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What's the Deal with Essential Oils?

Haven’t you heard? Essential oils are all the rage! Move over Mary Kay and Tupperware! There’s a new party in town that will fix all of your health problems and make you rich!

Now, I jest. I do love essential oils, and I’m fine with the multilevel marketing business models that a lot of these companies have, but I do fear that the way the essential oil industry is heading is distracting people from the goodness and wisdom that these oils can bring.

In case this whole essential oil hullabaloo is new to you, let me give you a brief rundown.

Essential oils are extracts of the oils created from plant parts, like leaves, seeds, petals, bark, etc. These oils usually get extracted by distillation and then are used in all sorts of cleaning and beauty products or on their own, lavender and peppermint being some of the most common.

People have been using essential oils for healing purposes basically since the beginning of time. There are very significant uses in the Bible and jars of oils have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.

Oils are used in many massage and spa treatments, and aromatherapy is becoming more and more popular. But within the past five years or so, the use of essential oils has exploded.

Companies have brilliantly spread the essential oil love through the multilevel marketing waves, motivating people to not only use the oils, but to sign up to get wholesale priced oils and/or sell the oils themselves.

The company that I have been the most familiar with is Young Living. They are based out of where I used to live in Utah and everyone and their mom was involved with the company somehow.

Since Young Living took off, other companies have spun off from there, creating a bigger essential oil market, but also creating a bunch of dumb drama. There are lawsuits and negative campaigns bashing the other and people trying to convert someone selling one brand to “know the truth” about that company and covert to the other. It’s all very ridiculous and sad.

I’ve used Young Living oils because it’s the company that I’ve had the most personal experience with. I trust their purity for the most part, but there are other companies out there that also make lovely oils and blends that I’ve been dabbling with lately. The key is to do your research. If you feel drawn to experiment with essential oils, here are a few things to keep in mind when finding the right brand.

Pure vs. Synthetic

Unfortunately, most essential oil brands that you see at the grocery stores and most health food stores are watered-down versions of pure essential oils. They use fillers and synthetics to get the most bang for their buck, meaning they mix the oil with other stuff to use less of the oil per bottle, saving them lots of money, while giving you lower-grade goods.

And just because a candle says “lavender” doesn’t mean it’s really lavender. Most scented products use synthetic fragrances, or “fragrance oils,” which are toxic imposters of the real deal.

The Many Meanings Of Therapeutic Grade

Many brands use the term “therapeutic grade” or “100% Pure.” An oil with this on it is a good start, but these terms are not officially regulated, so it doesn’t mean the same thing to each brand.

The quality of the oil depends a lot on the quality of the plant and how it was harvested. You can have an oil that’s 100% peppermint, but if it’s a sad, poorly harvested plant, it isn’t going to be as effective.

Which leads me to my next point.

Do Your Research

The best way to sift through companies is to research them. Look for companies that really know the craft of essential oils. They are transparent about their creation practices. They have quality standards. They will answer your questions. They sell their oils in dark, glass bottles with no rubber top. This is an indicator that they understand the best storage for oils.

Be wary of sellers that bash other companies and distract you from the actual products. This frequently indicates that they don’t really know what they are talking about.

And once the above points are considered, you can…

Trust Your Instincts

Essential Oils can have a really profound influence physically, but can also influence you emotionally and spiritually. Take a moment to tune into what you are drawn to. If you’ve done all of your research, even found the good and bad about every company, go with what you feel best about.

This can be an intuitive feeling, or you can literally buy different brands of the same oils and see which one you like the best.

And remember, you don’t have to sign up to sell oils and have it take over your life to be into essential oils. Start with one or two and go from there.

And because it takes so much of a plant to make just a tiny bit of oil, I recommend using essential oils sparingly. Teas and tinctures are much more sustainable and a much more effective way to get the medicinal benefits of the plants.


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