Utah-based companies doTERRA and Young Living have received warnings from the Food and Drug Administration after representatives from both companies reportedly made false claims that their essential oils can cure more than just stress and fatigue.

Young Living, based in Lehi, and doTERRA, based in Pleasant Grove, each had statements on their websites that many of their essential oil products can cure serious conditions including herpes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

A post on Young Living’s website states, “Ebola Virus cannot live in the presence of cinnamon bark (this is in Thieves) nor Oregano.”

And a doTERRA consultant posted on Twitter that “many essential oils are highly anti viral. I list here a few of them those (sic) oils that could help prevent your contracting the Ebola virus ...”

The FDA warned Young Living and doTERRA that the companies’ products are not FDA-approved drugs, yet both are utilizing marketing that makes claims only approved drugs can make.

Both companies have 15 days to notify the FDA of corrective actions they will make. If they cannot respond in the directed time, they must explain the reason for the delay and include a timetable for the implementation of any remaining corrections.

McKay Brown, senior director of corporate marketing for doTERRA, released a statement to the Daily Herald on Thursday afternoon in response to the FDA action.

"Because doTERRA’s products are natural products and are not registered with the FDA as drugs, we are restricted on the health claims that can be made for marketing purposes," read the statement. "We recognize essential oils have profound health benefits, but do not claim our products cure or treat diseases including the Ebola virus or any other disease. ...

"We are pleased to share that in our normal course of compliance auditing practices, we were already working to correct distributors marketing materials referenced in the FDA letter. Since receiving the letter, we have contacted all the distributors who own the sites in question. They have all corrected or are working to correct their marketing materials to ensure they are compliant with FDA and company regulations."

Young Living representatives released a statement Friday morning about the situation.

“Young Living is cooperating fully with the FDA regarding its inquiry," said the statement, attributed to Travis Ogden, Young Living's chief operating officer. "Young Living Members are provided specific instructions on how to promote our products to their customers.

"In the coming days we will be contacting all our membership to ensure that they understand how to best use our products and remain compliant with regulatory directives. We have already contacted each of the Members cited in the FDA letter to help get them into compliance.”

Kurt Hanson is the Breaking News and Courts reporter for the Daily Herald. He can be reached 801-344-2560 or khanson@heraldextra.com. Follow him on Twitter: @kthehanson.

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