Let’s address the issue of ‘health advocates’ giving out prescriptive advice of essential oils. I mentioned that I will sometimes prescribe internal essential oils for short periods of time.  As a qualified health herbalist and naturopath, I have an intricate understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and metabolism. I can look at research and decide on the safety profile of a new medicine before I prescribe it to my patients. Although essential oil health advocates are well-meaning (I truly believe they are) they simply are not qualified to be giving out health advice. I’m actually fine with them recommending certain oils and blends for diffusing, but I’d even be cautious to take advice on topical applications from someone who was not trained in aromatherapy. I’ve seen countless facebook posts of well-meaning advocates recommending everything from the neat (undiluted) use of essential oils on children, essential oil ‘cocktails’ with 2-3 drops of each oil (I’m not kidding). I’ve also heard countless horror stories of rashes, irritations, diarrhea and headaches from use.
Another added benefit of diffusion is its ability to clean the air. When the air in a space is stagnant, smelly and unclean — like in the winter when your home is closed up — there can be infectious airborne bacteria, viruses and spores floating about ready to make you sick. But when the right essential oil is diffused, in the correct amount, you can actually kill those little buggers in the air before they get to you.

I would like to start using EO in my home now that I am a mom and have become a lot more aware of the harsh chemicals in all of my cleaning supplies, beauty products and air fresheners. I am currently EBF and know that there are certain EO that I should avoid. Does this mean I shouldn’t be exposed to them at all or that I should not use them topically?


There are at least 30 + single plant essential oils that can be applied neat ( straight or undiluted) a far cry from a few. Most of the rest only need approx 1 to 1 dilution. Again the same goes for undiluted oils for babies and children. Now naturally their skin is more sensitive so you need to be more watchful and careful and possibly only place these oils on a babies feet and use a 1/4 to 1/2 drop of the oil instead of the full dose.

First let me say if you are using terms like “first pressing” then you’ve really got some catching up to do on your essential oil education. Most all essential oils are steam distilled, in fact this is inherent to the very definition of an essential oil. The only oils that are considered to fall under the definition of the term “essential oil” and are not produced by steam distillation are the citrus oils, which are cold pressed from the citrus peel (and if its done properly there would not be any oil left in the peel for a second pressing LOL). So when one refers to the so called “first pressed” essential oils they do not even portray an accurate method of production of almost every essential oil out there, since almost every oil is produced by distillation, not by pressing. Please avoid this “pressing” terminology unless you want to just sound like a complete novice to the field. When the pressed method is applicable, in the industry we use the terms COLD PRESSED or EXPRESSED to describe the production of citrus oils (some citrus are also distilled but that’s another issue). So this brings us to the whole issue of the claimed “multiple distillations” of the same plant material. Consider this quote from a popular blog:
Essential oils aren’t created with carrier oils – they’re extracted using a variety of methods. The most common are cold-pressing and steam distillation. Most citrus oils are cold-pressed (the name is pretty self-explanatory: they’re pressed), but almost all other essential oils are steam-distilled: the plant matter is placed above steaming hot water, the steam takes essential oil from the plant, and travels through a condenser. After condensing, you’re left with water and a tiiiiiny bit of essential oil floating on top.
The truth is that essential oils are an end product of the plants metabolism and emitted by the plant not circulating within the plant like blood in the body (see magnified picture of oil glands on Roman chamomile leaf). Think about what some of the end products are from human metabolism and, if you want a more accurate analogy, well you get the idea. I realize it wouldn’t be as marketable to use a tag line like “the excrement of the plant” but that would be more accurate than the “life’s blood.” But this does not mean that these end products, these secondary metabolites known as essential oils, are not extremely useful for the survival of the plant as well as being extremely beneficial to humans.
Posted in: Aromatherapy, Natural Healthy & Beauty | Tagged: aromatherapy, aromatherapy 101, best essential oil brans, Christina Anthis, environment, essential oils, green, Green cleaning, Hippie Homemaker, Hippy Homemaker, lavender oil, mlm essential oil scam, mlm essential oils, mlm scam, The Hippy Homemaker, therapeutic grade, therapeutic grade scam, which essential oils to buy

Thank you all for your input and time. I too have been confused, frustrated, skeptical, and at times alarmed. What YL consultants don’t realize when they spout comments about micro and chemical biology, are the consequences that come with doing or not doing what they recommend. This is the grey area that is dangerous and the absolute reason and need for the FDA in the pharmaceutical industry. I am in the marketing industry, so I full well understand the MLM model or any other business model. I don’t blame them, for there is no difference between that and what Homeland does vs. Piggly Wiggly or Macy’s vs. JC Penney, or Walmart vs. Kmart… Thanks for helping me understand the real language and science involved.
More than 65,000 work-related eye injuries and illnesses are reported annually in the USA, a “significant percentage” of these being ocular chemical burns. They require rapid treatment, and severe burns have a poor prognosis. The standard treatment is copious irrigation with saline solution for 1-2 hours. Contact lenses should not be removed initially (Peate 2007). With essential oils, fatty oil has been suggested as an appropriate first aid treatment though the advantage of saline is that the eyes can be continually flushed, and this is less easy with fatty oil.
I prefer Appalachian valley — they are a wholesale distributor as well but you can purchase small quantities from them as well. Use the code – roseotto and you can get their wholesale prices. If you purchase 5, 10, or 20ml bottles when you add them to the cart you will see a discount. I really love their products and got a sample of their frankincense – wow!! Love it.
Thank you so much for putting this information together. I really like this site. I am excited to follow it and learn more. I am in a company that does adaptogens and recently started seeing and learning that some of the EO’s are also adaptogens. I started using some and got some terrific results. Lots of stress that has been relieved. Then I had started to lose weight and after about 46 lbs found I could use grapefruit and frankincense and it was helping with taking away the wrinkles a saggy parts. Maybe you could cover this in some of your articles..
“Therapeutic grade” is simply a marketing claim with no real independent meaning or value, and no credible third-party standards. However, the quality standards for authentication of essential oils have been long established by authoritative references. Our quality control team tests essential oils to the specifications published in The Essential Oils by Ernest Guenther, as well as Fenaroli's Handbook of Flavor Ingredients by George A. Burdock. These are the same standards used by major European distillers that are the primary suppliers of these oils to our industry.
I think everyone should check out NYROrganic because it truly is the MOST ethical company I have discovered. It has had a thriving store in covenant gardens in the UK for over 30 years. They own their own farms and distilleries. It is a family owned and operated company with all organic herbs and plants. The prices are the most reasonable I have seen for it’s quality. They brought it to the US 3 years ago as a direct sales company and because of the European standards vs the US standards or lack there of I have 110% trust in the products. I am not here to argue but just a suggestion to check it out.

Thank you for the information you shared, it is great. Although, I am wondering why the company I am going through says you can consume their oils internally, and use it on your body as it is. Furthermore, I am informed that this company sells the purest form of oil out there. I found oils on Puritan’s Pride, and they say the oils there are 100 per cent pure. I certainly love their prices. I will be checking out the list you have above. I am new to this, so I need as much information as possible, and if you can help me with the above concerns, I will be so grateful. Thank you in advance.
The third and most shocking thing that I learned (this was most shocking because I really felt like I had been lied to when I found this) is that the words that these companies use such as “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade”, are TRADEMARKED PHRASES by their corresponding essential oil company. This means that the reason each of these companies claims that “no other company can say….”, it's because their company has trademarked the words…from the doTERRA website:”CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products.”
Or most important goal is to maintain the consistent quality of all our products. This has been proven in tests conducted by independent institutes throughout Germany. Tested TAOASIS products have received the highest rating from both the consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest and the magazine Ökotest! Aromacosmetic products are produced in accordance with the strict guidelines for natural cosmetics. We work in compliance with the GMP standard for medicines and pharmaceuticals and have been ISO 9001:2008 certified since 2002.

Susie, yes, I have seen most of the Do Terra essential oils, and yes, it’s almost all hype. There are many suppliers to the aromatherapy community, who provide essential oils that are at least as good as Do Terra, and often cost less because they don’t have the whole multi-level marketing structure to finance. I think it’s very sad that the MLM companies find it necessary to resort to negative marketing in order to sell their essential oils.


For some years now I have been applying several drops each of undiluted pure essential oils patchouli, ylang ylang, sandalwood and cedarwood to my neck and throat after a shower, and the fragrance is wonderful, but as a bonus this same fragrance comes up from the toilet bowl every time I do a dump. To confirm I wasn’t imagining it, the first time it happened I smelt the loo paper after the first wipe and there was the fragrance of all those essential oils. Why is this, and has anyone else had the same experience ? I must be one of the very few people in the world who can say that not only does their shit not stink, but that it is exotically perfumed !
Currently organic essential oils are perceived as the answer to these purity and quality problems, but choosing an “organic” essential oil does not mean it is pure or even good quality. Organic herbs and food is an ideal that is worth striving for and it positively impacts our health. Unfortunately, regulating and verifying the organic status of essential oils is not so clear because there are no developed guidelines and routine analytical procedures.
There were only a few things I was unhappy with, but they weren't important enough to lower my rating. First, I had to use a lot of cinnamon bark oil, and I mean A LOT, in my diffuser for it to really be noticeable. It's only been two weeks, and I'm three-fourths of the way through a 30 ml bottle! As others have mentioned, the oil comes out of the droppers really fast. You have to be extra careful. Lastly, I don't care for the residue that the cinnamon bark oil leaves in my diffuser. It has turned the inside a yellow, goopy mess, and I dripped the oil onto the front of my diffuser and it completely erased the ink to all of the words and numbers!
#3. EO’s if diluted properly (not neat) and ONLY certain EO’s are safe for children. Peppermint is not safe until at least 6 years of age, some say older, as it can be a mucous membrane irritant. Eucalyptus has a 1,8-cineole content, its not recommended for children until the age of 10. Very important for childrens safety to do due diligence…these are just a few that come to my mind right of way and why they aren’t safe for children. I know there is plenty of other oils that are safe for children diffused. Once older, then ok for application, diluted in carrier oil. I was told 2-10 years old is when you can start adding more EO’s to your child(ren) library, as they age, you can add more. Of course I know this is hugely a hot topic. It depends on who you ask when you can introduce EO’s to babies and children. I know the MLM say put them neat on babies feet. No ones feet (bottom) will absorb EO’s as we have glands on the bottom of our feet, not pores to absorb the EO’s.
There is also an argument from YL distributors that their oils come from the best crops in the world. As they grow their own crops and only use their own, not sure how they can claim it’s unarguably the best in the world. Every crop is different. Only sampling every crop, every batch would support that claim. Anyway, I am not a qualified aromatherapist either but my research suggests that YL oils and their advice might be best to avoid.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I’m researching essential oils for treatment of an ear infection in my little one, and I wondered about “pharmaceutical grade” vs. other types, and your posts here have given me my answer. Your well-written responses to other people above have given me some great insight. I’ll do my due diligence before using anything on my daughter. You’ve done a great job of underscoring the need to know in order to have a safe and desirable outcome. Thank you.
Thanks for the informative article on essential oils! I want to know if there are any essential oils that can be applied on my skin (face) just before my skin is exposed to direct sunlight? I know that the skin where citrus oils are applied should not be exposed to direct sunlight for few hours after application. That’s the only question that I am concerned with because I am very interested in concocting a facial oil moisturizer after reading an article of yours that is about making a “3-ingredient facial oil moisturizer”.
The Accociation of International Aromatherapists (one of the top organization for setting quality & professional standards for the aromaatherapy industry) notes, “AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).” If you haven’t talked to someone with this training before taking oils internally, you could do yourself real harm.

To date, there has been no company or organization that certifies essential oils. The MOA was established to fill this need. Companies who wish to have an independent organization test the quality of their oils for ISO compliance can contact the MOA to conduct independent testing and certification. Companies who pass these tests can then proudly state that their essential oil is of ISO quality and therefore is a true “Medicinal Grade” oil. Ethical companies will use this standard in their marketing literature. Oils produced only for fragrance need not apply.
First and foremost, the grading systems companies use to grade their products are all relative because there is no regulation of the grades. So when it says "therapeutic grade", that just means it's that companies idea of therapeutic grade. That's not to say they are misrepresenting their products, but there will be variance between products because there is no standard, so finding a brand you trust is important.
Though the solvents are reclaimed by distillation, these absolute oils are not actually re-distilled because the essential oil portions are left intact and not torn apart into constituents during the distillation process. We only offer these two absolute oils due to the rarity and high cost of obtaining steam-distilled rose or jasmine essential oils, which would be many times the price of our absolute products.
For example, Peppermint Essential Oil is used primarily as a flavoring for candies (i.e. Candy Canes), chewing gum and ice creams. It is often referred to on food ingredient labels as Oil of Peppermint or simply as Peppermint Oil. Because large food/candy manufacturers must produce a consistently flavored product, the intensity, aroma and overall flavor of the peppermint oil they use must remain consistent between each lot of oil that they purchase. Peppermint Oil manufacturers/distributors, therefore typically standardize the essential oils that they sell by establishing a blueprint of the percentage that each important constituent should reach within each essential oil. They then test the oil and then adjust the oil by adding or removing constituents until the resulting oil meets the ideal percentage.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies essential oils as food supplements, not drugs. This means producers of essential oils are not allowed to market the compounds as medicine. In fact, they must clearly state the product is “not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” According to the Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act of 1994, this classification also means the FDA is not allowed to regulate the sale or use of essential oils unless they can prove a particular product poses a serious threat.
Bergamot Essential Oil has a fresh and delightful citrus aroma with strong citrus notes and a hint of the exotic, and has been made popular by Earl Grey Tea. This refreshing essential oil is suited for aromatherapy and induces a more relaxed and happy feeling, while reducing oiliness of the skin. Widely used in the perfume industry, it is also used in cleansers and toners.
I hate to be harsh here but what an utter load of pure NONSENSE!!! First let me say that I live in Indiana, one of the largest mint producing states in the country. I have visited mint distilleries and farms on several occasions (you can see some photos of one of my visits in the album entitled “Mint Farm in Northern Indiana”). NOBODY STEAM DISTILLS THE SAME MINT LEAVES MORE THAN ONE TIME!! The plant is distilled for basically 2 hours and its done, no more oil is coming out so they shut the still down. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that the distiller, after watching his oil come over, seeing that his oil level is not growing, shuts the still down and then later thinks to himself “gee, I bet if I fire this still back up (wasting thousands in fuel and labor) we can get some more oil out of that spent mint leaf we distilled yesterday.” Where do people come up with this stuff!!?? Now the MINT OIL can, and often is (thank God), taken for some further redistilling and/or fractional vacuum redistilling that can take place to further improve the quality of the oil by removing nauseating components of the whole oil (just tiny amounts of very bad smelling components get removed in this process). But NOBODY distills the mint biomass a second or third time. This is generally true, not just for mint, but for essential oil distillations in general. When I tried to explain it to the person posting this rubbish she basically did not believe me because her “research” of talking to retailers of essential oils apparently was of higher credibility. If people would just use some common sense they could look at this kind of misinformation and come to the conclusion that none of it makes sense. From an energy standpoint, why would anyone plan to shut down their distilling process just to start it up again later? The amount of energy required to get massive amounts of water boiling and enough steam generating to liberate the oil from large vats of biomass is quite astonishing and costly. Why not just keep distilling and just start collecting the oil produced at the tail end of the distillation in a separate container, if you want to collect what you think might be a different quality at the end of the run than at the beginning (by the way this is done with Ylang Ylang oil which is why there are the different grades of extra, I, II, III and complete). But aside from ylang ylang most all essential oil distillations are collected in one combined lot. And the only time I have ever seen a distiller shut down his process and restart it later was because of mechanical problems, running out of fuel, or just getting too physically tired to continue (in the case of sandalwood for example the distillation can go on for more than 24 hours and oil is still in the wood). I hope that this post will finally do some damage to this myth that has been circulated for decades now and we can finally put it to bed. Please share this post with as many people as you can and firmly admonish anyone who continues to state that “my oils only come from the FIRST distillation.” Yeah right buddy, just like everybody else’s oil. LOL

So, as you can see, it would be impossible to characterize an essential oil or even a single essential oil molecule as having a single vibrational energy frequency. Furthermore, the energy of vibration in molecules is way higher than the 52 Mhz – 320 MHz (52,000,000 – 320,000,000 Hertz) range claimed by the people selling the eo frequency measuring devices. In fact, that low energy range would be in the radio waves region and below.
Also, if you drink it, you should only use a glass or stainless steel container. Glass is highly preferred over the two and the easiest for cleaning out of the previous EO. The smell/taste of an EO tends to “linger” a bit. This is usually a good thing I would think in say aromatherapy but in this case not so much…unless of course you prefer to use the same EO each time.
Yes you can mix Tea Tree and Rosemary EOS (essential oils). And while using less expensive brands for cleaning might make sense to some,they will not disinfectant the way pure oils will. I would only use a proven pure EO on my body internally and externally. Anything you put on your skin goes into your body in 26 seconds. Young Living owns their own farms, everything is beyond organic, they distill in their own distilleries which are open along with the farms world wide for any member to visit and learn from. The oils are 3rd party tested. By law an EO manufacturer can put 100% pure on their bottles and only have 5% pure EO, they don’t have to say what the other 95% is. My recommendation… Do your homework!
Ugh. This is a tough one. I think they’re extremely overpriced. For example, 1/2 oz of bergamot YLEO is $32.50 and 1/2 oz of certified organic bergamot EO at Mountain Rose Herbs is $14.50. I see that YLEOs are “kosher certified,” which really doesn’t mean much of anything (as all plants and vegetables are automatically kosher and nothing special happens or is avoided that “makes” them kosher).
Thank you so much for posting this. I had a reaction to my pure, therapeutic grade Frankincense on my skin and it left me with an itchy rash for over a week. It left me really wondering about the claims the MLM supporters make. I have had great experience in using my oils, but it is foolish to claim they can do no harm. I really appreciate a scientist’s take on all of this.

In a quote from aromatherapy expert, David Crow, he writes, “[T]he antimicrobial effects of essential oils are most potent not when the oil is used in liquid form… but when pathogens are exposed to the vapors of the oils.” Not only do the oils clean the air and get into your nose, but they are also penetrating your skin, getting into your bloodstream, protecting and healing you.


Enormous amounts of plants are needed to produce essential oil. In fact, on the extreme end, it takes 4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 pound of essential oil. Other plants like lavender only take 100 pounds of plant material to produce a pound of essential oil. Still, can you imagine how concentrated essential oils must be, in light of how many plants are used to produce them?


Hi there! I love your blog! I’m trying to find some information about using essential oils in homemade remineralizing toothpaste. My two year old uses this toothpaste and I’ve been adding the OraWellness Brushing Blend (a mix of several EOs in a base of sweet almond oil) to it. I was interested in also adding orange oil for flavor so I tried googling its safety for children. There’s so much conflicting advice about ingesting EOs and he does swallow the toothpaste almost every time. :/ Thoughts
Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I’m researching essential oils for treatment of an ear infection in my little one, and I wondered about “pharmaceutical grade” vs. other types, and your posts here have given me my answer. Your well-written responses to other people above have given me some great insight. I’ll do my due diligence before using anything on my daughter. You’ve done a great job of underscoring the need to know in order to have a safe and desirable outcome. Thank you.
I would love to know more about essential oils to avoid concerning environmental impact. Because it takes so much plant material to create a small amount of extract, it would be handy to have a list of oils that come from plants that are endangered or being irresponsibly harvested. I’m having trouble finding a comprehensive list online. Any suggestions?
From the best that I can understand it, YL claims that their method of testing goes far and beyond almost any other in the US. They state that the GC column length should be at least 50-60 meters in order to allow “double-phased ramping–which makes it possible to identify constituents that occur in very small percentages by increasing the separation of compounds.” YL states that almost all US labs only use a 30-meter column in their testing. The extent of this testing apparently is able to spot possible toxins that would be damaging to the brain, etc. at a molecular level.
Thank you so much for the objective, thorough information! I have some questions about “organic certification”. My understanding, with plants or foods that are produced organically, is that 100% organic is impossible because of cross contamination. So in the case of EO’s is organic less important because any chemical (ie pesticides, herbicides) that is not part of the oil is removed in the distillation process, or it is considered adulterated? For example, a company might state their oils are “certifiably organic” but they could still be contaminated because this certification allows a small percentage of contaminants. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!
you said eo’s should not be taken internally, yet I have been using doterra’s GX Assist for my 33 year old handicapped daughter who has a lot of trouble with yeast and bacteria and GI problems ( all typical of her handicap which is 22q13 deletion syndrome) I’m only giving her one capsule a day and even though it’s a 10 day course I may continue with this for a while as I am seeing a calmer happier person that meds just haven’t been able to achieve…any advise? I am new to eo’s and want to learn all I can and use them wisely as I suspect I have found something much better for her than all the stuff that has been prescribed by her good doctors over the years.
Chirality, a word derived from the Greek word “hand,” is a term used to describe the 3D orientation of a molecule. Just as you have two hands, chiral molecules exist in two forms, distinguished as either the right or the left hand. You may visualize this principle by looking at your hands; when placed side by side, they are mirror images of each other. However, when placed on top of each other, no matter how you turn them, you cannot get them to line up exactly. In molecules, each “hand” has different chemical properties, which affects their physiologic interactions in the body. One hand is produced predominantly in nature. However, in a laboratory environment, the ratio of right- to left-handed molecules is always 50/50 due to their structural similarities. The ratio of right- to left-handed constituents can be determined through a special type of Gas Chromatography. Although not commonly performed on a batch-to-batch basis, this testing method is used to ensure that no synthetic elements are present.
Among the crunchy set, essential oils have a reputation as catch-all solutions to major health problems. Have a fever? Rub peppermint oil on your feet. Suffering from shoddy memory? Put some rosemary oil in a diffuser. It doesn’t help that woo-woo bloggers are running around the internet touting the glory of essential oils in the same breath as some pretty paranoid fantasies ("This is what Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know!!!111").

It is important to know exactly how the oils were extracted. As we discussed earlier with how essential oils are produced, specific methods are required for specific plants. A good essential oil company will declare the method used for each individual oil. If you don’t see any method of extraction, or you find a blanket statement saying that all their oils are steam distilled, be wary, they could be fake.
General safety guidelines include: avoid application of known dermal irritant essential oils on any inflammatory or allergic skin condition; avoid undiluted application; avoid application on open or damaged skin; and dilute known dermal irritants with appropriate vegetable oil or other carrier. If you suspect a client has sensitive skin, perform a skin patch test. Table 1 lists some common essential oils considered to be dermal irritants.

And if you’re not up with what goes on… I keep seeing recipes including essential oils and it drives me crazy. Why use pepper when you could use pepper oil? Why use thyme when you could just add a drop of oil! I even saw this awful recipe for kids ‘immune boosting’ pancakes with On Guard, an essential oil blend that contains herbs like clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and oregano. Giving young children essential oils internally is in my opinion negligent and dangerous.
I can understand why the media is often critical of therapies that tout “quick-fix cures” for serious conditions such as cancer. Unfortunately, the media tends to mock or criticize the entire aromatherapy industry for this, not just the companies making outrageous claims. I do believe that aromatherapy organisations need to be more active to ensure that the true holistic benefits of aromatherapy are responsibly communicated to the community. This certainly will be a topic for future discussion.
Florasol is another solvent used to obtain essential oils. It was originally developed as a refrigerant to replace Freon. Although Florasol is an "ozone-friendly" product, it has a high global warming potential (GWP; 100-yr GWP = 1430).[11] The European Union has banned its use, with a phase-out process that began in 2011, to be completed in 2017.[12] One advantage of Florasol is that the extraction of essential oils occurs at or below room temperature so degradation through high temperature extremes does not occur. The essential oils are mostly pure and contain little to no foreign substances.[citation needed]
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