Safe or Toxic? How much do you know about Essential Oils?

Do you know the difference between a fatty oil and an essential oil? Could the lavender oil you see on the shelf at the health food store labeled as “pure” possibly be cut with synthetic chemicals, diluted, or extracted from the plant using solvents? Does it really matter that much what brand you buy?

I don’t think most people understand what essential oils are, or exactly why quality matters. This lack of knowledge could create a real safety issue. Read on because there is a lot of misinformation out there.

Fatty Oils vs. Essential Oils

Fatty oils come from nuts, seeds, and vegetables (think olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil etc.). These are good for cooking, for your skin, and for diluting essential oils. Many are very nutritious! But, they are not aromatic; and, unlike essential oils, their long chain molecules are too large to penetrate the skin.

Essential oils are liquid, volatile, organic compounds that come from the flowers, shrubs, trees, roots, and bushes that God gave us at Creation. These are aromatic oils which have been carefully extracted through steam distillation or cold expression; and, are highly concentrated. The fact that they are volatile means that they pass off readily into a vapor – that’s what makes them aromatic.

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Because they are so concentrated, just a drop or two is usually all you need. And the molecules of essential oils are so small they are able to penetrate the skin and get into the blood stream. That’s why one drop of Lavender or Peace & Calming on the bottoms of your feet can help you relax and get to sleep.

Wisdom should always be used in dealing with essential oils because they are very powerful; but when you’re using a truly pure product that has not been cut with other chemicals or distilled using solvents etc. they are very safe and effective – and honestly, amazing.

warning label
This is the warning label on a bottle of frankincense produced by another popular essential oil company. Even their peppermint is labeled this way! To me, these warnings are a huge red flag!

Don’t Try This at Home, Folks!

The reason that I feel so strongly about quality, and adamantly stress the understanding that most essential oils on the market are NOT therapeutic grade (by the definition I give at the link below), is because I believe ignorance in this area is a crucial safety issue for families.

“Dilute Properly” – “May Irritate Skin” – “Not for Internal Use”

I can use my Young Living oils internally (with wisdom) on myself and my family without fear because I trust their purity. I know the process. I have family members who have watched them distill the plants and walked their farms. All of Young Living’s oils that are safe for ingestion are labelled as a “supplement.” They are GRAS (generally regarded as safe). I don’t want anyone to see the way I’m using my Young Living oils and try the same thing at home with their possibly toxic oils! That is scary!

frankincense label
This is the label from my bottle of Young Living Therapeutic Grade Frankincense essential oil. It is labeled as a supplement and safe for internal, topical, and aromatic use.This is true for all of Young Living’s oils that are labeled as “supplements.”

My Young Living frankincense can be used internally, aromatically, and on the skin (undiluted). I use it all the time! In fact, as you can see, frankincense was a great gift to my sister, Virginia Grace, after her accident! And, yes, we applied it neat (undiluted) to her abrasions! She experienced no burning or pain and you can see for yourself at the link above how quickly she healed! I wouldn’t have wanted to use a carrier oil, as we were trying to keep the area very sterile.

Note: Certain oils are considered “spicy” or “hot” oils (i.e. oregano, cinnamon, wintergreen, peppermint, lemongrass) and should be diluted for most people. That being said, peppermint is considered a spicy oil and everyone in our family (including children) are able to use it neat with no problem, so sometimes it depends on the person’s sensitivity, as well as where it is being applied.

“But I Can’t Afford the Good Oils!”

Do you realize that if I put ten drops of lavender in a bottle of sweet almond oil most people would smell it and think it was a “pure” bottle of essential oils? They wouldn’t know the difference. That’s what often happens. People believe they’re getting a “great deal” on their $7.00 bottle of lavender; when, in fact, they just spent $7.00 for ten drops of an inferior essential oil. In addition, it is very likely that even those ten drops have no therapeutic value, and may be adulterated with synthetics! In this case, they are getting ripped off!

Do some research. You will find that most essential oil companies are just brokers. They’re buying their oils from various sources around the world in barrels, and they’re bottling it themselves. Most oils are perfume grade and are cut with other chemicals. That is scary when you think people may try to use those oils on their children the same way I’m using Young Living oils. I have to stress the purity issue out of a concern for your safety.

Most essential oils on the market are not “therapeutic grade,” and most are not 100% pure, regardless of how they are labeled. The problem is that these terms are not regulated by anyone. So, all I can do is tell you what WE mean when we use the term “therapeutic grade,” and then invite you to compare that definition to other companies. In fact, as far as I know, Young Living (YL) is the only company that owns their own farms and distilleries; so that right there disqualifies most other companies.

Here are just a few red flags to check for on a bottle of essential oils. If you see these terms, beware. Do your research:

1. DO NOT INGEST – If a bottle of food-based oils (cinnamon, peppermint, oregano etc.) is labeled this way, that is a red flag to me. YL oils labeled as “supplements” are GRAS (generally regarded as safe) for internal consumption by the the FDA.

2. DO NOT APPLY TO SKIN UNDILUTED  – Certain “spicy” oils should be diluted, but many YL oils can be applied neat (undiluted). If a mild oil like lavender or frankincense has this type of warning I would beware.

3. $$$ – Quality essential oils cost a lot of money to grow and distill. If a bottle of lavender costs you $5.00, you can bet it is either cut with a carrier oil (which means you’re getting ripped off) or it’s very poor quality.

4. EXPIRATION DATE – Properly stored essential oils (excluding citrus) do not go bad. If an essential oil has an expiration date, it probably means it is cut with a carrier oil (which will eventually go rancid).

Read more here: What Does Therapeutic Grade Mean?

To get started using therapeutic grade essential oils with your family, I recommend purchasing our Premium Starter Kit! This way, you’ll enjoy wholesale prices all the time! It includes ten of Young Living’s most popular essential oil singles and blends, an ultrasonic diffuser (worth $100.00!), essential oil samples for sharing, and 2 NingXia Red immune boosting drinks! In addition, I’ll send you a free essential oil reference book to help you learn how to start using your essential oils! Get Started Now!referenceguidesmall

By the way, I am not a doctor – just a woman who uses essential oils in her own family. Please know that any information provided on Therapeutically Yours is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health or medical needs you may have with your physician. Please seek professional help when needed.

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