Disclaimer: I do not sell essential oils. I do not have any sort of financial affiliation with any of the resources I am going to mention. And I truly don't want to offend anyone I know who sells essential oils, since they are honest and lovely people, but here goes...
Suddenly, essential oils are everywhere -- in my Facebook news feed, taking over blogs I follow...maybe you've noticed it too? Maybe you are a little "crunchy" like I am (using cloth diapers, trying to eat whole foods) and you're intrigued by the thought of using something all-natural to treat ailments or clean your home. Well, that was me. And my first introduction to essential oils was through the two big MLM (multi-level marketing -- think Avon or Thirty-One) companies, who shall remain nameless. When I saw the prices, I balked. With a husband who has been unemployed or under-employed for over a year now, just trying a few oils seemed like a huge investment I couldn't afford. But I thought I could at least do some research (hey, I'm a librarian) for the far-off day when I might be able to.
And boy, did I learn a lot.
First of all, I learned that the prices being charged by the MLM companies aren't necessarily an indication of quality, but are higher most likely because a lot of people are getting a portion of the price of every oil sold. (For more on these quality claims, see this article from Granola Living.) I also learned that some of these companies were promoting irresponsible uses of oils (i.e., applying them undiluted or taking them internally without being supervised by an aromatherapist). I joined a few Facebook groups to learn more; one woman claimed she had esophageal damage from drinking water with a few drops of lemon essential oil in it for several weeks at the recommendation of her sales consultant.
I also joined a group sponsored by an MLM comapny to learn more and saw firsthand that unsafe recommendations are being made. I also found out that the page is policed and censored. I had a few comments deleted. One was just a link to a different company that sells essential oils; someone asked for where to buy supplies for mixing up your own oils, since this particular MLM company doesn't sell them, and I posted a direct link to the page where these items are sold -- not the oils themselves, mind you, just the supplies, on Plant Therapy. Another resource I shared (not a commercial one) that was a reminder of some essential oils that aren't safe to use with children was deleted as well.
Which brings me to the company I have ordered a few oils from: Plant Therapy. Direct sales (i.e., much lower prices), high quality, and free shipping, as well as certified aromatherapists on staff (who answer questions in their Facebook group, Plant Therapy: Safe Essential Oil Recipes). The Calming the Child synergy is a miracle in a roll-on bottle for helping my little guys go to sleep at night, and I've been happy with all of the other products I've gotten from them so far -- I was able to order quite a few when they were having their Christmas in July sales. What has most impressed me so far is their new line of "KidSafe" essential oil blends, which were developed in collaboration with Robert Tisserand, who literally wrote the book on Essential Oils Safety.
My conclusion: essential oils can be helpful for a lot of things, but they're not meant to be a cure-all. The oils I've found most helpful deal with emotions, like anxiety or depression, and are very effective when inhaled. They also don't have to cost a fortune. I don't have any sort of arrangement with Plant Therapy, but I have learned from my research that there are lots of non-MLM companies that sell high-quality essential oils, and usually at much lower prices, Plant Therapy among them. So if you're interested, shop around like I did! And if you want to do more research for yourself, I'm leaving you with a list of the best online resources I found for educating yourself on essential oils, including a free online class from the Aromahead Institute.
Learning About EOs (a website by a certified clinical aromatherapist)
Using Essential Oils Safely Facebook group
Plant Therapy: Safe Essential Oil Recipes Facebook Group
Aromatherapy 101 -- free class from Aromahead Institute
And where I've purchased from: