Update/TL;DR: There appears to be a great deal of fraud with DoTERRA that has gotten the FDA’s attention. In addition, the FTC warns MLMs with overpriced products may be a pyramid scheme.
Update 2: More than 5 years after I published this article, doTerra still has a compliance problem with their distributor network where they make false, misleading, and likely illegal claims. My opinion is that consumers should ignore the claims and the product.
You can pay ~$68 for 1.5 ounces (45ml) of DoTERRA lavender oil or spend the same amount for 16 ounces of NOW Lavender Oil. The NOW Lavender product is extremely well-reviewed showing that it is a quality product and not a cheap knock-off. Your money goes more than 10x further with the non-MLM/pyramid scheme version.
For a few years now people have asked me about doTERRA essential oils. The first was Candace who was a major contributor in the 6000+ comments of my MonaVie article. That was back in March of 2012. A few months after that someone by the name of Laura emailed me about the company.
In the last few months, I’ve received a couple more emails about essential oils from close friends who follow the blog. One was LisaRob a frequent commenter on my old LifeVantage Protandim article. Another was one of my favorite personal finance bloggers who sent me an email with the subject “The Wife got ripped off”. It turns out that in both these cases, they were talking about Young Living’s essential oils and not doTERRA’s.
I don’t want to unfairly lump the companies together, but there are clearly very obvious similarities such as the essential oils and the MLM structure which are increasingly becoming exposed as pyramid schemes in recent years. (Some examples include WSJ, Harper’s, and Forbes calling them out. And that’s not to begin to cover the Herbalife investigation from every regulator under the sun.)
With apologies to those asking about Young Living, I’ll focus on doTERRA today and leave Young Living for some time in the future. If you are interested in Young Living, I suggest reading this anyway, it’s most likely the same thing. It will be like learning about baseball by watching the Yankees instead of the Red Sox. They are different teams, but the game is still the same.
Let’s dig into doTERRA, shall we?
When Candace emailed me back in 2012, it was to tell me that she was recently made aware of this company and their products. In her research, she found that doTERRA was claiming that their products were certified as “therapeutic grade” by the FDA and that they show a seal with registered trademark CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) as proof. It’s brilliantly covered in this article that the CPTG trademark is one that doTERRA created and has nothing to do with the FDA at all.
That article even shows that doTERRA customer support is lying to people about the FDA giving them the label of CPTG. Quite clearly the FDA wouldn’t waste their time giving doTERRA a label that doTERRA invented. It would be like me register a trademark for World’s Best Blogger and then claiming that a consortium of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook gave me that label. Sorry, but…
We can go a little further and review doTERRA’s FAQ on CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade):
Q: doTERRA’s essential oils are trademarked as “CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™”. What does this term mean, and what evidence is there to prove the efficacy and purity of your oils?
A: doTERRA’s essential oils are trademarked and registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade™. This term means that our essential oils will always maintain the highest quality standard in therapeutic grade essential oils for purity and efficacy.
It seems that over the years, they’ve switched the “certification” from the FDA to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, the USPTO isn’t in the business of doing certification of essential oils… just like they aren’t in the business of determining who is the best blogger. McDonald’s has trademarked the “I’m Loving It” slogan, but it doesn’t mean that everyone actually loves McDonald’s. BMW has trademarked “The Ultimate Driving Experience”, but it doesn’t mean that the USPTO has declared the BMW’s driving experience to be beyond all others.
The trademarked term of CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) is simply their marketing slogan designed to confuse consumers into thinking that it has been certified and that therapeutic grade essential oils exist. They don’t.
A research article here says the following:
CERTIFIED PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE:
This is a relatively new trademark by a multi-level marketing company. It gives the appearance of being approved by some kind of higher authority and it has been said that the company states it is a FDA approved to use this label. According to Elston (2009), ‘This registered word mark has not been provided to them by the FDA as they claim and is meaningless in proving that an outside certifying body has declared or designated that DoTERRA’s essential oils are certified pure therapeutic grade. DoTERRA, LLC owns the right to exclusive use of the mark (however not the exclusive right to the actual words ‘Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade’ which is revealing). This seal or word mark is nothing more than a commercial trademark that they have registered and paid a fee for.”
This is really all I need to know to form the opinion that the company a scam. The definition of a scam is a “confidence trick.” This appears to be a confidence trick by doTERRA in creating and using a marketing term with the word “certified” in it when it hasn’t been certified by anyone and “therapeutic grade” when the FDA hasn’t approved it as being a therapy for anything.
I really shouldn’t go further, but there’s another reason why I wrote this article. I noticed that a blog I sometimes read called Pick the Brain published an article of: 3 Health Issues to Mitigate Using Essential Oils.
That title clued me in right away. This was another MLM with distributors illegally claiming that their dietary supplement can help with medical conditions without the FDA’s approval. Sure enough, if you look at the author’s (Heather Koenig’s) bio at the bottom and go to her website (EssentialOilsUS.com), she is a doTerra salesperson. You are looking at a cleverly designed advertisement.
If a product can help with a condition, it can be certified with the FDA just like calcium and vitamin D are for bone health. Alas, it doesn’t look like doTERRA has gone through the process which tells me they believe in their product to prove the claims.
The article on Pick the Brain was almost comical. The author suggested that essential oils can help with weight loss, but gave no reason why. There was no research presented. It was simply stated to be an alternative to popping pills. Well, carrying my lucky rabbit’s foot in my pocket is an alternative too… it’s just not a good one. There’s no scientific basis behind it… just like essential oils. The rest of the weight loss section was filler. There was no information about essential oils and their efficacy. Instead, it was about it taking patience and endurance to lose weight. Maybe the author should have written an article about that instead of essential oils.
Unfortunately, it only goes downhill from there as the author suggests that people treat mental conditions with essential oils. That’s the kind of advice that could lead to suicide… very irresponsible.
The clincher (do we need any more evidence?) is this article on Science-based Medicine on doTERRA. Dr. Harriet Hall covers in detail how the claims made on the website are vague… vague enough to not get them in trouble with the FDA. However, the claims are also specific enough to lead distributors to make illegal health claims. For example, “supporting a healthy insulin response” is likely to be stretched to “helps treat diabetes!” In fact, here is a website making that claim.
This leads to doTERRA’s message. They explicitly say on their website, “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.” Their salesforce explicitly pitches the products to treat diseases.
In fact it is so insane that the FDA sent warning letters to both DoTERRA Essential Oils and Young Living Essential Oils on the same day: September 22, 2014.
As a side note, Dr. Harriet Hall’s article refers to the Young Living’s Essential Oils with information about its founder, Gary Young, and accounts of his fraud and extensive arrest record including how he “contributed to the death of his own child by performing an underwater delivery and holding the newborn infant underwater for an hour.” Once again, we’ll save that for a future article on Young Living if we get around to it (I have to be honest, it took me more than 2 years to get to this article).
It looks like doTERRA is one of the many MLM companies where they lead distributors to make illegal health claims. Once again we can apply the logic and science that shows No, the MLM Health Product Does Not Work. I invite doTERRA to prove me and Dr. Harriet Hall wrong by getting the products approved by the FDA for conditions like calcium and vitamin D are for bone health.
People in the comments have criticized me for not trying the products. This is a very flawed logic in health products for the reasons I cite this in this article. (There’s no point in rewriting all the logic here.) This Christmas I got this ZAQ Noor Essential Oil Diffuser and this NOW Foods Essential Oils 10-Oil Variety Pack Sampler – 1oz Each. I’ve tried them and they smell great and work just like the ZAQ diffuser company suggests. A few drops go a long, long way and each 1 oz bottle should last for 150 uses (20 drops are equal to 1ml… there are 30mls in an ounce… so the 600 drops equals 150 total 4-drop uses.) At $50 for the 10 bottles, I paid $5 an ounce for the 100% pure, well-reviewed NOW products that work great (yes I’m stressing the quality because it is a quality product).
It makes no sense to spend 5x more for 1/2 the product (15mls or a 1/2 ounce) for the DoTerra label. As a consumer advocate, I have to say that your money is best spent buying what you want from cheaper vendors where you get 10 times more product for your dollar.
Other Great Reading
I totally agree with your evaluation of this company, as well as the Young Living oil company. The thing I’ve come to realize is that when the company got slapped down for making false claims about health benefits, they just got their sales force to make those claims for them. There are so many housewives out there peddling this stuff, government agencies don’t have the time or manpower to go after them all. They hard sell it on facebook, at private parties, and at health fairs, believing that if they do well enough, they’ll be able to quit their day jobs. Sad, but lots of gullible people believe it—just as they do people like Mike Adams, self proclaimed “health ranger” and scientist… Have you written about him yet? I know, I jumped subjects.
Adams is an idiot. Wait — make that a dangerous idiot.
Does he claim to be a scientist? That’s a joke. He’s not and never has been.
I had a look at his bio and it made me want to poke my eyes out. It’s the kind of worthless padded resume that prospective employers throw straight into the shredder. I was expecting him to mention his excellent attendance record at nursery school.
What a bogus article… doterra is shit but young living is not… that bit about Gary young is made up lies too…. lmao
Lazy Man says
Who said that Young Living is not? In my opinion Young Living isn’t any better at all. It could even be worse… I don’t know.
Adams must lack the gene for embarrassment; otherwise he would have killed himself in shame after making this video [Warning: May cause irreversible brain damage and uncontrollable vomiting].
He must not have any real friends either, because if he did, they would have said “hey Mike, just saw your video and you really need to go jump head first into a wood chipper”.
Lazy Man says
I think Mike Adams can be it’s own separate topic for another day. It looks like I could spend months debunking him.
I like that he put in the autobiography that he warned of a bitcoin crash in an April 8, 2013 article. Many people predict a crash after a big run up. What’s interesting is that Bitcoin traded at $143 at the time. Seven months later, it had doubled to $282 (prices from CoinDesk). By the end of November it was above $975. It did crash from there, but it hasn’t gone as low as $143, when he urged everyone to get out.
Thus, to date, everyone who didn’t listen to him are better off. Anyone who did listen to him sold an asset for $143 that they could have easily got $500 for an extended period of time.
Rhonda Symons says
First and foremost, I have no ties to doTerra. I don’t sell it, and I’ve never used the oils. That being said, I doubt that these oils do much harm, except to your wallet. You keep mentioning the FDA. Can that government entity say the same? “FDA Approval” means absolutely nothing when it comes to safety. The FDA gives its approval to crap that doesn’t have a drop of nutrition, meds that maim and kill, all in the name of a dollar. And you’re going to trash an MLM for purportedly doing the same? Interesting.
Lazy Man says
Rhonda said, “That being said, I doubt that these oils do much harm, except to your wallet.”
You have described French Toast and ice cream. They don’t do much much harm except to your wallet.
You have missed the fact that the FDA analyzes EFFICACY” and safety. If a MLM wants to get FDA approval to show their safety and efficacy for any DoTERRA products they can make that happen.
Rhonda Symons says
You’ve missed my point. Why do you put so much faith in the FDA? Do you trust your government that much to let them dictate what is and is not safe for consumption? IMO, FDA approval means zilch. They approve a ridiculous amount of new drugs each year that are not safe by any means. Think anti-depressants. Think anti-depressants to take along with your anti-depressant so that your original anti-depressant will work better. Think Accutane. Think Avandia. And it’s not only meds. Think Aspartame. It goes on and on. I’ll never make a choice of what I consume based on what the FDA states. I’ll take the natural route over the FDA stamp of approval any day (and that’s not saying that I think the oils are all natural – I have no idea if they are or or not.) Apologies for my “soapbox.”
Lazy Man says
I don’t put much faith in the FDA, but they are the only protection consumers have against these pyramid scheme companies pitching their snake oil. Police officers aren’t perfect either, but it sure is great to have their protection. I’ll say the same for fire fighters too.
Safety doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t effective. A couch is safe, but it doesn’t get me to work. Car accidents happen all the time, but cars are effective transportation.
I can buy an all-natural apple. It isn’t going to cure depression. It isn’t going to cure acne. As George Carlin once said, “It’s part of the nature! We’re all part of nature! Everything is natural! Dog [poop] is natural! It’s just not real good food!”
If you want safety, eat an apple. If you want something that’s actually effective for a condition, demand the company get the large-scale clinical trials done as explained by the National Institute of Health. Or do you hate them too?
Rhonda Symons says
Not all MLMs are a bad thing. Most of the time, people sell things that they believe in and use. Word of mouth is not a bad thing. The FDA won’t protect you. The FDA is the biggest snake oil salesman there is. You said it yourself – safety doesn’t mean anything if it isn’t effective. The FDA is not effective when it allows the population to be poisoned by unsafe food and meds. By the way, your couch isn’t safe either. It has all sorts of fire-retardant chemicals in it. I’d rather have a couch without chemicals and leave it to myself to try not to burn my house down. (Sorry, just trying to be humorous.) Anyway, chances are your all-natural apple isn’t all natural if it carries the “USDA certified organic” stamp, because the USDA owns the term “Certified Organic” for commercial purposes. A HUGE money maker. The chemicals and pesticides in that “USDA Certified” apple cause a myriad of medical problems, one of which is depression. So yeah, eating REAL organic food may possibly have a hand in reducing depression. So yeah, that would be “effective” for alleviating a condition.
I don’t hate anyone/anything. Trust, however, is another issue.
Lazy Man says
I haven’t found an MLM that isn’t a pyramid scheme according to the to the FTC’s definition.
Pyramid schemes are very bad things.
I don’t mind word of mouth, but this can be accomplished with a simple single level of commission without creating a pyramid scheme of recruitment. I cover this in more detail on my article coming up this Friday. Essentially no legitimate company would mix themselves up in MLM/pyramid schemes, because there’s a huge risk the company could get shut down. MLMs are an effective way of selling snake oil to people though.
Clinical trials prove whether a health product is effective by screening out the placebo effect, observer bias, etc. I have yet to see a clinical trial done on organic vs. inorganic apples and treating depression. You can say “may possibly”, but until the research is done, we have to assume it does not. And I’m fairly sure that benzoyl peroxide is far more proven for acne than an apple. That’s the point, it has been tested for effectiveness and proven.
I think we can all agree that a couch is safer than a car. It’s not like couches spontaneous combust. In any case, you get the analogy. Safety doesn’t matter if it isn’t effective at accomplishing the job.
I’m reading this, and am a doTerra user. The part that is missing from any of this discussion it the reported benefit of using essential oils. While I absolutely agree that an oil is not a substitute, nor should be for sound medical evaluation / treatments, the use of alternative medicine and home remedies for many has been passed down, used quite effectively for decades. I don’t know that the FDA has approved warm salt water garble for a sort throat, but it works. Lavender is used in MANY products for calming, as just one example. So, while I can appreciate your concern of MLM, your article is as biased as it gets. I can tell you that of the probably 15 or so doTerra oils I’ve tried, I’ve been very impressed with the results. No, I’m not making any $ off of them, and am employed full time. My point is that your article is biased, and does not address the benefit that I, and apparently many, have obtained. As a side point, all of the people that I know who have used them, ALL report benefit from them.
Lazy Man says
Well, reputable medical institutes such as the Mayo Clinic write about salt-water gargles for sore throats.
I don’t mind people selling lavender scents for calming. I’m perfectly happy with that. However, when illegal medical claims are being made to the point where the FDA has to warn the company… that’s way, way over the line. Also there’s the aspect it looks like a pyramid scheme.
If you want a great scent, there are a pile of air fresheners and scented candles at WalMart. Have at it. Just stay away from pyramid schemes selling overpriced products that get the smack down by the FDA with its sales force making illegal claims.
My article is only
Rhonda Symons says
“Pyramid schemes are very bad things.”
According to Forbes, and countless people who’ve had success, MLM’s are not all bad. You just need to do adequate research.
“MLMs are an effective way of selling snake oil to people though.”
Again, then the FDA is EXPERT at selling snake oil.
“And I’m fairly sure that benzoyl peroxide is far more proven for acne than an apple.”
I have my doubts. As you said, no clinical trials on the subject. Eat a healthy, pesticide-free diet and see what that does for your skin. And I’m fairly sure that an apple never caused anyone to be suicidal (Accutane). Were there clinical trials performed on Accutane? Was it proven safe and effective? Who wants “effective” if it’s gonna cause you to shoot yourself?
“I think we can all agree that a couch is safer than a car. It’s not like couches spontaneous combust. In any case, you get the analogy. Safety doesn’t matter if it isn’t effective at accomplishing the job.”
No, you’re right. I doubt that a couch will spontaneously combust. However, when you sit on it, all those yucky nasty chemicals that it’s treated with seep into your skin. And effective gets zero points from me if it’s not safe. I’ll live with a face full of pimples and bet on the fact that if I change my diet, I can have a positive result vs. taking a pill stamped by the FDA as safe and effective that may cause me to put a gun to my head.
Lazy Man says
According to Forbes? Which article? Did you read this one about the pyramid scheme inside a pyramid scheme.
The people who “have had success at MLM” at typically those at the top of the pyramid scheme. It’s a money transfer scheme that’s been known as financial fraud.
There are plenty of clinical trials on benzoyl peroxide. If you can’t find any with apples and acne, it’s probably because there’s no reason to think they would help.
Yes, the clinical trials were done on Accutane. You can go read and research them yourself. Do it on your own time and outside of this discussion.
If you don’t trust the FDA, then at least trust the similar organizations in dozens of other countries that use the same medication. Or is every country in on the scam?
Rhonda Symons says
Well, I suppose you can google successful MLMs in Forbes as easily as I can Google Accutane. LOL! I won’t change your mind and you won’t change mine, so I guess I’ll just agree to disagree.
“If you want a great scent, there are
a pile of air fresheners and scented candles at WalMart. Have at it. Just stay
away from pyramid schemes selling overpriced products that get the smack down by
the FDA with its sales force making illegal claims.”
Incidentally, air fresheners and scented candles are toxic, too. I hope you don’t breathe to deeply.
Have an awesome day!!!
Lazy Man says
You have to be very careful with Forbes. They have group called “Forbes Contributors” who are not Forbes authors and don’t speak for Forbes. The only articles I found when Googling Forbes and MLM were by these contributors who are noted as “Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.”
They aren’t speaking for Forbes any more than I speak for Facebook or Twitter when I contribute content there.
I’m sure that everything is toxic to some degree. You can die from drinking too much water for example.
It must be terrible going through life worried about chemicals in couches seeping into your skin.
No thanks to the WalMart suggestion. I boycott them.
No thanks also to the suggestion that I simply purchase overpriced candles and air fresheners. I’ll continue using what I’m happy with. Lavender works great in a diffuser.
As expected, you simply sidestep that many are using these oils with success. Those who choose to use MLM, that’s a personal choice. As long as they are informed, their $ is going for product they are happy with, so be it.
As to the use of oils, of course people should work with physicians also AND if they obtain a benefit from the oils, they do.
btw the Deep Blue is great for sore muscles. And ya know, that drop each of lavender, frankincense and peppermint that I rubbed on my forehead and back of my neck sure wiped away a headache in about 10 minutes flat. I caught myself singing as I fixed my dinner, started laughing out loud when I realized the headache was completely gone.
Somehow, I get the impression that you would attempt to have people do what you prefer them to do, regardless. No thanks.
Lazy Man says
Sorry, I didn’t get to the point about people using oils with success. There’s a great article about about how MLM products don’t work on this scientific organization’s website. People mostly think they work due to the psychological factors explained there.
My son also bumped his knee the other day. My wife kissed it and made it all better. Let’s start declaring the medical powers of Mom’s kisses! It is called the placebo effect, you might want to read up on it.
I simply prefer that people avoid getting scammed. If you trust me, why not trust this website on the topic?
Rhonda Symons says
Standing O for you Susan. I love “outside of the box” thinkers that give non-traditional ideas a chance, and don’t bow to conventional “wisdom”.
Mr. Lazy Man, I think you need to break out of that concrete box that has enclosed your head and breathe some fresh air.
Rhonda L Symons says
I’m very aware of Forbes Contributors. Thanks for the heads up, though!
Your “psychological factors” statement is odd. I know a person who used an essential oil to remove a mole. The mole’s gone and completely healed over. That sounds pretty physical to me, not psychological. Or does the placebo effect work on physical ailments, too? Interesting. The fact that you won’t even entertain the thought speaks volumes.
This is giving me a headache.
Lazy Man says
I find it strange that people say “think outside the box” when it comes to fraud and illegal acts. I wonder if they’d say the same thing if someone wrote an article about the evils of domestic violence.
I guess people can think outside the box to convince themselves of very strange things.
I don’t trust you. I don’t know you, at all. Actually, my experience of you is that you’re very biased – so I wouldn’t generally trust anyone with such a strong bias.
I make up my own mind, based on my experience, within reason, (meaning there are many things I wouldn’t try – I’ve seen how you split hairs, so thought I’d be clear there) of something and people as trustworthy, reliable or not.
I’m actually well aware of the facets of research, blind, double blind, correlation, controlled and uncontrolled research, including factors and parameters for validity, reliability, statistical significance and more. Good try at the discredit, won’t fly with me.
I’m also a bit of a skeptic in trying new things personally. So, when I used those three drops for the headache I had no predetermined idea it WOULD work, (which is what placebo is based on). I used it with a very neutral, “lets see if it does / doesn’t work” stance. That’s why I was so surprised I laughed out loud.
Something not yet researched does not mean the results aren’t there. It simply means its not yet researched. The mainstream medical community disputes chiropractic and acupuncture benefit – yet there are many who gain benefit from both also.
So glad your son’s knee is better. That would be the result of a cognitive shift in focus, (called attending) most likely – combined with the rapid reduction in nerve ending pulsation. The timing of the mom’s kiss, would be a correlation, not cause and effect.
I also don’t want people to be scammed. AND if after trying a product, they obtain a benefit, they do. THAT would not be a scam.
I personally don’t care for something called paternalism, something you may want to read up on.
So, I’ll stick with my personal experiences.
Have a Great Afternoon!
Lazy Man says
I don’t know why you wouldn’t trust me. I’ve been blogging for about 9 years now and you can see my archives. Anyone who wants to know me can read about a million words that I have written. It is you that we don’t know.
I was also nominated for a lifetime achievement award for my contribution to personal finance blogs.
A scam is most often defined as a confidence game. As I showed in the article DoTERRA clearly is a confidence game. They created their own misleading “certification” and claiming that the FDA certified them. What else do you really need to know?
How much illegal activity do you need?
As an aside, I’d already read your linked article of “trust this website”.
From that article:
“Some claim they have antioxidants, antimicrobials, and anti-inflammatories. I don’t doubt that essential oils may have some of these properties on a small scale. But essential oils most certainly do not heal broken bones. While the oils can help with minor burns, they definitely do not heal serious burns. They don’t cure autism, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or any other potentially serious illnesses.”
Hmm… “some benefit” ^ and certainly should not be used in the absence of medical assessment / treatment – as I’ve said for now the 3rd time.
“There are clinical studies to support a few of the recommended uses, but they are generally poorly designed, uncontrolled, and unconvincing. Research is difficult, because patients can’t be blinded to the odors, and mental associations and relaxation could account for most of the observed effects.”
Hmm.. there is some support, research NOT done does not discredit, simply not done, and “could” is also not definitive for cause and effect.
And oh, the MD
“Some essential oils probably do offer health benefits, but many can be harmful if used incorrectly.”
So, a much more objective and accurate position would be:
While some users report having obtained benefit from the use of essential oils, there is limited research on this and the research that has been completed is not considered comprehensive due to problems with the research design and difficulty with obtaining a random sample of test subjects.
While use of oils may prove to be beneficial for some, they are not, should not be considered a substitute for qualified medical assessment / treatments.
Let the buyer beware that there is most often a MLM associated with the purchase of oils. As such, not all sellers may be reputable or trustworthy. When in doubt, do your own research, do business with people you trust, and if used in conjunction with severe medical conditions, be sure to share this information with your physician.
Bottom line, approach with healthy skepticism, be safe, be informed, and if you find benefits, Congrats!
There, much more balanced and accurate.
Lazy Man says
As Susan said, “When in doubt, do your own research, do business with people you trust…”
Clearly DoTERRA is an untrustworthy company based on the information in the article. They’ve been caught in the obvious lie and are clearly trying to mislead consumers with their “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” which is not certified or therapeutic grade (and probably not pure either).
The research on DV is in, and extensive.
Thanks Rhonda, You too!
Agreed that LM not being willing to entertain the possibility speaks volumes.
Don’t you love how he tries to split hairs? That thing about DV was apple and orange.
Lazy Man says
The point with my mention of domestic violence is to get you to think of where you draw the line on which illegal activities you want to support?
Ah LM, I find it strange that my most recent comments are not yet published – but “being moderated”. I wonder if you’re away from the computer, or simply only want to post things that support your stance. I don’t know the answer to that either, so will rely on my experience of how this unfolds.
Lazy Man says
All comments are moderated and yes, I was away from my computer. I post all comments as long as they are on the topic. Did you read the article and the beginning about the 6000+ comments on another of my articles. Do you think that happens by not posting dissenting opinion.
Susan said: “and ya know, that drop each of lavender, frankincense and peppermint that I rubbed on my forehead and back of my neck sure wiped away a headache in about 10 minutes flat. I caught myself singing as I fixed my dinner, started laughing out loud when I realized the headache was completely gone.”
OMG! So what you’re saying is that you had a headache and the headache went away? What a freakin’ miracle! That’s surely the first time that a headache didn’t persist indefinitely.
Susan said: “Your “psychological factors” statement is odd. I know a person who used an essential oil to remove a mole. The mole’s gone and completely healed over. That sounds pretty physical to me, not psychological.”
What it sounds like is weak BS. Is there anything less reliable than an unvetted “friend of a friend” testimonial claiming something miraculous that wasn’t really true. Your going around telling people that essential oils make moles go away just provides more support for Lazyman’s position that DoTerra is a shameless scam. Bravo! Scammer!
I don’t trust you because I don’t know you, and don’t care for such strong bias. I prefer full, balanced info that promotes a person making an informed decision. Your blog on this did not.
You may well be an overall trustworthy individual, yet I don’t know you. I take others’ input as back pocket info, and make up my own mind. Bernie Madoff had a lot of awards also, so did the coach at Penn State. So, no, I don’t take others opinions as the only info, either for or against.
Congrats on your award. Clearly you have strong views on much. So do I, including my strong preference for balanced info. I once had a grad school instructor say if you want to fully understand an issue, debate the opposite side. That instructor made a very valid point. That you’re not willing to see the other side of this ALSO (note I did not say instead of), simply makes your position incomplete. Your call, of course. For me, when I see “incomplete”, I tend to not give as much credence as I would “complete” info.
I personally think of where I draw the line on pretty much everything – so, don’t really need you to tell me where to do that or not.
MLM is not illegal. Yes, they received a warning letter. Warning – not charges. I doubt there are many companies out there who have not received warnings / complaints for various things. And I can certainly think of many companies who have done much worse, and what risks I am / am not willing to take.
I appreciate that you posted all the comments – respect to you for that.
Lazy Man says
What kind of balanced information do you expect on fraud? This is why the domestic violence analogy is important. Are you looking for an article that tries to find balance between the abuser and the victim? I don’t understand that line of thinking.
I not found a single legal MLM. Based on the the FTC guidelines every one of them is a pyramid scheme because distributors at the top make more money from their recruitment into the pyramid than actual sales. It is possible to create a legal MLM and I even write how here, but I don’t see on currently structured this way.
Most companies do not receive warning by the FDA for illegally marketing their products.
False analogy on the DV and offensive that you would suggest that.
Given your frequent condescending tone / comments in the reply strings, I expect being offensive doesn’t bother you.
I think my position on your blog has just been solidified.
Lazy Man says
Why is it a false analogy or offensive? I’m trying to get you wrap your head around that you should expect balanced articles when it comes to illegal acts whether they are fraud or domestic violence. Sounds like you almost got the idea, but that you prefer to complain about my comparison to avoid admitting that you understand the point.
I’m not making light of domestic violence at all. I find it more offensive that you are overlooking and supporting obvious fraud without even trying to address it.
Rhonda Symons says
Susan, you are much more eloquent, fair, and have 100 times the patience than I do. You rock, and so I’m deferring to you. Everything you’ve posted is gold.
Mr. Lazyman, you are one-sided, opinionated and kind of a nut. Similar to a petulant child who gets upset when he doesn’t get his way. Maybe you should be open to try some “snake oil” before you state an opinion. Or at the very least, let people decide for themselves. The person with the mole is a close friend. And yep, the mole is gone.
More bad performance art from an MLM scam. Well done Susan. You’ve taken concern trolling (and unintentional comedy) to new heights.
LM completely sidestepped much, including the statement that I am quite capable of making my own decisions, so don’t need / want him to try to “get me to think”. Agreed on your assessment of him.
Vogel, so glad to be of entertainment value to you. Hope you have a wonderful day.
Lazy Man says
Everyone makes a statement that they are capable of making their own decisions. My two year old does. A drunk driver does. Making such a statement does not make it reality.
You’ve repeatedly sidestepped any discussion of the obvious fraud to attack a consumer advocate, which is a strong indicator that you are not capable of making your own decisions.
In any case, I never make decisions for anyone else here. I try to make sure that intelligent people have the information available to them to make an informed decision. If you didn’t know about DoTERRA’s history of fraud in this article, you might fall into a trap of distributors illegal medical claims.
I can only show you the door. Walk through it if you want or not. That’s your decision. You have to live with the consequence of those decisions, so best of luck.
There ya go with that effort at being offensive again.
So, getting called out on your bias you see as attack. That speaks volumes.
Yep, my position on your blog is solidified
Lazy Man says
If you are taking offense at how I’m helping protect consumers by giving them information, you are invited to take your comments elsewhere. This blog is my home and I allow people to comment as long as they are respectful to the host.
I’m open about my bias against fraud. As I explained, it is simply like someone being biased against domestic violence. I don’t know anyone who is looking for more fraud or domestic violence.
Vogel had your position as a concern troll dead on. You’ve solidified that.
You still haven’t talked about DoTERRA’s fraud as the topic of the article. You write about EVERYTHING else but that. You write about making your own decisions (no one ever said you couldn’t). You write about me offensive (yet no one is offended). You try to score points by fingering a bias, but everyone should be biased against fraud.
I don’t kick people out of the comments lightly, but you are very close to getting banned. This will probably get you to cry about censorship, but the goal is to have a productive conversation about DoTERRA and it seems you aren’t interested in that.
LM “the goal is to have a productive conversation about DoTERRA and it seems you aren’t interested in that.”
If I’d felt you wanted a truly productive conversation about doTerra, as a user of doTerra, many of my comments would have been very different. Its that your bias and points were ONLY about your perception of fraud that I commented at all.
I’m not concerned about being banned, either way. It is your blog – most definitely. You and V can use any comments you want about me, I’m unconcerned about that also. Bias is bias.
So, it seems both of our positions are solidified. So be it.
This was the comment I was referring to as an effort at being offensive.
“which is a strong indicator that you are not capable of making your own decisions.”
Earlier there was one to Rhonda about living in fear of germs from a sofa.
And to suggest this “Are you looking for an article that tries to find balance between the abuser and the victim?”
False analogy and offensive in that that is a well researched area, people die from DV, victims are often entrapped with few to no choices. That is not at all the same as a product that is not as researched, or someone electing to use or sell doTerra, or even an inhouse certification. So, false analogy, definitely.
If your point was on what you consider fraud, I did read your comments about the CPTG rating. They’re not saying its FDA certified. So, could that be misleading? Yes. Are there unscrupulous people out there, of course there are. Did they receive a warning letter, yes they did, and I addressed that. So, short of you wanting me to accept YOUR view of how you see this, I’ve actually addressed pretty much every point you made. Did you address the benefits of it that are reported? – Not at all.
Honestly, if you had been willing to even consider additional information, I would have been much more open to content from you. As it is, I did address much.
Ban me if you choose. Makes no difference to me.
Lazy Man says
Susan said, “If I’d felt you wanted a truly productive conversation about doTerra, as a user of doTerra, many of my comments would have been very different.”
So you are essentially admitting that you were a troll. At least it is a step in the right direction as you’ve solidified your impression there.
Susan said, “Its that your bias and points were ONLY about your perception of fraud that I commented at all.”
It’s funny that you call it my “perception of fraud” after all the extensive evidence in the article.
Susan said, “If your point was on what you consider fraud, I did read your comments about the CPTG rating. They’re not saying its FDA certified.”
No, they said that FDA approved the oils as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade, when no such thing happened. I wrote about it in the article and linked to the source here. Their exact email quote said: “All of our oils are FDA approved as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG).”
If you had actually discussed why any of the obvious evidence ISN’T fraud then you could say my “perception”, but this is very straightforward. It was the company purposely telling a lie for their own gain, which by any definition is fraud. And this is one example. If you have a different perception, you might as well have a perception that world is flat. You would be entitled to hold your opinion even if it is provably wrong.
You seem to think that I was making a comparison between domestic violence and fraud. I was not. I was simply trying to find out which illegal activities you support and which you are against. If you are okay with doTERRA’s fraud, it is reasonable for me to ask if it extends to domestic violence. I wasn’t attempt to equate them as similar or equal crimes.
I was only trying to get you to understand that there is no need for balance when discussing fraud, just like there’s no need for balance when discussing other crimes.
Susan said, “Did you address the benefits of it that are reported? – Not at all.”
Did you read the bottom of the article? I linked to this article which explains why No your MLM Health Product Does Not Work. If you had read that, you’d have seen that I do address the benefits that are reported with all MLM products.
We’ve seen MLMers claim that MonaVie cures cancer when the inventor admits that that it
expensive flavored water. This extends to every of health product that is sold by MLM that I have ever seen. It goes back to Nutrilite in the 1950s. We’ve seen that if you take a product like LifeVantage Protandim that was available for years in GNC there are no benefits reported. However, as soon as it went to MLM, claims about how it is a miracle cure for everything under the sun started were passed on the web.
I explain why all this happens and the psychological factors involved that leave people to make these claims. Perhaps more importantly, a group of scientists and doctors asked if they could republish my article on their website here.
So please, please don’t say I didn’t address the people reporting benefits. I’ve been addressing it for 8 years. I’ve done it thousands of times. Doctors credit me with my insight on it. Perhaps no one in the world has addressed it more times and in more detail.
Lazy Man says
It seems Susan has gone off her rocker.
In the past 24 hours she’s left separate comments with the following:
“I’m not concerned about being banned, either way. It is your blog – most definitely.”
“Ban me if you choose. Makes no difference to me.”
“I’ve decided to ignore you, and this blog.”
It’s a great time to to bring up an archive on James Randi’s website:
“doTERRA: Multilevel Marketing of Essential Oils (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/doterra-multilevel-marketing-of-essential-oils/ A new company is selling essential oils though a multilevel marketing scheme that allows distributors to make health claims that the company can’t legally make in its advertising, to charge elevated prices, and to coerce customers into buying ineffective products. There’s no good evidence to support the use of essential oils for health purposes, and MLM sales tactics are deceptive.”
This archive was published January 2013, foretelling the FDA’s warning letter about the distributors making illegal claims.
I’ll just reiterate the closing: “There’s no good evidence to support the use of essential oils for health purposes, and MLM sales tactics are deceptive.”
If you think that essential oils are useful for health purposes, please go convince the good Dr. Hall and have her post a retraction. I’ll be happy to update the article above with the doctor’s retraction.
Susan said: “There ya go with that effort at being offensive again.”
Funny, I don’t see how anything Lazy Man has said to you could be even remotely construed as offensive, while I find your concern trolling, inability to stay on topic, laughably insincere display of indignation, and sacrilegious waste of white-space to be beyond offensive.
We could agree to disagree, but it doesn’t sound like you’ll be around long enough for it to matter.
Buh-bye vapid troll…don’t let the door hit you.
Not that I necessarily expect you’d read this. I at least did read your links.
All the best.
What does the research say?
“Research studies on essential oils show positive effects for a variety of health concerns including infections, pain, anxiety, depression, tumors, premenstrual syndrome, nausea, and many others. The resources on this page are meant to highlight a few examples.”
Includes a pretty long list, including this
– Halm, M. (2008). Essential oils for management of symptoms in critically ill patients. American Journal of Critical Care, 17(2), 160-163.
– Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (1998). In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida spp. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 42, 591-5.
Expert Contributor: Linda Halcón, PhD, MPH, RN, RATC
Reviewed by: Kate Maher, RN, BSN
Lazy Man says
Okay, so Susan has said goodbye no fewer than 4 times… and she keeps coming back. Maybe I get some garlic cloves to hang around my neck.
Citing these research studies are exactly the claims that get DoTERRA salespeople in hot water with the FDA. As we found with the MLM, Nature’s Pearl, the FDA smacked them down for citing these scientific studies for commercial purposes. It appears that DoTERRA salespeople are not educated in this and illegally make claims, which is yet another reason why you shouldn’t this kind of product sold via an MLM/pyramid scheme.
You can find studies on almost anything. You can even find some positive studies almost anything. There are more than 37,000 studies on vitamin E listed on PubMed.gov for example.
As this NY Times article points out new studies are coming out every day. The problem is that they often contradict each other, aren’t large enough sample sizes, or have some other issue. Typical news likes to report positive things and omit the negative research that negates it.
In a great Lifehacker article written by multiple doctors, they cover why there is so much confusion about nutrition and fitness. Part of it is because scientists are paid to by companies to produce research. They even cite this guide to spotting bad research.
That “pretty long list” pales in comparison to the 37,000 for vitamin E. And many of the studies actually show that vitamin E is bad for you. And no well-informed person thinks that vitamin E helps with a pile of medical conditions. And when people who have bet their entire careers on essential oil cherry pick few dozen studies from 20 years (essentially a couple a year), I’m not impressed.
And let’s be clear that neither the expert contributor nor the reviewer is a medical doctor. The reviewer in particular lacks credentials that the medical community would recognize.
I did find several things worth pointing out on that taking charge website:
1. “How do I find quality essential oils? Because standards for quality control of essential oils do not currently exist in the United States, it is important to find reputable sources that sell good quality essential oils if you are planning to use them for health-related purposes.” (Source)
Well clearly the massive amounts of fraud in DoTERRA end eliminate them from being a reputable source. I’d remind everyone again, that this article is about DoTERRA.
2. “Are aromatherapists licensed? There is no licensure for aromatherapists in the US. Guidelines for practice are often included in general aromatherapy courses, but these are not monitored or enforced by any regulatory body at this time.” (Source)
3. “Are aromatherapists certified? There is no national aromatherapy certification.” (Source)
4. “Does insurance cover essential oils? At this time, aromatherapy is not likely to be covered under insurance.” (Source)
Items 2, 3, and 4 all give consumers great reasons to stay away. No licensing, national certification, and your health insurance won’t touch it. Heck, I’ve had health insurance that covers gym memberships.
Also, did you really attempt to call our attention to an in-vitro study?
Lazy Man says
And just to pile on to DoTERRA… I did an analysis of the cost because overpriced MLM products are red flag for pyramid schemes according to the FTC.
Amazon lists 2 ounces of NOW Foods Lavender Oil which is extremely highly rated of 4.5 stars by 1790 people. I mention this rating so that there’s no question about the great quality of the product. The price for those 2 ounces is current $11.97, so about $6 an ounce.
You can also find DoTERRA on Amazon. Here is doTERRA Lavender 30 ml (1 ounce) for $46.20. It is almost 8 times more expensive. It does have a 4.7 rating in 282 comments, but we can attribute some of that due to MLM salespeople rating the product higher because they make money on it and the price placebo effect (people will rate wine as being much better if they think it is more expensive).
Oh and if I really like an oil, I can buy it in bulk. Spending $68 gives me 16 ounces of the NOW lavender. The same money would buy 1.5 ounces of DoTERRA and they are essentially rated the same with NOW being MUCH more popular.
In any case, the 8x premium for this one product is very indicative of a pyramid scheme.
I don’t really know why anyone cares to read any article written by a self-professed “Lazy Man”, but to each his own! I don’t even know where to begin. Without wasting too much of my time, I will just say a few things.
Do you really think that the pharmaceutical drugs that are FDA approved are safe? Do you realize that yearly 106,000 people die from non-error, negative effects of (FDA approved) drugs statistic found in The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000 article written by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. I have not been able to find evidence that anyone has died using essential oils, especially CPTG oils.
The CPTG standards were created by doTERRA, and you say this:
“The trademarked term of CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) is simply their marketing slogan designed to confuse consumers into thinking that is has been certified and that therapeutic grade essential oils exist. They don’t.
This is really all I need to know to declare the company a scam. The definition of scam is a “confidence trick.”
Instead, you should have mentioned that Doterra CPTG oils are 3rd party tested for quality and purity: http://www.doterratools.com/documents/CPTG_Testing_Methods.pdf
Who really expects a “Lazy Man” to do his homework?