To help us get a more clear understanding of what to look for in essential oils we spoke with Clinical Registered Aromatherapist, Anna Doxie. She is the founder of the Institute of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy. She’s the Director Coordinator and Director of the Southern California Region of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and an esteemed Aromatherapy instructor. We’ve also combed through NAHA’s educational materials, consulted the prolific writings of Dr. Robert Pappas — a highly respected name in essential oil testing and education — and sought many other independent sources of information to present to you some guidelines for finding the best essential oil:

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The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.


Thank you for all the great info. Help me understand more about “ingestible” EOs versus “noningestibles”. If “noningestibles” are okay for use in soaps and other skin products, and the skin absorbs what’s put on it into the blood stream, then 1) why are “noningestible” EOs okay in skin care products, and 2) why can’t we ingest “noningestible” EOs under the tongue or diluted in a glass of water, for example?
Even taking Young out of the picture, the business model for these companies is problematic. Two of the biggest essential oil companies, Young Living and doTERRA, work as multi-level marketing schemes. Salespeople in the companies are known as distributors who buy the products at wholesale prices and mark them up to sell them to consumers. “But the real money,” Monroe writes, “comes from recruiting other distributors into your ‘downline’ and getting a commission on their sales.”
Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils and their volatile aromatic compounds, for psychological and physical well-being. Aromatherapy, which also goes by “essential oil therapy,” is defined as the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences of plants to “balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”
Thank you Holly! I’m happy to see someone stand up and clarify the fact that doTerra does stand behind their oils. To state such a statement of an oil to 100% certified pure therapeutic grade does mean something….especially is you consider using them internally or for cooking. If you are considering using essential oils instead of over the counter drugs, which contain many chemical ingredients (by the way, they use the same plants to create their drugs only they change them chemically and add other things), why not go all the way and eliminate ALL toxic and chemical additions to your body?? My suggestion, do your homework and research! Don’t take someone’s word for it in a comment. Buy a few bottles of the same oil (I hope you’ll consider doTerra) and compare how you feel.
I agree heather- I LOVE DoTERRA oils!!!  I use them every day and we have never been healthier!  We have never had a bad reaction to them on our skin, even our little kids, because they are PURE.  I used YL all growing up and always had reactions to them, but the DoTERRA are amazing.  I also love that you can take most of them internally!  I used Oregano to kill strep throat I got last spring!  Can’t say enough good about them.  I especially love how the company is so in to education and helping you keep yourself and your family healthy. 
If you’re not happy with a product for any reason, you have a 60 day refund window available to you, starting from the date of the invoice. You can ask for a refund or replacement. Products are also sold in “real” stores (not just online), so you are able to talk to a real person as well. For assistance with all returns please start by calling Customer Service at 1-800-669-3275.
In response to my request for testing results, the company I reached out to explained that they do testing each month, but if I wanted to review the tests I would need to sign a non-disclosure agreement owing to the proprietary information in the results. I am also guessing that they were not willing to share the results of their testing for other privacy reasons given how competitive this market has become. To receive this information, I would also be required to grant them access to a private Facebook group I manage where the discussion had first sparked my questioning. (I can only assume one of the members of this group approached the company directly asking the questions that were being raised.)
Botanical Name. High quality essential oils should have the botanical or “scientific” name (genus and species of the plant) listed on the label. Beware that inferior oils will blend certain plant essential oils together that do not make a “healthy mix” and are therefore not good for your health. It is also common for some oils to be made from cheaper or less therapeutic plant species and then misleadingly labeled as “therapeutic” grade oil. Lavender oil is a prime example, where hybrid “lavandins” are often used instead of the genuine and authentic Lavandula augustifolia vera.
Tomato Leaves are toxic, never ingest them or use for skincare products. Strictly aromatic purposes are okay, like candles, however, Tomato Leaf EO or Absolute is very expensive for such a venture. The fresh leaves loose their wonderful aroma once dried, I tried it already 🙂 Best choice will be a fragrance oil if you want to really capture that smell, I know…not natural, but these are the facts. Good luck!
Couldn't of arrived at a better time. I fell ill with the flu the day after I received them, researched appropriate oils that help with boosting immune system an help sickness etc. Used certain ones in the diffuser and my bath and even with a carrier oil (coconut oil) on my skin and my symptoms lessened. I noticed this because the one day I didn't use the oils or diffuser my symptoms became horrendous as the day went on and I was bedridden. Again the following day I went back to using oils and the flu symptoms eased and cleared within two days. Absolute god send. Love them especially frankincense that's my fave. Thank you.
I am trying to make up my own mixture of Deep Blue for my cousin who is 70 years old, and who is not on any type of medication as well as for a lady who is 80 after they suffered from a nasty bout of a virus from a mosquito in the caribbean which cause inflammation and joint pains – I have bought all the ingredients, including wintergreen, which you said is poisonous – could you tell me the dosage of the different oils being used namely wintergreen, camphor; peppermint; blue tansy; german chamomile; helichrysum and osmanthus – in the synergistic mix – how many drops of all these oils to make up the mix? I will make up the mix and the post it in a 10 ml bottle to my cousin with specific instructions. I should appreciate your advise.
From the United Kingdom, is my favourite (not affiliated to CE by the way) choice, NHR organic oils. They have the largest range of Soil Association Certified organic essential oils in the world. They also sell distiller kits for people who want to make their own oils at home and their selection of organic chocolates made with some of their oils are absolutely amazing.
What would be more accurate is that the more “pure” the oil is the more caution you should use in internal dose (“consumption”) – which is one of the least effective ways to use essential oils because they are broken down by the liver before absorption into the blood stream. If an oil is closer to a synthetic flavoring, like that used in chewing gum, then it would be deemed safer for consumption. I assume what YL sells as pure for use in consumption is similar to pure synthetic flavoring.

With a fresh zesty scent of citrus and fruity top notes, Grapefruit Essential Oil is popular when scenting facial cleansers and toners. Grapefruit Essential Oil is used in aromatherapy to bring about a cheerful feeling. There is no difference between the quality of the White and Pink varieties, but the Grapefruit Pink Essential Oil is generally considered the sweeter of the two oils. Grapefruit oil is also sometimes added to creams and lotions as a natural toner.
I was wondering if you had any blends you recommend for his bottom? He has has staph before as well. I have researched a LOT and soo many pages referrals to the brand Young living primarily, their RC blend, lemongrass, and Theives Oils to help kill bacteria. However, there are so many indepented distributors.. I have no idea what I am reading is real or just another marketing scam….. so my question is if you heard of that particular brand? or better yet own any?
Sarah, the Améo products have revolutionized the health and wellness world and changed the way people look at taking care of mind, body and soul. All Améo Essential Oils are CERTI-5™ validated, meaning that they’ve passed extensive testing for quality, purity, and usability. We also take additional steps to make sure that each oil is cell active and permeable for maximum results and is the same or better quality than oils used in clinical testing. Améo Essential Oils are unlike any essential oil in the marketplace.
The pharmacist have the possibility to vote the “best pharmacy partner” within the “OTC-Studie” every year. Gold, silver and bronce medals are distributed in 52 categories. The “OTC-Studie” of the “PharmaRundschau” analyse which products or product families the pharmacies recommend the most to their customers from chosen OTC-indication groups. The reputation of a company and the business policy is for industry, wholesaler and service partner important in the eyes of pharmacies. That’s why the question after the company the pharmacies work best with and would recommend is an indicator for satisfaction of the customers with their market partner.
Quality Standards & Control: Proprietary “Seed to Seal®” production process. Subjected to strict requirements set forth in the CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. “Source to You” production process. Third-party tested and all test results are fully disclosed on their website. GC/MS Testing, plus their proprietary S.A.A.F.E. Promise™. E.D.E.N.S Guarantee.
A Clinical Aromatherapist IS a healthcare practitioner. They are trained in chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal). Taking them internally can have serious health effects if you don’t know what you are doing. Other countries have a culture of using EOs and therefore know how to use them appropriately and safely. We do not have that here. I’ve known several people who have listened to their Young Living or doTerra Reps and taken EOs internally and ended up with serious health problems.
Developing essential oil standards for essential oil therapy/aromatherapy has been discussed in several circles over the years, but because of cost of administration, setting up labs, certifying them and the analysis cost all by itself, it has turned out to be an overwhelming task and cost that only a well-organized and well funded organization could handle. But, an organizational attempt to deal with the analytical and administrative challenge for self-regulation would be desirable before essential oil therapy/aromatherapy looses its “therapy” from an overdose of bad oils.
This is a bit frustrating. I participated here to state my experience. I never anticipated being at odds with you or anyone else on this thread. I have read and studied many, many books, including information from you. Because someone is involved in an MLM doesn’t take away their intelligence nor their curiosity. Most people in the company I am with have at least a nodding acquaintance with a variety of alternative health practices, many are practitioners. I’m sorry if your experience of MLMs has caused you to lump them together. Not every company, MLM or not, can be categorized as the enemy. DoTERRA tests every batch of oils for purity and potency using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry and a variety of other tests. I am confident that these tested oils will match the purity of certified organic. Since you also sell essential oils, should we also distrust you? I know that you are stating your “preference” but seriously, you are Robert Tisserand, esteemed in the e.o. world, including being esteemed by at least some of the owners and many members of doTERRA. Also, if essential oils wiggle in to conventional health care or simply into our home health care, that does serve to disempower pharmaceutical companies. Talking “Big Pharma” is a topic for another time but staying small doesn’t really help the fight against legislation that’s funded by them via their lobbyists.
I am still confused about this whole internal taking thing. how can several companies say their eos are 100% and yet some be safe to take internally and others not. also, I have been using NOW eos for a couple of years. you state that they are ok for cleaning but not for therapeutic reasons. can you explain this further? they say they are 100% pure and they seem to be working. would these other companies eos work better or differently? thanks

Hi Dave, So sorry to hear about the medical issues your family is facing. There is quite a bit written about using essential oils for cancer though I don’t have the info at my finger tips. I would be happy to see if I can find more info on where to direct you if you haven’t already found it. If you have an email or Facebook or some other way to be reached it might be a better way to converse. But either way one place you can go to get some ideas about other peoples experiences with various oils is oil-testimonials.com you can sign up for the free membership and then do searches on whatever you would like.”leukemia” “child leukemia” “Crohns” etc. It was formed for people using YL oils to share so some of the blends mentioned will be YL but it doesn’t mean you have to use YL to get the results. High quality oils are high quality oils, that said quality is so important especially when talking about treating something as major as the things you are and in my experience YL does produce high quality oils. I myself have treated Tertiary Chronic Lyme and having used both traditional antibiotics (IV, pills, suspension and sometimes all at the same time) and essential oils and can attest to the oils working as well as any other protocol I have been on without the side effects…well you probably see where I’m going. That doesn’t mean Young Living is the only company producing oils of that quality, they aren’t, nor does it mean I’m advocating the MLM approach, signing up was worth while for me to receive the discount since I order so many oils and I will sometimes order for other people at my discount but I have never pursued the business end of it. I also have and do use other companies oils and think investigating and having several sources is wise for various reasons. Anyway, sorry to go on so much your situation just struck a nerve. Feel free to contact me if you would like.
Young Living is a legit company, though their founder has been in a bit of trouble and maybe isn’t of the best moral character, thus Dr. Pappas’ last comments on oil myth #10. (The story is out there. It may take a bit of searching to find it if interested) Young Living has spent a lot of their energy bashing your favorite brand in hopes to destroy their reputation, also speaking volumes about the character of the company and many of their reps.
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“The medical system is even more terrible for women, whose experience of pain is routinely minimized by health practitioners. … Enter the wellness industry, which specializes in creating safe, welcoming, amber-lit spaces that make people feel cared-for and relaxed, and which treats the female body as its default. … The problem is that the rest of the wellness industry hitches a ride on their coattails of compassion and competency, benefiting from the utter lack of warmth found in mainstream medical treatment.”
The antispasmodic properties coupled with the anti-inflammatory properties help the essential oils become one of the best remedies for problems with the muscles. Peppermint essential oil is considered to be a muscle relaxant that is used to treat spasms. Also, Cypress and Frankincense essential oils are helpful in reducing inflammation and treating the spasms.

Nowadays, use of alternative and complementary therapies with mainstream medicine has gained the momentum. Aromatherapy is one of the complementary therapies which use essential oils as the major therapeutic agents to treat several diseases. The essential or volatile oils are extracted from the flowers, barks, stem, leaves, roots, fruits and other parts of the plant by various methods. It came into existence after the scientists deciphered the antiseptic and skin permeability properties of essential oils. Inhalation, local application and baths are the major methods used in aromatherapy that utilize these oils to penetrate the human skin surface with marked aura. Once the oils are in the system, they remodulate themselves and work in a friendly manner at the site of malfunction or at the affected area. This type of therapy utilizes various permutation and combinations to get relief from numerous ailments like depression, indigestion, headache, insomnia, muscular pain, respiratory problems, skin ailments, swollen joints, urine associated complications etc. The essential oils are found to be more beneficial when other aspects of life and diet are given due consideration. This review explores the information available in the literature regarding therapeutic, medical, cosmetic, psychological, olfactory, massage aromatherapy, safety issues and different plants used in aromatherapy. All the available information was compiled from electronic databases such as Academic Journals, Ethnobotany, Google Scholar, PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science, and library search.
Just to give anyone interested a typical example analysis, the picture below is of a certified organic lavender that I recently analyzed for a customer. As you can see the peak at 26.435 shows camphor present at 0.25%. Also, if you want peer reviewed literature references showing that camphor should indeed be in lavender, just login to my EO Chemical Reference database and you will see plenty of detailed reports, with journal citations, confirming exactly what I am talking about.
Danika – you keep saying that “just because Young Living says it’s safe” – we’re not only learning that it’s safe from Young Living – MANY representatives for Young Living have taken it upon themselves to read and educate themselves extensively on the use of EO’s aromatically, topically and internally. Just because you believe that EO’s shouldn’t be used internally (due to your method of training) – doesn’t mean is wrong! For centuries EO’s were used aromatically, topically and INTERNALLY without harmful side effects. I do agree that a level of RESPONSIBILITY needs to used – as with any “medicinal product” – that goes without saying – but to literally sit there and accuse DoTerra or Young Living representatives of being un-educated or willingly harming people – you’re being very ignorant, cruel and narrow-minded.
With the exception of one of our jasmine oil blends, which is clearly labeled as synthetic, all NOW Solutions essential oils are naturally derived. Pure, natural jasmine oil is hard to source and very expensive even at wholesale, which translates to exorbitant retail pricing. Synthetic jasmine is much less expensive and its aroma is equivalent to that of pure jasmine, which is why we offer this option to our customers. We also carry a pure jasmine absolute blended with carrier oil as a natural alternative.
Re: MLM, the business model isn’t the problem. It’s the parent company and their ethics. There are very ethical MLM companies selling all kinds of products that educate their people well and encourage their people to educate themselves. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of MLM companies that give the whole industry a bad name. All MLM really is, is selling directly to the customers. If the parent company is ethical it will expect it’s representatives to be ethical as well.
I am motivated to use oils due to their natural healing abilities. YLEO are pure. They offer a seed to seal guarantee. I trust the quality. I used YLEO Thieves to treat pre-cancer growths on my arm, I use lavender instead of a sleep aid, Stress Away instead of anti-anxiety Meds, I use oils for pain control, face/skin care – in fact, I now make my own products, make my own laundry soap & scent with YLEO. I could go on & on. The impact YLEO have had on my life is huge. Being a member of the Young Living organization provides me the support I need to learn more & more about using essential oils.
In her New Yorker piece, Monroe goes into detail about Young Living (the self-described “World Leader in Essential Oils”) founder Gary Young’s questionable background, which includes opening a health center in Washington state in 1982 where his own daughter died from a birthing service in which she was submerged for an hour in a whirlpool bath; being arrested for practicing medicine without a license; and opening a clinic in Tijuana where he made false diagnoses to get patients to join a costly detox program.
I realize that it’s been a while since you posted this question, but hope this information helps anyway. My poor husband had the same problem with leg cramps. Took supplements for potassium and ate bananas and oranges like crazy. No difference. Heard then that the deficiency that causes these cramps is more likely related to magnesium, so he started taking a magnesium supplement. Still no difference.
Taken by mouth, many essential oils can be dangerous in high concentrations. Typical effects begin with a burning feeling, followed by salivation. In the stomach, the effect is carminative, relaxing the gastric sphincter and encouraging eructation (belching). Further down the gut, the effect typically is antispasmodic.[14] Typical ingredients for such applications include eucalyptus oils, menthol, capsaicin, anise, and camphor.[citation needed]
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