Essential Oils-Miracle Cures Or Snake Oil?
With all the confusing information about essential oils circulating lately, I decided to give you some information on essential oils and my experience with using essential oils, as well as my choice of essential oil supplier for purchasing the essential oils I use.
I believe some background would be helpful. I worked in the health care industry for over 34 years as a registered respiratory care practitioner and asthma educator. I believe my experience with using inhaled medications for lung diseases along with my training in anatomy and physiology and the effects of inhaled medications gives me insight into how aromatherapy may work. I have also done training in aromatherapy and received certificates of completion in two aromatherapy training institutes.
Does that make me an expert in essential oils? I would have to say no. Does it give me a little more insight than the typical man on the street about essential oils? I believe it does.
Let me also admit that I use essential oils almost daily. Mostly I use them for aromatherapy depending on my needs and mood. But I also use them in homemade antibacterial hand soap and homemade pain-relieving creams I make with coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils.
Now, I led with all that to say this. Although I believe in the effects of essential oils for myself and some of my friends who I have shared my blends with, I am not going to claim with 100% certainty that you will attain the same results. Unfortunately, I see many claims on the internet from reps of the big multilevel marketing essential oils companies about the miracle benefits of essential oils. I have to take exception with many of those claims.
First of all, you should be familiar with what essential oils are and what they do. Essential oils are the extracted essence of the plant parts by steam distillation, cold pressing or other extraction methods. The most common method is steam distillation. The oils are not really typical oils at all. They contain chemicals such as terpenes, aldehydes, alcohols, and other constituents. These plants have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine, and the oils are the concentrated essence of the plants that were used for these purposes.
Does that make essential oils a miracle cure for what ails you? Absolutely not. Each person has a unique biochemistry. The same way that one person can take an aspirin and another can be highly allergic, essential oils will affect different people in different ways. We can make general statements such as Lavender oil is useful for relaxation. That is because most people who inhale Lavender oil or use it in a massage oil will notice a relaxing effect. Will it work the same way for you? Chances are it will but no definitive statement can be made that it will work the same for you since you have a unique biochemistry.
This is where my problem comes in with making sensational marketing claims about how a certain essential oil can do this or that. The scientific evidence for any essential oils having any effect is scant at best. A search on PubMed or any other source for scientific and health research turns up only limited studies of the effects of essential oils. The lack of double-blinded controlled studies makes me skeptical of claims of miraculous effects that any company’s products can deliver for everyone.
That is not to say that I’m a disbeliever in what essential oils can do. As I said, I use them almost every day in some capacity. I’m also trained in the effects and the safe use of the oils I choose for myself and my friends and family. So this brings up another issue I have with the marketing hype some essential oil companies use. I have seen numerous claims that you should use essential oils internally to help with some health conditions. First of all, I suggest you NEVER use essential oils internally unless you are fully aware of the dangers. Even then, I suggest you only use them internally under the supervision and advice of a licensed medical practitioner or trained aromatherapist. Essential oils are highly concentrated and in some cases can cause seizures and even death when taken internally. I suggest reading my guide to Essential Oils Safety to find out more. There is only one oil that I take internally, and that was only after extensive research and understanding the dangers that I might have in taking it internally. All the other oils I use are only used in a diffuser or in topical massage oils or salves.
Now with all that being said, I would like to state that I’m a firm believer in the power of essential oils. I simply do not like the way certain companies use marketing hype to sell products. I always tell my customers that their results may vary and that they may not feel the same effects that others have reported. The good news is that if one oil doesn’t work for you, there are usually others that can produce the same effect which you are seeking. A good example is using oils for sleep. Although Lavender is the go-to oil for sleep and relaxation, if it doesn’t work for you there is Chamomile that also promotes relaxation and can cause you to fall asleep. This is where the help of a trained aromatherapist can help you get the oil you need to receive the effect you are looking for.
Now let’s look at why I chose the supplier I use out of all the companies out there. The supplier I chose has been in business since 1996. This is long before the current rage around essential oils and the growth of multilevel marketing companies selling essential oils. They only source their oils directly from small farmers and distillers and they do the same testing of their oils that the bigger companies use. I am confident in their company enough that not only do I sell their oils, but I use them exclusively for myself and my friends and family. I don’t make any claims that the oils I sell are better than the other suppliers out there. I simply say they are of the highest quality and purity and there are no higher quality oils sold by other suppliers.
In my experience, essential oils are neither miracle cures nor snake oil. They are a natural way to treat some ailments without the need for medical intervention. However, in all cases if you have a reaction to essential oils or your condition does not improve, you should seek professional medical advice. Any statements made in my blog are never intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. They are there to educate and give you options in taking control of your health care decisions. They are also intended to educate you on the many uses of essential oils besides relaxation or sore muscles. For instance, did you know that some essential oils make great natural insect repellents, and they are all natural with no harsh chemicals?
If you would like to check out my essential oils for sale you can use the “Store” link in the header menu to see all the oils, accessories and body treatments I offer.