Please, Drink Responsibly

Please, read my Exploration + Wisdom = Empowerment introductory post to understand the narrative in this series!

So, I’m going to address an aspect of one of the most contentious issues in the EO using community: Internal use through oral consumption.

Please, Drink Responsibly

The Controversy:

The New Kids are using EOs internally through oral consumption. They are doing this through a couple of methods: Dropping the oil into vegetable based capsules or drinking them with liquids, usually water or some sort of non-dairy “milk” (like rice or almond milk).

The Natives are freaking out. It’s in their training to fear it- poor creatures- they can’t help themselves. They almost never want to go there, and in the rare occasion they do, they feel the road should only be traveled with a “trained professional”.

The Contention:

The New Kids see the benefit of exploration with internal consumption and cite the fact that many EOs make the FDA’s GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list. They also point to less restricted practices of oral consumption outside American and British training.

The Natives try to disqualify the validity of the GRAS list and assert that the oral consumption of EO’s by our less restricted, French neighbors comes only through supervision by trained aromatherapists and only in the form of enteric coated pills.

The Caution Cone:

To the New Kids: The reason the Natives are against consuming the oils in water has to do with the fact that oil and water don’t mix. Drinking the oils in water doesn’t dilute them because the oil rises to the top and hits sensitive skin neat (or undiluted) on the inside of our mouths and throats. In some cases, this can cause a real problem for the skin on our insides! Think about it: if we wouldn’t put a hot oil like oregano or cinnamon undiluted on our skin why would we put it undiluted on our throats where the skin is more sensitive and there are mucus membrane that could be adversely affected? They have put out a valid caution cone over a real pothole. However. . .

To the Natives: The New Kids want to explore this method of application. I know I’m only addressing one aspect of why you’re freaking out about oral consumption, and I hope to address other aspects later, but the point is, we busted down the “do not enter” sign you put up, and we’re exploring this road, like it or not. You’re yelling from the corner curb, “get off the road because it has potholes, and it could have more potholes than we know about!” However, we want to know what’s on this road because it could have amazing possibilities for our neighborhood! So many of your warnings involve putting caution cones around “this could be a problem”. We want to know what is a problem and what we can do to more safely explore what might lead to real benefits.

The Compromise:

The natives don’t want us on the road at all because it is dangerous in some ways and might be dangerous in ways we don’t yet know about. The New Kids want to try out the road, believing it can’t be that bad. The compromise comes in this:

Natives: stop trying to blockade the road with fear tactics. If there is a problem, be specific about what it is, and include ALL the specifics. The road is open, people are on it. If your real concern is safety, stop giving vague “could be” problems, and then pointing to “see your trained aromatherapist” as the answer.

I’m not coming to see you.

I’m not going pay you to tell me how to use the oils because, even though you’re acting like the information the new kids have is all wrong, I’ve only been able to find a few valid practice differences that separate you from the information I already have access to.

New Kids: let’s take the real wisdom and see if we can apply it to a more safe exploration of the road, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be responsible for hurting myself or others.

Since the problem I’m addressing today is undiluted oil against sensitive skin, here are some of the ways that you can minimize the risk if you’re concerned:

**The company from which I order my oils put out a list of essential oils safe for internal use this past summer. Here’s their list.**

  1. Stop drinking the oils in water, or at least stop drinking the more caustic (hot and cold) oils and seek other methods of oral consumption.
  2. Pre-dilute oils in a carrier oil base such as virgin olive oil or some other vegetable based oil- which both have health benefits to us- and drop the diluted mixture into a vegetable base capsule for consumption (which, I believe will also help with some of the Native’s other concerns).
  3. Consume oils as a medicinal “syrup” mixed in with either an oil base like, extra virgin olive oil, or in a honey base. I would think 1 drop per tsp- Tbsp would work well.

But for those of you who like drinking your oils, I took last months earnings and set forth on an expedition of my own!

** I compared oils in water to oils in animal milks, vegetable milks, sweetener bases, and the “toothpick” options to see which might do something to reduce the amount of oil that rises to the top undiluted.

Here is what I found:

The Animal Milks

I tested a drop of wild orange in 5 Tbsp each of: raw, whole cow’s milk; whole, 1%, and skim pasteurized cow’s milk; whole, pasteurized goat’s milk, and whole, Lactaid lactose free cow’s milk. All performed similarly, and better than water, as far as oil that rose to the top after stirring the drop of oil in, BUT not much better. I’d say that if you were very concerned about this particular problem, animal milks aren’t going to offer much relief.

The Vegetable Milks

Amazingly, these preformed better (to various degrees) then the animal milk. Maybe that wouldn’t surprise those of you who understand more about this, but it surprised me. I tested one drop of Wild Orange oil in Silk brand, no sugar, almond milk and cashew Milk, Silk brand original coconut milk, and Rice Dream brand original rice milk. Rice milk performed just as water did, and so, it’s not a good substitute for this problem. Of the three Silk milks, cashew greatly decreased the amount of oil that rose to the top compared to water. Almond and coconut performed similarly to the animal milks: they were better than water, but not a lot.

Other Options

I also tested a drop of Wild Orange in 5 oz each of plain Kefir and Aloe Vera juice. Aloe Vera juice performed just the same as water, and so, it’s not a good substitute for this problem. Kefir performed much better, and so, like cashew milk, it might be a good option for those of you concerned about this problem.

The Sweeteners

Honey is a surfactant (something that helps the oil and water stay mixed together). I have found, that for myself, if I use about 1/2 tsp of honey in the bottom of a cup, mix the oil in with the honey (it’ll make the honey a little thicker and cloudier), and then pour in the hot or cold water, the oil stays very well mixed into the water and is my prefered method of dealing with the problem of dilution in a drink. Then I thought, if honey works what other sweeteners might also work? I tested 1 drop of lemon in some and 1 drop of wild orange in others. Here are the sweeteners I tried: Xylitol (granulas, not liquid), Sugar in the Raw brand sugar, real maple syrup (grade A dark), a chocolate flavored stevia syrup, a maple flavored agave syrup, and compared them to both water and honey. In each case, I mixed them with the oil before pouring the water. Xylitol and maple syrup performed just the same as water. Sugar in the raw and the agave syrup were only slightly better, enough to note, but not enough to make them good options for avoiding the problem. The only one that was worth any real note was the stevia syrup. It performed similarly to honey, but honey was still the best option.

The Toothpick Trials

Many of us know about using oil soaked toothpicks to dilute proportions in our drinks and food. There’s the “dip” (simply dip the oil soaked toothpick into the drink), “swizzle” (dip the oil soaked toothpick into the drink and “swizzle” it around), and I also tried dropping the toothpick in the water and leaving it there. While all three will reduce the amount of oil that is in the water, none of them do anything to help keep the water and oil mixed together so, they are not a solution for this particular problem.

Seeing that pre-mixed oil and honey is by far the best option for diluting the oils in beverages, for convenience, you could pre-make a favorite drinking oil in a 1/4 cup of honey with 3-6 drops of oil mixed in. Make sure you store this mix in a glass container and keep it covered between uses. Use 1/4- 1/2 tsp in your water.

If you wanted it very diluted you could add 1-2 drops to that 1/4 cup (12 tsp) of honey and use 1/4 tsp at a time.

Remember! Children under 6 years of age should not be taking oils internally through oral consumption and older children should use a higher dilution ratio then adults!

So, as far as the dilution problem goes: Problem solved, pothole filled in.

Keep exploring New Kids, and thank you Natives for your wisdom!

Why I’m not a Fan of the Zyto Scan

I was exposed to the idea of the Zyto scan earlier this year. I was instantly not a fan for several reasons, and for what it’s worth, I’ll share them in this post. There are people more educated then I, who have written some good information as to why you may want to consider not wasting your money on this device: Zyto Scanning: Another Test to Avoid by: Stephen Barrett, M.D.; Electrodermal Testing Part 1: Fooling Patients with a Computerized Magic Eight Ball and Part 2: Legal and Regulatory Aspects by Harriet Hall; and Galvanic Skin Response PseudoScience by Steven Novella. These are some rather damning articles that I will reference through out my post. To be fair, I have read numerous comments under posts, that are of a personal testimony nature, in defense of this device so, while I steer clear, I’d not go so far as to say it should be banned. More on that further down.

Why I'm not a Fan of the Zyto Scan

First, the angle, from which I’m coming, with the Zyto scan is that of individual Wellness Advocates using Zyto Compass scans in classes for their essential oil sales business. The Zyto scan can be used by various practitioners and supplement retailers, and so, it is not exclusive to those selling the brand of essential oils that I use. That starts my problem with the machine. It’s awful convenient that a number of varying retail supplement companies can use the same device for their products. While all supplement companies can (apart from FDA regulation that is) boast that their products help with xyz body system, and may help correct xyz issue, not all those products work the same way. I find it hard to believe a single device can tell us what product best helps balance our bodies, when it’s geared toward one single line of product depending on the preference of the practitioner or the retailer. For this to be more credible in my mind, it would have to show all the results from across its data base, otherwise it comes off as being what I suspect it is- a sales gimmick.

How does it work? Well, based on my understanding it works to detect imbalances in our bodies by analyzing galvanic skin responses to specific, electronic, virtual stimuli, and then, recommends a product (depending on the practitioner’s preference) that could help to bring the body back into balance, or homeostasis. So that I was clear about what homeostasis is, I found this very helpful article: What is Homeostasis? by Professor Kelvin Rodolfo.

My first thought, upon reading the article (and a few others that echoed the same information), is that our bodies naturally regulate homeostasis on many fronts. While I believe the body’s homeostasis status is important to our over all health, I don’t believe it’s the only factor to consider in our wellness. Or maybe I should say, I don’t believe that every illness, or struggle, or what have you, stems for a lack of perfect homeostasis. Meaning I don’t believe everything we struggle with is caused by something being out of balance, and thus, is fixable by finding that imbalance, and then, correcting it. . . and I certainly don’t believe a little hand device hooked up to my personal computer (for a whopping $399 for the device and another $39.95 a month for the subscription to use the computer programming) can be the answer we’ve all been looking for in identifying what our body needs to be, and remain, perfectly “balanced”. Even if the technology is helpful on that front, it’s limited. More on that in a bit.

The issue I have with remaining in a perfect state of homeostasis flies in the face of several alternative health practices, including from w/in some Essential Oil circles, but one need only look at the nature of viruses and bacteria to know that, sometimes, something being out of balance is not the cause of what ails us. I love essential oils and I’m a huge fan of chiropractic care, but 6 years ago I didn’t believe my chiropractor when she said she couldn’t get sick (yes, she really said that to me) because of her daily adjustments (which, she believed caused her to be in a perpetual state of perfect homeostasis), and I still don’t believe anyone who claims to hold to the theory that perfect homeostasis is all that is needed in order to be w/o disease, no matter how they claim to achieve it. All that to say, I find the premiss behind Zyto Scanning to be flawed to begin with. Speaking of the new heaven and new earth:

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” ~Rev.21:4

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you can be disease free if you only do xyz. We will not stamp out illness on this side of eternity and anyone trying to tell you otherwise is, at best, believing a lie. There are several things that help us to effectively deal with disease when it occurs, but there is nothing, either in a single product or in a compilation of several products and practices, that can remove the threat of all pain and/or disease from our lives.

I rather agree with this part of a comment by “John” that I found under a post highlighting a Zyto scan experience: “. . . Third I’ve noticed practitioners of Zyto tend to use diagnosis that have no basis in science…a stressed pancreas? Leaky gut syndrome? (though, Im not sure that I’d agree that “leaky gut” is a bogus diagnosis) ”out of balance.” Generally speaking our bodies are very good at regulating themselves. Assuming your organs are working properly you’d have a hard time making yourself “acidic” for instance – if you did, you’d be in the hospital after a while. If your organs and body are not functioning properly: I.e. diabetes, liver not “working right” you’d know it. With the exception of a few highly deadly cancers, sudden cardiac arrest and things of that nature, I can’t think of body malfunctions that don’t have accompanying signs and symptoms and for which proven medical testing can not indicate.”

Let’s look at “galvanic skin response” and what that actually is: In medical terms, it’s the change in your skin’s electrical conductivity in response to emotional stressors. It measures moment-to-moment changes in perspiration and autonomic nervous system ([1] The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. It’s what is being measured in things like a lie detector test. Is it just me? Or, does anyone else see the problem with basing a purchase of a (potentially expensive) product intended to bring “balance” to the body based on something so fluctuating as our galvanic skin response?

This response by Charles Tam on a Quora question, asking if there was any real science behind the Zyto scan, was helpful to me: “No where in the above documentation are any other diagnostic or therapeutic references made. They got their approval strictly on being able to measure a galvanic skin response — that’s it. That’s ALL they are technically allowed to claim as FDA cleared it based on it being “safe and effective” for the measurement of galvanic skin response — which is the conductivity of electricity through skin due to moisture levels.” Now, anyone who knows me, knows I am no fan of the FDA or it’s regulations limiting what we can and can not claim about things related to taking control of our own health care, but having read the How Zyto Technology Works, What my Body is Telling me, and Understanding Zyto Reports, to better understand Zyto’s claims as to how their technology comes to a decision on what product is best for you, it seems to me that the Virtual Stimulus Items (VSI) are the key analysis component when what they’re only allowed to claim is that their machine is reliable in measuring galvanic skin response.

Am I splitting hairs? Well, knowing that a galvanic skin response is simply the measurement of our body’s physical response to emotional stressors, it seems a big jump to claim your product can show where the body is out of balance and then recommend products to bring your body back into balance (or, as they claim, show you what products you have a “bioelectrical preference” for).

Let’s assume for a moment that the technology does, in fact, correctly measure imbalances in the body through the galvanic skin response to virtual stimuli items. These are at best, in-the-moment measurements. This factor is something the company admits to and is a point raised in the article linked above by Stephen Barrett. This fluctuating response is a key component behind my biggest problem with the Zyto scan. Even before diving into my research of the scanner, this stood out as a major problem to me. The research from these articles only validated my initial reactions.

Stephen Barrett, “The strangest statement I have seen about ZYTO devices appears on its commonly asked questions page:

Q. Are the results reproducible?

A. No. In fact we do not expect them to be. In quantum physics this is referred to as quantum indeterminacy in which the observation or measurement itself affects the results. In effect, we have asked the body a question, received the response, and the body’s energy has shifted in doing so. However, this does tell us that the first question yields the most accurate response because the body’s energy has not yet changed as a result of the question-response event [7].”

And this quote by Steven Novella: “These are all noisy systems (speaking of the things that galvanic skin response measures)– they are highly variable and produce a lot of random results that can be used to give the impression that something meaningful is being measured. Systems that rely on these measurements to make highly specific determinations are no different than phrenology or reading tea leaves, but they look scientific.” I highly recommend reading both of these articles, in their entirety, linked in the first paragraph.

I fundamentally agree with this assessment, and realized this was the Zyto scan’s limitation long before I understood the specifics. The Zyto scan only captures what is going on in your body, in that moment, yet it recommends oils (or other products, depending on the preference of the one administering the test), that it claims you show a “preference” for. The failure here is this: if you go to a class, and take this in-the-moment scan, then, build your order around the information taken from the scan, you are buying oils that will come to you a minimum of days after your body has said it “needs” them while you are lead to believe that in-the-moment information is an on-going need. And, what if you don’t own this device (I don’t know about you, but $27 for the best book on Essential Oil usage one can find is WAY more affordable than the Zyto scan, and just as effective)? How can you know what oils you need in the middle of the night, what oils your child needs the next day, what oils your husband needs the next week? It’s BUNK! Even if it does correctly measure something in that moment (and, I’m highly skeptical that it does), per the restrictions of galvanic skin response, it is only what you need in that moment.

Also, since galvanic skin response is simply the ability to know that there is a physical response to an emotional stressor, there is literally no way to know what is causing the response, and therefore, I find the use of a one time test, in a class meant to generate sales of a product, down right irresponsible.

Again, let’s assume that the measurements can tell you if there is a problem with an essential body system. There is no way that the scanner can tell you what the problem is, or what the cause of it is. Earlier, I quoted a comment from under a rather neutral post about an experience with the Zyto scan. Read, {Friday Musings} Thoughts on Zyto Scan Technology, by Allison Nichols. In the post she says this: “First, I have white coat syndrome: I get really anxious whenever I’m at a doctor’s office. It has to do with hearing bad things…like I’m always expecting to be told I’m going to die at any moment…my heart beats really fast and my blood pressure goes up.” It sounds to me as if that’s an emotional stressor that could have a very real physical impact on her results.

This quote by Steven Novella is particularly poignant: “Such a noisy and highly variable system is problematic for measuring a specific property (such as stress) although it can be of some use in highly controlled situations, such as rigorous scientific studies (that’s also bunk, but a post for another blog of mine, on another, more alarming, topic). The only real clinical application of measuring EDA is for measuring autonomic function itself (in order to diagnose an autonomic disorder). Otherwise it is simply too variable to be of much clinical use.” And, that is what is at the heart of the matter. Zyto is writing check claims with its mouth about the information it’s collecting, that it’s butt can’t cash.

The article by Steven Novella was helpful to me on another front. The Zyto scan’s claims about virtual stimulus items (VSIs) provoked a skeptical “yeah, right” response in me before I even knew about their claims. The vehicle by which the Zyto scan collects its information was my “I’m not sure about this” sticking point. Here’s what Zyto says about VSIs:

Under “Digital Signature” on the How Zyto Technology Works page: “ZYTO Scan technology uses Virtual Stimulus Items, or VSIs, which are computer-generated digital signatures that represent specific physical stimuli. These digital signatures are stored in the ZYTO software. The ZYTO software considers these VSIs in light of readings being taken by the ZYTO Hand Cradle.” And,

Under “Send Stimulus” on the Understanding Zyto Reports page: “The Virtual Stimulus Item, or VSI, is a unique digital code representing something physical – a food, product, therapy, organ, body system, etc. Just like the flight simulator, these items represent “situations” the body may respond to.”

However, I tend to agree with Mr. Novella in this point: “The nonsense begins right up front. They are claiming that they have somehow divined the “digital signatures” of specific toxins, foods, and nutritional supplements. I would love to see the study that established the specific “digital signature” of Gingko biloba. There is, of course, no basic scientific principle by which you could determine the specific type of electrical stimulation that represents bananas, for example. The very idea is not scientific. If these signatures were determined empirically, imagine how much work that would take. Where are the thousands of studies necessary to create these “VSIs?””.

Knowing our federal government’s hell bent desire to start studying and tracking school children’s biometric responses to various stress inducing situations to further “understand” how to produce “Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance” in their scholastic ventures, I find it extremely difficult to believe such advanced biometric scanning is available for the common Suzy homemaker to utilize in her multi level marketing business, and not more available to, or in wider-spread use by, medical professionals. Maybe sometime I’ll write about why that same argument can’t be used with essential oils, but for now, I’m focused on the Zyto scan.

Now, admittedly, these critical articles are all written by people who are clearly not fans of alternative medicines. I don’t disagree with the statements they’re making about the Zyto scan, but I don’t know that I’d be as hard-lined about dismissing it altogether. I don’t believe we always have to know how everything works to know that it does. The truth is, there are tons of people who sware by the results and the corresponding products that help to balance what the Zyto scan claims is out of balance. I feel as if the Zyto scan may be a useful tool alongside many other tools in the hands of trained healthcare practitioners. I also think that it would be correct to visit that practitioner 2-3 times to see if there’s any consistency in what the scanner shows to be out of balance. Since the company recommends 2-3 weeks between scans I would say that it would take a month or more before you would even begin to know if the scanner was correctly picking up a chronic issue worth basing your purchase of expensive supplements and/or essential oils on. I mean, I love them, I use them, I find they’re worth the expense, but fact is- they’re expensive. I maintain with more severity, now, then before, that it is irresponsible for Wellness Advocates to use this tool to sell their products.

Before researching the scanner, I was offended by it. Here’s this fancy shmancy device telling new oil users what they need in the moment (because even then I knew it was catching in-the-moment information), creating a rather convenient dependency on the device to diagnose one’s need, and worse, creating an expectation that the few oils that rose to the top of the list of “preferences” were the only ones an individual would need. I saw this as effectively doing away with the need to learn the oils as a life style choice in those who didn’t (and wouldn’t) know better.

I have maintained since my very earliest exposure to the device that it was an insult to earning the knowledge for yourself (something I was adamant about doing for a good 6 months before I even thought about selling the oils), and was akin to giving a person a fish rather than teaching them how to fish for themselves. I’m all about education. It’s important to me to help people live the essential oil life style, to go to the oils first. An imbalance is one thing, but what do you do when you’re sick with a virus or bacteria? You need to have more accessible tools and a wider variety of oils on hand to make them the thing you go to when you’re looking for healing. And, yes, I’m saying “healing” because, we can all pretend that isn’t what we’re using them for to satisfy the FDA, or we can be real and acknowledge that, for most of us, the investment we’ve made in essential oils is for not only maintaining health, but also returning to it when we’re unhealthy. The Zyto scan is not conducive with creating an “oils first” life style.

It was really important to me to describe the offense I felt at the Zyto scan so that this next statement will have context, and won’t seem so petty: from a purely business stand point, it’s hard to compete. All that hard-earned knowledge and along comes a little electronic hand cradle to steal the show. Thankfully, I haven’t had to battle it too much, but it is troubling to me. I’ve worked hard to know what I know, so that I effectively can communicate what others need to know, but that isn’t always so obvious up against a gadget that goes, “Beep, beep, boop. Here’s what you need to get”, and away they go, none-the-wiser, but contented with the results of the time they spent “learning” about essential oils.

All that to say, I’m just not a fan for a few good reasons, and I put this out there so you can have something to consider before you’re tempted to travel that road with your intellect, time, and money.

The Atlantic Institute’s Safety Report

I found out about the Atlantic Institute‘s Safety Report from listening to an interview with it’s founder, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, on Essential Oil Safety via the Essential Oils Summit, an online EO information summit held in early May, 2015. The interview was with Mrs. Sheppard-Hanger and Nyssa Hanger. I believe, you can still register to hear the 5 most popular interviews from the summit, which included this interview, by signing up HERE.

EO Safety Report

First, I think it may be safe to say that Mrs. Sheppard-Hanger is old school, and I think that’s important for context. She seemed fairly hostile to the idea of using oils internally. There was an air of “leave that to the professionals” about how she communicated essential oils being used that way. If you’ve been around the EO community long, you know the code words that point to specific brands and ideologies. She seemed rather hostile toward the brand ideologies that are connected to where I’m coming from. While I appreciated her warning to respect the oils, and I did glean some important safety information, I felt she was one of those who has contributed to an atmosphere of fear in oil usage and elitism in education.

As I listened to the interview I felt both fear of the oils being created within me- something that made essential oils a useless product to me in the past- and felt her hostility toward all this new information sharing that she clearly does not approve of. So, as I mulled over the things I heard in the interview, I had some thoughts I’d like to share:

On the website, you will find a link to a yearly Safety Report compiled from all those who have filed reports of adverse reactions after using essential oils. You will also find a link to a form that will enable you to Report adverse reactions you’ve had.

Here is how this report is a wonderful, useful resource to EO users:

Having had a friend who had a bad reaction to taking one of the blends internally, I believe the biggest value to this resource is that, if, you do happen to have an adverse reaction, you now have a place to go see if others have had the same experience.

While, a good EO user (IMHO) will tell you that there are no side effects to using essential oils (because there aren’t, in terms of our understanding of pharmaceutical side effects), there are real reactions our bodies can have to the oils. Some of the oils can be allergens, effect blood pressure, and can exasperate epilepsy, for starters.

The value of this list is that it is a resource to check on some of the less comfortable reactions one might experience before using the oils in various ways, a place to see what one might face as they move forward in managing their own health.

Here is how this report is problematic, and not useful to EO users:

The major way this report is problematic is that too few of us have our thinking caps on when we look at things like this.

First, you will notice that there are two brands that have more reports attached to them. W/o your thinking cap, you may be tempted to conclude that there is something wrong with those brands. With your thinking cap, you know that there are more reports for those brands because the majority of the EO using population uses one of the two. The quantity of reports do not indicate quality of product, and distinctions like that are notably missing from the report.

While many important questions were on the report form, some of that important information was missing from the report: most notably, statistical compilations of information about how much essential oil was used to give them their reported “injury”. If 1 drop caused several adverse and uncomfortable reactions, then I’d want to look at that oil more carefully, but if someone experienced an adverse reaction to having ingested 10+ drops well, that would be a different story altogether.

Second, you have to look at what is being reported. While a baby not breathing (evidently the report coming out for 2015 includes one such case) is cause for alarm, caution, and is worthy of the title “injury”, a report of flatulence is not. Prunes cause a pretty bad case of that, and no one is stressed and/or questioning the health benefits and safety of prune consumption. The information is just that- information. It is, for the most part (IMHO), not cause to conclude that there is danger inherent in the unmonitored use of essential oils or, even, in method of usage, despite the overwhelming tone from the interview that would suggest otherwise.

The questions being asked in individual reports are useful as a resource to view other’s perceived experiences. However, they are not scientificly controlled study results. If we can’t validate EO without controlled studies then, we can’t disqualify them without those either. The street runs both ways. There is nothing on the questionnaire asking about other medications, other health conditions, or other conditions that might have contributed to an adverse reaction. All you are getting is the individual’s perception of experience.

That’s not valueless, it’s not necessarily inaccurate, but it’s not proven, no more then when I share that an oil seemed to “work” something “good” in me. Both are personal testimony and need to be taken as such. They have value, but they are not hard and fast, and certainly not cause to believe that there is danger in using essential oils as tools in your personal wellness journey.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of Mrs. Sheppard-Hanger’s concern, but it was a bit alarmist for my liking, and I know alarmist when I hear it, as I wear my own personal brand of dooms day, tin foil head gear. Take the resource for what it is. Contribute as often as you feel you have had adverse reactions, because you may help someone else know that it wasn’t just them, and by so doing you help to create a resource of knowing what the more likely responses to oils may be, but don’t take the list and let it move you away from the real benefits of regularly going to your oils first! Don’t let this resource steal your sense of empowerment in taking control of your health!