read all of that right. I also heard claims that ingested essential oils cross the blood brain barrier and watched them use an oil that was essentially (ha. Pun not intended) goo gone to melt styrofoam. The purpose of that last demostration was to show how the oils break through the bad chemicals surrounding your cells to let in water and nutrients that couldn’t get in before. I was laughing in my head the whole time, then I started crying because this group is using basic scientific terms out of context to confuse people and take their money.

  92. cara says:

    i Love my essential oils. but i am a woman of science first. although they have their purpose and can be helpful, they are not to be mistaken as if straight from an ancient herbalist. They are grown, processed and utilized differently now than they would have been 1000 years ago. My question to you is, i just went to a “xx” class where they were selling this product. One of their named blends allegedly Oxygenated the blood as as you rub it on your veins and you see them puff up. As you do this the rep tells you ‘see, you can actually see the extra oxygen getting into your veins’. Ok. #1 we ‘oxygenate’ our blood everyday and i’ve never seen this happen naturally. #2 how come when i exercise i don’t see this happen? #3 does that mean i have to worry that i may stroke out or burst a vein when i exercise cuz the vessels in my brain are enlarging? In all seriousness, what i’d like to know is why REALLY did the veins ‘puff up’ when you rubbed this on them? is it an irritant?

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Sounds that way. Or it might be an allergic reaction. Without knowing what was in the tincture or whatever, or what you might or might not be sensitive to, it’s basically impossible to know. And with no oversight or regulation, there’s no telling whether what’s listed on the bottle is actually what’s in the bottle.

  93. Jenny Bundt says:

    I enjoyed this article. Although doulas do not claim to be medical professionals, and any doula claiming otherwise is working out of their scope, we are much more than a coach for the birthing process.
    That aside, I completely agree with you on your view about essential oils and the companies that sell them. I am a certified aromatherapist specializing in pregnancy, birth and postpartum and it bothers me greatly to see all these representatives with no formal training selling these oils and making outrageous claims. Not only can they seriously injure an adult, but the fact they advocate for using essential oils neat on children drives me up a wall.
    Essential oils have a place in the medical world and are an amazing alternative to western medicine, but they need to be treated as MEDICINE. Just like any otc medicine there are severe risks when oils are not used properly. They should not be sold, administered or recommended by anyone without formal training. It is insulting to people like myself who put money, time and heart into learning all about it.
    Again, great article. Thank you for posting this.

  94. Connie Mauch says:

    I have been trying to find out if the Doterra products (the products they sell… Shampoo, conditioner, tooth paste….) are toxic. I tried finding the company on the EWG website. But they aren’t listed. Is the EWG a good resource?

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Well, if there was some oversight of what they sell you’d have independent information about whether they’re toxic, what they do and don’t do, what’s in them, and all sorts of useful information for consumers that let them make decisions about the safety and efficacy of a product. Unfortunately, you’re at the mercy of a company with no independent oversight whose sole motivation is to make money. Although a lot of people complain about the problems at the FDA (which definitely has a bunch of problems) at least you know there’s a minimum of public protection and legal recourse in the event that something you get causes you harm.

    • Eric Hall says:

      The problem is we have no way to determine toxicity without knowing the concentrations of the oils. Likely, when not ingested, they won’t be toxic with typical use – because if they were how would they sell more?

  95. Lora says:

    I’m sorry that you don’t prefer a natural effective way to treat yourself and those around you but here is science behind oils. They were around way before western and modern medicine came into practice by big pharma to make money and keep us sick. I’ve been sick my whole life from a poor immune system and doTERRAS oils have kept me away from the dr for months. Plants are natures medicine and they have been a huge help for me. Spiritually, emotionally and physically. And yes they can save you from a trip to the dr and yes they have helped people overcome cancer.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Define “natural.” Also, tell me why I should trust my health to an unregulated multi-level marketing scheme, rather than doctors with scientific evidence and oversight.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      PLEASE STOP TRYING TO SELL DOTERRA PRODUCTS ON THIS WEBSITE.

    • Marian says:

      I know plenty of people who have had success with using EOs. People enjoy the product and as long as they educate themselves, there is no harm in trying. Millions of people die from pharmaceutical drugs and millions are also saved. Regardless of whatever method of healing you want to do, education is key. People carelessly take drugs without looking into what it can do to them long term because they trust doctors and are too lazy to research. To each their own. No sense of arguing and bashing.

  96. I can feel that you really hate the dishonest trader who try to convince people to buy their products by irresponsibly telling a lie about the uses and the origins…. But please calm down, your sharp words can hurt people and make those who’ve experienced great uses of the essential oil feel very bad….

    • Noah Dillon says:

      What about people who were conned into buying this stuff and didn’t experience the purported health benefits they were promised? What if they feel bad? I would think that trying to look out for their health and finances should be a pretty clear demonstration of care for their feelings.

  97. Rob says:

    I am part of a reputable company which sells essential oils. If you want batch information for any oil, you can contact the company; the process is not ‘willy nilly’ for most oil companies. There is plenty of research behind the oils and the usage of them.

    One thing you questioned was the presence of the enzyme in grapefruit which has contraindications with many drugs. I take a blood pressure drug (notice that I am not anti-pharma and have not looked at EOs as a ‘cure all’) which has a contraindication with said enzyme. I approached my pharmacist before using Grapefruit EO and was told that it was of no concern. I use GF EO fairly regularly and keep a running log of my BP with no spikes.

    Oil companies have come a long way since you first wrote your article.

  98. TC says:

    I, too, was skeptical until I started experiencing positive results from using DoTERRA oils. (I DO NOT sell them) and don’t use them for everything. I have used a combo of tea oil, layered with lavender and then peppermint on minor burns on at least three occasions and my results were much better than ice. I has also had great results using their past tense blend for headaches. A word of caution though, great care must be used to not get it in your eyes. My daughter was very ft skeptical but used one of my oils (I forget which) as a repellent for mosquitos. She was shocked at how much it helped. Also, there are some experts (physicians) who use oils. One that I know of is a Brain surgeon. I know this for a fact because he is my cousin’s husband. I’m not writing this to change your mind or for the sake of argument, just sharing my personal experience with the oils. Just as you say their claims are bogus, It seems apparent that you had your mind made up about the oils and set out to justify your opinions. For this reason, not take your word as the gospel on the subject, but they may want to consider it when researching for themselves.

    P.S. I have the same concerns about the grapefruit;; oil as you do and for that reason I would never use it.

  99. chiro says:

    does that mean i have to worry that i may stroke out or burst a vein when i exercise cuz the vessels in my brain are enlarging? In all seriousness, what i’d like to know is why REALLY did the veins ‘puff up’ when you rubbed this on them? is it an irritant?

  100. Natalie says:

    Love this! I’m Mormon, and I feel like doterra stole all of my friends and most of our congregations sanity over night! Everyone is slapping on all these oils and every Sunday I walk in and want to puke because of the smell!!! Not to mention we’ve had a reported case of measles, and several friends have had medical complications from using oils and not going to the doctor, or they think they don’t need vaccines because they can cure any illness with oils! I literally cannot control my face when people try to tell me about the illnesses they have cute with them! In my opinion we should send everyone that sells oils to Africa. When they have eradicated AIDS and Ebola, then I’ll buy some. Or they’ll all die off. Win win.

  101. Thea Weir says:

    I just started using essential oils this past weekend and, for the past two days, starting about 3 hours after I get up in the morning, I have felt drugged. I have not changed any medications etc. Everything else I use, take, ingest, etc, is the exact same. Is it possible to be allergic to the oils and causing me to feel dozy and drugged? I do not drink any but, I do put Frankincense, one drop, under my tongue twice daily. The others I use are PanAway, Copaiba, Thieves and Lavender. The Lavender helps me sleep and I use the others for pain. It works great so am hoping that I don’t have some kind of allergy to them. It just seems strange that all of a sudden I would feel this way.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      If there’s no one regulating the stuff you’re putting in your body then there’s no telling what it is. A recent investigation in New Jersey found that many large supplement manufacturers filled their pills with grass and other unidentified substances. Many of them had absolutely zero of the stuff listed on the bottle inside their supplements. You could be putting drops of frankincense under your tongue—what evidence is there that that’s a good idea? Or it could be any one of a number of other substances. There’s no way to no unless you have it tested and there’s no way to know if it’s safe or not, or to know if it’s effective, without performing clinical trials. If no one’s done anything like that, or determined if there are contraindications, then it’s probably not a good idea to put it in your body.

  102. I agree with you, claiming something is natural doesn’t make it safe all the time for every case. In fact, some people tend to easily distract with the term “natural” and sadly using this term still useful to increase the selling.

  103. Thea Weir says:

    I was putting Frankincense under my tongue, a drop twice daily and the next morning I would feel drugged. So, I stopped doing that but, now, even if I just put it anywhere from my neck up like if I have a headache, etc, I still find I feel groggy the next day and even still feeling a bit drugged. If I don’t use it for a few days, I am fine in the morning. The problem is, no one believes me. They say it is all in my head. I never thought that essential oils would make me feel drugged so, it was never in my thoughts to begin with. It is very upsetting to think that people, who know me very well, would think that it is not true, just in my head. They are telling me that they are natural, so, how could they possibly do that to me. Well, even natural things can affect you adversely. For instance, gravol is supposedly made with all natural things but, if I get a shot of gravol, I get high. Things like children’s cough syrup, which I know is not natural but, it is mild because it is for kids, also makes me high. I really don’t care right now what people say, I am not using them anymore which is a shame because it really helped my headaches. But, I would rather have a headache for a while then spend the whole morning and part of the afternoon feeling groggy and drugged. Not worth it.

  104. Pooter pop says:

    Thank you for this. What bothers me is those big Companies are hyping themselves up so much they make people believe they have come up with something new. And even going to the extreme to make other small business look like their oils are not as good. by saying they are 100% CERTIFIED therapeutic grade. Plants have benefits, we couldn’t live without them but nothing is good when used too much. To make all these claims irritates me to the point of wishing I could scream at my aunt who is a Christian and believes all the hype.

  105. L M. says:

    I do not believe one word of this article its a bunch of crap, junk science. Intelligent people will read this and laugh. I have used several different brands of oils for years never had on single problem. I guess we should all take drugs that are being recalled at a rapid rate and killing people instead huh?

    • Thea Weir says:

      Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect other people. I, for one, always feel drugged after I use it.

    • Any medical treatment that, in fact, carries no risk is useless because it doesn’t do anything. Waiving a magic wand over your head has no problems as well. I wouldn’t recommend it to cure pneumonia. Calling something junk doesn’t in fact make it so. Your opinion while vocal and deriding has no effect upon reality.

    • Pooter Pop says:

      Ughh people are missing the point there… I just can’t anymore. Anything of too much is too much. Holy s**t Incorporate plants into your life. Plants can live without us but we can’t do without plans. Educate yourself on what an essential oil is. Stop overdoing everything, takes away anything that was once beneficial. These big companies may have something good. But are pouring it down peoples throats. Do you seeeee. How many people actually make great money selling these? Only the people on top and the ones who developed it. How many people signed up for these? Well thats how many sales the developers made, then the one or two sales from the suckers who thought they would make a great living… to never be able to make a sale again. Except for the one or two people they found to make one more sale for the people at the top? Get what I am saying? Is there a way to explain that.? Probably but I drank too much peppermint oil.

  106. ma23peas says:

    We all have opinions…if I am near anyone wearing oils, a bottle opened, or those diffusers…I get an instant headache and more than half the time my nasal passages burn. I won’t even know someone has it on, until those effects hit me like a brick. I have probably taken tylenol 1-2x in my life for a headache, I don’t get them often at all..but these oils trigger one every time and it takes hours for it to leave. I am a big proponent of cause/effect relationships…for me, oils are toxins. The friends I have peddling them remind me of the medicine men traveling to towns in the 1800s and all the ladies swarming them for their latest ‘cure’ for what ails you. Nothing is new under the sun….oh, and I was a pharmaceutical rep for many years…a whole ton of Research and development is required for ‘big pharma’ than any scrutiny by the FDA on these products…what a joke.

    • Thea Weir says:

      As I said, it affects different people in different ways. Some it doesn’t bother at all while others, like myself have an adveerse reaction to it. It is just like any medications that the dr may prescribe. There are side affects to probably all of them but, it doesn’t bother all of the people, just some. Anyone who says that oils are good for everybody has no idea what they are talking about. I feel like I have been drugged when I use essential oils. Have no idea why but, I do so, I will never use them again. I can not even diffuse them because it has the same effect. I am happy for the people who can use them and they work but, at the same time, don’t tell me that they are good for everyone because they definitely are not. I completely understand where you are coming from ma23peas.

      • Pat says:

        Thea Weir, I have a best friend that is sooooo obsessed with a certain so called brand name of essential oils for over the last year, that being around her and some of her childern, who are also obsessed with these same oils, make me physically sick from the smell of her/them and her house. But, to be truthful, perfumes make me feel the same way around people who think they smell good bathing in it. I use to hang around my best friend and neighbor when I moved here to retire, I have no interest with her obsession and we are growing apart. Using a product that you are happy with is one thing, but preaching it night and day on how it has changed her life and her health, which to me, she now seems sedated in LA LA land…is not my thing. I am not a believer in essential oils as a subsitute to cure any illness, or the best thing for health and well being, or using it for preventive care.

        I rarely take over the counter drugs, let alone at my age of 58, healthy, with recent CTA scan, I have clear and clean arteries. I don’t need oils or pharma meds for preventive care….In fact my average cholesterol for all my entire adult life has been between 350-430. All my doctors have tried to put me on preventive meds years ago telling me I would not live long enough to be a grandmother ( I am a now grandma!) if I didn’t lower my cholesterol. High Cholesterol is not always a bad thing, it heals my body. I do not need the Pharma companies making up numbers on what is normal cholesterol levels so they can sell their preventive meds.

        As mentioned, I am not a big pharma fan, but my type-1diabetic son would not be alive today if it were not for his medication that pharmaceutical companies “do provide”. What makes me upset, I have a feeling that JDRF is not in a hurry to find a cure for type-1 diabetes, that would hurt the big Pharma, they would loose money on those very meds that people depend on to keep them alive.

  107. Pat says:

    Update…just to mention, these so called EOs preventive care that my best friend and her children swear upon, these last holidays that just past, seems like they all have been, and still are pretty sick….her hubby can’t get over coughing for over a month…..their family got my kids and I sick, which we seem to fight it off much faster then an oil fix….go figure????

  108. Leanna says:

    I have enjoyed your article. I am a registered nurse and I have fallen in love with essential oil. In fact, I have spent a small fortune on the oils. First, I started with the Doterra oils. I was not told about harmful side effects of the oils, but I quickly figured out there are side effects when I applied the oils to my daughter’s abdomen when she had some stomach pain. She complained that the oils burned. I did not think that was right and began to do research of my one.
    Many medications that are prescribed by physicians today are plant based, but they have been tested and regulated by the government. Drugs such as morphine, codeine, atropine, caffeine, and many more come from plants. These drugs are prescribed and used for a medical reason, but they are controlled. When patients are scheduled for surgery, they are told to stop their fish oil because it can act as a blood thinner.
    Just because something is claimed to be natural does not make is safe to use without proper education on the use and Doterra is not educating their clients. Cannabis is a natural plant, but has side effects when used. I was taking care of a patient that had a life-threatening side effect to oranges. One of my favorite essential oils is the orange.
    Long story short, I do love the oils, but they can have positive and negative side effects. People are not educating themselves on the use of the oils and they can be very damaging. They may not have bad side effects, but they need to consider others that may have life threatening allergic reactions.

    • Meme says:

      Just curious, when you put the oil on your daughter did you use a carrier oil? A lot of them need it so they don’t react like that, also others are just too much for certain people like any other product we need to test it to see if there is a reaction.

  109. pat says:

    I want to ask sales reps of DoTerra and YL essential oils, have you honestly lost family and good friends because they are “non believers” in your products and will not sign up as sales reps because they do not want or need to use them?!

  110. Claudia says:

    Thank you for writing this. I also am putting together a post for my blog about this. I AM studying alternative medicine. One where I go to graduate school and earn a master’s degree after 3 yrs. I’m not an expert but it scares me how many people are selling these oils and claiming they’re safe. I’m studying herbs myself (along with acupuncture ) even those aren’t all safe. Just because it’s a plant doesn’t make it safe. They have chemical componentso that make some unsafe if not handled correctly. Like patchouli. But here are people “prescribing ” oils to be ingested for health. Drives me nuts. I’ll post link when I finish my blog.

    • Diana says:

      I appreciate you response to the article. I was exposed to the MLM part of the essential oil business. I believe that the people involved in the MLM’s are almost “cult” like in their behavior. I had looked into studying a natural path when I decided to study aromatherapy. To become a clinical aromatherapist it takes many hours, research and case studies. The people selling the oils get a 15 minute video on how to sell. It’s dangerous what they are doing. I have gotten into more arguements about the use and safety of the oils than you could imagine. I sincerely hope that in the near future there will be licensing of aromatherapists and the distribution of the oils. There is a place for them.

    • Alissa says:

      I want to read your blog!
      I’d love to learn about alternative medicine..but i don’t know where to start because of how saturated the Internet is right now with essential oil enthusiasts who don’t show that they have sufficient knowledge of what they’re writing about. I really want to know it more in depth and be able to more easily navigate through the hearsay.

  111. Alma says:

    I want to think your article is an over reaction to MLM, which I agree I wii nit get involved in one. I would advice you to read carefully, MD web, Pub Med, and Mayo Clinic and you will appreciate a lot of reliable medical research about pure essential oils. I personally, disagree with your lack of scientific conclusions and generalizations about oils. Not oils are pure, not oils are the same.

  112. Pat says:

    Look, now essential oils cure cancer with this new information going around on FB with my Facebook friends who are obbesive with their EOs…”THE HEARTY SOUL”, “The Truth About Cancer and Essential Oil : What no Oncologist Will Tell You”. It is one thing to enjoy them for their smells, but to say to people these are actually facts and have proven scientific truth behind these testimonials, is descusting!!!

  113. Pat says:

    http://theheartysoul.com/cancer-curing-oils/
    Here is their website link info on my last post about curing cancer with Essential Oils now being posted all over FB. Please do not take this info for granted on this link! Do your research!!!

  114. maurice says:

    Has essential oils ever killed anyone? If these oils do kill someone, would it show up in an autopsy? Also what if i suspect someone was killed by these oils but dont have enough evidence, what do i do?

  115. Jamie says:

    Just as an FYI, all of the oils the blog person mentioned (such as melaleuca, lavender and such) to use on children and on skin are all supposed to be mixed with a “carrier” oil such as olive or coconut oil and that is so that they do not cause a reaction or skin sensitivity. In other words, to dilute them.
    In regards to how the plants are processed and where they come from, it is on doTerra’s page. just as you said, each plant can vary in it’s potency and the company gets each plant from it’s original location.
    Not fighting you, just giving you info you probably didn’t know of.

  116. Sister says:

    doterra oils were confirmed tested to have harmful chemical reactions including what is found in round up poison quit lying

  117. Keena says:

    Just a note…. not really disagreeing (much).

    I am… what I call a medical dud. Meaning 9 times out of 10… medicines don’t work right… if they work at all. It’s something nearly all the females in my family have issues with. Normally…. not a problem. However at the age of 12 yrs old I took around twenty 800mg of ibuprofen to reduce extremely painful cramps. The results…. were no reduction in pain (I was informed by our family doctor likely it effected my stomach lining… or would).

    I was the reason my family turned to more natural means for pain relief and more.

    No, I dont just do teas and oils. What I do… is a mixture. I try leaving things alone… then if that doesn’t work, I try a home remedy (oils, teas…. )…. and when none of that seems to work – which can happen I try meds.

    My situation is… well not common from what I get.

    I don’t but into DoTerra’s full disclaimer… I like how stronger some of the few oils they have are. But I won’t go broke for a slight increase in quality. Nor do I trust them in all they say…. this company is new, about 6 or 7 years old. I have been using essential oils longer (nearly 20 years)…. I don’t claim oils prevent all or fix all. Nor do they react the same on all people, cause we aren’t the same…. each of us have (if only) slight chemical differences that make this work, not work, work better…or even work adversely.

    Using oils, if done right is being a bit of a scientist. You have to be willing to test, trial and error what works, what doesn’t… etc.

    However…. don’t ever just use any oil on you child. There are a lot of affects any oil, even tea can have (like with medicines). Research, double check, get as much information as you can…. as you would about anything else you might give your kids. Then if you make the choice to ever use an oil on your kids…. dilute the oil, watch them closely…. better yet get a doctors advice about classic (non-med, non- homepthic methods – do those first and formost, try to avoid any oils with kids if you can unless (like in my case, it was the one thing that worked).

    Best advice, research, learn…. and don’t take one company’s words as facts. Look into things, question them… always.

  118. Joan says:

    My question is what happens to the diffused oil in the long run? I’ve been diffusing oils for a couple hours almost daily in the bedroom for a little over a year. I just noticed there seems to be oily residue on the mirror that is about 14 feet away from the diffuser. Could it be from the essential oils? Do the oils eventually coat surroundings?

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Possibly. Possibly not. It could just be regular household gunk. Or it could be built-up oil from the excess essential oil you’ve put into the air in that area. And if it’s building up on the mirror, what are you breathing?

      Diffused oils are vaporized. They don’t disappear. They just get turned into small, floating particles.

  119. Essential Oil User says:

    Wow! For someone so “educated in science” you seem to be missing any evidence for your arguments against the claims made by this blogger. It seems to be your opinion against hers.

  120. Jackson says:

    I think they should follow their own criteria when making statements.

  121. E.S. Nielsen says:

    I wish the real effects of essential oils were the ones that came up first when people searched them. I was introduced to essential oils 13 years ago. I was training to be a massage therapist and my instructor used them in her carrier oils on her clients. Since then I have used them and studied them and at no point in time did I ever think “I should ingest this” or “I should rub this on my kids” I have three kids and I do not use essential oils on them. No way. But I did want to mention this in hopes it will prevent anyone else from doing it. The month of December 2015 my father died. He was dead for 44 minutes. His heart was toast. (Years of smoking) he came back and the hospital saved him. But not without my Aunt making their job more difficult. My father was hooked to an ECMO machine and had 24 hour care from the ecmo tech and an RN. They were controlling all of his body he had 19 bags dripping through his IVs. We’re talking control over the temperature of his blood, sugar, insulin, everything. They had him sedated so they could keep him cool and keep this brain from swelling. They were breathing for him. I mean he was existing because of the hard work the hospital staff put in. My Aunt walked in while he was in his medical induced coma (after dying for 44 minutes) and put essential oils on him! Essential oils do effect the body and have drug interactions. I wish science could prove exactly what oils do to the body. As far as I’m concerned what she did deserves jail time. Do not ever put these oils on someone with a serious medical condition. He ended up having a series of changes take place after the oils were on him that were bad changes and caused the staff to adjust the 19 bags he was already getting and add more to control his body. I have not spoken to my aunt since I have never been so disgusted with someone in my life. The oil pushers who get their info from the reps above them and these MLM oil companies need to be regulated and as far as I am concerned shut down. I stopped using essential oils and moved to whole herbs years ago. The majority of healing and care we can give others comes from the food we provide them to nourish their bodies with. If you’re a mom ditch the essential oils and start paying attention to the food you’re putting before them. I absolutely hate that so many are using essential oils on their kids and ingesting them daily.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Science can demonstrate the effects of essential oils on the body, and there’s probably some research in this area already. One issue is that if you’re buying an unregulated product you can’t be sure that science about those effects will be of any use to you. Last year, an investigation in NY found that retailers of several supplements were selling pills made of grass, sawdust, chalk, etc., which had none of the ingredients listed on their labels. You’re certainly not going to get a straight answer or any science from a multi-level marketer or anyone else in an industry with no oversight and a lot of bad actors, with no science and claims of medical miracles. Those people are vultures who are far more interested in making money than whether or not their products do anything or have the potential to harm people, such as your father. In many cases they’re probably harmless. But if you don’t know, it’s probably not a good idea to eat them or use them topically or whatever.

  122. stacie says:

    This was quite entertaining, although I guess there are people who don’t know anything at all about essential oils and need to know that it’s important to read about the PROPER use of them (like any medicine or health aid) and know (like with any medicine or health aid) that they will have different variations of results in different people, and (like with any medicine or health aid) if you are on medicines, you have to research possible drug interactions. So, no, essential oils are not dangerous. People’s ignorance is. Essential oils are a LOT less dangerous and have LOTS fewer negative side effects than medicines when properly used. This article was written for people without common sense. lol

  123. Ana Maafala says:

    You are coming from your experience doesn’t mean that it’s true. Idk if your representing the pharmacy companies or what but even the FDA passes and okays products that are totally dangerous for us. I do know about doterra oils that have tremendously benefited my mother who has dementia and alheimzers! The side affects of those meds are worse then then sickness itself. There are options out there that ppl have a right to choose from. I was also blessed to know the truth about cancer. But because the big pharmacy companies are not apart of it, they try keep it quiet. People do your research and DO NOT MAKE A CONCLUSION THIS. Thank God for the truth.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      This isn’t about experience, it’s about data and safety: no data exist supporting the health claims of essential oil purveyors and there’s no regulation that ensures their purity or safety for customers. Last year, a massive investigation of health supplements in New York revealed that many were filled with junk like grass and chalk and stuff, with none of the active ingredients listed on the labels of several brands. There are problems with the FDA process, sure. But it’s still far safer than completely unregulated chemicals being sold by who knows who.

      Please rest assured that Skeptoid is a nonprofit blog with volunteer writers. Why would this be the front where the pharmaceutical industry tries to make its stand? That makes no sense. Maybe you’re being paid by the essential oil industry, which is a nearly $12 billion industry with zero safety oversight and a lobbying arm that would make your head spin. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA0wKeokWUU Many of them operate as multi-level marketing schemes, like Doterra, which basically bilks people as their business model. And go ask any diabetic, AIDS patient, or cancer survivor whether the side effects of their medications are worse than the disease itself. I mean really. Give me a break.

  124. Pat says:

    Why would anybody buy Young Living oils from a D (not doctor) Gary Young who killed his newborn infant during childbirth? D Gary Young opened up medical Clinics and told his patients that his essential oils would cure all their ailments that he alone had diagnosed, state of Calif close him down. D Gary Young’s College degrees were bought without merit. D Gary Young had his doctoral license pulled and cannot practice medicine….. if anyone thinks that his oils are the Messiah of everyones cures, I think you ingested to much of them.

  125. Ammy says:

    Hi Eric Hall,
    Thank you for your nice thought. Its very important to know about the side effect of this oil. I hope every and each people accept it and share the information to others. This claim is not for the beauty this claim about health about safety. Thank you again.

  126. Really interesting to see all the healthy debate around oils and their applications. It’s a real interest of mine and I have spent over an hour reading all the claims and counterclaims on this single blog post!
    So much out there to explore on this topic! For mine, I just like the invigorating smells and how tey are less toxic than burning incense.

  127. Hayley Brown says:

    I loved and appreciated this post. I am a green and natural beauty blogger so I focus on natural products rather than chemical for our skin. I am also an aromatherapist in massage and relaxation. I do believe that certain oils provide medical benefits but never in place of real medicine from a doctor. I also have never heard of therapeutic grade and it is absolutely not safe to ingest essential oils. It annoys me how misled people are by oils. Natural yes but safe to drink no. Always dilute in a carrier oil before even putting on your skin.

    Ridiculous

  128. Stephanie says:

    I disagree with most of what is written here–not all. It’s mostly bs to me. Especially lavender being dangerous to your skIn!!! How does life not count as experience? Doctors do not know about nutrition either. Mrs study nutrition less than two weeks.

    A disappointing stab at slamming the essential oil field.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Life counts as experience, it just doesn’t count as scientific evidence. The bulk of scientific evidence shows that essential oils provide no benefit, might be harmful, and are unregulated curatives being hocked by people who don’t really know or care what they’re selling. Essential oils are a multi-billion-dollar industry and they don’t treat anything but stress. They’ve got lobbyists and they sell snake oil.

      • Geo Coggins says:

        do some research on terpenes and their immediate effect on the brain. the majority of chemicals found in essential oils are mostly terpenes

  129. Michelle says:

    Looking at the pubmed link for “lavender” and it’s constituents, they used lavindin. Lavindin is a part of the lavender family, but has very different properties than lavender. If the bottle said lavender on it, the company used lavindin to adulterate the product.

  130. Christine Carroll says:

    I began using peppermint and rosemary essential oils in a diffuser about 5-6 weeks ago. I have had throat and chest inflammation and muscle soreness, cramps in neck and headaches etc for the past 3-4 weeks. Almost feel like flu symptoms but no cough.
    Can essential oils cause allergic reactions? Are you aware of similar problems in ither users? Thank you

  131. Josh says:

    The medicinal marijuana world is moving ahead with similar compounds. Terpenes are not isolated and sold to flavour concentrates. I was looking at LD50 ratings and the ones sourced from cannibis are expensive but not harmful. What about exposure over long time? How does science test for something that won’t kill you immediately?

    • Noah Dillon says:

      It tests that kind of thing with longitudinal studies. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence now that long-term marijuana use will kill you, no matter the terpene content.

    • Geo Coggins says:

      this is exactly what i pointyed out in my comment below. thank you for being another voice of reson here

  132. Sophie Lewis says:

    How refreshing to read your description, because our commercial world is making claims that I find are totally unacceptable, if you have any further information please would you be able to forward it onto my email, my principal at my college I’m currently studying has found this very interesting, thank you

  133. barbalou says:

    I have A Fib, diabetes and use oxygen at night. There are several stress factors in my life and do not sleep like I should as well. These oils have been recommended. I take amiodaron, metformin, synthroid and HCTZ. What oils might interfere with these medications as well as being dangerous with the oxygen use.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Ask a doctor. Why would you ask anonymous strangers on an Internet comment thread for medical advice? They could be fools, they could be teenagers trolling you, they could be malicious nuts, or just plain mistaken. And you could be in serious trouble if they’re wrong. If you want medical advice, ask someone with actual medical training.

  134. Geo Coggins says:

    there are many studies being done now in the medical and scientific fields regarding terpenes i suggest you look into such, here is one quick write up on the subject but terpenes most certainly do have medicinal and beneficial effects tho i never suggest using any essential oil internally or topically(aside from lemonbalm for cold sores. oddly enough essential oils are used by medical doctors in europe for various issues so i cant say its all BS, only by american standards.)

    http://www.fundacion-canna.es/en/terpenes

    https://www.alchimiaweb.com/blogen/marijuana-terpenes-effects/ im sure you can find more in dept scientific studies with your knowhow 🙂

    • Noah Dillon says:

      Yes. Like turpentine, an excellent source of terpenes. Or lacquer also has a lot of terpenes. Some Buddhist monks would eat that and drink from arsenic-tainted streams when the were ready to commit suicide, so that their corpse would be preserved.

      • Geo Coggins says:

        well yes if your a complete idiot and decide to ingest toxic terpenes or massive doses but i assume anyone putting something into their body would research the subject extensively first

  135. Shelby says:

    I love this article because it’s clear to me this writer has false data. Nice try. I guess next, you’ll have to convince John Hopkins University that they should not have chose DōTERRA oils to do all their research with. Best of luck.

  136. I actually work in the industry with one of the aforementioned companies named and see quite often overly enthusiastic (which is good) distributors spouting off every claim that they can think of without actually taking the time to learn about essential oil safety and more importantly, critical thinking (which is very bad).

    The message from leaders in these groups needs to be do your research before you start shooting your mouth off. Ive heard things from my company that I disagree with and therefore do not pass along to others. Ive actually stopped ‘shooting from the hip’ messages from corporate until the research is done first.

    Its unfortunate but critical thinking is not something that most people do.

    Keep up the good work

  137. Eric says:

    Your post is a mostly accurate representation. The claims that are made (especially by the Big 2 in the Essential Oil field) are questionable at best and dangerous at worst. They claim cures and 100% safety of all oils for all people in all applications.

    Additionally, the term “Natural” does not require 100% natural. Same with Organic. buyers must be cautious here. I also like that you pointed out the patented phrase from DoTerra. That”s a laugh. You are 100% correct that “natural” does not mean “Safe”. EO’s are extremely strong compounds and some can even be fatal if not used properly. The can react with body chemistry and drugs in ways that people do not understand. Knowing how to use them and confirming safety with you physician is very important.

    All that being said, I do disagree with the premise that EO’s do not have documented therapeutic Properties and benefits. There are many studies that have been done to look at the benefits of EO’s. My girlfirend is becoming a Certified Aromatherapist and her school is actually a Medical school. Her degree is in Complimentary Alternative Medicine. So, I can speak to this.

    I agree 100% that there is variability in products, even from a single company. These products are not controlled to that level, that is why they do not have to be registered as “medications”. However, there is significant analytical research as well as studies of the underlying chemical components as to the therapeutic benefits they have. for example, the menthol content pf peppermint has the same benefits as artificial menthol. In fact, many OTC products use Mentha Piperta as an ingredient for the menthol content. The menthol has benefits. My mother’s physician has ordered pure EO’s for digestive assistance.

    EO’s, Herbs, and other products as well as medications, have their places. Not everyone needs a prescription medication to address every minor condition. But caution and knowledge are ciritical. Most people selling EO’s are not competent. make sure you are working with a Certified Aromatherapist or at least someone in the process of getting their certification. Just because you got a Book from DoTerra doesn’t make you an expert. AND, just because there was a recipe on the web doesn’t make it safe.

  138. C.o says:

    If I have a headache, I think it’s far less dangerous to just endure it till it’s gone, instead of taking a drug! (Tylenol) I agree with most of what you said, except that. Obviously we’ve become a society that can take no pain at all, so we turn to drugs. Wouldn’t it be better to have a headache momentarily than suffer long term side effects from drugs? I just don’t see how oils could be any worse than pushing drugs everytime we have an ‘owie’.

    • C.o says:

      just want to clarify, again; I agree with you about this oil nonsense. I also see people touting them as cure-alls, and at times it is embarrasingly ignorant. My point is that I don’t believe medicines, that give numerous side effects are safe, either. I’m no expert, but it would seem to me that the body, in time; would build up an immunity against these drugs, and they would cease to be able to have as much effect on pain.

    • Noah Dillon says:

      If you don’t want to take drugs then don’t take oils either. I don’t understand. Chemicals in one are supposed to help you, chemicals in another are supposed to provide the same relief. Maybe you don’t need oils for your “owie.” Maybe you’re unable to take any pain at all, so you turn to the drugs in oils.

  139. michelle says:

    Four years of suffering with an ear infection and taking EVERY antibiotic under the sun…graduating to Cipro…(which has two black box warnings, and a class action suit against it for harming sooo many people) Luckily I only took one Cipro as I didn’t realize just how dangerous a toxic drug this was…

    Lucky for me an MD familiar with the oils and world known…yelled at me that Cipro was a deadly drug..
    he told me how to use my therapeutic grade essential oils (14 years ago) to combat this deadly ear sinus infection. Within one and a half weeks…this life threatening problem was completely resolved…

    I am sure I would be dead from brain disease…had I not heard about the oils.
    Have also witnessed oral cancer completely reversed within 1 month with therapeutic grade essential oils and the list goes on and on….

    Therapeutic grade essential oils are not synthetic as the toxic drugs…I am sorry…there is a vast and life saving difference. Educate yourselves…please…it may save your life or someone you love!

  140. Adriene says:

    I’m glad to see this article and someone who isn’t riding on the “fools bandwagon.

  141. Alissa says:

    Hi Eric Hall,
    I’m maddened, too, by all those blogs that keep popping up with unsupported claims. Essential oil related or not. Sometimes it’s so blatantly obvious that the person writing is insufficient in their knowledge on the topic, like your example of not knowing that viruses can’t be treated by antibiotics. But so often it’s too difficult to navigate because we (readers like myself) are just (or at best: nearly) as scientifically or knowledgeably inept as the writer.
    I like essential oils, at least for their smell. I’d like to be more knowledge of them and better know how to avoid false claims and get to the bottom of what is true. Really this goes beyond essential oils–i’d really just like to be a better researcher in general.
    Do you have any tips on where to start? Maybe some good starting places for things to learn?
    I’m beginning to feel stuck, because the Internet has grown so excessively filled with opinionated writers…I don’t know how find good sources anymore. And often times, when i do happen to find an official source that feels like a good lead to what i’m trying to understand, i can barely understand it because of my lack of knowledge.

  142. Cyndi Charles says:

    Does inhaling the young living pet antibiotic ointment hurt a person smelling it and would that cause harm if on medication for anxiety such as clonazepam

  143. Cheriekah says:

    I enjoyed this article. I got booted out of another essential oil group today because I had the audacity to challenge the admin on a claim that she had no science for so instead she deletes my comments and blocks me to safeguard her bullshit party plan bubble. It maddens me after having studied science and now studying health science at the level of ignorance and risks mothers are taking with their bodies, their babies and families. They are like a cult, your either in, or your ostracised and they will form a rally against you and destroy you if you even question them about essential oils and their safety!

    • Noah Dillon says:

      I heard a woman hard selling a person standing next to her at the grocery store, trying to get the acquaintance to sign on as her client in an essential oil multi-level marketing scheme. It was really gross.

      • STEPHANIE says:

        That’s sad. However, the HPV vaccine promotes getting vaccinated without your parents permission and was promoted via a $100 million dollar campaign. HPV vaccines have harmed and killed thousands and no one is going to jail or held accountable for those injuries and deaths. I guess that person needs to be flogged in the street for using MLM. What should we do to the killer vaccine manufacturers?

    • STEPHANIE says:

      Cheriekah,

      Have you used the essential oils? Have you used pharmaceuticals? Have you found a death from essential oils? Have you found a death from pharmaceuticals? You can ask me any question about essential oils and like everything in life, one size does not fit all. Health Science has flaws just check out their science papers. I’ve read tons and nothing is certain with health accept the chance to try and help stay alive.

  144. Myrian says:

    Lavender is not harmful when left on the skin. My hospital uses it to calm the skin when patients have allergies to other applications! As for DoTerra they can’t assure their oils are pure they don’t use their own farms to know this

  145. Christina Birdsong says:

    I believe essential oils have their place when one is informed on the science behind them and the proper application. For instance it is well known in the medical literature that researchers are looking at Frankincense Oil as a possible treatment for some cancers.
    Peppermint oil should never be used on children. It can be an irritant to the lungs.
    As for the “doula with no medical training,” I am a Doula and I had a lot of medical training. Nurses are not doctors and doulas are not nurses or doctors but we ARE trained for our specific field. Doulas help reduce the chance of a C-section by about 40%. We can help get labor started again when it stops. We can help relieve mom’s discomfort in labor. We assist with breast feeding, help babies move from breech positions, and more. Much more. We must pass not just a national exam but an international exam to become certified.

  146. Jenn says:

    Great artical. I actually just lost a friend over this, she actually told me to get out of her life because I didn’t buy her oils… I think it’s also dangerous to the point of becoming a cult. She is doing MR. Young s company, young living. , and I say Mr, because we all know, he is not a Doctor.

    • Melissa Hutchins says:

      I thought I had made a good new friend, until she tried to push her oils on me. When I didn’t buy into it, she quit talking to me. Simple as that.
      Our budget is tight and we don’t have room to purchase these insanely expensive oils!
      Sorry to hear you were affected by these cult-like behaviors also. Its a bit scary.

  147. Sarah says:

    Like any remedy for anything from a “doctor” or a “naturopath” or your grandmother nothing is a be all end all. If you are really sick, go to the doctor, but pharma drugs have side effects too and I like to avoid them if I can, but understand sometimes they are necessary. The peppermint and lavender stuff are photo sensitive. You need to mix them with a carrier oil like coconut for this reason, like most skin products do that use them (and there are a bajillion so to say lavender is dangerous is silly.) Lemon oil is a natural antibacterial. I’d much rather clean with that than cancer causing bleach. Eucalyptus is a natural antimicrobial. I’d much rather disinfect the air with that than cancer causing chemical aerosols. If this was “bull” naturopaths would be out of a job, and yes THOSE people train for 8-12 years like any doctor. Personally it works wonders for my anxiety. I diffuse chamomile and lavender by my bed every night, sometimes clary sage. I carry some with me and rub behind my neck to ward off attacks. That and some meditation has really kept me from big pharma and off anti anxiety meds which are super addictive and put holes in your brain. Now if it didnt work, I would go to the doctor, but it has…. and its not placebo…. everything doesnt work for everyone, and if its not working, go to the doctor, dont be stupid, but they do help for a lot of things and arent a bunch of hocus pocus.

    • Eric Hall says:

      How can you be so confident that the chemicals in your oils don’t cause cancer?

      Psychics are also bull, but they are not out of jobs. Why? Because people choose to confirm their biases rather than looking at evidence.

      • Janice Lyons says:

        An excellent way to begin to understand this would be a presentation paper by James E. Alcock in the book “Science Meets Alternative Medicine — What the Evidence Says About unconventional Treatments,” edited by Wallace Sampson and Lewis Vaughn. {Available on Amazon}. Alcock, a professor of psychology at York University in Canada, looks at the psychology of belief. It is worth the read, as are many of the other presentations.

        The book is a collection of presentations given at a conference put on in Philadelphia (around 2000, I think) by CSCOP, the Scientific Review of Medicine, and the Mclean Contributorship of Philadelphia.

      • Mark says:

        What chemicals are you referring to Eric?

  148. Bridging the Gap says:

    I don’t think you really get the Natural Solutions thing. No one is claiming that Natural Solutions are a cure they are claiming that they assist your body to get to a point where the body can heal itself. And it can. Also, the reason that an essential oils can help with influenza and a virus when an antibiotic cannot is because it has the ability to penetrate the cell wall which antibiotics cannot. I am not against modern medicine and think it is time to bridge the Gap and that actually is happening. Johns Hopkins is testing 7 (doTERRA) essential oils to help fight the superbug and other ailments and findings will be released this year (2017). Also Harvard MDs have been attending various Essential Oils National Conventions to research the therapeutic properties of Essential Oils and Natural Solutions. CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a trademark of doTERRA. Let me explain why they created that trademark. They wanted to raise the benchmark so they send every liter of their oil to be tested at a third party lab. If they do not meet the purity and potency benchmark they are rejected. They are not secretive about the fact that the CPTG trademark is their creation. Also, there have been a multitude of testing done on Natural Solutions, but the FDA does not recognize them. A good education would be to get your hands the webinar series call “The Truth About Cancer” it is eyeopening.

    • N.E.S. says:

      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-truth-about-cancer-series-is-untruthful-about-cancer/

      I have way too many friends and family being sucked into the essential oil/anti-vaxx propoganda lifestyle. It’s scary and dangerous. And it’s going to take something really bad happening to open people’s eyes. I just hope someone I love isn’t seriously hurt.

      • Melissa Hutchins says:

        I agree with you. I am a mother of a young girl and have always wanted the best for her and our whole family, but I’ve been duped. I started to get into essential oils and found not only no tangible benefits, but watched money go down the drain (not much since I’m a skeptic at heart). We were actually the most sick we have ever been last winter. That is when I started diffusing essential oils daily. I’m not presuming to know that the oils caused it, but they certainly didn’t help whatsoever.

        I had to remind my mother over and over again that we will NOT be skipping vaccinations. She encouraged me repeatedly to look at info discouraging vaccinations and I had to really put my foot down and tell her it’s none of her business.
        It is downright scary how fast things travel on the internet, whether or not they are based on truth. I really don’t believe doctors try to keep us sick or are only there to make money off of us. We really need access to good medical care.

        Blogging moms are the worst! They dole out “truths” like candy when they have no medical training or even half-qualified reason for saying what they do. They just spread the natural-life propoganda because their other favorite blogger told them so!

        Ugh….I’ve definitely fallen victim because I’ve wanted what’s best, but I’m not buying it at all anymore and I refuse to let me family suffer because some blogger mom made me feel guilty. I am so tired of hearing the word “toxic”, too.

    • STEPHANIE says:

      I went to the research page on John Hopkins and did not find the essential oils research. They were awarded $16 million dollars to find alternatives to antibiotics; however, that was not a direct link to research essential oils. Do you have a link to the actual study?

      I’m a big fan of essential oils and I’ve personally seen them work in my life.

      Thanks,

      Stephanie

  149. Chad says:

    Thank you for this article. There needs to be more people in the scientific community cautioning about essential oils. As a massage therapist, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs because I refuse to work with them. Essential oils have infiltrated the entire massage/spa industry, and it’s deeply frustrating. Spas are basically forcing their employees to use these oils on a daily basis and we have no idea the long-term effects of chronic exposure. My main concern is that the little research that has been done on essential oils has shown them to have antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties. They’re essentially antibiotics. That’s what most of the proponents of essential oils talk about, that science has shown them to be powerful antibiotics. Has anyone stopped to question whether its a good idea to expose yourself and your family to antibiotics on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis? Not a good idea. I have a very integrated approach to healthcare, and I use alternatives if possible, but if I need an antibiotic (there are situations that surely warrant them), I’m going to stick with a prescription over an essential oil, but only If there’s a critical need for one. Antibiotics have been shown to disrupt and destroy gut flora. There’s a lot of current research showing the importance of healthy gut flora for immunity, mental health, controlling inflammation, and many critical bodily functions. It’s frightening to think how much damage these oils could potentially be doing to people, deteriorating mental health in the process. Pharmaceutical antibiotics are far more specific when targeting certain bacterial strains. Plant based antibiotics, and most likely essential oils, do not discriminate in what they kill. I think these oils are probably doing far more damage to gut flora then the prescription variety. There are a few people I work with that use these oils all day and even take them internally. I’ve noticed a gradual decline in their general well-being and serious negative changes in their personality. Unfortunately, essential oils are basically drugs with antioxidant properties. Meaning that people actually get a high or a rush from them, which creates the illusion of good health because you feel good after applying them or even inhaling them. However, research has shown that after this initial high, these powerful chemicals begin to kill cells, even ripping apart mitochondria. That doesn’t sound like a path to good health to me.

    Gut flora: http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/gut-microbiota-physiology-04500.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BreakingScienceNews+%28Breaking+Science+News%29

    Evidence of cytotoxicity :http://www.bashaar.org.il/files/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%95%D7%97%D7%A7%D7%A8%20-%20%D7%94%D7%A0%D7%9E%D7%9C%D7%94%202.pdf