I recently watched the Netflix series [UN]WELL and was especially impressed with the episode on essential oils, given that the questions posed in the episode are questions we deal with every day here in the store — things like, “Can I ingest essential oils?,” “Is there an essential oil that could cure my health condition?,” and “Can I use essential oils to detoxify?”
What I love about how the show handled the topic is that they made sure to include a balanced selection of sources, including trained and certified aromatherapists, a nurse who uses essential oils on her patients, and representatives from Young Living and doTerra.
Here’s what I learned:
None of the certified/trained aromatherapists recommended or approved the ingestion of essential oils. Notably, the people that profit off essential oils (representatives from Young Living and doTerra, as well as “Dr. Z” and “Mama Z”) did recommend the ingestion of essential oils. The show notes that essential oils are found in sodas, candies, and other culinary confections however, they are extremely diluted and follow strict regulations. It was also explained that essential oils do not “clean out the blood” nor detoxify the body.
Speaking to the health benefits of essential oils, what I took from the show as a viewer was that essential oils can help you cope with your disease/illness but not cure it; essential oils do not cure cancer and other serious diseases; and that not every essential oil will work for everyone. This aligns with the advice we give here at The Apothecary in Inglewood.
This episode of [UN]WELL also pointed out that there are only three (or so) studies on the effects of essential oils that have been performed on humans. The rest have been done on bacteria and small animals like rats and mice.
Another really interesting aspect of the show, for myself at least, was the closer look into companies like Young Living and doTerra. Here’s what I learned about them: first, Young Living and doTerra are multi-level marketing companies. Young Living has a class action law suit against them alleging that the company is a pyramid scheme. According to the show, these companies prey on stay-at-home moms and single income households. I found it especially interesting to learn that 94% of Young Living members reported making an average of $1 per month, and only 46 individuals out of millions of Young Living members have ever been in the top tier of sales.
My main takeaways from the show are that:
- There are basically no studies to support that the ingestion of essential oils are beneficial in any way;
- Essential oils can be extremely useful tools to help you on your wellness journey when used appropriately — through inhalation, in diffusers, topically (when diluted) and in moderate quantities. You do not need to be diffusing essential oils 24/7;
- Do your research and learn through people with actual (clinical) knowledge and education;
- Essential oils can be dangerous if not used properly;
- Facebook is not a viable learning tool.
Overall I found the Essential Oils episode of [UN]WELL to be right on the money. It’s really informative and I appreciate that they included a fairly balanced selection of sources. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you’re interested in essential oils!