Take One Down And Pass It Around!
At this point, some of you are thinking “Whoa there, crazy oil lady! I just came to this blog because it popped up on my Google search for ‘boobs’. Why do I care about this? I don’t even know what an essential oil really is, let alone how it could possibly work on my health issues. Why should I worry about which company to use or how expensive they are? Aren’t you jumping the gun here?”
In the alternate scenario (in my head), you’re exclaiming “Wow! I’m digging all this information about the oily goodness. I never imagined that this tiny bottle could offer so much healing potential. But how do I know which one to use for what? And how can I be sure that I’m getting a quality product? Please educate me, Oh Oily One.”
Obviously, this is a subject that is very important to me. And I promise, by the end of my series, you will be at least somewhat intrigued about what these oils can offer you and your loved ones And you’ll be armed with the knowledge to use them wisely. I’m doing this post first, which seems to be “premature oilation”, to prevent you from being the star in the following scenario:
A Disaster Unfolds
You’ve always been on the cutting edge, you overachiever you, and you rush right over to the health food store and snag yourself a bottle of lavender, excited about cracking the seal and getting a better night’s sleep. And, you get it at a great price (far less than what your friend at work paid). You bring your bottle to work proudly. Your friend, who claims to be some sort of oil guru, takes one look at it and gives you a disapproving eye roll.
I know none of your friends would do this; it’s a hypothetical story.
She starts her spiel about the differences in the quality of essential oils, and you politely listen while you think about the doughnut waiting for you in the break room. You just can’t get past one question: “Why would I spend $28 for a bottle of lavender when I just got the same thing for $9.95? I’m obviously the smarter one here!” There can’t be that much difference between oils. Can there?
A Rose By Any Other Name…
Shakespearean sonnets aside, a rose is most definitely not a rose. It takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose oil. And to completely extract the oil without compromising its purity and fragrance requires a meticulous two-part distillation process. Quality rose oil is one of the most expensive oils you can buy. If you are buying a 15 ml bottle of this oil for $50, you can be sure you have wasted your hard-earned money.
But It Smells Good To Me!
Here’s the issue. Aromatherapy is a huge buzzword right now. Due to its popularity, an ever-growing number of marketers have jumped on the essential oils bandwagon in search of an easy profit. Some companies market essential oils that have been cut with synthetic chemicals or blended with cheaper hybrids. This is very common with lavender. The FDA only requires that a bottle of essential oil contain 5% of the actual oil to be labeled 100% pure, meaning that the 5% is indeed pure. This makes it very difficult to tell what you’re getting.
Let’s take that bottle of lavender, for example. Most of the lavender oil sold today is actually a hybrid called lavandin, not lavender. It’s grown and distilled in China, Russia, and Tasmania, and brought into France, where it is heated to evaporate the camphor, cut with synthetic linolyl acetate to improve the fragrance, added to propylene glycol or SD40, DEP, and DOT (solvents that increase the volume), and then sold to you as lavender oil. You don’t know the difference, and you’re thrilled that you’ve paid less than $10.
Frankincense is another example, and one I’ll be referring to again because it is oil numero uno in my cancer prevention toolkit. The frankincense resin that’s sold in Somalia costs between $30,000 and $35,000 per ton. A great deal of time- 12 hours or more- is required to properly steam distill the essential oil from the resin, which makes it very expensive. Frankincense oil that sells for less than $25 per ounce is heavily adulterated with chemical solvents to make its production cheaper. It is then further diluted with more chemicals, such as diethylphthalate or dipropylene glycol. That just sounds healthy, doesn’t it?
Aromatherapy Is Far More Than Just The Smell
There are at least 200 companies marketing essential oils in North America. However, most of these oils are of the lowest grade and quality. While some of these products may have a pleasing fragrance, the truth is that they have little to no therapeutic benefit. In the worst case scenario, they can actually be harmful, causing anything from allergic reactions to endocrine disruption.
What’s the consumer to do? Since I can hear you getting restless out there, I’m going to finish up this post tomorrow. Then we’ll move on to specifics, get down to the nitty gritty, get our hands oily. Ok, I’m done. Sorry about that.