Essential oil sellers believe they have a cure for cancer
Some New Zealand-based sellers of an imported essential oil brand are using it to treat cancer patients and believe it could cure the disease.
The Doterra network is expanding rapidly in New Zealand and Australia, using a multi-level marketing structure where sellers recruit other sellers and take commissions on sales made by those on lower levels.
Rose Scott, of Motueka, and Molly Wastney, of Nelson, were some of the first Doterra distributors in New Zealand. Wastney is one of the stars of the multi-level system and has over 1000 sellers on levels beneath her. She also speaks at company promotions in New Zealand. Scott has 179 sellers in her team.
When contacted, both Scott and Wastney said they wouldn't openly claim the oils could cure cancer but they were convinced of its healing powers based on their own experience with cancer patients.
Wastney has recently treated a breast cancer patient with a technique called Aroma Touch in which eight oils are applied in layers twice a week.
"I certainly would not say they (oils) will cure them (cancers). Basically using the oils is giving the body the optimum chance to heal. So I'm not going there.
"I have some statistics where people have had those sorts of things turned around. I have had several successes. I've got some phenomenal stories," Wastney said.
Scott, also a Reiki practitioner, appears to believe a new oil produced by Doterra derived from the Copaiba tree can cure cancer.
A post on her Facebook page refers to an article on the website "the truth about cancer".
Entitled "The best-Anti-Cancer Essential Oil You've Never Heard Of", the article extols the benefits of Copaiba oil including its anti-inflammatory and anti-tumoral effects.
She said she believed the oil was a potential cure for cancer, "but I'm not allowed to say that".
The potent Doterra oils, she said, were also effective against auto-immune disease, Colitis, Crohn's disease and a host of other disorders.
Scott said: "Small things like bee stings, right up to people going off their medication like anti-depressants. And fantastic cancer stories. We're not allowed to claim these stories you see because we are not allowed to say they cure and most of the time we can't prove it. But you just know it's working when you see the results yourself. Some great cancer stories."
Scott said she wasn't allowed to say Copaiba oil was a potential cancer cure but "it absolutely is".
"It needs studying because it is scientific. Using them with a combination of other oils is just so incredibly powerful."
She claimed the research backing up her beliefs was "phenomenal".
"They (Doterra) have their big, flash conventions and you think it's all a bit American but when you sit and listen to those doctors. The passion and doctors on stage crying."
Wastney said she was convinced about the effectiveness of the oils after treating her husband, a farrier, who suffered from chronic fatigue for eight years.
"We'd spent thousands on natural doctors, you name it. Three days on the oils and he said he felt better than he had for 10 years. I just started sharing and I've had result after result since then.
"I think the oils are something that will take the world by storm. I've people on asthma inhalers for 20 years and are no longer on them. I've had people on 40 prescription medications a day and they are no longer on them and feeling fantastic. It's been a phenomenal journey."
She said the Doterra selling structure was different from any other multi-level marketing company. Her network had grown naturally because people believed in the product.
"They encourage us to stay as a team, a family so we help people across teams. Its structured as a family culture."
She said Doterra had a much better retention rate than most multi-level marketing companies and sellers were not required to make minimum purchases each month.
Her knowledge of Copaiba oil was still hazy but she had tried it for a couple of weeks and found she was sleeping better.
Last month two representatives from Doterra Australia, including general manager Teresa Haws took Scott and Wastney to lunch in Nelson.
Scott posted about the meeting on social media. "OMG!!! ( pinch myself... ) They were impressed with my Rainbow blend and amused with my cell phone decoration. We had a lot of laughs and it is so exciting to know they are there to support us all as doTERRA hits the floor running in NZ by Dec 2017. Thank you doterra."
Cancer Society medical director, Dr Chris Jackson, said no current research or evidence indicated essential oils were effective treatments for cancer.
"We recommend that they are not to be used as alternatives to traditional cancer treatment. There are some evidence-based complementary therapies, like massage therapy, yoga, or peppermint tea that may help you with some symptoms."
He cautioned patients to take advice from medical professionals before considering an alternative or complementary therapy regime, and said promoting or advertising unproven alternative therapies for cancer was illegal. "Anybody recommending them as a treatment or cure (for cancer) should be referred to the Health and Disability Commissioner for investigation."
The Utah-based Doterra parent entity incorporated Doterra New Zealand Ltd in May. The New Zealand company is ultimately owned by a company registered in the tax haven Luxembourg.
The pioneers of the New Zealand Doterra network are American chiropractor Martha Nessler and beauty and health entrepreneur Jocelyn Oades, who are based in Auckland.
Nessler has achieved Diamond level on the Doterra structure and gives motivational and success strategy talks.
In publicity material she says she is "about teaching people how to be a raw human being. My motivator is to empower people to balance their lives in a natural way and help every human being live an optimal existence. The oils are just an avenue for me to do that".
"If you're authentic, real, and raw and you come from a space of love, anybody will listen."
A recent article about essential oils and Doterra in The New Yorker magazine said very few large-scale, peer reviewed studies of essential oils' use on humans had been done and conclusions so far had been "modest".
Author Rachel Monroe said the most the studies showed was it appeared lavender might improve sleep quality and peppermint could reduce the symptoms of headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.
Doterra does not claim any specific health benefits for its health products, and the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pounces on sellers of alternative health products making unfounded medical claims.
In 2014, the FDA warned Doterra about claims by distributors that its oils were effective against Ebola, cancer, autism and other conditions. The company responded by setting up a team to scour social media sites for non-compliant claims.
The New Zealand Doterra network is controlled from Doterra's Australia office but attempts to contact general manager Teresa Haws were unsuccessful this week.
The company is opening a warehouse for its products in Christchurch later this year.
For free advice on cancer treatment you can call the Cancer Society on 0800 CANCER (226 237).
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- Sunday Star Times