Updated: Mar 19
We feel passionately about NOT using essential oils in our products. Find out why below!
I do not use essential oils in my practice, except for the rare chance I or someone I know makes a distillation of an abundant harvest. I am moved to share the issues with EOs rise in popularly because at every market I go to, I am asked if I am selling essential oils.
The problem with the mass production of EO is multi-faceted. According to Ecowatch, 10,000 pounds of rose petals are required to make 1 pound of rose EO. 6000 pounds of lemon balm for 1 pound of lemon balm EO. Generally, you need a massive amount of plant material to produce a tiny amount of EO.
Once those numbers sink in as huge mounds of raw plant material extracted from the earth, we can begin to think about where they were extracted from. Popular EO company Young Living was recently found guilty of trafficking (protected!!) rosewood oil. According to the Salt Lake Tribune “several company employees and contractors harvested, transported and distilled about 86 tons of protected rosewood in Peru…Peruvian law prohibits harvesting and exporting timber, including rosewood.” This is a particularly awful instance of an EO company going into another country and stealing literal tons of their protected trees. In cases where the gathering is technically legal, the massive amount of raw material may come from a collection of farms mono cropping the plant for export. This depletes soil and is a sad use of land that could instead support the people tending it.
Here is the thing: we really do not need to be mass producing EO. There are so many other ways to connect with herbs and the earth. Infuse herbs in a carrier oil to produce a healing herbal oil. Pick a flower or walk through the woods to experience aromatherapy. If you still want to work with EOs, find an herbalist in your region who occasionally scrapes off the fat of the land and distills it into hydrosol & EO.
I could go on about the mass production of EOs as a metaphor for globalization & a capitalist approach to herbalism, how they are much less safe to work with than infused oils, and how they are often sold through MLM schemes, which target poor people and women but i will stop here with this last thought: let’s examine our sources.