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Fun Fact Friday

Did you know that if you sell holistic health products, you cannot claim therapeutic value?

This week I saw an FDA letter to a business that had many citations, much of this website used medical terms, such as reduces inflammation, inhibits tumor growth and reduces joint pain. This particular website is an FDA nightmare. So, while the FDA does not regulate the products, they very much can regulate the verbiage.

The FDA cracked down on Young Living and doTerra in 2015 for doing just this.  Not so much from the company down but the representatives of these companies were saying things such as “cures Ebola.” If you are a seller, you will also have some pretty astringent labeling requirements from listing your website down to the size of the label for that container and even the font size on that label.

The FDA does not approve essential oils, or brands of essential oils.  You can have approved labels, which is an expensive and rigorous process. If you choose to have the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) indication you also have to have supplemental facts listed. Your insurance premiums will quote at least 1000% for the same liability coverage as companies who label not for ingestion, or exclude the GRAS status.  This is the difference between selling oils as cosmetic, which most companies do, and selling as supplements, which can be a dangerous practice if the appropriate knowledge and care is not taken.  I am having a rabbit hole kind of day and wanted to include that if you are selling for a multi-level marketing company, you should have your own insurance.  When you sign the contract to become a representative, you are holding the company harmless to any oils you sell under their label, or injuries that may occur to your customers.

Aromatherapists are trained to “first do no harm.” I saw a post the other day by a certified Australian Aromatherapist.  She had asked who used oils internally.  Most people on that thread said they didn’t need to, aromatherapy works in most cases used topically properly diluted or via inhalation. What was interesting to me was that one of the experts in the industry who also has chronic medical issues and is appropriately trained in aromatic medicine stated “almost never”. 

So back to my original reasoning for this post.  If you have been in the industry for any amount of time you will have noticed that books making medical claims that are brand specific are not put out by the company themselves, but rather, representatives of a company.  Sometimes these books are just being put out by a publishing company and no author is listed.  I personally have not seen any unauthored or brand specific books that give information congruent to what a properly trained aromatherapist will suggest or advise.  Also, if you blog, or write about usage, you should be very careful if you are also a seller as the FDA can crack down on you.  I know there are some legitimate sellers out there that are riding a fine line with selling and writing usage blogs.  Most times, the FDA will just make you remove those blogs. 

Know what you are doing if you are selling holistic health products, know the requirements before you start.  No one really wants a visit from the FDA.


Here is a copy of the letter that provoked this post.  This letter is now 10 days old.