Lost in the Wilderness
One of the problems the average person runs into with essential oils is the mass of rhetoric, claims and confusion associated with these products. Because Essential Oil has become more recognized as being both healthy and helpful, many companies are trying to "cash in" on the popularity of the oil. Unfortunately, marketing pushes some companies to "fudge" a little on the accuracy of the information about their product.
For example, the term "therapeutic grade" essential oil has been touted as being the best oil available. The bad news is that "therapeutic grade" is not an accepted standard for judging essential oils. In fact, there is no body, association or government entity that has a set standard for essential oil. "Therapeutic grade" is nothing more than a trademark used by one of the multilevel marketing companies to hype their product as being better than all others. However, "therapeutic grade" is not recognized by any regulatory body or grading authority.
There is an article from Cropwatch that explains this situation:
"Many professional aromatherapists have become unwitting victims of a marketing ploy by essential oil suppliers, whereby ‘approved therapeutic grades’ of essential oils are advertised for sale. Let us be quite clear about this - there is no such thing as a ‘therapeutic grade essential oil’, and no quality standards for the authentication or performance of essential oils specifically exist within aromatherapy per se. This latter situation results from the failure of professional aroma- therapy organisations and aromatherapy essential oil trading associations to issue a comprehensive set of aromatherapy oil standards, in spite of individual schemes being put forward." ( The ‘Therapeutic Grade’ Essential Oils Disinformation Campaign. Adapted from part of Kirkham K. & Burfield T. (2006) “Naked aromatherapy – the truth laid bare” Aromatherapy Today 36, 28-33, as further updated in Cropwatch Newsletter August 2007).
That being said, you can see that there is so much hype and hyperbole out there that it is hard to tell what is genuine and what is junk. Fortunately, we sell 100% pure essential oil and we don't know how else it can be made better.
For additional information on essential oils and how to use them please see the following websites:
A Little History
Essential Oils have been used for centuries. According to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese manuscripts, priests and alchemists were using essential oils thousands of years ago to heal the sick. They are the oldest form of medicine and cosmetic known to man and were considered more valuable than gold to the ancients.
The Egyptians used oils in their embalming processes, but they were also used in medicinal applications. The historical writings describe spices, resins, herbs, and oils and how they were used. The Ebers Papyrus, found in 1817, is a medical scroll which dates back to 1500 BC. It contains over 800 remedies from herbs
The Bible has literally hundreds of references to essential oil. Moses was given a formula to use in annointing the Hebrews. It contained oils of myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, and cassia, not to mention olive oil. Other healing oils mentioned include fir, spikenard, myrrh, fir and frankincense. Balms, incense and ointments were used in the healing of the sick as well as in religious rituals and anointings. The wisemen brought frankincense and myrrh as gifts to the Christ child.
Traditional Indian medicine called “Ayur Veda” has a 3000-year history of incorporating essential oils into their healing potions. Vedic literature lists over 700 substances including cinnamon, ginger, myrrh and sandalwood as effective for healing. During the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, Ayur Veda was used successfully in replacing ineffective antibiotics. The purpose of aromatic plants and oils were not only for medicinal purposes, but were believed to be a Godly part of nature and played a integral role to the spiritual and philosophical outlook in Ayurvedic medicine.
Greece Between 400-500 B.C.E. the Greeks recorded knowledge of essential oils adopted from the Egyptians. Ointment of Myrrh was carried by soldiers into battle to counter infections.
The Greek physician Hypocrites (460-377 B.C.E.), known to us as the “Father of Medicine” documented the effects of some 300 plants including thyme, saffron, marjoram, cumin and peppermint. Hypocrites’ extensive knowledge of plants and their essences came in part from the expeirnce of Greek soldiers in their travels in India with Alexander the Great. They added Ayur Veda to their own understanding of medicine.
Hypocrites stated that “a perfumed bath and a scented massage everyday is the way to good health.” His writings and those of his students contain some of the most important principles in modern medicine.
Galen whose beginnings as a physician for gladiators became so adept in his use of plants and oils that it was said that no gladiator died of his wounds during Galen’s term as physician. Because of his abilities he became the personal physician to the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. He wrote a great deal on the theory of plant medicine and divided plants into various medicinal categories that are still known as “Galenic” today.
Ali-Ibn Sana, a Persian, (commonly known as Avicenna the Arab) lived from 980 -1037 A.D. He was a child prodigy and became a well-educated physician by the age of 12. Ali-Ibn wrote books on the properties of 800 plants and their effects on the human body. He is also credited for being the first person to discover and record the method of distilling essential oils. His methods are still in use.
This knowledge of essential oils was brought back to Europe as the knights returned from the Crusades. They brought new found knowledge of distillation of oils and brought perfumes back to their homes. This knowledge helped some folks during the period of the "Black Death" (Bubonic Plague). They burned frankincense and pine in the streets to ward off "evil spirits" and successfully so, because fewer people died of the plague in the areas where this was done.
In 1653 a fellow by the name of Nicholas Culpeper wrote ” The Complete Herbal” which even today is a valuable reference book that describes many conditions and their remedies that are still appropriate.
A French Chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé, created the term “Aromatherapie” while investigating the antiseptic properties of essential oils. He published a book “Aromatherapie” in 1928 where he outlined some of the cases where essential oils were used and documented their healing properties. The book infulence many of the medical practices in France. Gattefossé discovered the incredible healing properties of Lavender accidentally when a small explosion occurred in his laboratory. Dr. Gattefossé was literally aflame — covered in burning substances — following a laboratory explosion in July, 1910. After rolling on a grassy lawn to extinguish the flames, he wrote that "both my hands were covered with rapidly developing gas gangrene." He said that, "just one rinse with lavender essence stopped the gasification of the tissue. This treatment was followed by profuse sweating, and healing which began the next day." To his astonishment Gattefossé saw that his hand healed with no infection or scarring. Gattefossé and a colleague researched further on the healing properties of lavender and persuaded many of the hospitals in France to use it. During the outbreak of Spanish influenza there were no reported deaths of people working in the hospital. This was credited to the use of lavender.
"Dr. Gattefossé shared his studies with his colleague and friend, Jean Valnet, a medical doctor practicing in Paris. Exhausting his supply of antibiotics as a physician in Tonkin, China, during World War II, Dr. Valnet began using [essential oils] on patients suffering battlefield injuries. To his surprise, they exerted a powerful effect in combating and counteracting infection. He was able to save the lives of many soldiers who might otherwise have died."
"Two of Dr. Valnet's students, Dr. Paul Belaiche and Dr. Jean Claude Lapraz, expanded on his work. They clinically investigated the antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties in essential oils."
Because of the work of these doctors and scientists, the healing power of essential oils is again gaining prominence."1
1. Health Shoppe, www.therapeuticgrade.com
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