If you are a citizen of the USA and you want to talk or write in general, or discuss essential oils…feel free. You can talk about the facts of chemistry and now essential oils are by definition, pure – or you can write fiction such as the Wise Men brought essential oils to the baby Jesus. Something written for a general audience to read, is perfectly legal.
If someone asks you for medical advice, and you give it – no matter how well meaning – you may be practicing medicine (with or without a license). Whether or not that advice is considered the practice of medicine, and whether or not that advice is legal – is based on state law. This is no different from going into a drug store and asking a sales clerk what you should take for your “fill in the disease, illness, symptoms”. The sales clerk is not allowed to advise a customer about what OTC drug to take – they direct the customer to the pharmacist. Then what the pharmacist is allowed to advise, is based on their legal scope of practice, in their state. So if you give advice when someone asks you for advice, know your State Law and review your malpractice insurance policy to make sure what you say or do is legal. No malpractice insurance? Theres a clue.
If someone asks for nutritional advice, same thing – the qualifications for giving this advice vary by state. Some companies do sell essential oils as dietary supplements and so what you say regarding them is also based on state law.
If someone asks for cosmetic advice, you can legally give cosmetic advice.
If you do not know the difference between cosmetic advice, nutritional advice and medical advice – you should not be giving ANY advice!
Touching another person is regulated by state law, too. That includes things like massage, applying oils to the body, giving facial treatments, etc. Before you touch someone else in the course of offering services or selling products, you should know the laws of your state.
Essential oils themselves are a consumer product, regulated by various laws, depending upon the INTENDED USE.
Intend to make the room smell good or to clean house – regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Cosmetics: Most essential oil suppliers and aromatherapy companies legally market and intend their essential oils and aromatherapy products to be used for Cosmetic use. That is why the labels of reputable companies say “For External Use Only.”
To learn more:
- Cosmetic Regulations: fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceRegulation/LawsRegulations/ucm074162.htm
- Aromatherapy: fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm127054.htm
- Drugs: Essential Oils and Aromatherapy products: If an “aromatherapy” product is intended to treat or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug.
- “How is a product’s intended use established? fda.gov/cosmetics/guidanceregulation/lawsregulations/ucm074201.htm
- To Learn More: fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm388821.htm#essential
- Dietary Supplements: Essential oils and products which contain essential oils are sold as dietary supplements (aka nutritional supplements) and marketed under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
- NOTE: “a product sold as a dietary supplement and promoted on its label or in labeling as a treatment, prevention or cure for a specific disease or condition would be considered an unapproved–and thus illegal–drug.”
- To Learn More: fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/qadietarysupplements/
- AEOTA on Dietary Supplements: aeota.org/about-dietary-supplements/