This blog post has been rewritten and all photos changed in order to be compliant with the FDA as well as to attempt to get the EO company that I used to be affiliated with in the past from sending my non-compliant emails. If you have any questions regarding this post or essential oils, please contact me via email. All photos are stock photos found on Google Images and as generic as I could find.
My family has been using essential oils for the past couple of years. I get asked lots of questions about oils all the time. I have been asked to write a post on essential oils for months now….It has not been an easy one for me to write.
Before I get into the post, let me get this out of the way….
I AM BY NO MEANS AN EXPERT IN ESSENTIAL OILS, NOR DO I CLAIM TO BE. I DO NOT HOLD ANY TYPE OF DEGREE OR PHD. I WILL NOT TOLERATE BASHING OF ANY KIND WITH THIS POST. TAKE THE INFO FROM THIS POST AND DO WITH IT WHAT YOU WILL. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FDA DOES NOT ENDORSE OR MONITOR ESSENTIAL OIL COMPANIES. PLEASE USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s begin with a history lesson shall we?
Time Line of Essential Oils Throughout History:
The first recorded use of plants, herbs, oils for medicinal and everyday life was actually discovered in cave paintings in France dating all the way back to 18,000 BCE.
Egyptians in 4,500 BCE, were among the first to write down their use of plants, herbs, and oils in religion, death, cosmetics, medicines, food preparations. They often traded things using oil in place of gold.
China in 2,697-2,597 BCE, Emperor Huang Ti, wrote about oils in his book “The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine”. This book is still used today in Eastern medicine.
Indian Medicine has over a 3,000 year history of using herbs and oils for healing. Vedic literature has over 700 herbs and plants recorded that are still used for healing today. It is also known as the VedaIndian Ayurvedic (Ayur Veda for short) medicinal system today.
Greeks in 400-500 BCE, took knowledge of oils from the Egyptians and began using it to heal. It was often used in baths and massages. Soldiers carried oils with them into battle to help stop infections. Hypocrites documented over 300 plants and their oils. He is also known for combining the Greek way of healing with the Indian Ayur Veda way of healing.
Galon, personal physician to the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, created the Galenic Theory of medicine that is still used today. The Galenic Theory was a way of healing using herbs and oils that were divided into various medicinal categories based on their healing properties. It is said that when he was the surgeon for the Roman Gladiators that not one ever died.
The Arabian Empire took from all the teachings of those that they traded with (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Indians) . Persian physician Avicenna (980-1,037 AD) is credited with perfecting the distillation process of essential oils and even wrote books on over 800 plant effects on the human body that are still used today.
Between the 5th and 15th century, Monks used oils when bathing was considered a sin by the church. Kings and royalty sent out expeditions to find oils to use as precious perfumes. During the times of the plaques it was said that in cities where essential oils were used, that the amount of people that died were significantly less. Knights carried oils and herbs with them to fight the plaque and other illness and diseases.
14th century to the 17th century, physicians used oils and herbs to treat illness. Society used essential oils as perfume.
Essential oils were rediscovered by Rene – Maurice Gattefosse, in 1937, a french chemist, who severely burned his hand in a laboratory fire. Having only undiluted pure lavender essential oil to use to treat his badly burnt hand, he discovered the pain was eased immediately and that the lavender essential oil helped to heal his hand without any infections or scarring. He then started to analyze the chemical properties of essential oils and how they were used to treat burns, skin infections, gangrene, and wounds in soldiers during World War I. He also founded the science of aromatherapy.
During World War II, oils were used to treat injured soldiers.
In the 1950’s, Marguerite Maury started diluting essential oils in a carrier oil for massages.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, essential oils started to regain popularity with those choosing a more homeopathic way of life.
How Oils Are Made:
Most oils are distilled in a single process. Low-heat steam distillation is a process in which steam is circulated under pressure through plant material. The essential oils are combined with the steam. As the steam mixture cools, the water and oil separate naturally. The oil is collected. In this method both the temperature and the pressure are monitored very closely.
Some oils, such as citrus oils, are squeezed from the plant through a process of compression.
Some of the plants (often flowers) are too volatile to be distilled or cold pressed. These oils are extracted using solvents that bind with the oils. These solvents are later removed from the final product.
All essential oils were originally cold pressed before the discovery of distillation.
Testing & Purity Of Oils:
Every oil company tests their oils with their own independent lab to make sure of the purity of the oil. Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA. So, it is up to the individual company to test for certain things. The companies will keep a certain amount of bottles (often called a “lot”) that are numbered and held for quality assurance purposes. This way when a private test is done or the oils are called into question, they can perform their own tests again using the same lot of oils to test for impurities.
There are ALWAYS studies being done to disprove other companies by someone claiming they do not want to bash these companies BUT want to expose this company or that company for not being 100% pure. They will take samples from consultants of various companies as well as from online (Amazon and EBay) and send them to their own third party testing site, where they foot the bill, and have them tested. More often than not the results come back from the labs with some kind of issue. The company in question is contacted with the results and they in turn run their own tests on the batch. And of course these tests come back with different results. If you trace these people (that are doing the testing on their own) far enough back, you will see that they are often consultants for a particular company and will recommend their own line of essential oils.
What Is The Best Way To Use Essential Oils?
There are several ways to use oils; olfactory, skin, and internally.
Olfactory means through smell. You can do this by diffusing with a diffuser or inhaling the essential oil straight from the bottle.
Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Most people will apply oils either neat (without a carrier oil ) or with a carrier oil. They will often apply to the bottoms of their feet or to certain areas of the body. They can even be used in baths.
This is exactly as it sounds! You ingest the essential oils. Some do it with capsules or by putting drops of oil directly into the mouth. Others mix it in a liquid and ingest it. This is one of the MOST controversial ways to use them.
I have put this post off since the beginning of the blog on purpose for a couple of reasons.
Essential oils are a VERY controversial subject. It is like religion, politics, and abortion. Enter the subject with caution and at your own risk.
From consultants, to people that use essential oils, to oil companies themselves, to aromatherapists, to doctors, to those that just use them constantly and believe that they work miracles, to even those that have tried them and they did not have good results with them…… Everyone has an opinion about essential oils. And some opinions are valid and some are so far out in left field that you can only sit and stare at them like, REALLY??????????
Mention oils to someone that either uses them or sells them and….
Loyalty runs deeper than blood.
THEIR. OILS. ARE. THE. ONLY. OILS. YOU. SHOULD. USE!
THEIR. COMPANY. IS. THE. ONLY. COMPANY. YOU. SHOULD. BECOME. A. CONSULTANT. WITH!
This is not the movie The Highlander…..Where there can be only one!
No seriously, that is the mentality of most people that use essential oils. Not just consultants.
I wanted to figure out EVERYTHING I wished I had been told about essential oils. Not from a consultant trying to get me to sell or buy their brand of oils, but as a person who is looking for info on them. Why the controversy? Why the rivalry between oil companies? Why are some oils $5 from one company and $30 from another? Can they really cure everything you hear about? Can they help with illness? What are the side effects? Can you really be allergic to them? What about all the different companies out there? The list goes on and on and on.
I am NOT here to get into any kind of a debate. Instead, like I said before, I am going to talk to you the way I wished I had been talked to about essential oils. There is just soooo much information online. Opinions all over the map on using essential oils. The BASHING between oil companies makes it seem like we are all in Kindergarten again and I think really is one of the MOST incredibly insane and honestly childish part of this “business”!
Think about it….EVERY essential oil company and consultant will tell you that they are the only company that is 100% pure. The only oil company that is 100% unadulterated. The only company that has the BEST consultant program and discounts. The only oil company that is this and that.
My brain was OVERWHELMED and I was UNDER informed at the same time with the amount of knowledge I actually could and could not find on essential oils. What one site or blog said you could do with oils, another said NO WAY IN HELL! It will leave you with a headache, confused, and just plain wanting to RUN away from essential oils FAST, as fast as your two little feet can take you! I know it did mine!
What you are about read may make me the WORST or the BEST consultant you have ever met.
Either way, I will leave that up to you.
Here is my sales pitch….
I. DO. NOT. SELL. ESSENTIAL. OILS. TO. MAKE. $$$!
I will repeat that one again.
Take your time.
Listen to my words.
Let them sink in for a sec before you start screaming BULLSHIT….
I. DO. NOT. SELL. ESSENTIAL. OILS. TO. MAKE. $$$!
Hard to believe I know! But it is true!
I decided that there had to be other ways to help boost and support my families immune systems other than what we were already doing. I had heard how wonderful essential oils were. I had 3 sick kids. One tested positive for strep throat, and other 2, I had not taken into the doctor’s office for testing yet. I figured now was as good as time as any to try essential oils to help boost and support our immune systems.
Please understand, I did not know HOW to use them. I just knew that people raved about them all the time. So I went to the local health food store and I bought Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Melaleuca based on my Google searches. I bought the cheapest brand of oils I could find.
What oil company were they? Doesn’t matter. I used them. They smelled NOTHING like what fresh lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus smell like. They were actually synthetic essential oils, which means made in a lab. I read it on the label. Only discouraged at this point, I decided to try a couple of different essential oil companies. Still not impressed, I had quite the collection going of different essential oil companies. My search continued. I had my own set of standards that I was looking for.
I figured if I bought or was given a sample bottle of lemon, that it should actually smell just like fresh lemons on steroids right??? After all essential oils are a very concentrated, true version, of what is on the label on the bottle right? Well, that is not always the case.
I was invited to watch a webinar that was being given about essential oils by a consultant for an oil company. She offered samples of their oils. I waited for the samples to come in the mail. I was impressed. I threw out and gave away the rest of the essential oils I had stock piled.
Just as luck would have it, my kids came down with a WICKED case of strep throat again when the oils arrived. Talk about a test! We used the oils along with everything we normally do that is considered homeopathic and was STUNNED! The strep was kicked without the use antibiotics. The doctor confirmed that it was in fact gone. The essential oils did not kick the strep. They did, in my opinion, help boost the immune systems allowing the body to do what it needed to do on it’s own.
Should you only buy from one essential oil company?
Honestly, I could care less what essential oils you choose to buy or who you choose to buy them from. I want you to try different samples from different companies, along with different oils. I bet you were not thinking you would hear that from a consultant telling you that they do not care what oil company you use and to try samples from different companies??? Yes, I am serious about that! I want you to LOVE essential oils! Just like food, medications, exercise, and anything else pertaining to your lifestyle and your life, you have to choose what you feel is best for you. I am NOT the person to decide that for you.
There is a LOT of controversy surrounding essential oils. From the testing and purity of essential oils, to the best place to buy essential oils, to which company is the best and offers the best compensation, and even how to use them. Let us not forget the lawsuits! All you have to do is Google or Bing essential oils and it is all there for you to try and wrap your pretty little head around it all.
Many consultants will tell you that essential oils are safe to use while pregnant, on newborns directly after birth, while they are still in the hospital. I have heard consultants tell people to use oils directly in the eye, open wounds, infections, etc. Others will tell you that you cannot do any of that. This is where you need to educate yourself. Do your research!
According to University of Maryland Medical Center….
- Pregnant women, people with severe asthma, and people with a history of allergies should only use essential oils under the guidance of a trained professional and with full knowledge of your physician.
- Pregnant women and people with a history of seizures should avoid hyssop oil.
- People with high blood pressure should avoid stimulating essential oils, such as rosemary and spike lavender.
- People with estrogen dependent tumors (such as breast or ovarian cancer) should not use oils with estrogen like compounds such as fennel, aniseed, sage, and clary-sage.
- People receiving chemotherapy should talk to their doctor before trying aromatherapy.
Lack of knowledge from consultants….
The hardest part for consultants is when they get asked medical advice from customers. This is where there is a lot of controversy. Most consultants are not trained in essential oils or hold any kind of a degree pertaining to essential oils or medicine. When you ask your consultant for advice, you are taking their knowledge as gospel. We are not your physician. We are recommended a book to buy and several sites that tell us the best oils to use for various things. These sites have been carefully put together by people that actually know about essential oils. However, we do not know what medications you are on or what other health issues you may have. So you are your best advocate! Take our advice with a grain of salt and look on the bottles for warnings! Also check out the oil company’s website for their safety guidelines. Most importantly, talk to your doctor about essential oils before starting them.
Many consultants will fail to tell you that there can be severe reactions to citrus oils when used on the skin neat or with a carrier oil. You should use them about 10 hrs before you are going to be exposed to either direct or indirect light. There are some people that are photosensitive. This would especially pertain to children or anyone with sensitive skin. However, ANYONE can develop photosensitivity.
Photosensitivity is an abnormal reaction in the skin caused from an abnormally high sensitivity to direct or indirect sunlight. It can be anything from a rash, to discoloration of skin, to even blisters.
If you have a heart problem you should avoid using large amounts of Peppermint oil for massaging, as it could increase heart pulse – and in some cases could cause heart palpitations.
If you are epileptic you should avoid or use with caution the following oils…Fennel, Sage, Camphor, Spike Lavender, Tansy, Basil, Rosemary, and Wintergreen.
Pregnant women should either avoid or use the following oils with caution…Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon bark, Clary Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver, Wintergreen, White Fir.
Taking Oils Internally…
This is one of the MOST controversial ways to use essential oils. Many believe that this should only be done when prescribed by a physician / naturopath or aromatherapist. Others believe that it is safe to do regardless. Many consultants will tell you that it is safe and directions on most bottles of essential oil tell you can take them internally.
Can You Be Allergic To Essential Oils?
This is another question that is debated. Many consultants are told that you can not be allergic to essential oils. That it is absolutely impossible to be allergic to them because they are made with only the aromatic sack on the plant, not any of the actually plant protein itself. However, physicians, allergist, and others in the medical field call BULLSHIT on this one.
Here are my thoughts on it…
I am allergic to Rosemary, Oregano, Basil, Marjoram, and Thyme. This is NOT an intolerance. I break out in hives immediately from the scent alone and if I touch it or ingest it, I am given a trip to the nearest hospital via flashing lights, irritating sounds, and a bumpy and uncomfortable ride in a boxed vehicle we like to refer to as an ambulance. This is after ingesting Benadryl and administering a dose of epinephrine followed by days on a steroid! You have about 5 seconds to get me the meds and epi pen before I begin going into anaphylaxis. After going to several allergists and immunologists, I was told to NEVER go near my allergens in any form, this includes essential oils. When I talked to them at length about using the essential oils, I was told those are included in what I am to stay away from.
If you want to tell me it is safe for me to take those oils, please forgive me when I laugh at you in your face and ask you if you are willing to bet your life on it. I am not. I stay away from those oils and any oils with them used as a blend.
I want you to educate yourself about essential oils. NOT listen to the person, book, or website, selling them to you! I want you to understand that these are NOT a snake oil cure! Many people swear that oils will cure the world of EVERYTHING that is wrong with it. I have heard it all, trust me. Some think that essential oils can cure cancer, treat diseases (like diabetes), and over all perform miracles. Although oils are powerful and have INCREDIBLE healing properties, they are NOT a cure! If you want to lose weight, oils can not help you with that. Meaning they will not cause you to lost weight. You need to look at the foods you eat, the amount and type of exercise you do. EO can help boost your immune system but will let you down as far as the weight lose goes and you will forever be a skeptic. Blaming the oils for the failure you set yourself up for. Diabetes is another example. You can not expect the oils to cure your diabetes. However, add them to your diet and exercise regime and you should notice results. Hell, changing your diet and exercise alone will give you results. The oils are just another addition you can make to your daily health regime.
Which Oil Company Is The Best?
Every oil user or consultant will swear by their oils! They are the ONLY pure oils one market. THE only oils that work! The truth is, there are LOTS of great oil companies out there. Most claim to be 100% pure. They will have the lab tests to prove it and the testimonials to back that up too! This is why I told you try samples. You will need to be the final verdict so to speak. Although I LOVE my oil company, you may LOVE another oil company or several oil companies. That does NOT make my brand better then yours or yours better then mine. It comes down to preference!!
All oil companies offer close to the same oils. They will each have their own “GO TO” oils for things. They often contain most of the same ingredients with a couple of variations to make them custom to that particular brand or company. That is one of the company’s biggest selling features. And rightfully so! They have done the research and combined the best oils for the job in a combination that kicks ass!
What are you supposed to do? Who should you believe?
That is up to you. You will have to sift through it all and decide which company gets your hard earned $$! Again, it may be only one company or it may be more than one. Do your own research, read MULTIPLE books on essential oils and do not take one site, one consultant / advocate, distributor, etc or book as gospel.
The Best Place To Buy Essential Oils:
The best place to buy oils is from the distributor themselves. If you know a consultant, then purchase it from them. I am not a huge fan of buying them from a health food store. I also stay away from Amazon and EBay personally. There is no guarantee that the oils are not tampered with or diluted. Also, you can not guarantee that the seller is a consultant with that company. Most companies will NOT guarantee these oils. I am by no means saying that those that sell on Amazon and EBay are bad people that will swindle you and are out to get you! I am saying that those sites are a buyer beware type of site. You will find good oils or bad ones on there. You will take a risk with using them.
To Be A Consultant Or Not To Be A Consultant….
Now that really is the question! I will tell you that there are benefits to it. Each company will offer you a discount. You may or may not have to buy a certain amount of oils or have a certain amount in sales each month to maintain your discount and consultant status. I am not here to debate which company offers the best program. Only to say, research it and weigh which way will work best for you. I personally chose to become a consultant. I know others that LOVE oils as much as I do and are NOT consultants. It was just not for them. Do I judge them. They did what works best for them and their pocket books. Plain and simple!
Cleaning With Oils:
I use essential oils in almost all of my homemade cleaning solutions as well as my laundry detergent.
Need inspiration for homemade cleaners? Check out mine here.
I have been using my homemade cleaners everyday for over 3 years now. I have noticed we do not suffer from anywhere near as many colds, viruses, and allergies as we used to.
Essential Oils and Illness:
I usually use essential oils in my home along with other homeopathic remedies for illnesses before going to the doctor’s office. I do believe in antibiotics when they are necessary. If the illness is not improving within a couple of days or appears to be getting worse, I will not hesitate to get my family in to be accessed by our doctor. If an antibiotic is prescribed, we will take it. However, I will do everything in my power to try and help our bodies fight the infection on its own before rushing into our doctor’s office for an antibiotic.
There are different carrier oils on the market that can be used to dilute essential oils. Fractionated coconut oil is the most popular carrier oil. Jojoba, grapeseed, sweet almond, olive oil, safflower oil.
Mixture amount chart
1 fluid ounce
There are so many different kinds of diffusers on the market in all different price ranges. It can be overwhelming. Most companies will sell several different kinds of diffusers on their websites. The best ones that are on the market are those that are ultrasonic. They will often mist in some way and many combine colors in various shades to add to the calming effects of the diffuser. Some are battery operated, some plug into a wall, some into car vents or even USB slots on your laptop or computer.
There are also necklace diffusers of various kinds. From clay that oil is dropped onto, to lockets that hold beads or disks that have had oils added to them, or even glass diffusers with a cork to seal them.
There is truly something for everyone!
What’s Up With All The Lawsuits???
If you did not already know, there are several lawsuits filed between oil companies. Especially between 2 of the most known oil companies. I am NOT here to get into the lawsuits. If you want more information on them, you can either Google or Bing it. It will tell you all about it! I am here to tell you that you will see them. They are everywhere. There is NO hiding from them. The gist of the lawsuits is the same as with any lawsuit, there is slander, mud slinging, and a lot of she said and he said. You can form your own opinion from them.
Final Thoughts On Oils:
I believe what you put into your body, use as medications, and clean your home with, are just as important as the foods you choose to eat and the exercise you choose to do. I do not think that essential oils are a cure all, however, when used as part of a healthy lifestyle, amazing results can happen. You need to sample different oils and see what company works best for you. You know your budget better than I do. What works great for one person may not be the right fit for someone else.
Remember, I told you you would either think I was the BEST or the WORST consultant you have ever met!
So where does that leave me as a consultant????
You will have to decide.
3 Replies to “Essential Oils 101”
Excellent web site. Plenty of useful info here. I am sending it to several friends
ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!
What brand do you use?
Aundrea, I have been asked by the company not to share ANY info about them in any of my social media. This also includes in comments. If you send me an email or a private message on Simplicity Redesigned’s FB page, I will gladly answer your question there.