by Florian Birkmayer, MD

I recently received this message online:

Hi Florian

I read your interview in Psychology today.

And your article “The Molecules of Connectedness” in The International Journal of Holistic Professional Aromatherapy. Volume 8 Issue 4 Spring 2020, p.51-57.

I’m wondering if the FDA has a view on your opinion? I’ll give you the background. I became an aromatherapist 4 years ago and everybody just makes a fuss about claims and how the FDA dislikes claims made by essential oil companies / aromatherapists

I’ve always been more interested in the energetics side, and honestly, it’s the first time I’ve seen someone talk to them the way you do (loved your Psychology Today interview and IJPHA article)

So I’m curious about the FDA. regs about this



Dear A:

Thank you for the question. So the unconscious is not an ‘organ’ or physiological system to the FDA and they focus on ‘medical’ claims related to disease/organ function, even though we all know that this is often superficial, e.g. SSRIs (prozac, etc.) are supposed to ‘raise serotonin levels’, even though no one knows how and whether that’s related to relieving depression or what SSRIs actually do to the brain. Also what I talk about in terms of learning from the Unconscious, transforming ‘negative’ emotions isn’t really a medical claim. To me it describes the natural process of our psyche, which aromas have been a part of since our beginnings.

On the other hand, when certain MLMs claim that their EOs cure SARS or coronavirus, etc., etc. and are advocating unsafe use (ingesting EOs for too long, too much and/or for too vague reasons) the FDA has every reason to step in and tell them to stop making medical claims that have put people at risk from misusing EOs. A lot of people in EO world, and the herbal world, try to mimick the medical world, making claims, relying on very small and weak studies. While EOs are certainly have a wide range of healing functions, that is only a symptom-based approach.

The true healing potential and transformative magic of EOs is not in mimicking the medical model, but to remember that plants evolved them as molecules of connectedness and our brains/psyche/all of us evolved in a natural world surrounded by these molecules of connectedness. We’re just remembering and reconnecting.