I'm sure this is not the first time you've stumbled over the topic of aromatherapy. If it is your first time hearing of this, let me break it down for you. The definition of aromatherapy is: "The usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being." These oils are diverted from plant extracts. This is done by steaming or pressing down on various parts of the plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit of it) Sometimes several pounds of one plant is needed to produce just one bottle of essential oil. It's the idea of using essential oils to aid in various ailments, diseases, and to minimize various symptoms. You can apply these oils topically, ingest them, or diffuse them in the air using a diffuser. Essential oils are not new to the scene, they have been around for thousands of years and came from ancient India and Egypt. However, when western culture took an interest in natural medicine in the 70s and 80s... this is when things started to rocket off in American culture. Many companies have profited off of this idea and fad. MLMS (Multi-level marketing) such as doTERRA, and Young Living dominate the Essential oil market by offering "100% pure, natural, uncut oils." Not only are they promoted to be used by itself, doTERRA implements the additive in several different products. From 2-1 shampoos, lip balms, and even formulated skincare. They cover a wide range targeted specifically towards the female market.
Does the practice of aromatherapy and essential oils really work? Considering the fact that essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, there's little hardcore data to sift through. There have been quite a few battles recently with the FDA cracking down on companies making false statements or claims. One outrageous claim that I stumbled upon was a Young Living Consultant was applying essentials oils post-surgery on her appendix wound despite her doctor's discouragement of the practice. Or what one woman wrote in an article "If Ebola was going around in my area . . . I would apply it to my feet and armpits 2x/day or more and take it in capsules at least 2x/day for preventive purposes.” Others go as far as to say that they have cured their cancer with the stuff. In 2014, Young Living even received a warning letter from the FDA for its promotion and teachings of non-existent studies. However, some research suggests that some essential oils may even alleviate mild symptoms such as nausea or headaches. Studies show that melaleuca, or more commonly known as tea tree oil can help with the dissipation of acne. Lavender, a common essential oil used for relaxation and used in several cleaning projects. The use of lavender can lower your cortisol levels, known as the stress hormone. If you ignore the claims of insanity, it's clear to see that there is some hard evidence to show the positives of essential oils. It must have some promoted some positive effects, otherwise, it wouldn't have carried from ancient times to now.
Buying oils at the drugstore? Think again. You may have noticed everyone has been selling essential oils lately. You see them at the drugstore, grocery store, I have even seen them at corner stores. There's a problem here. Sure, they may only be $10 compared to a $30 or even upwards of an $80 price tag. There are a few reasons why you shouldn't purchase them even at this low price.
- You have no idea where these oils originated from. You don't know how they were produced, what plants were used in the process, if they treated those plants with pesticides, or even how many times the oil was distilled.
- It clearly states on the bottle "keep out of reach of children." or, "do not ingest." If oils are completely pure, some of them are completely safe to ingest in small amounts. This depends on the oil and the quantity of oil.
My point I'm trying to get at: Oils that are not 100% pure are only made to be diffused into the air. To sum everything up, essentials oils do work. Maybe not for serious diseases or disorders but definitely for the alleviation of some symptoms.