Essential Oils for Beginners: Part 1

part 1

My interest in essential oils began with the discovery of Pinterest when I googled “eczema”.  That lead to an ongoing journey through a vast world of information (some good, some bad, some potentially misleading).

The volume of online information about essential oils is mind boggling!  I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon without it being clear in my own mind about what kind of outcome I wanted from using essential oils, how they should be used for the best results, the cost/quality of oils I would eventually invest in, and researching the safety of these oils. This ultimately included looking into the companies that are selling these oils.  I thought I would share my observations as a consumer with you.

My first question as I surfed the net is how do you know what’s true and works and what’s rubbish and total misinformation?  There are so many sites that are obviously biased depending on which company is being promoted, especially if they are selling oils themselves as a little side business. The MLM distributor sites in particular are very similar in the information they present, so I can only assume they are presenting company marketing materials.  What annoys me on Pinterest is that when you click on a photo that is supposedly sharing a recipe or information, you are instead directed to a page to sign up to be an MLM (multi-level marketing ) distributor or to a site that has nothing to do with the photo.  Very misleading, but a clever hook to get you to click on  their site.

Moving along in my quest for information, I like to read the comments in article/blog posts. Commenters usually have lots of positive feedback and often provide additional information that is very helpful. However, I also noticed that some people are very passionate about their oils and usage beliefs to the point of dismissing any other possibilities and rationalizing obvious inconsistencies and outright mistruths.  Some of the comments are quite nasty and come off like personal attacks towards the authors which is totally uncalled for. This is very troubling and raises even more questions in my mind.  Bias is obviously an issue in uncovering true facts.

Further searching found sites that espouse the term “therapeutic grade” when it turns out to be nothing more than a trademarked phrase invented and certified by certain multi-level marketing (MLM) companies.  Since there is no organization that oversees therapeutic quality, the term is meaningless to my mind and is only a marketing ploy.  What’s also troubling is that other companies are also using the term to describe their essential oils knowing that there is no such certification.  I’ve also seen oils described as “therapeutic grade” to indicate that they are also “food grade”.  Talk about confusing things even more!  That raises a red flag to me to keep looking for more unbiased information.  To my mind, the benefits of essential oils should be described as being “therapeutic” in how they help the body and mind rather than being used as a term to give a false purity grade that ultimately means nothing to the consumer.

(from merriam-webster)

therapeutic

Then there are sites and companies that encourage ingesting oils.   There are tons of pins on Pinterest suggesting that drops of certain essential oils be added to water for everything from weight loss, curbing sugar cravings and boosting metabolism to acting as an anti-depressant and managing blood pressure.  This is bizarre since it is basic science that oil and water don’t mix, so you’d literally be swallowing undiluted, full-strength oils and possibly cause internal damage.  These same sites also endorse applying oils on the skin undiluted straight from the bottle.

And finally, there are sites that are filled with recipes for a multitude of ailments that may or may not work. For example, lemon-peppermint liver flush instructions, cough drops, sore throat remedies, acid reflux/heartburn solutions, hangover relief cocktails, eye drops, and creams to help with scars, eczema, acne, aging, hormones, cancer etc. It almost seems too good to be true!  There appears to be all kinds of people out there who believe these remedies work and have no hesitation in swallowing EOs daily and applying these oils on their bodies undiluted, in spite of the reports that people have been hurt by these practices.  There must be a happy median where common sense prevails and the benefits of essential oils be utilized without harm and believing in false propaganda.

There is certainly no denying the popularity and hype of essential oils.  Since the industry isn’t regulated, it is up to the consumer to do their homework and be clear in their own mind what their own choices will be.  That is my plan as I continue my research.

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