As for being the "heartbeat of the plant kingdom," Most plants don't even produce essential oils so where is their heartbeat? I am not really sure what that statement is supposed to mean, I guess somebody just thought it sounded marketable and ran with it. Concerning the "life blood" claim, as I have said here before, essential oils do not have the same function in the plant that blood does in the human body. Our blood primarily performs the function of circulation and transport of oxygen and nutrients to the all the cells and organs of the body. Essential oils do not play this role in the plant.
Most common essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, patchouli, and eucalyptus are distilled. Raw plant material, consisting of the flowers, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, is put into an alembic (distillation apparatus) over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the volatile compounds. The vapors flow through a coil, where they condense back to liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel.
One unfailing principal of science is that of naturally increasing entropy which relates to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. All things naturally head towards maximum entropy (disorder). Entropy is inescapable on this earth, and we all know it takes constant energy to fight against this natural degradation of all things. Left alone, things don't naturally become more ordered over time, we all know this whether or not we are familiar with the term entropy. Entropy is why you cannot create a perpetual motion machine, why your houses naturally get messy over time, why your car engine eventually breaks down, why your body eventually can no longer sustain itself and you die and why the earth must eventually come to an end.
Ron Guba points out that toxicity during pregnancy is almost exclusively due to pregnant women taking large, toxic doses of essential oils, notably pennyroyal (rich in the ketone, pulegone, which is metabolized to the highly toxic furan epoxide, menthofuron) and parsley seed (rich in the dimethyl ether, apiol) in an attempt to abort the fetus.13 And Battaglia shares this insight: “the judicious use of essential oils together with appropriate forms of massage by a skilled therapist can help ease the discomforts of pregnancy and provide a sense of nurturing that will comfort the mother at times she is likely to be feeling rather fragile.”14
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.
I was just barely speaking with a girl who is a certified aromatherapist and she said that people need to be very careful with wintergreen because it is such a strong blood thinner. I think this may be part of why it specifically is deemed unsafe for internal use (whether its pure or not). When it says wintergreen oil on ingredients lists I’m willing to bet it is a synthetically created oil or other form of it rather than the essential oil because of its therapeutic properties.
Thank you so much for this excellent distillation! I’m just beginning to use EO’s, and have had such excellent results that I am encouraged to try more — thank you for helping me find reputable companies to purchase from. The pricing comparison was especially helpful. My only issue so far is with Aura Cacia — the lids are so hard to get off the bottles — my 71 year old hands just can’t exert that much pressure any more — I emailed the company thru their website, and was sent alternative bottle caps, that didn’t even fit the bottles. Alas, not buying from them any more, which is unfortunate, since they are readily available in local stores. However, online ordering is easy and quick. Thank you once again!
Great post! I am a lover/addict of essential oils and I found it interesting that you said NOT to take essential oils internally. There are several oils that I take internally daily, in fact, it is highly recommended per Young Living to do so. The oils I use are from Young Living and I put them in my water, coffee, on a piece of bread and I cook with them since they are more potent than herbs and their frequency is greater.
I love essential oils! I use NOW Oils because they are affordable and easy to find. I think Young Living and DoTerra are over priced marketing scams. I tell everyone I use NOW. I have great success using the more reasonable priced oils and they even make some of their own blends. Highly recommend but everyone needs to find what brand works for them.
Should you change your mind and wish to permit me to include three consecutive months of testing for your pure peppermint oil please send it to me this week. I will be very straightforward in saying that my intention is to share the results as if the results are what your trainers and trainees believe them to be, there would only be benefit to the company.
Storage: Once they receive their shipments directly from the distiller (no middlemen) they immediately pour them into amber-colored bottles, then they remove the oxygen by filling the remaining space in the bottles with nitrogen before placing them in cold storage; this drastically reduces oxidation and greatly enhances the shelf-life and vibrancy of the oils. And if that weren’t special enough, Joy and Cynthia literally hand-pour every bottle to order. What this means is, the essential oil stays in cold storage, with nitrogen, until you place your order, only then will the oil be poured custom into the tiny 15mL amber bottle, just for you! No one else takes such pride and care.
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.
Do they sell essential oils of plants that are endangered? There are quite a few companies that are harvesting and using essential oils of plants that are endangered. You should be asking where your essential oil has come from; is it “endangered” and is the supplier trying to sell you an inferior/substituted product in its place, claiming that it is the same “quality” and standard. If it is extracted from an endangered plant species, what is the current level of threat to that plant species? Finally, is there an alternative essential oil, with similar chemical components and properties that you could be using? You can keep track of current endangered aromatic species on cropwatch.org
Historically, gas chromatography was sufficient to identify individual components in an essential oil. However, as more sophisticated methods for developing synthetic essential oil products formed, further validation methods were needed. Over time, additional testing methods such as mass spectroscopy, chiral analysis, FTIR Scan, carbon isotope analysis and others have been developed to more accurately identify each individual essential oil constituent.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, international standard standing organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland that promotes the development of standards in the areas of intellectual, scientific, technological and commercial activity. For essential oils, ISO provides guidelines for packaging, conditioning, storage, labeling, sampling, testing and quality standards for individual essential oils.
Janice – no, it’s not at all junk science, and this is what ISO standards are all about – the maximum and minimum ranges of key constituents. This does of course vary with different chemotypes, as well as different species, and it can also vary with geographical origin. So there is an ISO standard for peppermint oil from the USA, and a different one for the rest of the world. (this is not elitism – ISO standards are not US-based.)
Do not take essential oils internally, especially oils like wintergreen and eucalyptus. While some essential oils may be used well-diluted in something like toothpaste with safety, it’s generally recognized that there’s no need to take essential oils internally. In fact, there are several toxic essential oils that should be avoided even through skin contact. Luckily, these are NOT common essential oils, and most of them you’ll never find in the store.
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to the aromatic compounds in essential oils and other plant extracts. Aromatherapy may be useful to induce relaxation, but there is not sufficient evidence that essential oils can effectively treat any condition. Essential oils should not be interpreted to be cures for chronic disease, or other illnesses, as scientific research does not support this. Much of the research on the use of essential oils for health purposes has serious methodological errors. In a systemic review of 201 published studies on essential oils as alternative medicines, only 10 were found to be of acceptable methodological quality, and even these 10 were still weak in reference to scientific standards. Use of essential oils may cause harm including allergic reactions and skin irritation; there has been at least one case of death. As such, the use of essential oils as an alternative medicine should be approached with caution.