[multi level marketing] companies that they have traveled the world and sourced certain farmlands such as, for frankincense let’s say. They make it sound as though it’s their own private source for that company. If I understand correctly, what you’re saying is, that no matter what frankincense oil you purchase from any company that basically it has come from the same source.
RT: Well in the case of frankincense there are different sources. They are all in the same region of the world. You can’t grow frankincense in Idaho.
RT: You can’t grow frankincense in France. It comes from one region of the world, where that plant grows, the same with myrrh, the same with black pepper, the same with most of these plants. If we are talking about herbs like lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary, yes these are easy to grow in many, many different regions. And sure you can buy land, grow lavender or mint and that can form part of your supply. A problem that we’re seeing now in the aromatherapy world is that the market has got so huge that in same cases there are not enough plants to supply the demand.
We are now in a situation, that perhaps could have been predicted twenty years ago, where the aromatherapy market has grown and grown and grown, and there isn’t enough oil to go around. So plants – oils like frankincense, helichrysum and blue tansy are in very, very, very short supply. So, yes if you are a very large corporation and you have the dollar power to go and buy land in another country or basically take over the supply from a farmer – that sometimes happens. That does sometimes happen. Then you may be virtually in a monopoly situation. I haven’t seen that with an essential oil, but it does happen sometimes with a fragrance companies or with other large corporations because they want continuity of supply.
LA: Of course. Essentially though, if a person has gotten frankincense from the same area, the indigenous in which that plant grows, then for all intents and purposes the essential oil is of the same quality if it is not adulterated. Is that correct?
RT: Yes, it is, absolutely.
LA: That’s very interesting. So what do you see for the essential oil profession and industry? What would you like to see happen over the next twenty year period, as far as standards, as far as use of the essential oils? What would you like to see?
RT: One thing that I would like to see is the separation of sales and education. I made this comment on Facebook earlier this year and it didn’t go down very well because what I’m saying is if you sell essential oils then you shouldn’t be making medical claims, you shouldn’t be making any claims for your oils, you’re just selling oils and the education part should be done by somebody different, somebody wearing a different hat. People were saying well how will I know what my oils are good for? Well the fact is that the situation in the US is almost unique. In the rest of the world there is a separation of sales and education. Especially in Europe, you can’t sell a product and make a medical claim on the label, on the Internet, on a flyer, or anywhere. You can’t and people don’t. Unlike with the FDA the equivalent authorities in Europe actually do carry out what they say they will do. They enforce their rules, where as the FDA tends not to. It tends to say something and then do nothing about it.
LA: Right. So in Europe they will shut it down?
RT: Yes, absolutely. So the essential oil businesses in Europe, if you look at the websites, you won’t see any medical claim. Now when I say medical claim I mean no disease condition is mentioned. You can’t use words like pain, arthritis, or insomnia. You just can’t use those words at all. There is just no work-around. You can’t say “Has been known to help.” or anything like that. You just can’t use those words. If people are making claims they are using words such as warming, soothing, and calming. Innocuous words like that.
LA: No direct medical claims obviously.
RT: I don’t know if it will happen, but think it would be nice if there was a separation of sales and education because then in a way you get away from this situation where you have one company that’s telling you what their product does, what their essential oil does and trying to make a greater claim than the next company.
LA: Exactly. That happens all the time here in the United States for sure. The other things that I have seen going along with claims made is, I don’t know your opinion about it, but it seems to me that many times claims that are being made as far as the “medical uses” of the essential oils are actually of what the herb would be able to accomplish and not necessarily the essential oil. How do you feel about that?
RT: When I got involved in aromatherapy in the early 70s there was very little information about essential oils so it was tempting, I think for all of us at that time, to look at herbal texts and assume that, well, maybe the same things happen with the oil. I don’t think we need to do that now because one difference between now and then is that now we have a tremendous amount of research material; that scientific research has been happening in a big way for essential oils, for essential oil constituents, and there’s a great deal that we do know as well as from aromatherapy and from clinical practice. There is a great body of evidence there too. So we don’t need to borrow information from herbal medicine and if people are doing that then it can be misleading. Obviously some herb and herb extracts contain active constituents that are not found in the essential oil and so the effects are often different.
LA: Exactly, very good. What would your recommendations be for individuals who would like to learn good, solid information about essential oil safety and perhaps even some uses of essential oils? Where would you recommend that they go to do that?
RT: There’s online training, there are books, there’s a lot of free information on social media. Obviously I’ve written a book called Essential Oil Safety and I think it’s a good book.
LA: I think it’s pretty good too! I would highly recommend that anyone who is interested, get your book immediately. It is extremely well written and documented.
RT: There is one thing that I would like to say which is that, if we could put Gary Young, Young Living and David Stewart in one box, then what I used to hear coming from that direction was that essential oils, if they’re natural are totally safe apart from phototoxicity; apart from phototoxicity really there is nothing that can go wrong so as long as you are using the right brand of essential oil. And then I think two, three years ago I started to hear more cautionary messages. I started to hear that well yes, there are things that we are calling hot oils and if you get redness on your skin then you need to apply a vegetable oil. So there was an acknowledgment that skin reactions other than phototoxicity could happen. I think what we’re seeing now is quite a big change because as well as acknowledging adverse skin reactions, now there is talk about the possibility of interactions with medications… not using undiluted oils on the skin…the possibility of risks during pregnancy…and so I think the cautionary messages that we’re hearing now – and this is a good thing – I think there is a greater and wider recognition now that a number of different adverse reactions are possible. They are rare; they don’t happen very much but they are possible.
LA: Exactly right. Even in the FAQ document itself on line six, the last sentence in that line is that an excessive use of essential oils may increase the risk for adverse reactions which if it’s only a detoxification effect what could possibly be an adverse reaction than other than allergic reaction?
RT: Yes, I had the same thought.
LA: The other thing that I see going along with this is David Stewart’s book, basically this FAQ on the Young Living Essential Oils website is 180 degrees from what is being stated in the current edition of his book.
RT: Yes. I don’t know what people on the Young Living social media groups are saying to each other. That might be interesting to know. They might be feeling a little confused at this point.
LA: Alright. Well again, thank you very much Robert. I appreciate it.
RT: Fantastic. Good to talk to you.
LA: Good to talk to you as well. You have a good morning.
RT: You too. Bye.
LA: There you go folks. I hope that you have found this information very useful, especially if you have heard about essential oils, you’re thinking about getting into the use of essential oils or you are currently using essential oils I hope that you find this information very helpful to you.
Again, I mentioned at the beginning of the program that Robert has written several different books. I do recommend that you get his Essential Oil Safety textbook. It will prove to be extremely helpful to you if you do so.
Want to learn about How Essential Oils Work in the Body to be able to use them safely and efficiently? Sign-up for Robert’s free mini-course!