FDA Blocks Printing of the Essential Oils Desk Reference

A User’s Response:

Essential Oils Desk Reference I was shocked when I heard that the FDA has not allowed reprinting of the Essential Oil Desk Reference, (EODR), 5th Edition, since May of this year. Apparently, the agency is demanding editing changes before it will allow further publication. Anticipating the outcome, I can easily imagine how it might dilute and dis-empower the contents of this important text. Will there be anything of value left once they have put it through the proverbial FDA ringer and they are through “protecting” us?

The Book

This extraordinary book is central to the back bone of information resources used by those of us working with therapeutic grade essential oils and the particular blends created by Young Living. The text guides users to empower themselves and to learn to take better care of their health. From lifestyle management, to extensive documentation of essential oil research, to extraordinary detail on essential oil use and precautions, the EODR is the “bible” of therapeutic grade essential oil information.


Sick People in a Disease-Based Health Care System

If the FDA is truly concerned about our health, it might better spend its time by paying closer attention to the over use of pharmaceutical drugs and the dramatic increase of chronic disease in the United States. I offer some well known but disappointing statistics:

  • Though americans spend more on a per capita basis than any other country in the world, the World Health Report finds that the United States Health Care system ranks 37th in efficacy compared to 191 other countries1.
  • The United States’ health care system by itself uses 33% of the drugs sold throughout the entire world. In 1997 alone, it spent $105.9 trillion dollars. Since that time, these numbers have been increasing 2.
  • A study printed in JAMA states that adverse drug reactions are a significant problem in the U.S.. The fourth (some sources quote sixth) leading cause of death in this country is attributed to pharmaceutical drugs and interactions of these drugs with other drugs. It conservatively estimates that in the United States over 2,216,000 serious adverse reactions to drugs occur in a given year resulting in 106,000 deaths not including statistics for those who never were admitted to a hospital3.

My own clinical experience involves the examination of new clients who come to me seeking help for serious chronic health conditions. Most have become sicker and sicker from poor lifestyle management and from having been prescribed multiple types of pharmaceutical medications that have increased their risk of adverse drug reactions, eventual medical emergencies, and even death. These individuals have been suffering from a disease-based system which, at current expense levels, though lucrative for the pharmaceutical companies, will break the bank as baby boomers become the largest aging population ever to place increasing needs on an already stressed health care system.

The FDA has not adequately reviewed the dangers of many pharmaceutical drugs or the increased risk of reactions caused by mixing multiple drugs or the association of drug usage with the development of chronic disease. Perhaps, given the challenge demonstrated by the statistics above, the FDA’s time and resources could be better spent.

Sick Young Man


Appropriate Lifestyle Management and Empowered Self Care Improve Health Outcomes

Father and young son. Clients come to our clinic looking for another answer. This answer is a path that gradually and safely leads them away from the need of most if not all of the drugs which have made them less well. There are so many wonderful stories of individuals who have completely recovered and become drug free through supportive therapies, proper lifestyle management, and empowering self-care.

One of the ways that I help clients heal is to instruct them in the use of therapeutic grade essential oils. In my opinion, studying the Essential Oil Desk Reference is one of the best ways that they can learn to take care of themselves and return to a better state of health.

Just as our clients are doing, I know you too strive to better understand the relationship between lifestyle management and good health. You may also be learning to appreciate the well-being that the use of essential oils can bring to you and your family. If I’m right, you likely understand the unique importance of the information found in the Essential Oil Desk Reference.


Relative Dangers

The FDA claims to want to get rid of dangerous information in the EODR allegedly because it fears that it may lead people astray or do them harm. But when was the last time you heard of someone dying from a therapeutic grade essential oil or improved lifestyle management? Probably never! More likely, I bet, you have heard of someone who has suffered a serious drug reaction. Understanding what brings better health is not a danger to our society but a much needed tonic for a sick, stressed health care system.

Why is it acceptable to allow over prescription of pharmaceutical drugs, that increases the rate of morbidity and death and increases the cost of health care? Why does the FDA, which was established to protect our health, block publishing of a natural essential oils and products text that empowers people to get well and may eventually cut the cost for expensive disease care?

Do you agree that the FDA’s position toward the necessity of revising this text seems unwarranted given the serious challenges we are facing in public health in the United States? Is it not a poor use of government resources dedicated to achieve a result that will only prove undesirable for the average citizen? Are the FDA’s actions actually motivated by a true concern over the effects that the EODR will have on the health of our population? Do you think this is truly the FDA’s top priority?


Would a New Party in the White House Improve the FDA’s Attitude?

Actually, I don’t believe that the FDA’s attitude toward the EODR is politically influenced. I don’t think its either a Democratic or Republican issue. I believe it is an economic, special interest issue. Historically, concerns associated with natural, self-empowered health care have often come up against the harsh scrutiny of the FDA. Why? I believe, as many do, that it is because of the powerful pharmaceutical lobby in this country. It appears to have the FDA in its pocket regardless of the political party currently in control.


So What Can We Do?

I can think of two possible avenues of recourse:

  1. Become as healthy as you can by continuing to educate yourself in lifestyle management, nutrition, and essential oil products. If you are already ill, do your best to overcome that illness, even if someone has told you it is not possible. Be one of those people who never become an unhealthy statistic.
  2. Contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to let them know how you feel. If you agree that your tax money is being poorly spent by the FDA when tampering with the EODR, let them know.

In this country you and your family have the right to obtain and eat healthy foods, live healthy lifestyles, and get the information you need to stay drug free to the best of your abilities but this right can be lost if you do not share your concerns with your elected representatives.


Contact them now!

I know I felt upset when I heard the news about the EODR. It’s easy to imagine sending out an irate email to my elected officials but I know when I contact my representative and senators that I need to be respectful and clear when expressing my concerns. Please do the same when you communicate with yours. Our opinions will be taken more seriously and we are more likely to make a positive impression. Focus on letting them know how the EODR has helped you and your family find better health.


Find Your U.S. Senators and Representative

US Capitol Building

Click here: Find your Senators
Click here: Find your Representative

Minnesota Senators’ email links (click their name to send them an email):

Amy Klobuchar
Al Franken


As always, please leave us your insights, advice, and reactions in the comments section below. If you have a model letter that you think might be helpful for others to copy you can leave it there as well.


About Dr. Pat

I am a practicing natural health care physician and educator committed to helping others overcome pain and suffering, restore function, and lead healthier, happier, longer, and more spiritually fulfilled lives.


  1. Al Coffman says:

    It seems to me that the “FDA” has identified the book as the head of the snake…kill the book, effective use of the oils is greatly hampered. EODR is far and away the best book for use of the oils.

    To mount an effective pushback to this rogue agency, just a couple of ideas. Is the full upline and downline of YL in motion? Would networking with Cherie be useful? etc. I have not seen the whole YL structure enrolled in such activity, but it seems to me it’s high time….

    Second, by far and away the most effective voice in the arena of natural substances seems to be the ANH/Alliance for Natural Health. I’m not sure who in the oil industry would make the call to enlist their aid, but they have a very effective web mechanism for getting the word out to readers and then enabling them with great ease to sign onto a standard letter (which the sender can replace with their own, add text, etc.) that is automatically routed to the individual’s congressional reps. These folks quite regularly address issues related to FDA abuse of power.

    The take action page of their website:


    Yours in natural health,


    • Thanks, Al. You have some great questions about further actions that could be taken taken. I will see what is happening at least from a YL perspective. Good point about the Alliance for Health and it’s possible support in this matter.

  2. To ease any compositional challenges, here is a copy of a great sample letter submitted by our friend Al. Feel free to copy and use it or submit your own for others to use.

    Dear Senator ______________,

    I am writing you to express my opinion about censorship actions routinely taken by the FDA which seem to be clearly outside the appropriate scope of their charter and activity.

    The particular acts I am writing about are their censoring of content within, and acts to prevent publication of, the fifth edition of the Essential Oil Desk Reference. The FDA has acted in similar ways re past editions, but now threatens not to allow its future publication at all. The agency grounds for this action are thin, and are very likely a breach of the authors’ first amendment rights.

    The FDA contends that any substance which is strong enough to positively improve our health and wellbeing should be classified as a drug, and thus require its testing and FDA approval as a drug. For example, Garlic is up for consideration by the agency to be treated as a drug. Not only is this absurd, but it infringes on our rights as citizens.

    The Catch 22 here is that natural substances cannot be patented, and there is no way for any company to recoup the expenses of doing so, EVEN IF IT WERE LEGAL TO REQUIRE IT, which I contend it is not.

    These substances are generally safe and are useful when used with the least amount of prudence. They have a track record which is centuries long, dating back to the birth of Jesus and beyond (Frankincense and Myrrh…).

    As your constituent and a US citizen, I feel that the FDA has grossly overstepped its bounds. I would appreciate it if you would take all appropriate actions to raise this issue through appropriate channels and make it clear to the FDA that they are not empowered to abridge our first amendment rights of free speech, nor our natural given freedoms to heal ourselves with natural substances such as foods and the essential oils from plants.



  3. James Cooper says:

    I read the letter from the FDA and out of the changes to the guide 6 of the discriptions claim to treat specific diseases.
    these claims put them in the arena of drugs and therefor you need documented studies to prove medical claims those 6 lines can be changed to more genaric terms and not violate existing laws and therfor nolonger be blocked.
    see full letter here…

    • I am glad you brought up these points. Yes, the editors of the EODR can water down the reference text by making these changes but it is a shame to do so. I take issue with the concept that only “drugs” can treat disease and that our current western-based pharmaceutically influenced system is best able to determine what best treats disease.

      First, many traditional medicines are used by traditional cultures in the treatment of specific diseases. This has occurred for hundreds if not thousands of years. By trial and error herbs, other traditional remedies and essential oils were used. Skin conditions were found to respond to this herb or oil and stomach conditions perhaps to another and so on. Traditional peoples noted what was helpful in specific conditions and through word of mouth information on remedies for specific conditions was shared. Did these peoples have documented studies and research, requiring thousands if not millions of dollars and extensive time trials? Not likely. This traditional wisdom should receive the benefit of the doubt. Traditional remedies, such as essential oils, that are generally considered safe and demonstrate effectiveness in certain disease conditions , should, in my opinion, be “grandfathered” into the law allowing them to be identified as being helpful for certain people in certain disease conditions.

      Because our western-based health care system says that only “drugs” that have been proven to do so can treat disease does it make that position true? Can the FDA claim that a person did not actually recover from a serious illness such as cancer or autoimmune disease, even though they have appeared to do so, if they did not use a drug “proven” to do so? How is it that so many people are able to treat a disease successfully without the use of the drug or drugs said by our health system to be the only recognized option?

      Second, I do not deny some of the benefits of research and clinical studies. These activities can provide important information. Yet, I take issue with the current situation where often the only compounds which will attract funding for research are pharmaceutical drugs which promise investors a hefty return. There is little interest in funding remedies which can be purchased on the open market. Dr. HK Lin who is researching therapeutic grade frankincense and its efficacy in the treatment of cancer can attest to this. Despite extraordinary results in preclinical trials, it is very difficult for him to get funding. Our profit driven system effectively blocks the incentive for research on natural substances.

      Third, do drugs REALLY treat disease? They often treat symptoms and a certain blood result but are they really treating disease? In so many cases in the clinic I see those individuals who are on the most drugs as the most ill. They develop more diagnosable diseases with every increase in medication. An example of this is the use of statin drugs for high cholesterol and the development of the possible side effect of myopathy, or, the popular arthritis drugs pulled from the market a few years ago and their dangerous side effect of increasing cardiovascular risk. It is always our goal to help our clients off the medications, with their MD’s blessings, as soon as we are able. This action, of getting them off the “drugs meant to treat a disease” through healthy eating, loss of weight if it is excessive, exercise and the use of vitamins, minerals and essential oils is what actually TREATS the disease because it finally resolves the cause of the disease.

      So I do not believe the EODR should be edited to drop the references to specific diseases. In my opinion, there is more for the public to lose by doing so.

  4. Jennifer Klein says:

    Hi Dr. Pat,

    I can not believe this! They seem to take away everything that is good. Thank you for sharing this information. I will do my part 🙂


  5. Dr. Pat: Thank you for bringing this to my attention. This is the first I have heard about the reference book, however, I know the FDA is trying to make all supplements prescription drugs and the issue continues to be one of concern. I will contact my reps in Congress about this.

  6. Dr. Pat – thank you for speaking out against the FDA’s outrageous actions against the printing of this very important book! I enjoy meeting people through Young Living who have experienced amazing healing experiences as a result of following the recommendations and use of the products; including myself. They cannot suppress the truth when we use our stories and documented health records – to support our testimonials. We all must speak up to protect our rights before it’s too late! Thank you for your efforts!


Speak Your Mind