Essential Oil Distributors Could Kill You With Their Advice

Essential Oil Distributors Could Kill You With Their Advice March 24, 2019

Essential oils are all the rage in the natural health world. Vendors and reps for companies promise that the oils can treat, prevent, and cure numerous illnesses. Despite their extravagant claims of improved health, essential oils are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of any diseases. Furthermore, the FDA has issued warnings to multiple companies for misleading marketing. Distributors of the oils could kill individuals that follow their advice, and they need to be held accountable.

A quick search on Google, Pinterest, or Facebook will bring up a treasure trove of essential oil recipes to treat a variety of illnesses. Vendors from Young Living and DoTERRA seem to be the worst offenders in making unsubstantiated claims about oils.

In less than ten minutes, I found dozens of images of oil recipes that promise to treat high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, allergies, ADHD, autism, nerve pain, hypothyroidism, and Ebola to name a few. Misleading claims of health cures by Young Living and DoTERRA are nothing new.

During an outbreak of Ebola in Africa in 2014, Young Living and DoTERRA received warning letters from the FDA for their illegal marketing, branding, and sales of the oils. Distributors of the oils promised that a combination of oils would prevent the contraction of the virus.

In an image found on Google, a Young Living representative says that Ebola cannot survive the combination of Cinnamon bark, thyme, oregano, thieves, and clove.

Even though the FDA warned the companies that their products were not approved for the use of any illnesses, neither company did much to stop the spread of misinformation. In fact, representatives from both organizations continue to market oils to treat a litany of diseases.

Public images found on Facebook and Instagram uploaded after 2014 prove that reps from these companies continue to sell the oils as drugs to treat diseases.

Oils to replace medications in your home:

Oils for weight loss and cellulite:

High Blood Pressure:




Breast Cancer:




Cough Syrup:

Opioid Replacement:



Not only are the claims in the photos completely false, none of these images include disclaimers. When the FDA does not approve a product, vendors are required to disclose that information to consumers.

Additionally, the labels of the bottles do not contain dosing information. Any drug approved by the FDA must have an FDA approved label that provides specific dosing instructions for the medication.

Most concerning is that representatives are suggesting the oils can replace necessary pharmaceutical drugs for breast cancer, hypothyroidism, MRSA, diabetes, high blood pressure, and nerve pain. If a person suffering from some of these conditions discontinued their use of their pharmaceuticals, they could die.

Additionally, many of these recipes recommend that the oils be consumed internally. According to the FDA, essential oils are not safe for internal consumption. In fact, several oils are so toxic they can lead to seizures, hallucinations, comas, and death in people that consume them.

In 2016, a Tennessee poison control study by Vanderbilt University showed a spike in calls related to essential oils. A review of calls between 2011-2015 indicated that 80% of all poison calls about essential oils were for children. Not only are adults risking their lives, but they are also poisoning their children with the oils.

Poison Control has received so many calls about the oils that they have created an entire page outlining the dangers of using the oils. Poison control recommends not having oils in your home if you have a child. The site also points out that oils are not safe for ingestion and can lead to life-threatening side effects.

Wintergreen is a popular oil pushed by these companies for pain relief. However, poison control points out that swallowing wintergreen is like taking a handful of adult aspirin. Sage is another oil peddled by these companies. If a child consumes even a tiny bit of sage, they can develop seizures within minutes.

The facts are that essential oils are so highly concentrated that they are not safe for ingestion. None of this information stops these companies from pushing the internal consumption of the oils.

Since 2014 the FDA has not issued any more warnings to either Young Living or DoTERRA. Which begs the question why isn’t the FDA pursuing criminal charges against these companies? Representatives still promote these products illegally and without proper disclaimers. These companies and people should be held accountable for the public health dangers they pose on society.

In February 2019, the FDA issued a press release that stated they were increasing their regulations of dietary supplements. Because oils are not safe for consumption, they are not a supplement. Oils are listed as topical and for aromatic use. Therefore, any new rules imposed by the FDA may not impact essential oils.

Therefore, the best way to impact the market and stop the misleading marketing of essential oils is to report vendors directly to the FDA. Report vendors here.

Also, make sure to report any adverse reactions and poisoning to poison control.

Finally, Essential oils are not medicine. Please do not use oils to treat, prevent, or cure any ailment you have. Always work with a medical doctor to treat your illnesses.


Want a deeper dive into Essential Oils? Watch this video on the shady world of essential oils.

*Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more videos like these


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Knitting Cat Lady

    I put one drop of lavender oil into my tumble dryer. Lavender keeps moths away…

    You can use citronella instead.

    As with anything you need to know what you’re doing if you use stuff.

    If a substance has some kind of effect, it will have adverse effects.

    And there is plenty stuff out there where we can use the herbs in their unrefined form, but the essential oil will kill us.

    The dose makes the poison.

  • nmgirl

    Talk about missing the point of Katie’s article. Essential oils are not for consumption. it is OK to use it in the laundry.

  • Michaii

    2018 I started having issues with my blood pressure, The condition never got any better and on my second visit to my doctor, my meds were increased. This is when it dawned on me that my condition was deteriorating and I had to do something, With the high blood pressure, I would either suffer from a heart attack or stroke and this is something I wanted to avoid at all cost. Just when I was about to give up I came across a story online (google ” How I Helped My Sister Cure the Hypertension ” ) The story was about how one Mary was able to manage her blood pressure, I read the story and implemented her program and I was surprised by how fast I got results, The next time I visited my doctor for a follow up my medications were reduced,I even manage to shed off some extra weight, I am still sticking to Mary’s ways of managing blood pressure and I’m confident that next time my meds will be reduced even further. I have an upper hand on this since if I can opt out of meds and adopt natural methods。。

  • Caleb Eaton

    “In fact, several oils are so toxic they can lead to seizures, hallucinations, comas, and death in people that consume them.”
    You rightfully criticizes distributor claims that have no research to back them up. So where are your citations for this claim? To merely spread unsubstantiated crises posts from elsewhere on the internet is just as irresponsible as those who spread the images mentioned in your post. Here are a few links to videos of a pharmacist discussing subjects like drug interactions, epilepsy, allergies, child safety, etc.

  • Caleb Eaton

    “In 2016, a Tennessee poison control study by Vanderbilt University showed a spike in calls related to essential oils.”
    This is akin to stating that most shark attacks occur in 3 feet of water. Yes, that’s where all the people are. The spike in calls is simply due to more people having essential oils in their homes. Before panicking about it, let’s compare those figures to the ones involving things like prescription drugs, perfumes, or household cleaners. Or water. Then let’s dial up the outrage proportionately.

  • Knitting Cat Lady

    Plenty of woosters out there actually recommend the consumption of essential oils. It doesn’t matter to them that they’re not meant for that. Plenty of those idiots eat turpentine, for fuck’s sake.

    And since I do radiation protection for a living I have trouble shaking the mindset that inhalation IS a form of consumption. Especially if you use one of those fucking diffusers.

    It’s important to tell people how to use essential oils safely.

    Do not apply them directly to the skin, they can cause chemical burns.

    Don’t eat them, they can be toxic.

    Don’t use diffusers, you’ll kill your pets or damage your lungs.

    The problem is that people hear the word ‘natural’ and equate it with ‘harmless’.

    It means anything but.

    Arsenic and strychnine are natural. So are destroying angels and hemlock. Or getting mauled my a tiger.

  • Katie Joy

    I have linked poison control.

  • DanD
  • Terrie_S

    I ran across a DoTerra rep who was talking about how essential oils can be used in cleaning. Ok. that’s not as scary as using them for medication. They then went on to explain that cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals, and this is WHY you should use essential oils instead. For instance, fabric softener contains ethanol which is a known neurotoxin!

  • Shawna Koch

    Thank you for these comments, I wanted to say the same.

  • Caleb Eaton

    Note that the FDA warning letter was from 2014…5 years ago and counting. Young Living and DoTerra were singled out as the two biggest brands to set an example for the rest of the industry. A more current and relevant article might involve some investigative journalism that does a Google image search to see (1) How complaint the two big companies currently are; (2) How many smaller brands continue to make outrageous claims simply because the FDA doesn’t have the manpower to police them; (3) Which of the two big companies continues to sell bottles with multi-use labels—for both internal and topical use.

  • Caleb Eaton

    I agree, absolutely, that using products marketed as essentials can be dangerous. A critically important reason is because a frighteningly large percentage of products sold as essential oils are actually concoctions—mostly petrochemical—designed to manipulate the brain into perceiving plant substances. In fact, there is a giant flavoring and fragrance industry built around this. Perfumes and fake essential oils are just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the scented products you use around the house and the flavored products you eat contain these concoctions. Think shampoo, soap, surface cleaner, air freshener, peppermint ice cream, spearmint gum, and even vanilla flavoring. I would implore readers to be equally cautious of such things even though no health claims are attached.

  • Food is tested by the FDA. Stop being a shill for whatever company you work for.


  • Rose essential oil for high blood pressure? It might work but only if I smell the stuff. I like the smell of roses; it’s calming to me so the effect would be that of a stress reducer. But for actual treatment? I’ll keep taking my Lopressor, thanks.

  • Annie Bee

    Look up Young Living Vitality.

  • Snowy

    You might want to read this with an open mind. YoungLiving isn’t telling you all the facts.

  • Snowy

    This is like telling your kid “Don’t do that,” and the kid responds with, “But Jimmy’s cousin gets to do it!”

  • Snowy
  • plant extracts are not the same as essentials. Peppermint added to your fudge or ice cream is not nearly as concentrated as in a few drops of essential oils.

  • swbarnes2

    “Concoctions” are chemicals. Everything is a chemical. Some chemicals are safe in some doses, some are not. Chemicals are not magic, either for good or bad.

    And please. Everyone knows that you can get artificial vanilla. You hardly have to warn people about that! That doesn’t mean it’s dangerous when taken in usual quantities.

    People don’t want to eat tree back when they get a headache, they’d rather have a “concoction” of pure synthesized chemical. Ditto yew trees and clover mold.

  • Wendy Kearley

    What does a hormone disruptor mean to you?
    Man boobs, testicular atrophy, premature puberty, cancers, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, female/male reproduction, brain development ……..everything is at risk because hormones control all bodily functions.

    “Of further concern, according to Ramsey, is that many of the chemicals they tested appear in at least 65 other essential oils. Essential oils are available without a prescription and are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thus, the public should be aware of these findings and consider all evidence before deciding to use essential oils. The NIEHS Division of Intramural Research funded this study through its support of Korach.”

  • Raging Bee

    Long story short: essential oils smell nice, and nice smells can improve your mood, at least sometimes. Any health-benefit claim beyond that is most likely bullshit.

  • Raging Bee

    What, people only get poisoned by essential oils when they’re near essential oils? That doesn’t exactly disprove any claims that essential oils are bad for you.

    Please go back to your bosses and tell them to send us a more competent shill.

  • Annie Bee

    This article makes no sense. Obviously the writer doesn’t understand the terms: diffuse, essential oils, lost me there.