Why Less Is More
There are companies that claim the more essential oils one uses, the better. We know this is not necessarily true.
The chemicals in one drop of essential oil may be the equivalent to thirty cups of a teas prepared from the same plant material, and one drop of Basil or Marjoram, for example, could equal a handful of their herbs. Although they are derived from the same plants, essential oils are the concentrated essence of a plant and should not be confused with the actual plant material which is often found in dried herbs, teas, phyto-therapy or potpourri.
Even though fresh herbs have a strong smell, this is often not the same concentration as the actual essence oil. This is why, when using GRAS essential oils (Generally Regarded As Safe by the FDA), in our cooking, one drop is all that is required to achieve the desired taste. More can easily over power the dish and destroy the planned meal.
Knowledge is Important
It is wonderful that you have discovered and are excited about essential oils. Naturally, you want to share with your family, friends and neighbors, BUT do you know enough about them to instruct others on their use and, just as important, have an understanding of their safe use? IT IS A FAIR QUESTION TO ASK.
You may be sharing an oil that has methyl salicylate in it and don't realize that methyl salicylate is the same ingredient found in aspirin. You may have had no idea that methyl salicylate could be found in an essential oil. You may also not know that long term use of an oil with methyl salicylate can cause a serious problem. Furthermore, it is quite possible you didn't know to ask if a person is on blood thinners before they used an oil with methyl salicylate or if they had a heart condition in which case even short term use would be problematic.
If you haven't been instructed on the properties of each oil by your company, you must rely on yourself to learn this information. Our concern is if you don't take the time required to be properly educated and become familiar with safety knowledge, it could be devastating to you, your family and anyone else with whom you shared the oils. Essential oils are wonderful when used responsibly, but we have found not everyone using essential oils knows what that responsibility includes.
We are all different and to assume that everyone reacts the same to essential oils would be wrong on many levels.
Heavy applications of high-quality oils can send a person into a healing crisis, and that is serious when you don't know how to get them out of it. For someone who has been using essential oils for some time and whose body is accumlated to the power of the oils, it may be no problem. However, someone new to the oils or newly pregnant could find themselves in trouble when their body is unable to process so much oil at one time. WHAT DO YOU DO?
Safety Must Come First
The fact is, should a company advertise ingesting, the FDA would move in unannounced, and the company doors would be closed in a heartbeat. There are many ways to apply essential oils, and ingesting them should never be the first choice. Why ingesting is not recommended, and to learn and comprehend the dangers involved, you must learn from someone who received their education from reputable instructors, preferable from a source whose objective is to educate not to profit. There are plenty of essential oil companies who discriminate between selling their oils and the benefits derived from them. There are also companies, usually multi-level, who appear more interested in gaining distributors than teaching them how to develop their oils business following safe procedures.
Lacking knowledge can be dangerous both to the distributor and to their customers. We believe that using essential oils can be safer than using a chemical-based product, and we are fully aware that chemical-based products come with a laundry list of side effects. It is safe to say, for the most part, essential oils side effects are that you feel better. BUT, once again, there are some precautions that apply and should be practiced. Everything in moderation is a good practice to follow.
We have found, when there is a room filled with people or in a "party" atmosphere, learning becomes secondary. The chance of important information falling on "deaf ears" is not unrealistic, and even in our small classes we find there are some who come for their own reasons and leave without "hearing" important information we teach. It has compelled us to put stronger emphasis on precautions, applications and sources.
For the most part, with few exceptions, the essential oils industry is self-governing and basically unregulated. With this freedom comes the threat of individuals corrupting the industry with their lack of integrity and desire to put profit over education when sharing the essential oils with the public.
The FDA is the regulator of the Essential Oils industry because oils come under the classification of a food product. Oversight of the industry is sparse unless the FDA receives enough complaints to warrant an investigation into any misdeeds. When action is taken it is swift and without warning. Often before a thorough investigation has been conducted, the company under fire is considered "guilty until proven innocent", a less than profitable position to be in.
Those of us, who recognize the oils' benefits must be vigilant of anyone abusing their use due to lack of knowledge or indifference to the penalties from abuse. A person, hosting an oils party, may have understandable enthusiasm but only hearsay education. We recommend anyone adding essential oils to their natural medicine cabinet to do the homework and learn about the individual essential oils, their properties, their cautions and the dilution rate for applying them on different age groups. It would also be helpful if oil lovers have a reference source to turn to when they are unsure of what is best for themselves or the person with whom they are sharing the oils.