I’ve recently begun investigating Essential Oils. As you know, I do like a bit of voodoo joojoo and this is right up my street. I also love learning and have been doing an online Aromatherapy course. So all in all, what’s not to love?
It has been a bit of a learning curve – I didn’t jump straight in with using the oils but took some time to understand more about aromatherapy. Besides the online course, I have also borrowed a couple of books from the local library to help me understand more about what they are and how they can be used. When I did take the plunge I bought a small introductory kit from DoTerra. I was first introduced to the brand by my kinesiologist who prescribed the peace blend to help with poor sleep and anxiety. DoTerra are everywhere, pretty much every google search you use for Essential Oils brings them out at the top. Their products are beautifully packaged and very well marketed. DoTerra products seem to do wonders, so many people swear by them and I have to say I was hooked. I could see the potential for addressing my sleeping problem and digestion issues. On top of that, as they operate as an Multi-Level Marketing company (MLM) I could see earning potential and was starting to get really excited. Eventually, my very English and very cautious brain kicked in.
My first question. Are DoTerra products organic? I make a big fuss of making sure that facial and body products that I use are free from everything known to man and as far as possible, organic. And here I was willy nilly using products that I couldn’t be certain were organic. They themselves state that they cannot guarantee that their products are organic. Part of this is because every country has their own rules regarding organic certification, it would be impossible for them to achieve organic status across the world. I understand that, but unfortunately, knowing the oils I buy and use are organic is important to me.
The second thing that had me wondering was the use of DoTerra oils internally. Every other brand of essential oils that I could find were labelled ‘for external use only’. So why could I take DoTerra internally. I have to admit, whilst I was drinking a glass of water with a drop of Lemon in I did question my sanity. Surely, if I wanted lemon flavoured water then I could just squeeze some fresh lemon into to glass. When given instructions to use the oils internally DoTerra recommend that you use a glass or steel container, as plastic ones disintegrate over time. Which did also have me questioning how safe they were for internal consumption. It would appear that I am not the only person with this question. I found this article from Empowered Sustenance which explained the current situation well. They aren’t totally scathing of DoTerra and the products that they produce, but do point out that as yet there is not enough scientific evidence to support the claims that you can safely use essential oils internally. Whilst I might well love the voodoo joojoo, if what science does exist, isn’t backing it up 100% then it’s not really for me. I do appreciate that I am a little fastidious in this and am sure I am being over-cautious!
The third thing that caused some concern was regulation. I do like a bit of regulation. Much as I like to try complementary therapies I do always ensure that those companies and products that I use belong to some kind of organisation to ensure quality, high standards and, I suppose, are as safe as they can possibly be. Aromatherapy, like many complementary therapies doesn’t have an official ruling body, so you do have to be careful. In the UK, however, there is an organisation, the Aromatherapy Trade Council which does monitor the industry and the standard of the essential oils that are sold here. It isn’t compulsory, companies that produce essential oils don’t have to be members of the ATC, but it seemed to me that any company that was prepared to meet the standards laid down by the ATC, would be more interested in providing a good quality product that was safe to use.
Here in the UK we also have the Soil Association, who are the standard for all things organic. Many organic suppliers and producers aspire to achieve the soil association standard, and it is a good indicator of the quality of a product if it displays the soil association logo. So I had two ways to enable me to find good quality organic essential oils. I double checked this by visiting our local health food shop and sure enough, they only stocked brands that appeared in list of those products with both ATC membership and certified by the Soil Association. Even if some of the oils weren’t organic, the companies are able to guarantee the sources of the essential oils and are able to state that they are ethically harvested.
The final thing which concerned me about DoTerra was setting myself up as a salesperson for aromatherapy oils. I don’t have a qualification on this, I’m doing a bit of an online course, for my own interest. This doesn’t qualify me for handing out advice to other people, or making recommendations for how people can treat themselves. I appreciate that as an advocate for the company I wouldn’t be making people buy the products, that is their choice, and consumption or use of essential oils does come with a certain degree of risk, but it just felt like a can of worms I really don’t want to be opening. I don’t know that I want to take that risk myself.
So the list of companies I have identified for my use, those that are members of both the ATC and the Soil Association:
Not the longest list ever known to man, but certainly enough to keep me interested in learning about how I can include essential oils as part of my own health and wellbeing routines and certainly easily accessible to me here in Bristol. I also know that by using products from these organisations that I am also supporting British companies. So for the time being, DoTerra isn’t the brand for me, it’s not a no, just a not for now.