This post is sponsored by Plant Therapy. However, all opinions are my own and all oils were purchased with my own money.
Essential oils are, surprisingly, one of the most controversial topics in the natural health world. I’m not one who talks about essential oils a whole lot, and I’m one of the few bloggers out there who isn’t a rep for a company, selling them on the side (even though I could make a lot of money doing it). Despite this, one of the main criticism levied against me by my detractors is my promotion and discussion of essential oils! Apparently they’re so controversial that they’re worth pointing out, despite how infrequently I discuss them.
Plus, just within the natural health world, people get really nasty at times about this brand vs. that brand. Lots of people claim that only XYZ brand is the best, most pure, and safest and no one should use any other brand. Some even say that all other brands are adultered, of poor quality, or that the people who run the companies are shady and out to make a buck and nothing more.
It’s shockingly bad at times.
Today, we’re going to tackle it head on — why is it so controversial? And if you’re just looking for quality oils at a good price, what are you supposed to do?
How Did the Controversy Start?
Most people know that there are two “leaders” in essential oils, and that they are both MLM (multi-level marketing) companies.
One was started in the mid-90s and the other in the early 2000s. The newer company was started by some executives who left the first company, and there’s always been bad blood there. Prior to these two companies, essential oils were difficult to come by and the average person really didn’t use them.
The majority of the controversy started because of the bad blood between these two companies. It’s why people are often so polarized, recommending one of these companies or the other.
It’s incredibly important to realize that a lot of the information out there about essential oils is put out by one of these two companies. And that their terms, “therapeutic grade” (or “certified therapeutic grade” and so on) are made up terms. They aren’t regulated by any independent body. They are used by the companies and regulated by the companies in order to sell more oils.
How Do We Know Which Oils to Buy?
This leaves the average consumer confused. Which essential oils are really the best? Which ones are the purest and safest? Which ones are the best for the budget? In what ways are they safe to use?
I’ve always felt a bit uneasy about the MLM companies. Not that I thought their oils were unsafe, but I wasn’t sure about the whole MLM thing (I’m not a fan of the business model, personally, but that’s another post). I also wasn’t sure about some of the information floating around. I know many reps for each company, and I frequently saw conflicting claims. Plus, I often found instructions to use oils very liberally, including on infants and young children, to consume them, to use them “neat” (undiluted), and more.
I like essential oils. I use essential oils. But they are not always safe, in any dose, in any method, on any person.
We’ll get back to that point.
But the buying…. Where is it safe to buy them from? And are they going to fit into your budget?
I was recently introduced to a company called Plant Therapy. I first heard about them when I read some essential oil testing results that had been done by independent labs on several brands (most failed, by the way). Plant Therapy‘s tea tree oil failed one of the tests, too. But unlike the other companies, their response was to immediately pull that batch of oil off the market, and then pay to have the new batch re-tested to ensure compliance. How many companies stand behind their product like this?
Plant Therapy is not an MLM. It is a small, family-run business. They stand behind their product and they produce a lot of quality and budget-friendly options. Plus, recognized expert Robert Tisserand has begun working with them now, and helping them to create safe essential oil use information, plus safe blends (including several especially for kids).
These essential oils are honestly very affordable. A lot of companies are selling oils for $25 – $50 per 10 mL bottle. Plant Therapy’s oils are $5 – $15 per 10 mL bottle. Just as a selection, lavender oil is $6.99 and tea tree is $7.59. That’s for pure, undiluted oils.
Plus, Plant Therapy offers a lot of different essential oil products. They offer individual, pure oils. They offer sets of oils (their top 14 single oils are available in a set for $54.95 — which is $3.92 each). They also offer pre-diluted oils in roller containers, and special essential oil blends. They offer carrier oils so you can blend and dilute your own.
Plant Therapy also offers a special area for kid-safe blends. Many aromatherapy professionals believe that the oils in the “four thieves” blend that is so popular is not safe for children. Plant Therapy offers a version of this blend that is safe for kids. We recently bought their kid-safe Tummy All-Better and Germ Destroyer blends. I immediately diffused the Germ Destroyer when I got it! (It was about $22 for 30 mL, too.) Additionally, we bought their 14 Essential Oil Set, and a muscle blend for my husband. Bought, you guys — not “was sent for review.” After doing my research on the company, this was the one I chose to purchase from.
I’m honestly really impressed by all they are able to do — bring quality essential oils, that they stand behind 100%, along with solid education on how to use them safely. They’re absolutely worth checking out if you’re seeking essential oils.
How Do We Use Essential Oils Safely?
We need to remember that essential oils are highly concentrated. This means that they’re powerful, and if used incorrectly, could even be harmful.
I choose to use primarily a diffuser with my essential oils (you’ll be seeing more about which one I choose and why in a couple weeks. I did a ton of research before choosing the one I have almost a year ago). I also add them in small amounts to salves, primarily for adults. With kids, it’s usually just the diffuser.
There are plenty of people who feel more liberal with their use of essential oils than I do. There are multiple schools of thought on this.
The English school of thought promotes extreme caution — 2% dilution or lower, never neat, never used internally, certain oils should never be used with children. Most of the cautions you’ll find about essential oils come from this school.
In contrast, the French school of thought is much more liberal — recommending using some oils neat, taking internally, or being less cautious with children.
I personally think you should start with caution and see what works best for your family. Consult a professional aromatherapist if you have a specific need. I am less cautious with oils in the diffuser with children than I would be if I were using them on their skin (even diluted). I mostly use oils to uplift mood, help people calm down, or just make our home smell pleasant. I rarely use them medicinally, although there are all kinds of medicinal purposes for essential oils, some of which are well-researched. I suggest talking to a professional or reading some books written by professionals if you really want to get into specific medicinal use.
Ultimately, it’s up to you. Which you use, how, and when. Just be cautious about the source of the information, seek multiple sources ideally, and err on the side of caution if you’re unsure.