Recently the FDA sent warning letters (again) to to certain popular essential oil companies for the way they market their oils – in particular with their claims their oils treat or even cure some diseases, illnesses and even cancer. Let me begin by saying that as someone who has studied aromatherapy and who has sold essential oils (not theirs), and as someone who has worked in advertising and marketing for over 25 years, I am personally appalled at these unethical marketing tactics. However, years of these campaigns have built quite a cult following of users who swear by their products. I’m here to explain why the followers of these companies need to understand a few things that these companies arent telling them.
1. There is no such thing as “therapeutic grade” essential oils. This is a term they made up themselves, and they are the ones certifying themselves. As a matter of fact, one of them owns the copyright of the “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” in the form of a seal that they alone can use on their materials. What’s up with that?? They use it as a marketing ploy to make the public think that their oils are magically better than other oils, and to help justify the outrageous prices they charge. Yes, there are oils that are made better than others but there is no grading system in place to certify anyone as “therapeutic grade”. It takes research to find reputable manufacturers of oils and there are others as good as theirs at a fraction of their price. Want more info? Google “what is therapeutic grade essential oils” and you’ll find two viewpoints. Those from companies selling oils to you listed as therapeutic grade, and those from experts who say there is no such thing. You be the judge.
2. Essential oils are highly concentrated and extremely potent. Certain oils are so potent and volatile that one drop is enough to cause chemical burns without being highly diluted with a carrier oil like coconut, olive or sweet almond. Please, no matter what these company “consultants” tell you, don’t ingest them unless you consult with a medical practitioner. These are the people you should listen to about your health, or the health of your child, and not a salesman. Yes there are essential oils that are ingestible but due to their highly concentrated nature they can also be seriously dangerous if not handled properly. If these oils are usually diluted with carrier oils just to protect your skin, what do you think you’re doing to your liver/kidneys/stomach, etc when you ingest them without being diluted first? (And by diluted, I don’t mean with water. When was the last time you saw water and oil mix? Oil can only be diluted with oil.) Too many people are getting seriously hurt due to misinformation. Don’t take that chance please.
3. These companies are MLM companies. This stands for Multi Level Marketing, and it means that these companies have consultants that sell their oils directly to you for commissions, while indoctrinating new salesmen where they get a cut of their sales commissions as well, and on and on like a pyramid. These essential oil MLM companies have already said they dont take responsibility for their consultants’ actions in how they market to the public as they aren’t employees, but this unfortunately opens the door to some unethical practices for the sake of making the sale. They are salesmen, not healers or doctors or nurses (well, some may be both, to be fair). Ultimately their goal is to make the sale under the guise of concern over your health. ABC, people – “Always Be Closing” – ever hear that expression?
Do I believe that aromatherapy is helpful in certain ways? Yes indeed I do. I practice it, I study it, and I share it with my family. But I will NEVER tell someone that these oils can cure cancer, or treat illnesses in any way. To me this is purely unethical. I have never, nor will I ever, advocate ingesting these oils in any way no matter what sales pitch they throw at me. These are NOT DRUGS and should never be sold to the public as such.
Remember there are people suffering with illnesses, sicknesses, cancers, unbearable pain. Sometimes they just want natural alternatives for their children or themselves or their loved ones. They are hoping for natural ways to treat, heal, and cure what the medical and pharmaceutical industries currently can’t. My heart breaks for them and I wish I can tell them that these essential oils will save them the suffering they are going through. But what I’ve been seeing too often has been the opposite – people getting hurt due to unethical salesmen who say that their oils can cure their cancer, or prevent diseases, cure their pain, no more need of medication, no more need of expensive medical treatment, etc. So, these people will just listen to the marketing crap that is being told to them and are believing it because they are clinging to hope. Hope given to them by a marketing campaign carefully crafted to sell them a product. Hope they desperately need but are being taken advantage of instead.
That all being said, I just want people safe. I do believe in natural holistic health but not in the way these companies are selling it. I want people free from pain, and I wish them only health and happiness. I’m not looking to sell anything to anyone with this message except to say to please be smart and safe and seek out real medical advice from a real medical practitioner and not from a salesman looking to make their quota. Can the same be said about those companies?