Maybe you remember the old Memorex advertisements (in the days when people still “taped” things)…where the singer’s high vibratory tone shatters the crystal glass. The question was…was it his singing that did it, or a tape of his singing? The message was that a recording on Memorex-brand tape was equal to the live performance, at least as far as vibratory resonance was concerned. Scientists and engineers (and marketers) often want us to believe that a man-made version of something is as good as the real thing. I personally doubt that this is true in any situation, but I know it is not the case in medicinal aromatherapy.
I remember many years ago, when Kurt Schnaubelt (owner of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy), an organic chemist and a wonderful mentor of ours, announced to a class I was in that he had been fooled by a batch of Birch that had been synthetically produced in the lab. Because of the distinctive aroma of birch essential oil, it has long been an easy target for those wanting to create a man-made version of the oil. Kurt began to dig deeper into the quality of that batch once he began hearing from his healer client base that it wasn’t working like the “old” (i.e., real) birch did…that is, it wasn’t reducing pain or inflammation. I always gave Kurt a lot of credit for telling his clients about the synthetic essence he had unwittingly acquired…it ended up being a great “teaching moment” for all of us.
The truth of the matter is that, once humans start “monkeying” with the perfect composition of an essential oil that Nature has created, the profound healing ability of that essence is negatively affected. This desire to modify nature’s creation may be motivated by greed…that is, “watering down the soup”, or passing off a less costly, adulterated version of an essence as “the real thing”, and charging for it as though it was. It can also be motivated by the desire to minimize the variation inherent in Nature…offering truly natural products often requires an education of one’s clientele so that they will accept the “real thing” without lots of questions or concerns. A good example is the use of natural fabrics in the production of clothing. They often prominently display a notice or label that says something to this effect: “The variation in this sweater’s texture is due to the natural variation in the hand-made yarn used to make it and is part of the natural beauty of the material.” Basically, “Don’t worry, it is supposed to be like this because we did not alter the raw materials!” It takes a lot of education to help people programmed to think that sameness equates to quality to expect and appreciate the variation that is inherent in all things natural.
I can hugely identify with the consternation that can arise when presented with Nature’s variation! Ten years ago, I looked at commercially produced eggs, totally uniform in size and color, as an indication of purity and nutritive value. Variation spoke to me of lessened quality…this box of eggs was the epitome of quality control!
Today, as the proud owner of 18 beautiful chickens of numerous types, I look at the incredible variety in color, shape and size of the eggs gathered daily as indicative of the rich flavor, high nutritional value and natural environment in which my chickens are raised. I now know that those white, “perfect” eggs are most often produced via hormones, antibiotics and cruel and unnatural living conditions for the chickens, and I shudder when I look at them. No amount of marketing in the world will ever convince me that they are natural, because I now know better.
I want to close with an example I recently saw on the Internet, when I was researching essences for Lyme Disease for a client. There is a protocol we have often used with positive results, but I thought I would look to see if there was any new thinking on oils that alleviate this condition. What I found on one woman’t site literally stunned me. I will not mention the name of the company that she was representing because, believe me, there are many, many companies that think and act this way. But, I will admit, I have never seen it used so prominently as a marketing tool. Here is what it said:
“I do not recommend the use of any other essential oils other than “Brand X”. Only “Brand X” certifies every liter of their oils to ensure their purity, consistency and potency, which is all extremely important when trying to manage your Lyme with essential oils. ”
OK…I can handle this so far…except for the “consistency” claim. That is causing me to raise my eyebrows a little. Then the “zinger” sentence appeared. “Every single bottle is certified to be exactly the same as the bottle you used last or the ones you will use in the future.” (emphasis, mine)
This claim, if true, is basically announcing that these essences are chemically stabilized…another way of saying that humans have intervened to mitigate Nature’s variation…another way of saying that they are not natural. As we say in our Level 1 Class: Only the chemist can attempt to produce certain essential essences which remain the same from year to year. Nature changes always. No essential oil is the same all of the time. We always acknowledge the wine industry for the great job they do of educating the public that every vintage is different…even if the wine is made by the same winery, using the same grapes, grown on the same land, using the same process…it will vary from year to year (sometimes even substantially) because of weather conditions and the variety inherent in Nature.
So, the bottom line is, if you are turning to Mother Nature for your healing and to enrich your life through pure essential oils, you must embrace the change, the variation, that is part of her DNA. It is proof that the essence is “just as it came from the plant or tree — no additives, no subtractives”…something we always are proud to say about our Wisdom of the Earth essential oils.
Love Mother Nature as she is…not as some humans think she should be! As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”