Should I Ingest Essential Oils?

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Should you ingest essential oils?  In a word….NO.

Essential oils are huge on today’s market, a market that grows larger by the day.  There is good reason for this.  They really work to promote healing and relaxation, among other uses. They are a good substitute for a lot of unnecessary medications, and they smell lovely.  I have used them for decades.  However, I disagree with the notion that they are safe to ingest.                               DoTerra Essential Oils.

It is not unusual to read suggestions for people who have indigestion or allergies or other maladies, that say people should ingest peppermint oil or lavender or frankincense.  However, I seldom see safety disclaimers.  Sometimes, there will be a small warning to only ingest therapeutic grade essential oils.

There are a lot of global companies producing essential oils that are pure , meaning without additives.    DoTerra is one.  Young Living is another, and Essential Oil Labs is another. All of these companies sell pure essential oils  without additives, that they market as “therapeutic.” However, using the word, “pure” does not necessarily mean high quality, and this is where a lot of misconceptions arise.   All the word “pure” means is that nothing has been added to the oils.  However,   pure oil can be distilled the wrong way,  or could have been harvested from a particular variety of plant species that was of inferior quality or it can have other problems, so “pure” does not necessarily equate with “good”.

Some of the essential oil companies put out guidelines such as the one below.  Again, these things are not to be relied upon, because they are not the subjects of true scientific research, and they are standards set forth by the essential oil companies themselves, rather than by objective research:

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I know a lot of people who sell essential oils.  In fact, the market is pretty saturated here in Portland.  Most (but not all)  clearly do not understand what the term, “therapeutic” means, as it applies to essential oils.   It does NOT mean anything about regulated quality standards at all. It does not mean “hospital grade” nor “medical grade” nor anything of the kind.   The term has to do with marketing weight.  That’s it. At this point in time, the only therapeutic grade standard out there right now is an internally derived company standard, and this standard is not objective.

Some of the essential oil companies, for marketing reasons, hire their own teams of researchers and physicians to investigate the properties and uses for their oils, but in terms of the word, “thereuputic,” There is no  independent regulatory agency that certifies oils as therapeutic….and research that is funded by the company that manufactures something has a high potential for bias.

In order for scientific research to be the real deal, the experiments and studies must be performed by a non-biased entity.  Therefore, if Young Living hires researchers who find in favor of the notion that Young Living is trying to promote, chances are the results are going to be biased, because the scientists want their paychecks.  Only trust independent research without financial motivation to show favor in a certain direction. Remember, no essential oil company is going to hire researchers that give honest findings when those findings are negative.  Look at DoTerra’s stuff.  Look at Young Living’s stuff.  You will never see even one negative aspect of anything….and I’m sorry, but nothing is that perfect.  EVERYTHING has its drawbacks.

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In order for scientific research to truly be scientific research, something that is greatly misunderstood, the research has to be:

 

  • Testable: Theories can be supported through a series of scientific research projects or experiments. Sometimes a theory is proven to be wrong through evidence: this is called rejecting a theory. However, a theory can never be proven to be absolutely true because it is an interpretation. There is always a possibility that a different interpretation will someday be found to be more correct.
  • Replicable: In other words, theories must also be able to be repeated by others. This means that enough information and data must be available in the theory so that others can test the theory and get similar results.
  • Stable: Another characteristic of theories is that they must be stable. This means that when others test the theory, they get the same results – so a theory is valid as long as there is no evidence to dispute it.
  • Simple: Which does not imply “basic”.  It means that in the study, only substantial information stated neutrally should be added.  The scientific method is objective, which means that it is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
  • Consistent: Meaning that the experiment should produce the same results over and again, no matter who performs the testing.
  • Valid and Reliable: A test can be reliable but not valid, whereas a test cannot be valid yet unreliable. Reliability, in simple terms, describes the repeatability and consistency of a test (see consistent, above). Validity defines the strength of the final results and whether they can be regarded as accurately describing the real world. In other words, a reliable experiment will measure what it is supposed to measure.

 

Essential oils have medicinal qualities.  However their concentrations vary.  Their qualities vary.  They change chemically over time, and there is not yet sufficient research to support their safety as ingestable substances.  Essential oils are often touted as ways to kill bad gut bacteria, but here are no standard regulations about what kinds of oils, their strengths and dosages to make them safe.

The first code of medical ethics is to do no harm. That’s why ingesting essential oils should be avoided, or undertaken with the direct supervision of a certified essential oil therapist. . When it comes to issues commonly addressed with ingesting essential oils – allergies, heartburn, immune support, weight loss, and detox – dietary and lifestyle changes usually do the trick if the person is really serious about it.

THIS PAGE  has some empirical findings about essential oils and their safety. Again, very little REAL scientific research has been performed, to date, on essential oils.   Click on the video transcripts and “Sourced Cited” to dig deeper.  Every single study conducted says that the primary danger of using essential oils, apart from allergies, is ingesting them.  They can kill you.  I don’t care how famous the company is. I don’t care what the company says.  The company says what it says because it is a business trying to make money.  Use your noggin’ friends.

 

Trust your gut. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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