Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A marketer's dream - my essential oil story

While it seems to be all the rage right now and gaining in popularity, I am not new to the world of essential oils.  This is my story and it's not what you think...

I began a few years ago researching them because I wanted a more natural way to scent my handmade soy candles.   I learned three very basic principles about essential oils.

1. In the world of perfumery there is scent and fragrance. 
  • Scent is natural, derived from plants found in nature. 
  • Fragrance is man-made.
Even though I could find just about any synthetic fragrance I wanted for my candles {think "Grandma's apple pie"}, I would often find myself with a slight headache after burning them.  That's what started my quest for a "pure and simple" alternative.

Essential oils are derived from parts of the plants either roots, stems, bark, or petals.  Seems they come with the gift tag that says, "Hand made by God with love."  
The cool thing is that different parts of the plant can be used for different remedies, which just led me to be more in awe of our Creator.  It was all so amazing to me.

I was so fascinated that I checked out all sorts of books from the library and began researching.  I learned about the properties of each oil.  For example, lavender helps with peaceful sleep.  Lemon is a mood lifter.  Next I began to look into how to blend two or three together.  There is a whole artistry in that too.  They are categorized by notes, much like music: top, middle, and base.  Combining from different notes makes for a better blend. 

Some of the candle scent blends I have made are
  • Lavender and Lemon
  • Orange, Cinnamon, and Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Bergamot, Geranium and Lavender
I'm still learning.  Getting a good blend takes lots of trial and error and good note taking!  In some cases I think I like just single scents.

The more I read, the more amazed I was by how helpful and therapeutic essential oils are.  For example lavender essential oil is antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic.  So if you have a rash, often lavender oil can help soothe the itch and heal it faster.

The next basic principle:

2.  Because they are so strong and concentrated, essential oils need to be combined in a carrier oil if they are going to be used on the skin. 
That just means you need a basic oil {like olive, coconut or jojoba as a base, and then to that you add drops of essential oil - amount depending upon the amount of your carrier.} The only two exceptions are lavender and tea tree oils, but for those who have sensitive skin they too should be used with a carrier.

Most recently I'd been seeing different bloggers talk about essential oils and how they have benefitted so much from using them.  From shortening the duration of a cold/flu to soothing an upset tummy, relieving headaches, and so on.  One blogger that I have followed for quite some time had some really intriguing testimonies about her improved health.  

I also began talking with some friends at church who also were beginning to use them as a natural alternative to over the counter meds.  I already was very familiar with their benefits in aromatherapy, but am far less familiar with their other uses. How nice it would be to be able to turn to an essential oil to get rid of headache instead of Tylenol.

This information coupled with what I already knew about them made me really excited.  I was anxious to get started using them more regularly in our day to day lives.
In all these discussions and blog posts I kept reading how important it was to use therapeutic grade essential oils.  Young Living and doTerra seemed to be only companies where I could find them, and they both make claims that their oils are the best. 
{insert raised eye brow here!}

Both companies are multi-level-marketing companies, but since I have no plans to resell the oils I went ahead with a membership with doTerra anyway. 
My goal is to begin building a more comprehensive natural medicine chest. 

Honestly, it doesn't sit well with me that they are an MLM, but when I do an internet search for therapeutic grade essential oils I really only come up with these two companies from which to buy from.  Are there any other options?  

Third basic principle:

3.  Essential oils are not to be used internally.  
In all my initial research {and I felt like I read every library book available to me} I consistently read that they were not to be used internally. 

Both doTerra and Young Living state that because they are therapeutic grade, there is a list of "generally regarded as safe" to ingest essential oils.  {insert other raised eyebrow here!}

How could they make these claims that contradicted so many other sources?  We made the decision for our family that we would not ingest them.

Coincidentally, my friend, who also loves all things natural has been looking into the uses of essential oil. She passed this article from the Hippy Homemaker on to me and I had to share it with you!  Good stuff there!

She also inquired with the company from which she buys essential oils for her hand crafted soaps about the quality (therapeutic or cosmetic) of their oils.  They sent her this reply:

"therapeutic claims are made by vendors who try to hype the quality of their products without any substantiating documentation, some of those vendors are multi-level companies. In the United States there’s no governmental body that certifies essential oils. Therefore, whatever terms a vendor uses to promote its essential oils, terms such as ‘therapeutic grade’ ‘certified by’ ‘certified 100% pure’ and so on, please note that the terms are nothing more than marketing terms meant exclusively to confuse the public”.

“THERAPEUTIC GRADE EO's? There's no such thing as therapeutic grade; this term will invite FDA scrutiny. This term is generally used by multi-level marketing companies”.
Gah!  I am a marketer's dream.  I fell for the labeling.  {Of course they are therapeutic - because their properties are therapeutic...think, Carol!}
Young Living and doTerra essential oils are expensive! Just because they cost more does not make them exceptionally superior.  There are other options. 
The Hippy Homemaker { article above } lists several resources and I recently found Eden's Garden.

So what have I learned from all of this?
  1. I absolutely believe in the powerful healing properties of essential oils.
  2. Diffused in the air, added to the bath/shower, or used with a carrier oil are all safe methods to use them. 
  3. Added to soaps and candles are safe as well.
  4. Currently essential oils are not regulated by the FDA - so watch quality claims.
  5. Price is not necessarily an indicator of quality {because they are unregulated}
  6. Scents vary from brand to brand.
  7. The scientific name of the plant and origin of the plant should be given in the description.
 I try to start with the natural stuff before I have to turn to the other options, but those other options have their place too! 

So that's my story. 
I love essential oils, 
I spent way too much with doTerra and didn't really need to,
I am still learning.

 Happy healthy {yet frugal} living.



  1. I agree that doTERRA is expensive! I actually have been listening to webinars all week about essential oils. It was called the Essential Oils Revolution and it was a brand non-specific 8 day event with 4-5 webinars per day. One of the talks was on essential oil adulteration and the man (Dr. Robert Pappas) stated that 75% of the essential oils on the market right now are not pure. I guess there is more Tea Tree Oil being sold right now than there are plants to account for it. The prices of that Eden's Garden seem like a dream. I don't know how frankincense which is such a costly oil to produce could possibly be sold for $10... The reason I chose doTERRA was not for the fact that they have that therapeutic label but because they have every batch of oil tested by a third party. This means a lot to me in a world where we certainly can't trust the FDA even if there was regulations on essential oils... I will say though you have peaked my interest and I am going to look into that Eden's Garden company a bit more!!

    1. How great to find a webinar that was not brand specific - to just find accurate information. That's all I want - to be well informed so that I can make smart choices.
      As for Eden's Garden's frankincense, well, that does make one wonder, doesn't it?
      I'm a newbie, but learning so much. Always feel free to share what you find! :-)
      P.S. I'm really not bashing on doTerra, but rather my spending more that I'd like.

  2. I liked the post! Quite informational. ;)


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