BOOK FOR SALE Essential Oil Safety

Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals 2nd Edition by Robert Tisserand (Author),? Rodney Young (Author)

“The only comprehensive text on the safety of essential oils. The first review of essential oil/drug interactions. Detailed essential oil constituent data not found in any other text. Essential oil safety guidelines. 400 essential oil profiles.” — Elsevier



Closer to Free

As many of my Facebook friends and followers read over the past couple weeks, my Ocular Melanoma recently spread to my liver (as happens in 50% of patients). I received immunotherapy treatment at Smilow Cancer Hospital the day after Christmas.

Three weeks later I was admitted to the hospital with life threatening side effects; my immune system was attacking my muscles and my heart. I was in the hospital for 8 days. I was left with an autoimmune disease, Myasthenia Gravis. So while my interest, research and articles on aromatherapy and herbs were less a job and more of a hobby, I am officially retired from this part of my life. My Facebook group and page are retired. I will be selling some of my books on EBAY once I am able to get that coordinated. When this website is up for renewal, I will allow it to expire so if there are any articles or blog posts or links of interest – I release any and all copyright protections – copy at will!

I am optimistic that in addition to attacking my body, my immune system also attacked my cancer! I look forward to doing some fundraising for the Closer to Free organization in the fall!

New Aromatherapy Company Launch – Ology Essentials

From the new website for Ology Essentials

There is a great depth of knowledge, training, and commitment behind Ology Essentials. You can trust Ology Essentials for accurate, scientific, and honest no-hype information about essential oils, business, and natural cosmetics. The founder of Ology Essentials is certified aromatherapist and cosmetic formulator Kayla Fioravanti. She has been a trusted disseminator of knowledge and provider of high quality products since she and her husband first co-founded Essential Wholesale in 1998.

I have known and admired owner Kayla Fioravanti since I first started in the soap and aromatherapy industry myself many years ago and her articles, posts on social networking and knowledge she so freely shared through Essential Wholesale are very much a foundation of my own knowledge base.  I am thrilled she is back in this industry again and highly recommend her company as a source of products and her school as a great place to learn about safe essential oil use an aromatherapy.  She represents what ethics in aromatherapy looks like on every level!

NOTE: I did not receive any products at a discount or free in exchange for my review, nor have I been compensated in any way. I am just a fan! I have no material affiliation with the websites in this blog post.

MLMs – A Public Health Hazard

I wish everyone would listen to this exceptional short lecture by David Crow!

Learn more about David Crow here:

NOTE: I did not receive any products at a discount or free in exchange for my review, nor have I been compensated in any way. I am just a fan! I have no material affiliation with any of the websites in this blog post.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to post about essential oil and aromatherapy and herbal topics that are of interest to me both here on this blog and in my Facebook Group.

As of today we have 2,552 members in that Group, but with so little member participation, I have decided to direct my energies in a different direction. Teachers make a ton of money teaching courses to students, authors make money selling books, essential oil salespeople make money selling products.

I realize that my “ethics” are not in harmony with too many in this industry.

I’m not willing to turn a blind eye to the damage done to children, customers, and the industry itself by companies like doTerra – and stand silent while people make money, or promote their projects, or get their five minutes of “fame” in a self-serving *movie* – then be called a *hater* by exposing the hypocrisy in all of this. Educators who see the MLMers as their meal ticket with a “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality. Men who finally open their mouths and take a stand – but when things get hot – let the women in their lives take the heat and they worry more about their reputation and so back pedal instead of stand strong and confront the challenges. I’m not an aromatherapist or an herbalist – I am a consumer and a blogger and I have always been offended by those who say things like “if people want to harm themselves with EOs, let them – thin the herd – natural selection – personal choice.” I’m done.

I’m going back to my herbal studies because I see a level of ethics, communication, unity of purpose, and professionalism in that community that is seriously lacking in every facet of the aromatherapy community and for my own personal wellness – I cannot take one more moment of people characterizing my passion for exposing FACTS about companies who are HARMING others as being a “hater” and when I am called a “HATER” – I realized not one single person in this industry that I considered to be an ally or friend – had my back. I’ve been the one to do the “dirty work” for too long. I should have known back in 2014 when a small group of us started discussing how to combat the dangerous marketing of essential oils as drugs – but one by one people were too afraid that putting their name out there would hurt THEIR book sales – or when it came down to SIGNING the online Petition – signing their name might cost them future students – that I would be left alone as the only person willing to SIGN the actual FDA complaint with my name. I took pride in that but I also thought doing all the hard work would align with others mission to promote safety. I was very naive. So this was a very eye opening experience to say the least.

No more free advice.

No more time spent exposing the lies and the fraud and the schemes that others use for personal gain.


Reputations Count!

If you have been buying essential oils since the 1980’s or so, you probably used many tools to help choose which brands to purchase. Personally? I bought a lot of books, and looked in the back of the books for Resource Guides. Most books about aromatherapy had lists of companies the author would recommended. I also spoke to teachers of aromatherapy, and asked what companies they recommended. I honestly don’t know of a single consumer, aromatherapist or essential oil educator from the *early days* who relied on getting a GC/MS test result BEFORE they decided to buy an oil! That kind of testing was certainly used people in the wholesale supply chain – both to determine purity and quality. But not on the retail consumer level!

Things changed a bit thanks to self-proclaimed “experts” coordinating crowd-funded “3rd Party Testing” of a series of essential oils starting in 2013. The result? All hell broke loose! Yes, a few companies were found to be selling (knowingly or unknowingly) adulterated products. But some legitimate companies were defamed and damaged. How? One popular brand was selling a boutique oil from a small distiller. It was analyzed and compared to the library sample of a “pure oil” which was from a completely different country of origin! This so called “expert” declared the oil to be “adulterated” when in fact, it was 100% pure.

In another incident, a well known MLM brand of peppermint oil tested as adulturated with ethyl vanillin. Well known expert and affiliate of the same MLM (he was *their* contract chemist) disagreed with the analysis of the test results.


I use this as an example of how experts can test the same sample, or even evaluate the same test results, and reach different conclusions. These tests are scientific, but they are still quite dependent on the individual doing the analysis, not just the skill or expertise of the lab running the actual test.

So why have we become so dependent on these tests, as consumers? In my opinion, the reason is fear.

Fear and folks preying upon that fear to make consumers increasingly reliant on “lab tests” to make decisions on which products to purchase. They set up crowd funding schemes or “non profit” companies (more about that later**) and convince their fans and followers to send them money to pay for testing, and convince them there is no other way to determine if the oil is pure or good quality (rarely if ever with a criteria *for* good quality I must add).

I recently read that there is even a school which teaches “if a brand does not include a GC/MS test result with your bottle, don’t trust them.” I’m sure this school has loads of new students who think they can’t buy a bottle of lavender oil unless they complete a course on understanding these test results! FOLLOW THE MONEY!

Lets say you regularly stock Lemon EO from ten different batches, and sell retail sized bottles all across North America and Eastern Europe. You have test results from each batch on file, of course.  But to also produce flyers to insert in boxes, and match up those flyers to each specific batch number as the product goes through the assembly line, is both unrealistic and would dramatically increase the price of these retail bottles.  And for what?  A consumer pacifier, because while the retail customer may have no idea what the report says, some blogger or teacher claims they should not trust the brand unless this information is available to them?  It’s both unrealistic and actually increases the incentive to provide fraudulent reports.

Example – you buy a bottle of lavender and get this report with it {used for editorial purposes only}. If you are not trained to evaluate the report – for all you know – it’s not even lavender! [It is].

It is also naive to believe that just because one bottle of EO tested pure, or with specific constituents in certain percentages, that the next batch will be the same. If a company wants to cheat, they are going to cheat!

Dr. Pappas of Essential Oil University writes in his article “The Proper Protocol for Utilizing EO Analysis Reports“:

“Lastly, its very important for anyone selling essential oils to know that if you have an analysis done on a pre-ship sample for the purposes of making buying decisions, then you CANNOT use that report on the pre-ship sample to represent the actual bulk lot that is purchased and received in, even if your supplier says it’s the same lot. If you want to forgo having your actual received lot analyzed because you trust your supplier to send the same thing they sampled you then that is fine, but you CANNOT use that pre-ship sample report to represent the oil that you sell to your customers because you did not have the actual bulk lot analyzed once it came in your door. This is very important because it frequently happens that a supplier sends one lot as a pre-ship sample but the actual oil that is shipped in bulk to fill the order does not match the pre-ship sample. I know it sounds crazy but this happens all the time.”

So what percentage of EOs that come with reports, are unsuspecting essential oil consumers purchasing based on the “school of thought” that as long as the bottle comes with a GC/MS or they can download it from the suppliers website, it’s some guarantee of purity or quality. These customers may be fooling themselves!

So how do you choose a good, reliable, high quality brand?  Go back to basics!

  • History – has the brand been around for many years?  That’s a positive.
  • Affiliations – does the company & staff belong to professional associations*
  • Education – who are the owners of the company, and where did they study aromatherapy?
  • Marketing & Labeling – truthful, legal, industry standards:
    • Common name for the Plant
    • Latin name
    • Plant part
    • The extraction process
    • “Keep out of reach of children”
    • “External Use Only”or “Not for Internal Use” or “Not for Ingestion”
    • An expiration date or date of manufacture or Batch Number
  • Reputation – A good reputation among professionals in the aromatherapy field is critical.
    • A bad reputation is rarely without cause in this industry.
      • Look for honesty and transparency if there was an issue with a product in the past
      • Watch out for prices which seem too good to be true – that is a big red flag!
      • Watch out for salespeople who claim their product is organic, without Certification
      • BEWARE of companies that claim their essential oils are “Therapeutic Grade” or “Clinical Grade” or “Pharma Grade” or “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” – there are no such grades! THESE CLAIMS ARE LIES.

*American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), The Aromatherapy Trade Council (ATC) and owners or employees who belong to the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA), Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA), or National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

In conclusion, during every step of the supply chain, proper testing using standard methods for essential oil analysis should be mandatory. If someone is a formulator making perfume, or cosmetics, or soap, or OTC Drugs, naturally they need to know the exact chemistry in the essential oils they are using to formulate their products and obtaining a GC/MS that is batch specific can be critical. But those people are not buying small retail sized (and priced) bottles of EOs. They buy wholesale. Professionally trained aromatherapists or massage therapists who use essential oils on a regular basis, probably also usually buy in larger sized bottles and retail off-the-shelf sizes, and they also might need to have access to test results.  But the average retail customer, using the recommendations above, can almost always avoid brands which are likely to be adulterated.

**Following the money includes businesses that claim they are charities but which are not!  We are a country of laws and the IRS does not allow a business to accept money and claim they are “donations” and pretend they are a charity unless the IRS has reviewed the application for non-profit status as a 501[c][3] tax-exempt organization and approved the application.

In this case, being affiliated with well-respected members of the aromatherapy community does not give this organization credibility, by contrast, it seriously damages anyone affiliated with them!

dis-Honest “natural” claims

This is a proposed Class Action Complaint against The Honest Company (“Honest”) for falsely, misleadingly, and deceptively labeling its products as “natural,” “all natural,” “naturally derived,” and/or “plant-based,” and for falsely, misleadingly, and deceptively labeling these products as containing “no harsh chemicals, ever!” when these products in fact contain a spectacular array of synthetic and toxic ingredients (collectively, the “Falsely Labeled Products”).

Yes! The Honest Company (of Jessica Alba fame) was presented with at least one Class Action Law Suit for selling products they said were natural, but which actually contained synthetic ingredients!

Instead of allowing the suit to proceed, both sides have agreed to settle the original dispute to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. What does that mean?

Consumers are able to submit claims and potentially receive a check or a Settlement Credit. Learn more here:

Does this mean other companies which market their products as natural, can be sued?  It sure does!

So all those companies which claim that no one regulates the term natural, or they use this term loosely when they sell you their soap, cosmetics, household cleaners, or other products – just might want to educate themselves about what natural means – and more importanly – does NOT mean!

Ethics in Aromatherapy

I am very disturbed to recently be dragged back into yet another essential oil drama.

Back in May, Dr. Pappas (essential oil testing specialist – not medical doctor) posted:

“I got to thinking *If there was a non-profit foundation set up by someone who could accept my donations of oil, hydrosols, CO2, extracts, boswellic acid powder and other extracted aromatic products that we accumulate from various research projects and testing that would otherwise go unused and then these products could be sold by the foundation to support free testing as requested by the buyers of said products, this might be one way to accomplish a decent amount of testing of oils from companies that people would love to verify if the quality is really what these companies are claiming.*”

Clearly, the idea of a non-profit was Roberts. He writes “I pitched this idea to my friend Roxanne Benton.

Their professional connection was recently disclosed as being through doTerra, Dr. P’s former testing client, and MLM that Roxanne sells/sold for. Shortly thereafter, Roxanne announced that she and her husband are the proud “owners” of a 501(c)3 charity called “The Essential Oil Analysis Foundation“.

The mission of this “charity” is described as “an attempt to bring accountability into the industry through competent GC/MS testing made available for free to the consumer…”

Their About page concludes with “The results of the testing will then be displayed on the website and filed according to company name. The consumer can then always have a place to go to check on which companies are selling authentic oils and which ones are selling fake oils.”

Obviously, this scenario raised a lot of questions and was met with skepticism, and as so often happens in this volatile essential oil industry, the personal attacks and accusations began.

I’m not going to post the web address for the main *haters* because they want to remain anonymous, so they won’t get any web traffic from me!

There are some legitimate questions, however.

#1 – there was a lack of transparency when this idea was formally launched which *seemed* to be an attempt to downplay Robert Pappas’ affiliation with the organization and that raised the alarm. Because of this lack of transparency, people assumed this entire exercise was a cover for driving more business to Dr. P’s testing services. Anyone who has followed Dr. P’s career or for that matter, his Facebook page, knows he does not need the money! This exercise would be like a millionaire spending 40 hours a week cutting coupons in order to save $20 on groceries.

The best analogy I can think of is, this is almost like a wedding gown company donating their sample sizes from a past season to a store that then sells them at a discount in order to be able to donate dresses to the less fortunate or which sells the dresses and donates the profits toward a stated charitable purpose.

Here is one such example –

A win win for everyone.  All transparent at the bridal shop!  That is what is missing at this new organization: clarity of purpose, and a mission which is actually charitable.

#2 – claims that Roxanne Benton and her husband “own” the charity. That set off alarm bells, and rightly so.

If the founder of a charity does not know that no one *owns* a charity, what else do they not know about forming a charity? They should have presented themselves as the founders of a non-profit foundation, incorporated in the state of Nevada, and NOT presented themselves as a 501(c)3 Charity.

#3 – the way this foundation is described, they will not be eligible under the Federal regulations governing charitable organizations, as I understand the regulations.

“Inurement/Private Benefit – Charitable Organizations – A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization.”

An analogy – there is a lot of public interest in the charity run by Eric Trump. “Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity set up by the president, “apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

Setting up a charity where the money generated is paid to one or two labs for testing services, is no different than planning fund raising golf tournaments, and having a large percentage of the funds pay for the golf club costs!

#3a – so why is this non-profit being set up as a charity in the first place? Saving a consumer or a supplier the costs of having their own products or ingredients tested? How is that charity?

  • Is the only purpose the ability for certain people to make donations *to* the charity and take a tax deduction for their donations?
  • Then their donations are sold, and that money gets paid back to them in the form of paying for them to test other oils?
  • Because right now, that is how it appears – whether that was the intent or not. And it looks way too much like a money laundering scheme, which explains the drama.

#4 – so if not a Charity – what about founding as a nonprofit “Scientific Organizations”?

Nope, because “Scientific research, for exemption purposes, doesn’t include activities of a type ordinarily incidental to commercial or industrial operations such as the ordinary inspection or testing of materials or products…” Testing of essential oils is an activity of a type ordinarily undertaken as the normal course of business. So performing the same tests but publishing the results publicly, is not scientifically valid (SEE #5) or what the public understands when they hear the word *charity*.

So it looks from the outside like a *scheme*…again, maybe this was not the intent – but clearly the way this nonprofit is set up to avoid paying taxes looks self-serving.

#5why do I say the tests themselves are not scientifically valid?

An analogy: It’s no different from being pulled over for drunk driving, and the Breathalyzer shows no alcohol – all it means is that day, on that drive, you were not DUI. It does not mean you weren’t yesterday or won’t be tomorrow.

These tests mean that one bottle from that one batch – tested as reported.

So what is the point? Dr. P. himself has said for years that his test results only are valid for the batch he tested. And with many of these suppliers selling EOs worldwide, from hundreds of different batches – a test result on one batch showing purity or free from adulterants, or for that matter, showing adulteration – only applies to that one specific batch.

(Regardless of the source of the original oil tested – no one with an ounce of sense would question the test results of Dr. P. – but to imply the results mean anything other than that one batch tested with the published results, is implying something which may not be supported. AND critiquing a company based on these test results, opens this organization up to a huge liability for defamation if a company is characterized in a negative manner based on the test results.  They better have a very hefty liability insurance policy because law suits are almost guaranteed.)

So every test result is tied 100% to the commercial product tested and is in effect, no different from a YELP review for a restaurant – helpful if you are considering that restaurant for your next meal, but just one bit of information helpful to consumers to review before they make a purchase.  And hardly an act of charity!  It’s more like free marketing and advertising for whomever happens to be the supplier of the oil that had a positive test result!

Just because someone receives something for free – does not make that something charity.

#6why I am even writing about this topic?

Over the past couple days, my past employment as the Founder of the American Essential Oil Trade Association [AEOTA] was recently brought up in a discussion about this topic. A person wrote something like “this reminds me of that scam, the AEOTA”.

  • The AEOTA was founded by me, and incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in the state of CT.
  • The AEOTA was NOT a charity, it was not a church or other religious organization, it was NOT a political organization, it was NOT a private foundation, it was NOT a school or university – it WAS a BUSINESS LEAGUE.
  • It was NOT a 501(c)3!
  • The AEOTA was self-declared as a 501(c)6 Business League, and once we had a years worth of tax returns, the newly elected Board of Directors were supposed to file the appropriate forms in order to comply with tax exempt status with the IRS.
  • Membership dues were NOT tax deductible as charitable contributions.
  • I was paid a small salary to run the organization (not profit status does not mean the organization is run by volunteers, almost all non-profit organizations have paid staff).
  • All Federal Tax returns were filed per Federal laws.
  • Bylaws were available to Members.
  • The AEOTA went out of business when the new Board of Directors refused to take office.
  • As a volunteer, after the newly appointed Board failed to take office, I filed all final tax returns and state corporate filings.
  • EVERYTHING about the AEOTA was 100% transparent from day one: some people may not have agreed with how we initially raised the start-up funds in order to afford to incorporate (crowdfunding), and start in business; but nothing about any part of the process was conducted in secret or without peer review from the volunteer Board of Advisers.


Sensitization Update

Robert Tisserand announced today “Do not apply undiluted essential oils to your skin. It’s that simple.

“I have recently changed my stance on this after seeing the number of people experiencing adverse reactions to essential oils that are not high risk, such as frankincense, helichrysum and lavender.”

This announcement is tied into his new Tisserand Institute Safety Pages.

This is a long time coming.  Robert has always allowed for a certain amount of neat usage as low risk in the past (see quote below). So better late than never.  Because Sensitization is forever.

The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) used to promote safety and warn about sensitization on their old website, under more safety-minded management.  Here is a link to my Lost and Found: Sensitization article on that subject.

Here is some additional information from an old article I wrote for the (defunct) American Essential Oil Trade Association (aka AEOTA):

Sensitization “exposure to allergen that results in the development of hypersensitivity.” [1]

essential oil poured on a female back in spa centre
essential oil poured on a female back in spa centre

So what is hypersensitivity? Is a hypersensitivity reaction the same as an allergic reaction?

Answer, yes. They are synonyms, BUT there are four different types of allergic reaction:

“a local or general reaction of an organism following contact with a specific allergen to which it has been previously exposed and sensitized; immunologic mechanisms gives rise to inflammation or tissue damage. Allergic reactions are classified into four major types: type I, anaphylactic and IgE dependent; type II, cytotoxic; type III, immune-complex mediated;type IV, cell mediated (delayed).”[2]

For the purposes of aromatherapy safety, any essential oil can become an allergen by using it undiluted on the skin; and this risk is there for all essential oils, including lavender (note – originally published in 2014).

So while there are certain essential oils which have a known reputation for being potential allergens or with a reputation for sensitization, using any essential oil neat (undiluted) sets the individul up for a potential allergic reaction, leading to sensitization, and forever being allergic to that essential oil.

Robert Tisserand explains:

“Yes, sensitization is the process that takes place in the body that leads to an allergic reaction. They are not the same thing, but they are not totally different either. There are 4 types of allergic reaction, [3] but only two are relevant to essential oils. Type 4 (delayed hypersensitivity) accounts for 90% of allergic reactions. Type 1 is immediate hypersensitivity (generally not anaphylactic) and accounts for the other 10%. You could say the risk is potentially there for all essential oils, but this is a little unfair on the majority of oils, that have never been known to cause such reactions. I don’t like to assume risk that may not exist. The less you dilute the more you increase risk, but that doesn’t mean that undiluted copaiba oil is a greater risk than 1% cinnamon bark oil. It isn’t.”

1. Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved
2. Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012