Oils ain’t oils
Ahhhhh! That’s me exhaling stress while surrounded in a fragrant cloud of relaxing oils from my diffuser. I love essential oils and think they can be an amazing part of treatments, excellent for relaxation, a healthy alternative to perfume and a wonderfully natural way to clean the home. Oils help me think and provide mental clarity. Oils are my go to whenever I have a cut or bite to treat. I use oils instead of moisturiser. I wear at least 4 different types of oils on a daily basis, so it would be safe to say that I LOVE OILS!!! BUT, I’m often asked what I think of certain brands and to be honest, many fall short. One brand in particular repeatedly comes up and though my opinion may be unpopular with those who are converts, I’m going to meet this head on.
DoTerra. There, I said it. Most of you have probably heard of it, may even sell it, use it or know someone who does. So, as someone who is passionate about sharing my knowledge so that people can make informed choices, here are a few things you should be aware of.
Price – to be quite honest, there are better quality oils out there that won’t require selling your organs on the black market to purchase them. Because of the way DoTerra and other Multi Level Marketing (MLM) brands are structured, their prices are highly inflated so that each person receives their piece of the pie.
A while back I attended a DoTerra party. Just like a Tupperware party, but with more oils and fewer cocktails. I was interested to learn about the brand and see what was on offer, but not without first doing some research of my own. The party was pretty much what I expected, but there were a few things that were shared as fact that simply didn’t stack up. Thanks to a mobile phone and Google, I was able to verify (debunk) some things on the spot.
Firstly, the consultant very proudly stated that DoTerra oils are “the purest on the market”, and that this had been verified by independent testing. Well, unfortunately, this isn’t true. A simple Google search revealed that true independent testing showed DoTerra oils to be of poor quality, contain contaminants, often did not contain the ingredients claimed and in some cases were actually synthetic! It’s important to note that some of the impurities and contaminants are very small, but the fact is that they are still there and claims of purity are false and misleading.
Consultants are taught that DoTerra oils are “better than organic”. Firstly, no! As the above outlines this is far from true, but secondly, what does that even mean? Better than organic? Certified Organic, which is a label that DoTerra hasn’t obtained, means that a product is not genetically modified, wasn’t sprayed with pesticides, soil has been tested to ensure it’s not contaminated with non-approved chemicals and is definitely not synthetic. So, not really stacking up so far, is it?
One point that greatly amuses me is the awards that DoTerra has received. While most of us are proud of any awards and achievements we attain, most of us don’t create and bestow those awards upon ourselves, yet this is exactly what DoTerra has done. The awards they “won” were given to them by a company they created themselves. And the real kicker? Nobody else was in the running!!!!! Ummmmmmm…
Another claim the consultant made is that all of their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). Just so you’re aware, this is a term coined by DoTerra, which they have subsequently trademarked.
CPTG is NOT an FDA or TGA term and it’s important to understand that essential oils are NOT approved for ingestion/ internal use, no matter what your oil rep tells you. So while this term sounds very fancy and official, it means diddly squat.
So now you’re probably wondering why you’re being lied to? Don’t be angry at the rep, they are only repeating the information that they’ve been told and aren’t even aware that what they’re telling you is untrue. Many of them are not practitioners and don’t have any formal training and therefore don’t know any better. In addition, they should absolutely NOT be prescribing for anything. Just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe! Without proper training and knowledge, treatments of any kind can do more harm than good.
I am currently treating a patient, let’s call her Miss X, who was selling DoTerra and with her permission I’d like to share how it has destroyed her health. Miss X is a healthy woman in her early thirties who is physically active, has a good diet and no major health complaints. Always looking for natural products to use around the home and being a lady who likes beautiful smelling things, Miss X decided to look into DoTerra after a few friends invited her to a party. This is when she started to get excited, thinking she had found the golden ticket to guilt free health and cleaning! So, embarking on the essential oil (EO) journey, Miss X bought the kits and invested thousands into her new found passion. Sounds pretty great so far, right? The only problem is that Miss X was “trained” by the person above her in the MLM food chain, who was trained by the person above them, and so on. Now, many businesses work this way and it’s not the issue per se, however, when unskilled people are dishing out health advice and prescribing things that they have no training in, it opens everyone up to danger, but more on that further down. So, Miss X has in good faith repeated the information she has been fed by her team leader, not stopping to question or research for herself. There’s no judgement here, because while I love research and my career depends on it, it’s not something that motivates everyone, and that’s perfectly ok. Some of the advice passed down will inevitably have been completely harmless, but some has been truly detrimental. Miss X, excited and passionate about her EOs, decided that there was no better way to advocate the products than to be living, breathing proof that they promote great health. Seems fair! With this in mind, Miss X started taking a variety of oils to cleanse and detox her body (also not a thing, but that’s an article for another day), support her immune system, improve digestion and more. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Except, that a number of the oils were not the magic elixir they claimed to be and actually contained oils that destroyed her gut health, completely stripping her gastrointestinal tract of it’s lovely flora, opening her up to inflammation and infection. Miss X didn’t realise straight away what was happening until she started experiencing issues with digestion, irregular bowel motions and poor immune response, now catching every cold that went around, irritability, foggy brain and more. But aren’t these the very things the oils were supposed to prevent? Unfortunately, some of the oils were of poor quality, incorrectly “prescribed”, taken in high doses and incredibly harsh on a delicate gut biome. The harsh oils destroyed gut bacteria, not differentiating between the good guys and the bad guys. It was only after extensive testing and finally seeing a gastroenterologist that Miss X managed to learn the cause of her new found ill health.
I have now been working with Miss X to rebuild her gut biome for 12 months, and she still has a long way to go in her efforts to rebuild her health, but is slowly getting there. I’d like to say that this is an extreme case, but the truth of the matter is that I’m not sure if that’s true. With so many unqualified people handing out advice, there could be many more out there whose health has been impacted negatively.
I would advise that you should never take health advice from someone who isn’t educated in treating your condition. They should have a working knowledge of the human body, how different medications, supplements, foods and EOs interact and how to objectively read research so they can form a PROFESSIONAL opinion of a treatment. Reading a handbook doesn’t make you an expert. As I mentioned earlier, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe. For example, peppermint seems like a fairly innocuous thing to suggest, especially when it’s in things like toothpaste and confectionery. In fact, while peppermint can indeed be phenomenal for aiding digestion and treating headaches etc., did you know that if peppermint oil is taken in conjunction with certain medications it can change the time it takes your liver to break them down, reducing their efficacy and significantly increasing the risk of side effects?!
So, while I’m not saying you should throw the baby out with the lavender bath water or that EOs should be avoided, I am definitely encouraging people to do research, have an understanding of their safety, how they work and whether the person “prescribing” them is qualified to do so.
Peace, love and health,