Pure, Organic Essential Oils
As an herbalist and aromatherapist, I’m a huge fan of essential oils. And while we’ve always recommended the use of high quality, organic essential oils in our books and courses, we’ve also had a difficult time making specific recommendations on brands. That’s because the market in the US seems to be an either/or option. It’s easy to find organic essential oils and it’s easy to find high quality essential oils. But to find essential oils that are both pesticide and contaminant free AND high quality, practically impossible! Until now…
Earlier this year, our Academic Director and I traveled to Dublin for Botanica 2012, an educational conference featuring some of the world’s experts in aromatherapy. While we were there, we were able to network with other researchers, professionals, and distillers and we discovered a distilling company that provides high quality essential oils that are certified organic by the Soil Association, one of the strictest organizations in the world that verifies not only organic growing conditions, but also sustainability and ethical working conditions. Finally, essential oils we could get behind! We began a relationship with these distillers and J&M Botanicals is now able to offer some of the highest quality essential oils in the world that are 100% pure and organic! We’re thrilled to provide these oils, and even happier at the reasonable prices we’ve been able to provide. The line was officially released on Nov 2 and you can find more under the Aromatherapy tab over on the J&M Botanicals site.
the post we’ve always avoided
This is a post I’ve wanted to write for many years now, but haven’t. I keep putting it off because I know it will come as unpleasant to many, but after several recent events the staff and I have encountered, we’re aware that the issue isn’t going away and this information needs to be said.
This is a post about aromatherapy. More specifically, it’s a post about the SAFE and effective use of essential oils – particularly in the States. You see, aromatherapy, as we know it, is a really new area of science. It originated in the 1920s in France. While aromatic oils from plants have been used therapeutically for millennia, these highly potent chemical extracts have only been used in the US for a few decades. So, naturally, with a field of science so new, it makes sense to turn to its place of origin for the widest array of evidence based information about its proper use.
In our Clinical Master Herbalist course, we rely upon such textbooks for the program. These include original research and case studies conducted at hospitals and physicians’ offices in locations where aromatherapy is accepted as a normal part of medical care. In the US, however, the practice is still very fringe and not used widely, neither is it studied as in depth.
These textbooks and experts, backed by large bodies of scientific evidence are able to best tell us how to use essential oils for safe and effective results. One of the things they tell us is that essential oils – with very, very few exceptions – are not to be used “neat” or undiluted on the skin. They are also not to be taken internally, again with very few exceptions, many of which require direct medical supervision or care. These pioneers of the field that have been studying the chemistry of essential oils for decades are not confused about the quality of a good oil. They’re not talking about adulterated oils or low grade oils. And they’re not recommending “therapeutic-grade” or similarly certified oils – designations that are essentially developed by the marketing departments of popular direct-sales brands here in the States. They’re talking about high quality organic oils that are so potent that they must be diluted before use on the skin and should not be ingested due to their chemical purity.
The reason for this is that these oils are not liquid equivalents of whole herbs. They’re not extracts that are already diluted in alcohol, glycerin or another substance like we use for herbal remedies. They’re concentrated chemical portions of the whole herb that have been removed directly from the plants for use in natural medicine. They’re not only safer when inhaled or diluted for topical application – they’re usually most effective when used that way. We know this to be true because we have vast amounts of scientific evidence over many years verifying this as the ideal use of the substances.
Many direct-sales or MLM companies exist in the States that are telling us otherwise. They say their oils are so potent/pure that they can be used undiluted on the skin or internally – a claim that is not even logical as the more potent/pure an oil, the less suitable for either application it would be. Our educational programs have always sided with evidence based medicine. We’re strict about that, and through the years have not always been popular for that stance. However, we’re also confident that we’re providing a valuable service with such information, enabling parents to use natural health safely and effectively in their homes. Our families are not guinea pigs, so why subject them to unverified and inaccurate recommendations hoping for the best, when we have large bodies of evidence that show us how to get reliable results without risking their safety?
Why bring up this topic now? Because in addition to the years of frustration of watching well intended consumers purchase overpriced oils to use incorrectly and dangerously in their homes, we’re now hearing reports of harm associated with these risks. Most recently, we read a heartbreaking post on our VR forums about a miscarriage suspected to be a result of consumption of oils that are not to be consumed internally – even when not pregnant. We’re deeply saddened at this news and don’t want to see these situations increase in number.
So please, regardless of what you’re told otherwise, always check the validity of claims given to you about any natural health option you’re considering – whether it be essential oils, whole herbal preparations, or something else. Insist upon sticking to evidence based information for your family’s sake.
Because they’re not guinea pigs; they’re priceless and irreplaceable.
Our Biggest Contest Ever!
If you’re not yet familiar with our newest program, this is one you don’t want to miss. Unlike anything else available anywhere, our Natural Skin Care Development course is one of the most practical, fun and beneficial programs we offer. If you’ve ever researched the effects of conventional cosmetics and skin care, you probably know that the average individual uses over 9 different products a day with a combined total of 126 unique ingredients. Nearly 90% of those ingredients have never been evaluated for safety by any publicly accountable institution! Many of these products contain known or suspected carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and endocrine disrupters!
But where do you turn for affordable, effective, yet still luxurious skin care? It’s tough to find, but easy to make your own with the right techniques and know-how. In this 30 unit program, you’ll learn everything you need to know to produce everything you can imagine using all natural ingredients. Check out the description on our website to get a peek at some of the hundreds of formulas and dozens of techniques this program teaches.
And, the best part is that if you pre-enroll before the end of February, you can save $100 on the package price, which includes the textbook, formulation workbook, formulation guide, study workbook and 2 DVDs, plus 2 years membership to our online study portal which includes all of the resources and services you’ll need to complete the program successfully.
Or, you can enter to WIN a FREE complete package! Valued at $495 (the pre-discount price for the course), this giveaway is the biggest we’ve ever offered. On Valentine’s Day at noon, we’ll randomly select a winner from the comments to this post for this amazing giveaway.
Ready to enter? Get your first entry by leaving a comment below. You can earn additional entries by sharing the product page, our YouTube promotional video, and / or this contest blog post on your favorite social media site, including facebook, your blog, twitter, pinterest or elsewhere. That gives three potential ways to enter for each social media site you frequent! Be sure to leave a separate comment for each share, to ensure you get the entry! For additional entries, this prize package is transferable, so you can have your friends and family enter and share as well!
More details: Contest begins now and ends at midnight, February 13th (central time). No comments will be approved after midnight, 2/13. Winner will be randomly chosen at noon on Friday and contacted via email. No substitutions; void where prohibited. Winner must be 18 years or older; package is transferable.
UPDATE: This contest is now closed for entries. The winner will be posted at noon CST
Changes are a’comin for the HWP program:
For those of you that have been keeping up with our upcoming release announcements for the year, you know we’re thrilled about all of the new exciting programs that will soon be available! In just a few weeks, we’ll be allowing early registration for the new Natural Skin Care Development course, which covers everything you’d ever want to know about skincare and making your own herbal / natural products for the whole body. We’re also releasing in a few months a new aromatherapy course for the family. To say that the office is beyond excited about these new products and programs would be a huge understatement!
With the new program releases also comes a change in format for one of our favorite programs – the Holistic Wellness Professional course. Starting March 1, this program will only be available in the self study format, which includes the textbooks only. Any support / services, whether through the month to month option or the bundle options will not be available for purchase any longer. So, if you’ve been considering taking this course for the certificate through us, now’s the time to do it!
Just to clarify – services and support for this program will NOT be ending March 1, only the option to enroll. All students that are currently signed up or that purchase an option before March 1 will continue to receive their support and services through the purchased period. (Current students will NOT be affected.) We are only discontinuing the option to sign up for those services after the end of February. The textbooks for self study options will continue to be available indefinitely for those that want to still read through the material on their own.
Current students will also have special upgrade options available to them, which can be obtained from the office upon request.
If you have any questions about the program or need more information, please contact us at info(at)vintageremedies(dot)com
Why not milk?
This week was the launch of the 8 Weeks to Real Foods series; on Monday, the first email hit thousands of inboxes! (If you’re not signed up for this FREE program, you can do so here.) The minute the email launched, the questions came pouring in: “Why not milk?” “What if we drink raw milk?” “Don’t kids need calcium?” and of course “What will we put on our cereal?” So I’m going to take a minute to elaborate on that one aspect of the program from this week.
To begin, no, we’re not anti-milk. Yes, children (and us grown ups too) need calcium. NO, we definitely do not recommend soy milk as an alternative. Milk was included in the elimination list for a couple of reasons:
1. Most milk consumed in this country is heavily processed. It’s been obtained from cows fed antibiotics and growth hormones. It’s been pasteurized and homogenized. It’s been skimmed and fortified. It’s been through a lot before it reaches your table. It’s not nearly as natural as we’ve been taught.
2. The vast majority of individuals do not have the ability to digest liquid milk. With an exception for a few adults of European descent, most people simply don’t digest it well. And many of us have come to accept the symptoms of these sensitivities as normal. Recurring ear infections in children, eczema in all populations, digestive complaints – these are all symptoms of milk sensitivities.
3. Milk does not provide any nutrients that we can’t get elsewhere. It’s not the only source of calcium and it’s not the best source of calcium. And many argue that it’s not even a good source of calcium. Calcium can come form leafy greens (and is more bioavailable that way) and from nuts such as almonds.
What about other dairy products? Fermented milks such as kefir, yogurt and cheeses are great additions to the diet and have been processed naturally by microbes to be more easily digested and more nutrient dense due to increased bioavailability. We’ll talk about other healthier dairy products in future weeks.
What about raw milk? Many families are drinking raw milk obtained from their own cows or cows they own through a cow share. In this situation, much of the above information is not applicable, but the use of raw milk was not discussed in the series because raw milk is rarely available in a local grocery store.
Finally – what to put on your cereal? We recommend using a fermented dairy product such as yogurt or kefir with some whole grain granola or similar foods. However, keep in mind that each week’s info is written with the intention that you will customize it as suits your family best. If you don’t want to give up that morning cereal yet, try using some organic goat milk, which is nutritionally superior and less processed, or some almond milk. We don’t recommend using soy milk or other refined milks.
Want to read up more on this subject? Here’s what the Harvard School of Public Health recently said about the real need for milk in the diet.