doTerra Oils: A Great Multi-Level Marketing Scam

Many of my patients have come to me recently with serious gastrointestinal problems. They’ve been prescribed Do Terra essential oils by physios and chiropractors. Poor patients believed that the oils could be beneficial to their microbiota and that they could be used long-term.

This is deeply troubling to me as a gastrointestinal surgeon who spent five years at college and six in practice. My friends and colleagues describe me as being liberal-minded. This means I accept other people’s beliefs, food, and medical choices, provided they do not harm anyone else. Clients often bombard me with claims about new fads such as fat-loss and instant-miracle creams. I also get a lot of health claims from natural health practitioners. These claims are not mine to contest. I only accept them if they do not harm my patients.

DoTerra was a dangerous scam. I had to turn on my radar because the clients who came to see me were not well and had severe gastrointestinal issues.

What’s the problem with DoTerra oils, you ask? Here’s a list to help you:

1) It is a multi-level marketing company

DoTerra is immediately put off by this. A company that uses a pyramid-scheme/multi-level marketing model as a business model to make money is, to me, unethical. It is more concerned with making money from unsuspecting, naive people than about quality. ‘nough said.

2) They use the term “safe” in their marketing to indicate that oils can be ingested for long-term use. There are lots of pictures of healthy children, which makes it seem like they’re safe for young kids.

Essential oils are safe when prescribed by qualified professionals. However, they should not ever be used long-term. They should also not be prescribed to children under 3 whose microbiota is still developing. Safe is also relative. What is safer? Essential oils have a non-selective effect on our gut microbiota. These oils can cause the death of good bacteria if taken long-term.

We use essential oils in the clinic to treat parasites and non-beneficial bacteria. This is only done after a thorough stool analysis to determine what’s inside your body. We also use essential oils sparingly.

They are used for very brief periods. We rotate them with other herbs, such as garlic and pomegranate, that have not been shown to affect lactobacilli or bifidobacteria. Then, we follow up with an intensive gut healing program.

3) They make claims which are not supported

You may have heard the term “immune enhancing”. What exactly is an essential oil blend that will wipe out your good gut flora “immune enhancing”?

These products promote healthy microbiota growth, diversity, and attachment to the gut lining.

4) The individuals selling these products, like all MLM companies, have not been trained in the subject matter they’re trying to sell to you.

I find it deeply disturbing that a chiropractor would believe they can prescribe essential oils for a patient with chronic diarrhea.

For example, diarrhea can be caused by a parasite, infection, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Coeliac disease, SIBO, allergies or cancer.

When I hear that a chiropractor has prescribed DoTerra oils to a client and that they will clear any parasites, my tolerance levels go out the window. Since I don’t offer adjustments to my clients for spinal subluxations, why would a chiropractor recommend herbs or essential oils for gut conditions?

The clients I met had parasites, which DoTerra oil hadn’t removed. They also had low levels of beneficial bacteria, most likely eliminated by DoTerra oil.

So, if a practitioner/relative/FB friend extols the great virtues of this new, incredibly exciting and safe product, please do the following:

  1. Ask the practitioner whether they are part of a multi-level marketing program.
  2. Google the product and add the word “scam” to the end. You’ll be amazed at the results.
  3. Trust your gut instinct. It’s possible it is true if it sounds too good to abide by.


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