A Few Words on Essential Oils

Essential oils from Shepherd's Harvest

"Oils," EO's, Essential Oils...different names for the same thing.  Essential oils, basically speaking, are highly concentrated distilled plant oil.  For those of us who who are "into" essential oils...a few warnings and pieces of information, with some helpful links (Warning: this is not a "feel good" blog!):

1. NEVER INGEST THEM! Not in your tea, not in spaghetti sauce, nowhere! Essential oils are chemicals--yes they are natural and often organic, but they are highly concentrated. You can get hurt.

2. Don't be taken in by pyramid companies that charge WAY too much for tiny amounts. You can buy more for less and mix them yourself. (I never wanted to go into the essential oil business, but I have a few on this page and they are a lot less expensive, organic, and traceable. If I don't have them, I can get them or send you to a reputable company, like this one...just ask. Or don't buy them from me, I can send you to plenty of other non-pyramid companies again...just ask or research.  More info later.)

3. Essential oils are great for cleaning, they smell nice, may help with skin issues and give a sense of well being, but if you are sick, GO TO A DOCTOR. They are not a substitute for medical care, and do not cure disease! Many claims have been made by some (sometimes well-meaning) companies and people that essential oils cure various maladies. They don't. There are (yes) herbal and medicinal cures for things, but they must be science based and targeted. Even my Naturopath uses the results from blood tests to determine what foods to eliminate from my diet and which supplements will work best for me, to help me be well (and when I am sick I see a medical doctor). The "shotgun" approach of trying different oils and herbs is not good science. 

4. Be careful of claims. Just because someone is "certified" by a company does not mean they know anything substantial that will help you. They are going to sell you something, quite often.

A few resources:

  • This is an extensive database, showing the chemical makeup of essential oils.  Whenever you purchase an essential oil, ask for the GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry) test sheet for the specific batch of oil.  Compare the results with the specific oil in the database--the same chemical components should be present, in similar percentages.  This will give you a measure of confidence that you have the correct oil.  Here is the database: http://essentialoils.org/eoudb/  (You can sign up for free, and they don't spam you  with a lot of newsletters and offers.)  Keep in mind that this is NOT a perfect process, but at least it gives you an idea that you have purchased a reasonable oil.  A shout-out to Whole New Mom and a terrific article about the shortcomings of GC/MS here
  • .A while back there was a major issue between two pyramid essential oil companies.  In the course of the lawsuit two things happened:  synthetic compounds were found in the "organic" essential oils of both companies, and both companies were accused of making claims that the oils cured diseases such as cancer (since then, evidence has surfaced of claims that one company has claimed that their oils cure Ebola!).  An article with some excellent primary source material can be found here.
The bottom line when it comes to essential oils?  Be careful out there!  Do the research, find a reputable company with reasonable prices, and use essential oils with care.

Peace and love,