Friday, April 12, 2013

Adverse Reactions - Dangerous Methods

Last night I received an email from a stranger, telling a story that gave me chills, and asking questions.   Chelsea M. has given me permission to share our dialogue.   PLEASE share this with any friends who are overusing these powerful oils, by blanket neat usage and internal use.

At 03:53 PM 4/11/2013, you wrote:


I know this is a rather long e-mail, but I hope you will read all of it and reply to it, because I respect you and trust you to give me honest answers.

I've read some of the recent posts on your blog dealing with essential oil safety, and I want to thank you for your commitment to safety. 

I have been purchasing essential oils primarily from a network marketing company for some time now.  As you know, they teach rather liberal use of their oils.  I was hesitant to be so liberal with the oils (something in the back of my mind kept bugging me about herbs sometimes being harmful, so why would essential oils be different?), but as I talked with more people in the company, I became less and less cautious in my use.  They would say things like, "If people are having bad reactions, why isn't the company being sued all the time?"  Also, I had reacted badly to lavender-scented things before (lotions, soaps, deodorant), but I did not react to their lavender oil, so I thought something must be different.  Plus, it was just easier to not have to dilute the essential oils. 

At the same time, I had some great experiences with using them.  A chronic upper-respiratory infection was knocked out once and for all by using them internally.  My sister used some internally and her longtime food allergies disappeared.  It was things like this that made me feel that these oils really were safe to use as the people in the company had said.

However, the more I used the oils, the more I started to notice an internal itching that just wouldn't go away.  Literally, the itching was inside me.  And then, I started to get tiny, itchy, blistery bumps on the outside of my fingers and hands.  The final straw was when I took some oils internally and my intestines became so inflamed that they swelled, and I looked like I had suddenly gained a lot of weight in my midsection.  I had to take anti-inflammatory medication to bring the swelling down. 

During all of this, people in the company would say things like, "Oh, it's just your body releasing toxins" or "you need to use THESE oils first to help clean out your [insert organ of the body here (liver, kidneys, intestines, etc.)]." 
Chelsea..this is totally horrifying!     "your body is detoxing"... that is criminal... criminal ignorance, perhaps..but still criminal. 
I did my own research, however, and I have come to the conclusion that I have been using the oils in an unsafe manner.  I look back now and cringe when I think that I used oils undiluted on my BABY!
yes... you have.    And people like me (and the majority of RESPONSIBLE practitioners and vendors have been trying to say that for years...and being ignored or attacked.)
I do have some questions still though that I hope you can answer for me.  One of the big selling points of the company I referred to was that they do extensive testing on their oils.  I was told that they test every batch and that they use the "longest" form of whatever tests they do.  I guess GC/MS testing has shorter and longer versions?  Also, they hire independent third parties to both perform the testing and interpret the test results.  Anyway, I was told that the majority of companies only do GC testing, or only test batches every once in a while and trust the supplier for the rest of the time, or accept testing results from the supplier (which is like "the fox guarding the henhouse"), or don't have an experienced, properly qualified person interpreting testing results.  It's not so much that they say their oils are more pure than anyone else's; other companies MAY have oils that are just as pure, but you just don't know for sure because no one does the extensive testing that they do.  Now, since I know that such testing has to be quite expensive, I was willing to pay more for the peace of mind.  Now that I know how to use the oils properly, I have still been purchasing from them for this reason.   Please help dispel all this so I won't have any more reasons to support a company that doesn't teach proper essential oil safety.
okay...  for example.. GC/MS testing can have different levels of accuracy...but that is more dependent upon the person reading the test results, the adequacy of the 'library' of results that they are comparing this read out to, etc. 

There are ALSO people who can deliberately 'doctor' test results to make them say what the client wants them to say.  Just as there are chemists fully capable of adding whatever to a pure natural oil to extend it.  I have known chemists who have, at some point in their carriers, done that.

I am not a chemist, and Nature's Gift is FAR too small to have an onstaff chemist.  When we test, the testing is done by one of three independant labs.   

(discussion and links to those who test for us deleted for brevity.)
NOW... do I test every batch of every oil?  NO. (Discussion of the costs of testing deleted for brevity.)

Why do I not test every batch?  because I KNOW my suppliers.  They take as much pride in their product as I do in Nature's Gift.  I COULD test every batch they ship me.  The fact that the test might well cost me more than the value of the oil is a factor. (I do NOT buy in the giant quantities of an MLM supplier!)      

If I have bought from the same distiller every year for over a decade, should I add the extra cost to each year's batch of oil?    

When I am dealing with a new supplier I will test.  I will occasionally spot test an existing supplier to keep them honest.  There are people that I have known in this industry since before Nature's Gift was online.. they have mentored me, they continue to mentor me.  They share their wonderful oils with me.   They give me THEIR test results.

I trust them.

at SOME point, Chelsea, you have to be able to trust the people you are dealing with.

now... regarding which ever MLM you have been dealing with and been injured by.

You talk of their testing and retesting.  Do they allow you to see the results of their tests?  I doubt it. (At one time a friend was doing a research study. she had been required to use the oils supplied by a specific MLM.  She had the opportunity to be published. She needed the GC/MS analysis.  She was told it was not available "because it was proprietary information."   excuse me?)  I might say it's not available because I don't HAVE it... but if I have it, and a client has a legitimate need of it, I'll send it on.  Many of ours are posted online for people to see.

Another factor.  You continue to use this company's oils because you trust their quality.


These people are deliberately teaching dangerous over use of their product. (the downlinks may well be innocent dupes...the people at the top of the chain most definitely know what they are doing.) Why? Because if I tell you to DILUTE my oils to a low dilution you won't use nearly as much and I won't SELL as much.  Neat and/or internal use = much larger profits.

They are placing their financial welfare ahead of those who 'buy' their sales pitch.   This gives you reason to TRUST them, trust the quality of their products?

In TOTAL and complete honesty, the ONLY way to know that what you are buying is exactly what the vendor says it is is to have THAT bottle tested.  for YOU to have it tested.  otherwise, you are dependant upon what I say, whatever the supplier you choose to buy from says.    The MLM you deal with doesn't share their test results. How do you KNOW that this oil was tested?  And, better yet, how do you know that the test results are what you would want them to be?  You trust them.  You believe what they tell you.

I want to tell you that I am more worthy of your trust than the people you currently buy from.  But this is a choice you have to make for yourself.

NOW... I think this whole conversation is important... ESPECIALLY what you wrote me... the history/your experience.

I would like to post this as a blog article...  not sharing your real name, but quoting your message...and my response...accurately.

I can't quote you without your permission. Please allow me to.  People HAVE to have access to experiences like yours!!!

Her response to my request:

Thank you so much for your quick response!  Yes, you may quote me.  I have to try to undo the harm I may have already caused to others I've shared oils with.  Luckily, they are few in number.  I can only imagine the potential harm if I had chosen to build a business and sold oils to hundreds or even thousands of people.  I shudder to think of it.
Oh, and you're right: it does come down to trust.  And, I don't see any more reasons why I should trust the MLM company.  I guess I just figured that if they did make their testing results public, I wouldn't understand them anyway, so it didn't matter.  And, since the people at the head of the company seemed to genuinely care about people, I wanted to believe that they weren't purposely teaching misuse of the oils, but they would HAVE to know what they're doing.  Maybe they've deceived themselves...
Anyway, I am not going to be purchasing from this company anymore.  Expect an order from me soon! 

Serendipity rules:   This morning, when Christi stopped at her favorite coffee shop, the young man there told her he needed some Myrrh Oil for Lymphatic Drainage.  Apparently he ingests "about 20 drops a day" for lymphatic drainage.   I am quite sure that if he should experience any negative results from drinking a ml of Myrrh oil daily he will be told that is a GOOD thing, his lymphatic system is detoxifying and draining.  


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Borage Seed for my dog's allergies?

Exploring GLA Rich Borage Seed Oil for Canine Seasonal Allergies
By Christi R. Pugh
For Nature’s Gift Inc.

Spring generally means gearing up to battle seasonal and skin allergies in my Chihuahua/rat terrier mix, Lexi.   She’s so prone to pollen and grass allergies (environmental) and last year it was a constant battle until late fall.  Over the winter she cleared up nicely so I truly hate to see her suffer all over again this year.
Believe me, I’ve tried just about everything allopathic and natural, including dietary changes, and it can be disheartening at times.  In the past I gave her salmon oil which did help her coat some, her skin not so much, and she gained weight.  Since last summer I’ve used our Virgin Coconut Crème Oil which she absolutely loves to lick and eat. 

After much research, I found an archived article from TheWhole Dog Journal, which said that Borage Seed Oil might make a difference, because it is the oil highest in GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), an Omega 6 rich oil, which can be helpful for allergies and immune boosting. 

Let’s just say Lexi loves the Borage Seed Oil!  I pump it onto the top of my hand and she licks it off enthusiastically.  She even comes to me when she sees me reaching for the bottle.  I usually let her lick 3 or 4 small pumps from my hand.  You could actually add it to food for your dog.  Some side effects of too much Omega 6 rich oils include: gas, diarrhea, vitamin E deficiency, and elevated triglyceride levels.  Obviously, you don’t want to overdo it, but keep the size of the dog in mind.  For me, the benefits far outweigh any risk as long as I am dosing it to her responsibly. 

Trees are budding and some early plants and flowers are blooming in Tennessee, and with the beauty come allergens, as well. The good news is that Lexis’s dry spots, lesions, and the beginnings of a dark belly have cleared up in just over one week of taking Borage Seed Oil.  I am hoping to keep her away from any corticosteroids and stay ahead of these allergies so she can actually enjoy this summer and not feel so miserable from the formation of those itchy, scaly lesions. 

There is also ongoing research and belief among many practitioners that GLA helps with arthritis, auto-immune response, other inflammatory conditions, and dry skin and eczema in canines and humans.  I am aware of supplements; however, my dog does much better licking off what she thinks is a treat than having to take a pill of some sort.  So we will stick with the Borage Seed Oil for the next month or two and see if it continues to help.

Borage seed has an extremely short shelf life and must be stored refrigerated.  We recommend keeping any bulk supply under a nitrogen blanket to preserve freshness, and extend the life of the oil. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Diluting a Dilution

Someone asked today about using one of our 10% dilutions for an after shower moisturizer.

I cautioned her that that was much too strong to use all over...the 10% dilutions are safe for 'perfume'
type use, dabbing on your pulse points, but need further diluting for most other uses.

She asked how much carrier to bring it down to a safe dilution, and I realized we did not have a chart for further diluting a 10%.  SO, if you find this information useful you might want to bookmark this specific blog article.

We are going to assume that you are working with a 15 ml bottle  of any 10% dilution we offer.

15 mls of a 10% dilution contains 1.5 ml  essential oil or absolute, and 13.5 mls carrier oil, for a total of 15 mls.

To add your favorite carrier oil to further dilute the full bottle of 10%... you have to remember that the bottle you are working with already contains 13.5 mls of either fractionated coconut or jojoba.

If you add another full 15 mls (1/2 oz) of carrier oil you will have one full ounce of a 5% dilution.

Add 22 mls of carrier oil to the 15 mls of dilution and you will have a 4% dilution.

28 mls of your favorite carrier will give you a 3.5% dilution.

35 mls of carrier will yield a 3% dilution.

45 mls  of carrier will give you a 2.5% dilution.

60 mls of carrier will give a 2% dilution. This is a wonderful dilution for a relaxing or sensuous massage.

80 mls of carrier will give you a 1.5% dilution.  I like this for skincare, either for an all over moisturizer, or for delicate facial skin.

120 mls (a four ounce bottle) will give you a 1.1% dilution...ideal for babies, for for subtle energy work. 

Using a 5 ml dilution or one of our 5 ml Anointing oils:

If you start with a 5 ml bottle of a 10% dilution you will be working with 0.5 ml (1/2 of one ml) and 4.5 mls of carrier oil.  Again, this is too strong for anything but application to the pulse points for perfume.  To the 5 ml of 10% dilution add:

5 mls of carrier to reach a 5% dilution.
10 mls of carrier to reach a 3.3% dilution.
15 mls of carrier will give you a 2.5% dilution.
20 mls of carrier gives you a 2% dilution
and 45 mls of carrier will give you 1% dilution.

Remember:  5 mls = one measuring teaspoonful; 15 mls = 1/2 fl oz = 1 measuring tablespoonful.
30 mls = 1 fluid ounce.

Thank goodness for Spread Sheets!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"like mother's milk" - NOT

In a recent professional discussion regarding dealing with EO poisoning/overdosing someone made the comment that it was impossible to be poisoned "using pure therapeutic grade" essential oils. "They are like mother's milk."

I had contemplated telling this story...the recent comments spurred me to do it now.

Last week a staff member who does NOT work with the essential oils (and knows less about them than I had assumed) decided to create a treat for all of us.  She loves Cardamom seeds in her coffee, and often drops several dried cardamom pods in the basket of her coffeepot.  Lacking dried cardamom pods at the office she took a sample of our Cardamom Seed oil, and poured a few drops into the coffee basket before brewing the pot.  She didn't tell anyone what she had done.

Christi was the first to sample the brew. She thought it tasted odd, but just assumed someone had bought in a new, exotic coffee and sipped, perhaps, half a cup.  Her description of what happened:
"Initially, my left hand began itching and swelling, then my arm, neck, back, and chest developed some blotchy areas and I ended up with a few hives, including on my left cheek.  I took two Benadryl within about 30 minutes of ingestion and had taken a prescription antihistamine prior to work (unrelated) which probably helped immensely.  The first twelve hours was mainly an itchy, splotchy, hive type event. Later, I developed a burn on the corner of my lip and in the corner of my mouth and irritated bumps down the left side of my tongue and into my throat.  This actually occurred into the second day and I also continued itching.  By Friday, the itching had subsided mostly except sporadically, and although fatigued, I was able to return to work.  Note that most all of my reaction was on my left hand side, which is also where I was most sensitized after the Holy Basil explosion.  Recovery is a process if you are re-exposed to something to which you are sensitized.  You literally can note all of the varied physical reactions if you are in tune with your body. I still do not feel “quite myself,” as I am a little light-headed and dizzy and more easily fatigued but that may be due to all of the antihistamines. 
If I had felt asthmatic or felt my throat closing, I immediately would’ve had someone rush me to the ER.  I did have a friend and my mother keeping close watch over me for at least 12 hours in case of any other strange developments."
The above was written a week after imbibing the Cardamom flavored coffee.

The staff member responsible was appalled. "But I put a LOT of cardamom pods in my coffee."  She simply had no idea of the relative intensity of an essential oil compared to that of a dried herb or spice.

I later did some online research regarding the yield in essential oil from dried cardamom seeds, not the dried pods, but the tiny seeds within the pods.  The average yield is 5 to 6%.  Which means that,  by WEIGHT:
1000 grams of dried seeds would yield 50 grams of essential oil, which, based on Cardamom's specific gravity, would be 54.38 mls of essential oil.   Which, assuming 20 drops per ml, would be 1087 drops of EO.
Based on those figures,  one drop of Cardamom Essential oil would equal 20 grams (approximately 0.7 oz) of dried seeds.
So 1 drop of Cardamon Seed Oil  is the equivalent of 20 grams of cardamom seeds.  One measuring tablespoon of ground seeds weighs 5.8 grams. 
One drop of Cardamom Essential Oil would then equal 3.4 measuring tablespoons of ground cardamom seeds.   An AWFUL lot of seasoning.  

Now, Cardamom Oil is GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for food flavoring.  But in parts per million. NOT in the quantity that injured Christi.

Granted, Christi is not the "typical" individual to be exposed to this overdose of Cardamom oil.  As a result of the explosion of a gallon of Holy Basil oil in our workroom some years ago she became sensitized to the major components of Holy Basil. We have known she is sensitized to Eugenol (the major component and characteristic aroma of Clove oil). What we didn't realize is that she is evidently also sensitized to Methyl Eugenol; a *minor* component of Cardamom seed oil.  And a few swallows of coffee, very heavily spiked with Cardamon Oil, was enough to trigger a severe and ongoing allergic reaction.

Of course the staff member who "flavored" the coffee was unaware of the comparative intensity of the oil and the spice pods.  And perhaps the other members of the staff could have drunk the coffee with no ill effects.  We won't know, since no one else tried it. 
PLEASE, when considering internal use of these powerful healing substances, be aware of their intensity.  A drop of essential oil is NOT the equivalent of a 'normal serving' of spice, or a cup of herb tea, etc.  Look at the proportions above and consider the equivalent of the botanical before you contemplate taking, or suggesting, internal use of the oils.