21.9.2015 | 19:25







Dispatches from the Divine Dragon

First things first:

This is not going to be a discussion about Young Living vs. dōTERRA.

There’s a lot of controversy about these “multi-level marketing” companies right now, and I am not qualified to comment:  I don’t use either brand.

That’s not to be taken as a “diss” of either company.  I have many friends and colleagues who highly recommend one or the other.

But I was already using other companies’ essential oils before I ever heard of these two, and I’m more than satisfied with these products.

So I’m just going to play the part of neutral Switzerland and abstain from the fray….

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s take a deep breath…and wake up and smell the lavender!  (Or rose, or eucalyptus, or cypress, or….)

Depositphotos_Essential Oils

If you’re new to the idea of essential oils, there are a few basic guidelines to follow:

You definitely want to be sure you’re using an unadulterated essential oil.

Many oils — such as rose and jasmine — are prohibitively expensive to produce.  So there can be a lot of incentive to “cut” the essential oil with synthetic chemical oils or carrier oils.

This is why it is absolutely crucial to deal with a company you can trust, one with a long-standing reputation.

For instance, David Crow has a personal relationship with many — if not all — of the distillers who produce oils for his company, Floracopeia.

Many of Floracopeia’s oils are wild-crafted, not cultivated, and they are produced according to the highest ethical standards.

Nadine Artemis, of Living Libations, also maintains a high standard of quality and ethics.  I haven’t purchased her specific oils, but I have used several of her products.  And there are some very unique oils she provides which I fully intend to explore in the future….

Another company I like is Mountain Rose Herbs.  MRH offers a wide range of oils, and they specifically note whether they are organic, wild-crafted, or neither.  They also include a key to help denote which oils are contraindicated for particular individuals or conditions.


Which leads me to quite possibly the most important issue when dealing with essential oils….

Please do your “due diligence”!

I am currently almost finished my Master Aromatherapy training with Demetria Clark, an aromatherapist and herbalist whose course I found through Mountain Rose Herbs’ website.

This has been a comprehensive course, incorporating botany, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology.

I’ve been enrolled in Demetria’s course for about two years.

I was intimidated by the material at first.  I didn’t have a strong grounding in any of the sciences when I began.

But I am so grateful for her approach.

Mostly because I have learned how powerful and potentially dangerous these substances can be….

Many of us (including myself) learn a lot from the University of Amazon or Professor Google.

There’s a lot of great information out there.


But there’s also a lot of unsubstantiated hype.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, complicated chemical constituents of plants.  (Think “pharmaceutical” level, only naturally-occurring instead of synthesized in a laboratory.)

Some of these chemical components are produced by the plants as “defenses” against predators.

That means they can be toxic to other living organisms.  Sometimes even lethal.

There are many herbs which, although they can be dangerous for specific conditions or in particular amounts, can be safely administered by a trained, knowledgeable herbalist.

However, the concentrated oils of these same plants can damage, even kill, the human body.

The more I learn about and work with the essential oils, the more enthusiastic I become.

But also the more cautious….

If you’re interested in working with essential oils, I highly recommend you engage in serious study of the subject.

If you don’t want to do the research, or take a full course, please be careful about experimenting.

Consider working with a trained aromatherapist — if they’re reputable, they will know which oils to recommend for you and which to advise you to avoid.

(I have an intake form which includes a brief health history, including herbs, supplements and pharmaceuticals a client may be taking.)

I strongly recommend you study the oils to some degree before simply dashing off to the health food store to pick up the latest Internet “darling.”  Or get advice from someone you trust, someone who has experience working with essential oils.

Personally, I’m going to take another Advanced course (courtesy of Floracopeia) when I’ve finished Demetria’s.

Not because I don’t have enough education — as I said, Demetria’s course is quite comprehensive — but because it will allow me to dig even deeper into some more specialized areas.

As I mentioned, the more I learn, the more I want to study further….


Above all, be safe.

Don’t take any essential oil internally.  (Some can be safely used this way, but not without proper training.)

Don’t apply the oils undiluted to your skin.  (Again, there are exceptions, but research and study are key for learning which ones.)

If you notice any sort of adverse reaction, STOP using the oil at once.  Even if it’s a “safe” oil, it may not be safe for you.

And please, please, don’t fall victim to Internet (or other media) hype.

I want to encourage people to use the essential oils.  But I want them to be used safely….

These substances are amazing, incredible products.

But there are hazards involved, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt.

Now…take a deep breath, bask in the aroma, and stay safe.



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  1. Bonnie
    September 22, 2015 | 7:05 pm

    Great post, Diane!
    I have no idea about that do-Terra (or however it’s written)/ Young Living fray, lol.
    Can I ask you about the trustworthiness of my own source for all things essential oils? Her name is Patricia Davis and she’s an aromatherapist from the UK. I stumbled upon her book three years ago and have used it ever since. In any case, she says much the same thing you do: this is real powerful stuff, don’t mess with it.

    • daletchworth
      September 23, 2015 | 12:00 am

      Thanks for the feedback! I had to check with Diane, to make sure I passed along the correct information. Yes, Diane has Patricia Davis’ book “Aromatherapy An A-Z,” which she feels is a good resource, like an encyclopedia. Essential oils are definitely substances with which to take care. Debra

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