Are Essential Oils Just Big Business?

Are Essential Oils Just Big Business?
In a world where natural medicine is making a huge comeback, essential oils are in the limelight.

The creation of essential oils stemmed from the use of plants for fragrance, perfume and medicine. Extracting the essential oil from a plant was a natural step in attaining its most potent part. Hypocrites, the Greek physician, documented 300 different plants and their health benefits. His knowledge is supported by Ayurvedic medicine. Essential oils are used topically to treat burns, rashes and prevent infections in cuts. Their fragrances are used to boost one’s mood, relax and get rid of anxiety. They are ingested to detox, get rid of nausea, treat indigestion and increase appetite. This is a far from exhaustive description.

Several leading essential oil companies were established as direct sales companies and became the leading suppliers of essential oils. With similar missions to provide the most authentic highest quality essential oils, these companies were the first to establish a standard of quality for these oils. The founders knew the possibilities essential oils offered in changing the way ailments and diseases were treated. This is where the FDA gets involved.

Essential Oils and The FDA

Legally, a health claim can’t be made about a product if it is not approved by the FDA. At one point, various essential oils were advertised to treat viral infections, such as ebola, bacterial infections as well as cancer. It was said that they could treat injuries to the brain, autism, Grave’s and Alzheimer’s Disease, tumors and ADD/ADHD. According to the FDA, these diseases and illnesses cannot be treated legally by anyone other than a licensed and qualified medical doctor. Essential oils are viewed as unsafe when these claims are made because they have not passed the FDA’s standard. Where once it was safe to say supplements might help prevent or cure an ailment because they had been proven to have such an effect in clinical studies and such, it is now impermissible. Even to mention them in the same sentence as diseases and sicknesses is becoming frowned upon. In general, supplements are advertised to be beneficial to those with diseases and illnesses, but this site is sounding more convincing than the FDA is comfortable with. Because they have not been approved by the FDA, they cannot be legally advertised and sold with such claims.

Basically, if a claim to treat or cure an illness is made about an essential oil, then they are being viewed as drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA; just like any drug coming out of a pharmaceutical company. Imagine if such a company tried to sell a medical drug without it being approved by the FDA. The FDA contacted this company after reviewing several of its sites and social media accounts where the essential oils were being sold with these claims. The brighter side, and hopefully the reason this action was taken, is that less people will end up with illnesses that have progressed too far without proper medical attention.

Do They Work?

Essential oils have been studied, tested and proven to treat some conditions. One of the issues that might have some people asking are essential oils just big business has to do with the fact that doTerra International has them inconsistently/alternately described as dietary supplements and in other places as for topical use. Although the proper use may be inferred based on what it’s being used for, this is inconsistent labeling at best without any clarification or explanation.

Essential Oils and Current Homeopathic Culture

Homeopathy is another highly potent, natural form of medicine. Oftentimes, one’s health insurance even covers it. It would be wonderful if its use could be combined with essential oils for the ultimate healing duo. They can to some extent; however, about two dozen oils can’t be used in conjunction with homeopathy because the oils cancel out the effects of homeopathic remedies.

Hayden Beck
Hayden Beck is a freelance writer that covers a wide array of topics - from technology to personal health and wellness. He has most recently worked with BambooHR & The Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness. When not working, you can find Hayden hiking with his dog or spending time with friends.