As an aromatic food supplement, essential oils are a playground for the nose and probably safe in small quantities. They may be useful in modulating the mind-body connection, but as primary medical treatment for most disease conditions, there is no evidence to suggest they work. I’d recommend spending your hard-earned money on chemical compounds that do.
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.
One thing I wonder though (couldn’t find it on the websites you listed either) – My grandmother loves the smell of tomato leaves and I ran across a hand cream that was tomato leaf scented once when I was overseas but it was too much liquid to bring home. Is there somewhere I can find an essential oil or make one or something like it to make a nice handcream for her?
So why is clary sage oil said to have estrogen like properties? It all has to do with a component found in the oil called Sclareol. So why is sclareol not a good candidate to have estrogen like properties? First of all sclareol is actually a very minute component of the essential oil of clary sage despite some authors claiming that sclareol is present in clary sage oil at 1.6-7.0%, an utterly ridiculous claim. Almost all steam distilled clary sage oils on the market (I would say 99.9% of them) have less than 0.5% sclareol content. As sclareol is a relatively heavy molecule, its really very difficult to get sclareol above that level with conventional steam distillation. To get the level higher, some proprietary distillation processes have to be implored and most companies will not go to that trouble because the sclareol is a valuable precursor to a very important molecule in the synthetic fragrance industry and not deemed important to the essential oil.
"Oral ingestion results in ten times the amount of absorption into the bloodstream of an essential oil compared to topical application," Ferrari says. "This type of application is usually used for short-term treatment of more serious ailments, like bacterial infections (some essential oils are effective against the MRSA bacteria, for example), viral infections, and even cancer."
They tell me this is a myth that quite a number of people are spreading but its hard for me to believe that there are people out there who are actually accepting this as a viable explanation. But I guess there must be a significant amount of people believing it because a number of you have asked me to address this. I suppose it comes from the desperate attempt for people to come up with some kind of positive explanation for any adverse reactions that natural products might cause us. I mean we all know that if something is natural that it must be good for us, right?
doTerra is a Young Living rip-off, but they are still better than most. I got off 4 Rx drugs with Young Living Essential Oils, I use them daily on my skin undiluted and take them internally several times per week. Thanks for your article on oils — just a note that there is a VAST difference between most oils sold in health food stores and cheap online venues vs. true therapeutic-grade oils. =)
Hi, I was wondering if anybody knows where I can get Korres organic essential oils. I bought a lavender and a geranium last year on vacation in Greece but it seems that they’re only sold there. I can’t find them anywhere on the internet which seems really odd. The quality was amazing and I really want to try the others and restock on the lavender and geranium. Please help!
The quality of essential oils can vary widely. As a consumer (and even as an aromatherapist), it is difficult to assess quality. Essential oils come from all over the world, and suppliers or companies usually obtain oils from farmers or wholesalers whose practices and integrity they have come to trust over time. The end consumer would not be aware of (or have the capability to assess) those relationships and practices. For those interested in learning more about regulating bodies and certifying organizations, some information and links are provided below.
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Hi, I was wondering if you have heard of White Lotus Aromatics? If so what are your thoughts on them? I’m somewhat new to the essential oil life, I just bought a couple of oils from Rocky Mountain Essential Oils, but I’m going further down the rabbit hole in my research for the best essential oils out there. I’ve been reading a lot on White Lotus, but will also be checking out Native Americans.
No, DoTerra has NOT “done research. They are a multi-level marketing company using false claims about products. They pretend their products are the “most pure”, they invented a phrase indicating they are certified when they are not, and they are actually telling people – against ALL evidence that this is safe – to INGEST some of the oils. Stay away.
I just made some really nice cleaner using a spray bottle of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water and 6 drops citrus oil and a few peppermint oil (DoTerra). Cleaned the bathroom & under the sink areas (reorganizing day). It smells wonderful in there! And I really appreciate not having the chemicals in the house. Little by little I’m getting there. Wishing you well.
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.
Essential oils are all the rage. You know the ones I’m talking about. In fact, you’ve probably been invited to a product party where little vials with expensive price tags promise a wide range of health benefits. You’ve also heard the stories. Essential oils cure warts and ear infections. They soothe rashes and bellyaches. They reduce fever and fight the common cold. Virtually any ailment you suffer has a corresponding dose of liquid magic.
Essential Wholesale & Labs offers a high quality sweet and floral French Lavender 40/42. For those who prefer a pure Lavandula angustifolia we offer a beautiful certified organic Buena Vista Lavender oil distilled here in Oregon. The Buena Vista Lavender oil is a relatively recent addition and has been a great success. Since we first added it to our offerings in September 2011 we have sold out four times and purchased progressively larger volumes with each order to meet increasing demand. It is our plan to continue adding more certified organic oils to our catalogue. I can only hope they are as well received as well as the Buena Vista Lavender. 
"When you smell an essential oil," says Tony Ferrari, Ph.D. in chemistry, "its constituents bind to receptor sites in the nose, which read the aroma molecules and send signals through the olfactory nerve to the limbic system and amygdala in the brain. There are more than 5,000 chemical compounds that make up commonly used oils, each of which binds in a different way to different receptors, so their effects can vary widely."
The Aromatherapist generally desires to use the whole, naturally balanced, pure, natural oil. Pure essential oils may contain trace constituents, which may not as yet have been detected or identified which make up the totality of the oil. These would not be present in a reconstructed or synthetically produced oil. It is perhaps best to trust that nature will provide the correct balance. We are, after all, dealing with the soul of the plant, and who among us can reconstruct such a thing?
Mountain Rose Herbs also holds quite a few certifications and awards pertaining to their product sourcing, including non-GMO project certification, and the 2013 Best Green Business’s To Work For In Oregon. Overall, this company is making quite a few awesome commitments to better, green business practices and if you like this ideology, this is your company to support.
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'm updating this post years later to add important information. I do not have all of the information in this series on why I didn't choose certain companies so I would appreciate you not accusing me of coming to silly conclusions. I have gotten threatening emails (some of they cryptic threats), and have been warned about being sued if I published certain things.


Balsam of Peru, an essential oil derived from the Myroxylon, is used in food and drink for flavoring, in perfumes and toiletries for fragrance, and in medicine and pharmaceutical items for healing properties.[33][unreliable source?] However, a number of national and international surveys have identified Balsam of Peru as being in the "top five" allergens most commonly causing patch test allergic reactions in people referred to dermatology clinics.[34][35][36]
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