Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and may provide numerous health benefits. These oils are starting to be explored by the scientific community for their effectiveness in treating cancer, HIV, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease and strokes. (1
It appears that the FDA is not too happy about this healing potential. This past week, Young Living and doTERRA both received letters from the FDA claiming that their products are being marketed as unapproved drugs. The companies are being told that they have to remove all health claims and take corrective actions or they face serious legal consequences. Considering past FDA threats, these consequences would most likely look like armed federal marshals ransacking their warehouses and seizing all of their products. (2)
FDA sends letters to Young Living and doTerra claiming their products are being marketed as unapproved drugs It is not the first time that the FDA has gone after companies that sell holistic products. The FDA has issued warning letters to producers of walnuts, cranberries, elderberry juice, and coconut oil. Both of these essential oil companies are network-based marketing companies, which provides a unique challenge for the companies as well as the FDA. The FDA reports that the independent distributors are “paid consultants,” therefore, the parent companies have control over how their products are being marketed by the consultants. (2)
Companies view consultants as non-employees, while FDA believes companies have complete control of “paid consultants”
The companies are viewing the situation a bit differently, stating that they have guidelines and restrictions on how their products can be marketed. Both companies claim that their guidelines comply with FDA requirements, and that they have no control over how non-employees distribute the products.(2)
Social media is serving as a platform for enthusiasts to share their experiences, making statements about their lack of doctor and pharmacy visits.(3)
Google searches for “essential oils” have tripled in the last two years!
Time will tell how the FDA warning letters are dealt with by these companies. What lengths is the FDA willing to go to in order to shut down these companies, halt essential oils, or put fear into the public and distributors?