Many of you (via my instagram @she_is_of_the_woods) see me stand firmly against the use of essential oils. While I explain it often, I have decided this would be a great first blog post. That, and now I can just kindly direct folks to here!
So let's start of with why essential oils have become the newest wave. Well, that's simple. It's a billion dollar company...a pyramid scam of volatile oils...DoTerra anyone? I mean, for just x amount of $$ you too can start pretending you know the first thing about these chemical compounds of plants that take hundreds of pounds to produce as little as 5ML of oil...
Okay, okay...so what are essential oils exactly?
They are a volatile oil that's function is still debated. However, amongst that debate there are three common scientific beliefs, all in my opinion likely hold merit.
The most disturbing of the three is the use of said essential oils being produced as a defense mechanism against insects. In other words, poison. The idea is these oils injure the rasping mechanism of insects mouths as well as tell other animals and such "DANGER!" You get the picture.
The second is the belief that they are waste products produced by the plant. Plants have no way of removing waste from their system, so the volatile oils simply build up in them. This has a lot of merit based on the fact that plants that have a short life span produce much higher levels of essential oils then those who have a hundred year life span. They simply can't afford to produce such toxins and store them within.
The third scientific opinion, which I also believe rings true to an extent, is that in certain plants volatile oils are produced to attract pollinators and the like with scent.
While this absolutely makes sense, understand that the vast amount of plant material required to produce a single drop of essential oil is more than you could ever naturally encounter in your life.
Here is a good neutral article that talks about all three options.
So to be clear: nobody truly knows the exact function of essential oils.
However, we do know how they can affect us for the negative.
Their scent alone is strong enough to kill your gut flora. People think EOs are only dangerous when taken internally, but hear me out: Do smokers ingest their tobacco? Do you, when you smell it by proxy? When you breathe in EOs, smoke, whatever, it is absorbed into your blood via your lungs.
Second hand smoke...second hand EOs..same principal.
This is the same reasons EO diffusers should not be used in homes with birds (canary in the cole mine anyone?) dogs, etc.
Sooo, breathing in EOs kills your gut health just as much as ingestion does because they are so strong they act as an antibacterial.
Now imagine yourself using a diffuser with kids in your home or when you smell heavily of it in the grocery line. The damage goes further than the original wearer...
Some EOs such as lavender and tea tree are hormone disruptors. This is Bad Bad Bad. Like linked to breast cancer and injured babes in mother's wombs Bad. Realize EOs have not been in common public use for very long and the effects of each EO on top of the already known issues is a very very long way from being understood.
A huge misconception is that EOs have the same medicinal properties as the herbs they are produced from. A lot of injury occurs because of this.
They can cause seizures in children and people with pre-existing conditions. Yes, even just the scent.
So your saying, "But I cut it with oil?"
Ask yourself this:
Do you think if I only put a tiny tiny amount of arsenic in my tea it would be safer because it's diluted?
Dramatic, I know, but hear me out. Cutting a volatile chemical into a less harmful amount and deeming it safe is the same thing as me using just a tiny amount of poison. Sure it won't kill me, but that doesn't mean it's helping either.
Okay so how about I put it this way. One..single...drop...of EO is more than you could EVER naturally encounter no matter how much tea/infusions you drink.
Not to mention there's no way to make EOs on a large scale that doesn't ravage our natural resources.
So how are EOs killing hands on herbalism?
Well, this is a big one for me. Go look on etsy...go look at your favorite *herbalist* on instagram, Facebook etc. Now tell me how many of their products are made with essential oils...
So you have thousands of people putting a drop of this, a drop of that, into some oil and beeswax or what have you and Ta Da, a cure all for xyz and it smells great!!
So um.. Where are the herbs in your herbalism?
Oh well, why mess with the actual plant when you can just put a few drops of it's volatile oil in a thing?
No more infusing oils, no more compresses, no more nourishing infusions, no more waiting the 6+ weeks it takes to have a proper oil infusion...
I am in 100% agreement with Susun S Weed when she says essential oils are the white sugar of herbalism.
To me I would also compare it to wonder bread..
Remember that nasty white bread was once touted as a Miracle food...
This is how knowledge dies folks:
So what can you do if you want that beautiful scent without hurting yourself and others?
Well, that takes us to the root of the thing. EOs are a byproduct of hydrosol production. Hydrosol is the water created by distillation. Flower essence, flower waters etc. They more often than not smell truer than the EO anyhow!
So here's the deal: ANY EO you think you can't live without has a hydrosol water that you can buy. They even hold their scent in soap making people!
The beauty and safe gentle nature of distilling hydrosol predates the use of the essential oil byproduct by nearly a thousand years.
Why is this important to me and many others who do not condone the over zealous use of essential oils?
Quite simply, we know hydrosols when made with safe plants are safe. They have been in use long enough to see their entire effect on a human's lifespan.
So why aren't people ranting and raving and offering you the awesome chance to become a DoTerra sales rep or the like for hydrosol?
Ha, well that's simple. I have 1 gallon of water in my still with the lilacs in the pic above. I will get 1/2 gallon of hydrosol (if I go further I get a plantie-stalk smell), and about one fourth tsp essential oil.
You can't justifiably charge exorbitant rates on the hydrosol like you can on the EOs, because quite simply you can produce it abundantly and easily!
I will never use them in any of my products.
Why should I, when I can infuse an oil of my choice with the herbs I am wanting to us
What is the difference?
Well for one, EOs carry a minimal amount of a plant's healing abilities. So when we infuse and make them into salves, lotions, creams, etc. we are actually creating a far superior healing product.
Also, as many of you know first hand from trying my offerings, they smell wonderful!
So I didn't add a lot of links here because I want you to go out and read on your own. When using any form of herbalism this is crucial...please...
However, be sure that where you are reading about EOs is not selling them or a promoter of them, because well, ya know...They aren't going to do anything but spew what they believe to be true via what their company tells them and so on.
Susun S Weed is a wonderful person to start with via why EOs are dangerous and unnecessary.
So with all of this I truly urge you, beg you, implore you to demand true herbalism whenever you can!