Dangerous Myths About Essential Oil Use
The proliferation of essential oil myths being spread by Young Living and doTERRA representatives is absolutely alarming! I’ve read sales reps’ websites irresponsibly recommending dangerous methods of use and application, with a total disregard to safety.
Some of the myths have to do with ingestion, the use of essential oils for infants and children, the safety of using oil neat, and the whole idea of the bottom of the feet being the “best place” to apply the oils.
Essential Oil Myths #1 – Essential Oils are Safe to Ingest
The most ridiculous and dangerous statement I’ve ever seen regarding ingesting essential oils was on the website of a Young Living sales representative. She said, (you can hear the gushing) “Isn’t it wonderful that when God makes something it’s so pure that it is absolutely safe?!”
What?! My response: “So because God made arsenic we should be able to ingest it too?”
Essential oils are so concentrated that a single drop is 100 times the potency of the plant or herb counterpart. So while it’s perfectly safe to drink lemonade made from the juice of lemons, you’re just asking for liver damage to sip all day on water to which a single drop of lemon essential oil has been added.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of some plant remedies without the danger presented by ingesting essential oils, use the dried herb or fresh plant. Drink the herbal tea or swallow gel-caps containing the dried plant material…but DO NOT ingest essential oils!
Essential Oil Myths #2 - With Dilution All Essential Oils are Safe for Children
Wrong! Some essential oils should NEVER be used on children or infants no matter how diluted. These oils are:
Essential Oil Myths #3 – Only Certain Companies Sell Therapeutic Grade
False! The term “therapeutic grade” was created by Gary Young of Young Living to sell more essential oils, and to make people think there was something special that you could only get with his company’s oils. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
All essential oils are considered “therapeutic grade”, which just means they can be used for “treating or curing of disease” or used “medically” to “maintain health”.
Essential Oil Myths #4 – Your Feet are the Best Place to Apply Essential Oils
Say what?! Just about every Young Living or doTERRA sales rep recommends that the best and most effective way to get essential oils into your system is to massage those essential oils into the soles of the feet.
Why are the soles of the feet recommended? After all, the thickest skin on the human body is the soles of the feet, usually callused.
Their reasoning is that the soles of the feet contain the most pores. That may be, but they are sweat glands, and since oil and water (sweat) don’t mix, those pores are NOT going to pull the oils into the blood stream.
They also combine reflexology points with essential oils saying that by applying oils to specific points on the bottoms of the feet any condition throughout the body can be treated.
If people have obtained any relief by applying essential oils to their feet it is more likely that the relief came by inhaling the essential oil; inhalation being the best way to benefit from essential oils.
Essential Oil Myths #5 – Essential Oils are Natural and Thus Safe
Wrong! Essential oils are highly concentrated and as such can be extremely dangerous if used wrong. If eating one too many peppermint candies can cause a tummy ache, then drinking several glasses of water every day each with even one drop of peppermint essential oil is going to cause a lot more than a tummy ache.
Essential Oil Myths #6 – Essential Oils Can Be Used Neat on the Skin
Wrong! The current teaching is that you only need to dilute essential oils for topical use if you have sensitive skin. In fact, Young Living and doTERRA reps will tell you that if you use an essential oil neat and have a reaction it’s only because your skin is detoxing and that a reaction is natural.
Actually teaching people they can use the oils neat is just another way to guarantee that the oils will be used faster, resulting in more sales.
Essential oils are so concentrated that even 2 drops of essential oil to one teaspoon of carrier oil will still deliver therapeutic results without the danger of sensitization of the skin.
Sadly most of the dangerous essential oil usage myths are started and perpetuated by Young Living and doTERRA sales reps, who get absolutely no training in safe usage, but a bunch of training in how to sell their oils. UPDATE 07/2015: There have been some positive changes lately, as the companies have begun to crack down on non-compliant claims, and more and more sales reps in both companies are stepping out and learning about safety.
More Dangerous Myths
These are just a few of the ridiculous and dangerous myths being perpetrated by those solely motivated by sales. I don’t necessarily blame all of the sale representatives. I blame the management and ownership of the companies who teach their people to use these myths when they are selling the oils.