5 Things to Know Before Using Essential Oils
Essential oils are the big craze now-a-days. Everybody is switching to the natural plant juice to cure all of their ailments. There are SO many essential oil companies out there and each one swears they have the only high quality, therapeutic grade, certified organic, holistic professional approved, aroma therapist suggested oils in the land. I’m here to tell you that’s a bunch of bologna. There are dozens of essential oil companies who provide good quality products that you can feel good about using. (Here are just a few) However, people tend to fall into a very narrow mindset and fail to complete the necessary research to truly understand the oily realm. They think their brand is the only brand and close themselves off to other options. So, I’m going to cover five things that you need to know right off the bat to start your oily journey.
1. There is no governing body that certifies or grades essential oils.
Yep, that’s right. I said it. You can’t have ‘certified’ or ‘graded’ essential oils if there is no one to certify or grade them. If a company has ‘certified’ on their oil label, it is simply a marketing tool. They trademark phrases to make their oils seem better quality than the competition. These phrases are such hogwash that the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) prohibited membership to those companies who use such terms.
Am I saying there is no such thing as ‘therapeutic grade’ essential oils? No. The point is that there are MANY MANY MANY therapeutic grade standards, so don’t let a company tell you that theirs is the highest quality. Their grade is an INTERNAL standard set forth BY THE COMPANY. Just be careful when looking into the standards of the individual companies. You want one with good sourcing and who readily gives you information.
2. Company X is not the only company with pure essential oils.
Plenty of companies produce pure essential oils. A general rule is that the further down the chain of suppliers you go, the less likely you are to get a pure product. The only real test (there are others, but this is the most popular) for essential oils is the GC/MS (gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry) test . This test can identify synthetic additions in the oils. Even samples from the most well-known companies have failed this test, so be careful who you put your trust into. A really good resource to compare tested samples is here. Always make sure your oil goes through some third party testing sequence. That way you have some sort of standard to base it on.
3. Essential oils do in fact, expire.
If you know anything about chemistry, you know there is no way for something to last forever. Oils degrade due to oxidation. There are a few oils that get better with age, but even then it is only to a certain extent. So, if your oils do ‘last forever’, I might be concerned that they aren’t true essential oils. They could contain harmful preservatives that reduce the oxidation process, thus causing them to last much longer than they should. In this case, you aren’t getting the true benefits of the oils. Don’t let a company convince you that their oil is so pure that it never goes out of date. They are lying.
4. Essential oils can have side effects.
Everything has side effects. Period. Just because essential oils are plant-based doesn’t mean they are risk free. If you go traipsing through the woods and stumble upon poison ivy, you’ll end up with a rash. Same thing could be said for essential oils. People react differently to different things. Skin irritation is one of the most common side effects of essential oils, but your body might respond other ways. Ingestion of essential oils can also cause issues. Despite being plant-based, there are oils that are not safe for human consumption. I never recommend ingestion essential oils just because you can’t ever really prove just how high quality an oil is. Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Always, always, always do a test patch when using a new oil.
If a company claims that all of their oils are safe for whatever and whomever, they are lying.
5. The distributors and consultants are not essential oil professionals.
The biggest problem with many essential oil companies is that they use representatives to sell their products. The issue with this method is that misinformation can spread like wildfire. None (or very few) of the people selling oils actually have any background knowledge of the oils they promote. They simply know what they have been told by their higher levels. They receive no training or certifications prior to going into the oily business. The FDA has already sent warnings to several big companies because of representatives claiming medicinal cures. Just because your best friend sells essential oils doesn’t mean they know everything about it. There is very little research to back up any medicinal benefits.
Summary: DO YOUR RESEARCH!
I was guilty of falling into the trap of thinking that one particular company was the only truth in the essential oil world. Sadly, I wasted a lot of time and money believing in that. I am by no means an essential oil professional. However, I have done extensive research on essential oils, the companies and safe uses. I’m sure you have seen my Oil Profiles posted every Sunday. Everything in those post have some sort of SCIENTIFIC research to back it up. That is the key. You can’t argue with science.
You want information from more than a single source. This way you fully understand the entire oily realm. The goal is not to discourage you from using any particular brand, but to just be cautious when investing in something. Y’all remember I’m a tightwad and don’t like spending money. So, I’m just trying to save y’all a few bucks! At the end of the day, essential oils are not something to take lightly. If you want the best quality then DO YOUR RESEARCH!!