Last year I had a breakdown. After five years of caring for my medically fragile child, my mental and physical health completely tanked. I started having anxiety and panic attacks daily. Leaving the house felt impossible from the debilitating anxiety I experienced. At night my mind raced, and no matter how hard I tried I could not fall asleep. Things felt desperate for me, and I started looking for ways to “cure” my pain. Several friends suggested Yoga and Essential Oils ease my anxiety and stress. I signed up for Yoga classes, bought essential oils, and tried to meditate myself to better mental health.
A woman at Yoga introduced me to DoTERRA Essential Oils. DoTerra is a Multi-Level Marketing company that hawks essential oils. The company says the oils are “Therapeutic Grade,” and can be used to remedy just about any illness. At this point in my life, I had little to no common sense or impulse control. All I wanted was relief from the crippling anxiety and panic attacks. Instead of being skeptical and asking questions, I took everything at face value.
I dove into the essential oil world. Over the course of 3 months, I spent more than $900 on oils to help with sleep, anxiety, stress, pain, and respiratory illnesses. I joined groups on Facebook to learn how to use them. The representatives at DoTERRA promised me the oils were safe to ingest and safe to apply without dilution. Blindly, I followed their instructions.
When I bought the oils, it was the middle of allergy season. I am incredibly allergic to trees, grass, pollen, and ragweed. From April until the ground is frozen in November, I am miserable. For years I used medications prescribed by doctors because over the counter medications didn’t work for me. The women at DoTERRA promised me I didn’t need to use medicine anymore.
A representative instructed me to buy Veggie Capsules and add drops of lemon, peppermint, and lavender to the capsule. She told me to take the pills as many times as I needed throughout the day. I asked her if ingesting the oil was safe. She assured me that because the oils were plants, they were safe for consumption.
Even though I felt skeptical, I tried the method she told me to follow. Initially, I was surprised because I felt better than I did when I used my medication. My eyes didn’t itch, and I could breathe out of my nose. I felt elated and relieved that the oils worked. After years on medication to cure my allergies, I thought I found a cure.
For a couple of weeks, I diligently took the capsules. Within minutes I generally felt better. However, after a few weeks, I noticed the oils were losing their effectiveness. I needed to take the capsules more frequently to get any relief. Knowing the oils were highly concentrated, I didn’t feel comfortable continuing to increase my consumption.
During that time I tried to stick to taking the capsules twice a day. However, I noticed I needed to take them up to four times a day to feel better. After about a week, my throat felt raw. I also started to have reflux and heartburn. My stomach felt nauseated and unsettled.
None of these symptoms were typical for me. The only time I ever suffered reflux and heartburn was during my pregnancy. My heart started to race, and I realized the oils might be damaging my body.
I jumped online to research the effects of ingesting essential oils. Initially, I had a difficult time finding anything because Google filtered content by DoTERRA and Young Living to the top of my page. I reached out to a friend that I knew was familiar with oils. She pointed me to a facebook group, and I promptly joined the group.
Immediately, I found an article about the dangers of ingesting essential oils. According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, peppermint can cause heartburn, perianal burning, blurred vision, nausea, and vomiting.
The peppermint relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter which creates reflux. Peppermint can cause oral ulcerations and burning mouth syndrome. The oil can also damage the liver. Finally, high doses of peppermint can lead to death.
I remember feeling like a complete fool. In a desperate attempt to alleviate my allergies, I inadvertently created more problems for my body. By ingesting the peppermint oil, I gave myself heartburn, a raw throat, and nausea. Quickly I realized I was poisoning myself.
After finishing the article, I discontinued my ingestion of essential oils. I went to the pharmacy bought Allegra, and I went back on medication for my seasonal allergies. Within a day my heartburn and sore throat were gone. Additionally, I no longer felt nauseated. My allergy symptoms improved by taking a single pill with no harmful side effects.
The embarrassment and shame I felt from ingesting the oils were immense. Despite my intelligence, I followed the advice of people selling a product. The representatives told me the oils were safe. However, I didn’t blame the representatives. DoTERRA told their salespeople the products were safe. They provided detailed information about the safety and brainwashed their representatives with false and misleading information.
Peppermint oil is not safe for consumption. Most essential oils are not safe for use. DoTERRA pushes the oils as safe because they are naturally derived plants and chemicals found in the earth. However, numerous plants that grow and come from the planet are deadly and poisonous.
Oils may come from some non-dangerous plants, but essential oils are the most concentrated and potent of all plant extracts. The high concentration means it’s easy to ingest toxic levels of these plants in only a few drops of oil.
I’m a smart woman, and I know better than to drink bleach or other hazardous chemicals in my home. The knowledge I use to keep myself safe from biohazards like bleach should have been applied to my use of essential oils.
All consumers should use essential oils responsibly and with extreme caution. Companies like DoTERRA and Young Living exist to drive revenue. The more oil you ingest, the more oil you will buy. In their effort to increase their bottom lines, they put consumers at risk of poisoning and even death.
Be careful in your consumption and use of essential oils. Just because your Facebook friend tells you the oils are safe to ingest doesn’t mean it’s the truth.
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