Essential Oils and the FDA

Essential oils were recently under fire by the public for letters written by the FDA indicating that the sellers of essential oils cannot claim that oils treat diseases. Many people attacked users of essential oils because of this, or refused to continue use of essential oils at all. However, once people have an understanding of how oils are meant to be used and what function the FDA actually serves, the lack of government approval on oils will be less intimidating. 

Why are essential oils not “FDA approved”?

The FDA considers essential oils either cosmetics or drugs, depending on their intended use. For example, if a company claimed their product was to be used aromatically, the FDA would regulate the product as a cosmetic. If a company claimed that an essential oil was effective  in treating or preventing any condition or disease, the FDA is more likely to regulate the product as a drug.

What are common items we use that are not FDA approved?

Ever taken a vitamin or weight loss supplement? Unlike new drugs, dietary supplements (such as vitamins) are not reviewed and approved by FDA based on their safety and effectiveness. When public health concerns arise about a dietary supplement after the product is on the market, FDA evaluates the product’s safety through research and adverse event monitoring.

The FDA also doesn’t approve what are known as “structure and function” claims on dietary supplements and foods. Structure-function claims describe the role of a food or food component (such as a nutrient) that is intended to affect the structure or function of the human body. One example is “calcium builds strong bones.” Structure-function claims on dietary supplements carry a disclaimer stating that the claim has not been reviewed by FDA, and that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease (just like the one at the end of all our blog posts).

FDA does not require conventional food manufacturers to notify FDA about their structure-function claims or to carry a disclaimer.

What are some items once FDA approved that are no longer?

There are numerous websites that list items that are no longer FDA approved, such as this one.  While the lists may seem short when compared to the list of drugs that are approved, the purpose of this is to show that the FDA is not completely infallible, so people should not really exclusively on what is and is not approved by the US government.

Do you have questions or comments about this blog? Would you like to find out more about purchasing essential oils for yourself? Visit my doTERRA page or complete the form on the right side of this page and I’d be happy to help you! You can also subscribe to our blog on the right side of the page.

*These claims have not be evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have serious health concerns, consult a doctor- and bring your oils with you! You never know which doctors will be willing to help you take a more natural approach to health care!

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