Have you ever wondered who it is you really should listen to when it comes to essential oils safety? For example, it seems like there are generally two camps when it comes to ingesting oils. One says to never ever use them internally. The other camp says to be liberal with internal use. The first camp says the second is irresponsible and undereducated. The second camp says the first is hiding adulteration in their oils, trying to control the industry…and is undereducated.
Can’t we just get a straight answer?
Well, in the spirit of the ongoing Skeptic’s Guide to Essential Oils series, I set out to find a straight answer. I’m going to examine three groups that you may be looking to as your essential oils authority—whether you know it or not. Then I’ll give you my recommendation based on the research.
Essential Oils “Experts”
When you are reading about an essential oils “expert,” you need to be cautious. The reason is because the term “expert” has become somewhat of a self-proclaimed title among a handful of essential oils suppliers in the world who not only source most of the companies out there, but also have a hand in a lot of the marketing and consumer information you will find.
This is a similar situation as the “therapeutic-grade” label that came out of a popular MLM’s marketing strategy a while back. Not familiar with that issue? Basically, there is no standard of therapeutic value that is defined and applied across the essential oils market. Companies can define for themselves what “therapeutic-grade” means. Yet those companies will claim the “therapeutic grade” banner as if it is an official and objective mark of quality.
On the other hand, you will often find experienced EO users talking about the therapeutic value of essential oils, and that’s a perfectly valid way of discussing quality. It can be confusing until you become familiar with the jargon and are aware of who is sourcing the information you are reading. For more on this issue, see Choosing an Essential Oils Company.
Bottom Line on the “Experts”
The “Expert” label is a marketing strategy, much like “theraputic-grade.” You will hear the term “expert” during essential oils conversations and it could mean an experienced practitioner and a balanced source of information, or it could mean a supplier of mass produced oils and marketing schemes. Just be aware. For more information, start with 20 Critical Questions Answered About Essential Oils.
Multi-Level Marketing Companies (MLMs)
I am not against MLMs, necessarily, although I am very cautious about them. However, I’ll occasionally support MLM reps when I find the individual and product to be excellent. (Lilia Rose comes to mind.)
When it comes to essential oils MLMs, however, I’m even more unlikely to buy in and have chosen not to purchase from them at all. Here are a few key reasons why:
- Overpriced. There are companies with products at least on par with MLMs that are less expensive. You definitely get what you pay for, so be cautious about super cheap oils. However, paying even more for marketing hype and structures is not in my budget. Rocky Mountain Oils is my preferred company because of quality and customer service. They sell lavender, for example, at about $10 cheaper per bottle than the MLMs. There are likely other companies as awesome as NAN, but this is the one I’ve landed on after extensive research.
- Questionable Marketing Practices. All the MLMs say their oils are the only ones that should be used because of their superior quality, and use those made up labels like “therapeutic-grade” to put weight behind their claims. I think that’s a bit shady. It’s caused a lot of confusion and makes me wonder whether there are more areas where they are being intentionally misleading.
- Strangely Fierce Loyalty. I know several people who love MLM oils and just want to be a part of it and use their oils at discount. They may use it to supplement their family income or just sell the oils at cost to friends. I think that’s great. They’ve found a good fit for them and that’s what matters. However, there are others that are strangely fierce in their loyalty and will simply regurgitate information they are fed by the company in order to defend it. They get ugly and launch personal attacks when people say they would rather go with another company or aren’t interested in MLMs. It’s weird.
Bottom Line on MLMs:
I don’t think MLMs are worth it. There are other companies out there with excellent, high quality products at more reasonable prices, and I don’t have to be in an MLM club. If you belong to an MLM and love it, I think that’s great! My hope is that each of us would use common sense and take responsibility to research on our own about essential oils so that we can make the best choices for our families.
As I said earlier, a hot debate right now in the essential oils world is whether internal use is safe. One side will say never to use internally and the other would have you taking them daily. One side says “such and such aromatherapy organization says not to!” and the other side says “but they do it in Europe!”
Have you ever noticed that at the end of nearly every blog post, and many web articles, the writer says something like “use caution, and when in doubt, consult a certified aromatherapist.” Why do you think that is? To cover their rears? Maybe.
I think it’s because very few people have an answer they’re confident in, so they throw that in there. Well, I did some digging into aromatherapy certifications and revisited the whole internal use debate.
Join me next week for that and my recommendation on who you should trust about essential oils.
Use Essential Oils Safely and Confidently with Your Family
Would you like a resource to help you learn to use essential oils with your family? Download this free 3-page printable:
- Basic guidelines for using essential oils around kids
- A list of safe, kid-friendly oils essential oils
- Helpful essential oil recipes
Click the link or image below to download the 3-page Mom’s Essential Oil Cheat Sheet. I’ll follow it up with more resources and free printables to help you on your essential oil journey. Grab your copy now!