Yes, essential oils can cause a lot of harm if you're not using really good ones or don't know how to use them properly, and it's not that hard in today's Information Age to get to know more about them. There are plenty of books, blogs and websites out there without having to become an aromatherapist.
I have to admit, I didn't know a lot when I first started out either, and was guilty of what has become a pet peeve...but that's why I'm writing this series of posts. I want to add to the good information that's out there and help educate people about essential oils now that I've worked with them for several years, and especially since I know from experience what benefits can be derived from using really good essential oils. It's been an expensive, but worthwhile, journey and education!
So, the first thing you need to know is that the essential oil industry is not regulated by laws, and that there's a lot of misleading labeling out there...and even a lot of misleading education. It starts with how "100% Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil" is defined. If it has at least 5% of 100% therapeutic grade essential oil in the bottle, it can legally be labeled as such. Wait, what?! Yep, the rest can be chemical residue, fillers, pesticides and herbicides, etc.
Next thing to know is that adulteration is HUGE in this industry because of the lack of regulation, and GS/MS testing doesn't really mean a lot. Most essential oil companies are re-bottlers who depend upon the honesty of the suppliers they obtain their oils from and many don't do in-house testing once they receive their oils to re-bottle with their labels. Often what happens is that they get sent the GS/MS certification for one batch, but get sent another and they have no idea if they don't do in-house testing and/or have close and solid business partnerships with their suppliers.
Last, there are two things to look for in a high quality therapeutic essential oil that lead to how effectively it works: purity and potency. Purity obviously refers to how pure and unadulterated the essential oil is, but potency can be more confusing. Part of the potency of an essential oil is its volatility, and that contributes to the strength of the essential oil...and is where a lot of essential oils that were high in purity fell short for me out of the several that I've tried, and I've tried several brands over the course of the past 6-7 years since I first started exploring essential oils. I'll start going into details of that journey in my next post, but you can see some of the brands I've considered high quality in the picture at the top of this post. Along the way, I'll share what I consider the pros and cons of MLM essential oil companies, the differences between the top two of those, and finally the company I've chosen to use.
I'm not an expert, but I've read and experimented a lot and my next step will be to become a certified aromatherapist. However, I wanted to share what I have learned in order to help others make better educated choices along their own journey, for the right company for me might not be the right company for you and you'll have to do some of your own exploration to find out what is right for you. At the end of my last post, I'll also include links to some other great blogs for even more education. Enjoy your jump down the rabbit hole!