Do Terra is everywhere in Australia. If you're anyway interested in the broader 'wellness' community, you'd have heard of them, and quite likely, someone you know is peddling their oils, touting them as cure alls and superior to any other oil on the market.
I have always had a healthy skepticism for such claims, whilst at the same time, totally in love with the intoxicating scents of essential oils and the power of plants to heal in all kinds of ways.
It is the marketing of essential oils and the continued deceits of big companies that rile me and compel me to research everything I might be tempted to use.
Doterra uses multi level marketing - you sell products, and recruit people to sell products so that you get a share. The scheme relies upon your own sales, as well as a percentage of the sales group you recruit. No wonder every Doterra saleswoman I meet is almost ruthless trying to get me both to buy their oils, as well trying to recruit me into becoming a seller myself. And no wonder woman on low incomes get hooked into the idea - their tiered system suggests that if you reach the level of a 'Diamond' seller, you can average 16,000 a month. Hell, I'd quit my professional teaching job for that amount of dollar. Yet, as an investigation found out, reported by Australia's 'The Project' this month, many woman were trying to make up their sales to maintain their level by paying for their own products, losing thousands in the process. You can listen to their report here.
It is the need to push the sale of these essential oils by sellers that have given risen to some pretty legitimate concerns. I'm first to be a little cynical about broad and sweeping statements such as 'frankencense cures cancer', and, running the group Natural Medicine here on Steemit, I'm never, ever going to resteem or upvote your post if you are making claims like that without backing it up with some serious research. This kind of misinformation is misleading and downright dangerous.
As much as I might be wary of centralised, regulatory bodies that insist on controlling access to alternative medicines, in some ways, these regulations are necessary to prevent the spread of misinformation, such as ingesting essential oils. They are incredibly potent and concentrated (did you know that 1 drop of peppermint oil is equivalent to to 26 cups of peppermint tea?) so much so that you cannot always control the dose and can experience toxicity such as kidney and liver damage. Whilst some can be safe, it's important to understand that they may not be safe for all of us, such as children, pregnant woman, the elderly or those with allergies.
Oregano oil, for example, can seem harmless and has been touted as useful for infections and safe to be taken internally, can cause skin rashes, vomiting and can irritate the eyes, or cause an allergic reaction in those that might be allergic to it and other plants such as mint, sage, or lavender. Some citrus oils can cause photosensitivity. And with the growing understanding that gut health is the most important factor in all kinds of issues, including mental health, taking essential oils internal have the potential to disrupt good gut bacteria. Sure, they have incredible potential, giving hope for an alternative to drug resistant pathogens1, to prevent spoilage in foodstuffs2 or to alleviate depresssion3 amongst many other things but caution must be exercised.
But I am never going to make wild claims about dosage and their ability to 'cure' without backing myself with research - and I'm not a medical practitioner, so even then, I'm going to be wary about it. And I am well aware I do so at my own risk. I would suggest anyone touting any alternative medicine as a 'cure' might want to write a disclaimer at the end of their posts, begging people to consult with a practitioner and do their own research before doing anything with such potent medicine.
'Natural' is always good for you. One person's cure is another's poison. It would be wise to keep this advice in mind next time you see a wild claim from your Instagram friend extoling the benefits of a Doterra essential oil.
Be safe. Research. Trust no one.
A great article by the New Yorker. I found the language it used interesting, because it bugs me when people are dismissive of the wellness industry and dismisses them as quackpots. However, it makes an interesting point about how the wellness industry, essential oils included, relies on modern anxiety about our health.
Wellness is often dismissed as frivolity, another way for wealthy white women to spend money and obsess about their bodies. But you’re just as likely to find essential oils in a small-town drugstore in the Midwest as in an organic market in L.A., and their appeal is often less about indulgence than about anxiety.
It also digs a little deeper in the person behind 'Young Living', and validates my skepticism about big essential oils companies and the people behind them. It a reminder to always do your research into essential oil companies before buying from them.
Written from the perspective a naturopath, Maslen's blog post goes into the potential risks of essential oils if not used properly. She contests Do Terra's claim that taking an essential oil is the same as ingesting the herb itself. If you don't believe anything I said, read something written by a practitioner.
What essential oil companies do you use?
Do you trust claims about them or do you do your own research?