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November 19, 2009

One More Time: There Are No FDA Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, Part I

I thought we had cleared up this misconception years ago, however, it seems there are a number of essential oil purveyors claiming to carry essential oils  that are specifically certified as therapeutic grade by the FDA and show this seal below as proof.  Don’t be fooled.  They are not telling the truth.  In reverse order, this is one path to their deception.

 imageThis last trademark has been registered (as a word mark) by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 4, 2009, published for opposition on July 1, 2009 and official registration granted on October 6, 2009.  This registration has the disclaimer, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘certified pure therapeutic grade’ apart from the mark as shown.

A third trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 4, 2009, published for opposition on July 14, 2009 and official registration granted on September 29, 2009. This registration also has the disclaimer, “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘certified pure therapeutic grade’ apart from the mark as shown”. There is a long list of products shown to be associated with this word mark.

A second trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 370 W. Center Street,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 31, 2008, published for opposition on June 10, 2008 and official registration granted on May 9, 2009.

image A first trademark has been registered (as a word mark) CPTG also by DoTERRA Holdings, LLC, 1145 South 800 East, Ste. 134,  Orem, UT 84057.  Filed on March 31, 2008, published for opposition on June 10, 2008 and official registration granted on May 9, 2009. Under the trademark registration, they show application to the following products: Essential oils; Essential oils for household use; Essential oils for personal use; Lavender oil; Massage oil; Massage oils; Natural essential oils; Aromatherapy oils; Bath oils; Body oils; Cosmetic oils; Cosmetic oils for the epidermis; Essential oils for flavoring beverages; Essential oils for food flavorings; Essential oils for use in manufacturing of gelcaps and other dietary supplements; Essential oils for use in the manufacture of scented products; Oils for cleaning purposes; Oils for toiletry purposes; Skin and body topical lotions, creams and oils for cosmetic use; Food flavorings prepared from essential oils; Oils for perfumes and scents; Peppermint oil; Perfume oils; Tanning oils.

DoTERRA, LLC is yet another multi-level marketing natural products company based in Utah who has applied through the U.S. Patent Office to “own” (exclusive use) a registered word mark.  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.  However, DoTERRA is purposefully misinforming potential customers and down liners by email by claiming FDA approval and that the FDA has provided them with the label that they, themselves registered and own.  The FDA does NOT certify the quality of essential oils by therapeutic grade and they do not provide a certifying label as claimed.  Following is an email from DoTERRA sent to a potential customer:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: dōTERRA Member Service <service@doterra.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 5:01 PM
To: Recipient Name and Email Removed for Privacy

Dear Recipient Name Removed for Privacy,

We apologize if one of our consultants has mislead you in anyway (sic).  All of our oils are FDA approved as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). DoTERRA's, CPTG essential oils are 100% pure natural aromatic compounds carefully extracted from plants.  They do not contain fillers or artificial ingredients that would dilute their active qualities and are free of contaminants such as pesticides or other chemical residues.  All of our products are taken through a series of tests including  AFNOR and ISO standards for purity, and all of our manufactures must maintain a GMP certification.  Therefore, we are passing government regulations.  The FDA has provided us with the label of CPTG. We hope we have resolved your concern.

Member Services
doTERRA International, LLC
370 West Center Street
Orem, Ut 84057

Clearly this company is misleading people by claiming that they have a designation and approval provided to them by the FDA that in my expert opinion simply does not exist.  Stay tuned for part II of this series which will focus on FDA regulations that actually apply to essential oils and the part III will provide you with questions to ask a supplier that will ascertain their knowledge of essential oils and expertise in the industry.  

We at Samara Botane and many others in the essential oil trade have are dismayed about the misrepresentation of facts surrounding essential oils that occurs here in the United States, especially within the multi-level marketing industry.  We encourage people to diligently research any essential oil company before choosing them as a supplier.

Marcia Elston
Samara Botane/Nature Intelligence

Please feel free to repost this message in its entirety, unedited, on your blog as well as social media outlets and newsgroups. 

Posted by Blogmistress on November 19, 2009 in Certification, Essential Oils/Plant Extractions, Regulatory Issues, Standards | Permalink


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The quoted letter from DoTerra first appeared in a private Yahoo group, Natural Perfumery, and republishing it is a violation of Yahoo TOS.

Posted by: Anya | Nov 19, 2009 4:41:28 PM

As can be clearly seen, it is not a quoted letter; the email is a forward directly by the recipient to me; is a result of private emails between them and me. Your accusation is petty and absurd and believe it or not, there is life outside NP, Anya.

Posted by: Marcia | Nov 19, 2009 5:04:57 PM

Bless you Marcia!! We do have to police our own industry and this is one of the worst and most blatant abuses of information I've seen in awhile. These companies are diluting the credibility for all professional, clinical aromatherapists who sincerely are trying to make a difference in people's lives. Thank you for taking a stand. I, for one, will be making my customers aware of this. Regardless of where it came from, I would think Natural Perfumery, of which I'm a member (or was) would be more concerned with the misinformation that is being disseminated.

Posted by: Ann Wooledge | Nov 22, 2009 9:23:52 PM

I think that it is terrible that you received an email from a member services person that did not represent the company correctly.
I started using doTERRA products in April 2009, and never once was I told there was FDA approval. In fact, I was told that no essential oils have FDA approval. And I was told that the CPTG is what doTERRA chooses to use to label its oils, that is not an industry standard (and told to never represent it in any other way).
I have noticed in the year that I have been using essential oils that representatives from each essential oil company out there strongly support (at times vehemently) their company. I wish we could all work more closely so that the powerful healing properties of essential oils could make it to the main stream medicine and the public. Our big enemy is pharmaceutical companies making money off of synthesizing nature. Instead I sometimes feel that the bickering gets in the way of that.
I will now get off the soap box. who's next?

Posted by: Revellie | Feb 26, 2010 11:56:07 AM

Hello Revellie, I certainly appreciate your comments, however, they do not change the facts of what has transpired here. So long as the DoTerra company is using the word "certified", it intimates approval by an outside body with the authority to do that. Of course, there should be 'healthy' competition between companies. There are many ways DoTerra can represent the high quality of their essential oils other than this misleading branding. I stand by my recommendation for them to remove the seal and use a more clear, honest way to convey their products. There are nonprofit entities (this blog is one of them) who promote accuracy and safe use of essential oils, as well as established professionals working to establish peer review research and databases to verify effective aromatherapy use. Have you studied with a qualified or recommended aromatherapy school outside of your training at DoTerra? I would recommend that you research and find such a school. Try http://www.alliance-aromatherapists.org/ for starters.

Posted by: Marcia | Mar 2, 2010 1:39:25 PM

I have recently examined the DoTerra website and find that there is now a small print disclosure . . .

"*CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is a registered trademark of dōTERRA Holdings, LLC representing internal standards of quality assessment and material control. The CPTG testing protocols require the use of independent laboratories for CPTG standardization and quality testing. The CPTG protocol is not administered by government or industry regulatory agencies and does not imply regulatory approval of dōTERRA products."

Perhaps our discussion here and others around the net have influenced this change of terminology. This does not mean that individual distributors already trained to use "FDA approved as being Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG)" as referenced in their email response to a customer at the time this blog post was written are now all aware of the change, but I am glad that DoTerra has done the right thing and clarified the truth on their corporate website.

Posted by: Marcia | Apr 20, 2011 6:26:14 PM

Hello- I am learning about essential oils-I have researched and tried several brands. I recently met a doTerra representative at a nursing conference and was very impressed. She was informative and clear on her information. I was never led to believe Certified means FDA approved. I really appreciate this blog site. I wish there was a really objective way to research what the best essential oils are. I came across a medical study regarding lemon grass oil, but that's about it. How do I know which brand is the best?

Posted by: Kelly | Jun 13, 2011 3:15:00 PM

Hello Marcia, I was very glad to find this blog as well. It has been very informative. I am fairly new to the EO world. I am not looking for the most expensive or most popular EO's but, the purest..(non-chemical infused or treated). If that means they cost more then so be it. I do use them in my home and try to use as many natural products as possible, and I hate taking medicine. I was pumped full of so many as a child, I am now allergic to most everything they try to give me. So when my family gets ill, I go to the EOs to help. So I would love to get more info on what and how to use them correctly and what companies carry the purest form of EOs. So far I have made up my own thieves oil blend to fight off this rotovirus going round. Any info is greatly appreciated. Deaette

Posted by: Deaette | Mar 27, 2013 7:39:33 PM

I am also interested in doing any hormonal treatment holistically with NO drugs.


Posted by: Deaette | Mar 27, 2013 8:08:36 PM

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