"Why Don't You Just Distill Your Own?" Essential Oils and Permaculture
Some things you ought to know about us: We're avid gardeners and DIY enthusiasts. I pride myself on my wardrobe being almost entirely second-hand. My husband is permaculture-certified, and I'm trained as a Texas Master Naturalist. Despite being hopeless foodies, we're not big on consumer culture!
That said, a question I get asked a lot is,
"Why don't you just distill your own essential oils? You grow many of the plants already. Why buy essential oils from a flashy MLM company like dōTERRA?"
I think people must assume that because we are into DIY, sustainability, and lowering our consumer impact, that buying lovely little bottles from dōTERRA doesn't fit in with our values.
However, many of my values as an individual - like sustainability, people care, and ethical land management - are in fact shared with dōTERRA.
The three principles of permaculture can be summed up as Earth care, people care, and return/redistribution of surplus - and all of these require interconnectedness with others.
I have come to realize that extreme independence may sometimes indicate a lack of healthy trust in others, and as such, it can even be a trauma response!
Optimal land and lifestyle management must include people care, and it's got to be a collective effort in order to be sustainable.
What's that mean, exactly?
When it comes to essential oils, it means that no single person (or company) can manage all aspects of creating a quality product, and do it all sustainably + ethically.
Good business is all about partnerships, and so is good farming, land management...and essential oil crafting!
You can't be a one-person show and insist you're doing every part of every process perfectly.
I didn't use to know this, but it's true: Even if I were to successfully grow every herb and tree and root in my own backyard, harvest the plant matter and make my own essential oils from scratch - a LOT of them would not be optimized for potency or efficacy.
Because even with careful research and amending of the soil - I still won't be able to recreate the optimal soil, humidity, climate, and a zillion other factors that make up the specific eco-region of each plant's native home.
Sure, I can grow my own lavender in Texas' dry, alkaline soils...or in an amended garden bed with compost and TLC.
However, that plant will never manifest itself here in the same way that it effortlessly THRIVES in Bulgaria.
dōTERRA's lavender essential oil is harvested from Bulgarian lavender plants...because the natural quality and potency of lavender is strongest where the plants' preferred habitat is.
They don't insist on taking over the process of growing, rather, they leave that aspect in the wise hands of the Bulgarian farming families who have overseen the growth of this plant in this area for generations.
>> Now, magically speaking, I love growing my own plants because from an animist's perspective, everything is alive and conscious.
When I grow my own, I can build relationships with these plant beings from seed to harvest. That is an entirely different and also very valuable form of potency.
However, when I want an essential oil that's medicinally potent, with the most pure and effective combination of phytochemistry that comes from optimal growing climate - I know where to turn.
Even if I wanted to start my own distilling operation as a hobby, I won't be able to grow every plant at the same level of abundance and effortless quality that dōTERRA has access to.
They do this not by buying out farms, but by partnering with literally thousands of small, native farmers and helping them retain control of their own land, and their own growing traditions.
I can't grow Frankincense trees in my backyard - and even if I could, I'd have a hard time equalling the quality, potency, and purity that I find with dōTERRA's oils.
From a permaculture perspective, I like that dōTERRA seems to realize the scope of their responsibility in sourcing plants ethically, all over the globe, in ways that produce the most potent and powerful essential oils.
Not to mention, they're also doing a good job of people-care, by creating jobs and a sustainable market for indigenous people.
>> In case you thought I was talking about some kind of Glade plug-in alternative, I don't view essential oils that way at all.
Essential oils are not just for smells. When they are crafted correctly from start to finish, and used responsibly + sanely, essential oils can become useful tools for our health and vitality, on both a biochemical and a vibrational level.
Yeah, I know - plenty of sustainability peeps will insist that MLM companies like dōTERRA just sell overhyped crap.
I used to think the same...until I realized that not all oils (or oil companies) are created equally.
Also, something I think few people understand the significance of is this: dōTERRA is not publicly traded.
Why should anybody care about that?
Because it means that they are not available on the stock market. It means they don't have shareholders.
If you're into sustainability, that's important info to grok.
If you haven't already gotten a wholesale membership with dōTERRA, let me hook you up!
It's basically just like a Costco membership, and there's no obligation to buy regularly.
They offer solutions that benefit not just people like us (who are fortunate enough to buy into this level of wellness support), but also global populations, delicate ecosystems around the globe, and the interests of many generations to come.