Are Essential Oils a Scam? ~ Essential Oils for Headaches and More

Young Living Essential Oils

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

UPDATE: I am no longer a Young Living Distributor. You can read about my search for the Best Essential Oils Company here.  I ended up choosing this company, Rocky Mountain Oils. I’ve updated this post and removed the links to my Young Living account.

You can find out why and see all of the heated discussion by starting here.

The other day, I wrote about how I overcame my serious doubts about essential oils (specifically, Young Living’s oils) and experience using Young Living’s Thieves blend.

I was a complete skeptic about essential oils, thinking they were some kind of scam or “woo woo foo foo” stuff that really did nothing.

As in, “you put it on and it smells good and somehow you convince yourself that it’s really working” kind of thing.

Today, I’m going to share with you some other oils that I’ve been experimenting with and what’s happened with them.

Really, read on.  Some of these things really surprised me….

Essential Oils for Headaches

Peppermint Oil is great here too.  Again, I don’t typically get headaches, but when the occasional one strikes, just a drop of peppermint rubbed on my temples has taken the pain away.  Amazing.

I can’t say that it cured my headache and I personally think that it’s important to figure out why your headaches are happening and work on that, rather than just treating symptoms, but I assume that the peppermint supports the body’s work in getting better.  My youngest gets headaches sometimes, but his have been diminishing since starting a new therapy and using zeolite.  Regardless, he has found relief with the peppermint as well.

No acetaminophen.  No potential liver damage.


Stomach Aches & Digestion Issues

I typically don’t struggle much with stomach aches, but over the past few months, I have.  For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I have adrenal fatigue.  I am currently doing a protocol called Nutritional Balancing that is designed to rebalance minerals and remove heavy metals and toxins from my system. (2014 UPDATE: I am no longer doing Nutritional Balancing, but have moved on and found other things that have helped immensely.)

More on all that later–but when the metals are coming out, I have had some uncomfortable symptoms at times–one of them being an upset stomach.

Aside from my occasional stomach upset, my kids occasionally have a bug or a sour stomach for some reason.

We all know that peppermint tea is supposed to be good for upset stomachs.  Well, Peppermint Oil is like super-charged peppermint tea.  Just a few drops on the tongue followed by a “water chaser” and symptoms are gone.

I’ve also used the peppermint oil when my stomach “just isn’t right.”  You know, when thing aren’t sitting well.  Oh, if only I could only eat right all the time.  I’m getting there, really I am.  But I’m just not perfect yet.  And sometimes I pay for it :-(.

Essential Oils for Growing Pains

My youngest had growing pains regularly until we started Nutritional Balancing.  Now, he really only gets them every once in awhile.  These pains were one of the first things that we tried essential oils on.  I was really skeptical – “So, how on earth is an oil going to help with something painful going on inside of him?”

Well, they did.  We’ve used Peppermint, Wintergreen, and a blend for pain, all of which have helped him.  What a blessing to have your little one, who was in pain a moment ago, say to you, “Mom, I really think it’s working!  I feel better!”

He gets to sleep –and so do I (And having your son smell like a Wintergreen Lifesaver is a nice side bonus :-).)

Essential Oils for Carpal Tunnel / Cubital Tunnel Symptoms

This one really floored me.

I’m a blogger.  That means I type–a lot.

Well, about 2 months ago I started experiencing pain in my right pinky finger.  It hurt to type–a lot.

I’d had carpal tunnel years prior that was cured with B6, but this pain was worse.

I didn’t really want to own up to myself that the pain was there.  What if I couldn’t blog anymore?  What if I needed surgery?  Not pleasant thoughts.

After a few days of the pain and worry, I decided to turn to my Essential Oils Desk Reference Guide for some ideas.  It recommended a blend for pain, which I had in my nifty starter kit.

Again, the skeptic in me thought, “This surely isn’t going to work.”  But I doubtfully rubbed a drop around my knuckle where the pain was–just before bed.

I awoke the next morning completely amazed.

The pain was gone!

No surgery–and I can still blog ;-).  I am not for sure I had carpal tunnel or cubital tunnel, but my pain went away.

Muscle Pains

Numerous times we’ve had aches and pains that needed some TLC.  Whether from injury or overuse, we’ve tried several oils and blends–Peppermint, Wintergreen, and several blends for pain roll on.  Each one has worked well.  Depending on the situation, sometimes one oil or blend has worked better than another, but it sure has felt nice to use something natural rather than OTC meds or chemical-filled creams and ointments.

Again, I really don’t mean to just be “putting together a commercial” for my readers.  I have always been the type of person who wants to share the good things I’ve found, and warn about the bad.  In fact, I’ve sometimes toyed with the idea of starting an “Adrienne’s Life”–like Angie’s List.  But I’d probably be sued, right :-).

Update: – Please use caution when using wintergreen. It can be dangerous when used topically and ingestion can even cause death. 


And I know – you’re probably wondering about the cost of these oils.

There are loads of kinds of essential oils in stores and online.

Some are cheap and some are more pricey.

Let me assure you – I am super frugal.  I’m sure that you’ve figured that out if you’ve been following me for awhile.  If you haven’t, you can see how stingy frugal I am by checking out my posts on:

As you can see, I don’t spend money typically if I don’t think it’s worth it.  And I save wherever I can.

I personally try to choose the best quality that I can, for the best price, and for me that means paying up a bit to make sure that I am not getting lower quality essential oils – especially since I will be putting them on my skin (where they will be absorbed) and using them occasionally internally.

UPDATE: I am no longer a Young Living Distributor. You can read about my search for the Best Essential Oils Company here.  I ended up choosing this company, Rocky Mountain Oils (formerly Native American Nutritionals).

You can find out why and see all of the “dicey” discussion by starting here.

Here are my basic thoughts on the cost:

  • Health is priceless
  • I’d rather use natural oils than OTC meds or prescriptions drugs (and they’re not cheap either)
  • Essential oils can be cheaper than going to the doctor or physical therapist (or even surgery!)
  • When you feel good, you have more energy to save money elsewhere

Basically, yes, if you choose quality essential oils you will be paying more than the inexpensive brands, but if you use them only when needed you will likely save in other arenas that will more than make up for it.

Regardless, I am thrilled to have a new natural remedy in my medicine cabinet :).

What are your thoughts on Essential Oils?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. “I’d rather use natural oils than OTC meds or prescriptions drugs”

    The problem is…the way you are using EOs, and they way these other untrained salespeople are using EOs…is as OTC drugs. Internal use? You are not going to know you are harming your liver until your liver stops working. This is why drugs are tested for side effects before they are sold – because often the side effects are far worse and more hazardous than the benefits. You are not weighing that plus/minus. Essential oils have hazards and side effects and can even prove life threatening if used the wrong way. People kill their cats. People torture their dogs (a dog who can smell footprints being exposed to the concentrated scent of EOs is more than the headache you might get going into a Yankee Candle store for example.) ANYONE who has studied aromatherapy on a professional level knows…the things you have advocated here on your website are the practice of medicine without a license and you are risking peoples health and safety doing so.

    • I appreciate your comment truly. You are very right. But first, a few things:

      1. I have a full disclaimer on my site. I am not a dr., nor a nurse, nor any kind of practitioner. The information on my site is for entertainment purposes only. Readers are to consult w/ their physicians before making any changes to their diet or exercise program. I am not recommending the practice of medicine on my site.

      2. For the very reasons that you mention, I decided to do a whole series on Best Essential Oils, which you might have missed.

      3. I take issues of fatality and overuse of internal essential oils seriously. However, could you please direct me to data on the sort?

      You state that drugs are tested for side effects before they are sold. True, but there are so many deaths from them regardless. Here is a fascinating article about it. It states that “Vioxx alone may have killed 55,000-65,000 patients before being withdrawn by the manufacturer, Merck, in 2004.” I don’t think that speaks well for the testing of pharma drugs.

      What I stated was what I would rather do. I am not telling others what to do. That is a huge difference.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • I am a nurse & I have to comment on this post about testing of prescription meds. If anybody really believes that prescription drugs are all tested really well before release, are wrong! The politics & money involved in big business allow a lot more drugs to get ‘pushed thru’ than you may think. It’s in big business owners best interest to pay for ‘things’ to get their new drugs on the market sooner. So the big business folks & even politicians walk away with their pockets stuffed w/money to get these drugs out on the market before they should be! If anyone thinks that prescription meds are all safe because they’ve been tested, they’re wrong!! Just think back at how often new drugs are introduced to the market & later recalled!! The supposed ‘testing’ is not always what it’s cracked up to be.
      I’m not saying that all prescription drugs are bad, but it just makes more sense to use natural remedies & save the prescription meds for acute (emergency) situations. If you feel the need to use them at all.
      Using EO’S is not ‘regulated’ by any government agencies, YET! (Thank God!) And even if it were, I wouldn’t trust their guide lines anyway. What the medical profession claims to be ‘safe’ amounts of different toxins, is just a baseline & even in that, it’s in the interest of ‘Big Money’ to make those ‘safe’ amounts lower, there are still going to be folks who are more sensitive to a so-called ‘safe amount’ and there will be folks who can tolerate higher levels! It’s a personal to each individual.
      ALL PRESCRIPTION MEDS HAVE SIDE EFFECTS! They are synthetic, not natural! An example, “Sue” talked about harming your liver……Tylenol is sold over the counter & causes liver problems. It is said that the ‘Safe Dose’ is no more than 4,000 MG in a 24 hrs period. Has anyone, who has used OTV Tylenol for years, ever had their liver tested??!!?? With EO’S, at least you’re putting something NATURAL in your body! It’s all about common sense folks!! I’ve actually stopped nursing, because of the things I’ve seen happen behind the scene, that patients never find out about! I just couldn’t practice medicine in that type of environment anymore. I KNOW ‘Sue’ & folks that believe like her, would be SHOCKED & HORRIFIED at some of the things I’ve seen & could tell them about. Suffice it to say that I worked full-time to put myself thru nursing school full-time. That’s a LOT of time and money spent to throw away, but I just couldn’t continue in good conscience. So anyone else who is thinking EO’S are ‘dangerous’, think it thru again & just use common sense!

  2. Can you recommend a book on nan products? Or a great essential oil book I currently am reading “reference guide for essential oils.” Also a oil recommended for tennis elbow I have tried pan away by YL but no luck. I can’t use peppermint because I’m breast feeding. I’m still trying out different oils!

  3. Why do Yougn Living, do-Terra and NA all base themselves out of Utah? does the owner of NA have something against the other two companies? are you at all disturbed with Gary Young’s claims and his legal troubles?

    • I don’t know why they are in Utah, but both companies are owned by Mormons and Utah is hugely populated by Mormons. I have heard that Utah gives great business discounts as well.

      What do you mean by “something against”?

      Yes, I am concerned about those things.

  4. Now that you are now recommending another brand of oils, is there a similar product to PanAway or the oils to make a similar mix yourself? I have just tried this (won a bottle at a gift fair), and it is helping with my post-surgical knee pain.

    Thanks for your thorough research.

  5. I thought I read somewhere on your blog that you should never ingest any essential oil because it is 50 times more potent…am I correct in that? if you did state that, can you tell me why? I use YL and many of my friends take the cold bomb, the morphine bomb..etc…with great results. one friend and her husband have Lymes and take EO internally and have been retested and the doctor found not trace of Lymes disease!
    If you did state this, would you mind clearing up for me your reasons? I don’t like taking things internally especially if there is concern it is not safe or too potent!
    Thank you!

    • I did not state that. There are others stating no internal usage but I personally (not medical advice) think it is OK within reason. I mentioned internal use in my 7 part “best essential oils series”.

  6. Dawn Clevenger says:

    I just started using essential oils about 4 months ago. I started very slowly because it can really be overwhelming when you start researching them. There are about 10 essential oils that can be used for a headache that I have seen but I am here to tell you that peppermint has worked for my usual weekly headache every single time. I have never had a reason to even try any other essential oil for a headache. And a headache is just one of the zillion things you can use it for. To those of you that are just getting started or are very curious about different oils, I would highly recommend starting with peppermint, lavender and thieves. If we all had a bottle of this in your medicine cabinet, the world would be a much better place. I am amazed daily at the new ways I’m discovering to keep my family healthy. My boys are the only 2 kids in their boy scout troop who aren’t hacking all over with snotty noses, THE ONLY TWO!!! THANK YOU THEIVES!

  7. what would you use for eczema on your eyes by your eyelashes I cant even where I make up anymore?

    • Hmmm…you have to be really careful to not get essential oils in your eyes. Typically eczema is caused by something internal but not always. I can’t medically advise, but this post might help you. Have you worked on diet, etc?

      My son gets eczema from candida as well. I would think for me personally I would try clean diet, probiotics, and maybe a salve w/ geranium, lavender and melaleuca, depending on how close to your eyes it is. Please do not get the oils in your eyes. I hope that helps! Again, please talk to your physician before making any changes to your diet or supplements, etc. 🙂

      • EOs can be absorbed through your feet as well – no worries about getting it in your eyes. Same idea as vicks – put it on & cover with socks.

  8. Vickie Garza says:


  9. I’m the frugal type too. I was ‘drawn into’ Young Living because I love their lavender oil along with their purification blend. BUT, I reasoned, all their oils came from herbs and such so I went beyond the oils and as you have done, I did the research online (can’t afford the long distance calls either). Now I make my own herb and spice blends for our food, medicinal and for health of our dogs. I’m still learning but am happier and healthier. Yes, I too went through the heavy metal detox. WOW the purge…..and O the healthy feel after! Though I am still in a wheelchair, I am healthier than I have been in a long time. Thanks for the articles and what you do to get the messages out there. 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing and glad you are doing better. I find it interesting that you like YL’s lavender. I never cared for it but I guess that everyone is different. I kept thinking it would help me sleep but I didn’t like the small.

      So are you using oils still?

      • Something I learned in biology class in High School over 40 years ago, a class exercise showed us that people can have different taste buds and smell different smells just as they see differently or hear differently. The lesson–not all senses are equal in everyone. In my case, my sniffer doesn’t work so well defining smells. So YL Lavender has a very strong smell for me. I actually can’t afford to buy very many EOs though I do have some. Since I grow many of my own herbs or buy at the Farmers’ Market, being thrifty as I am, it doesn’t make sense to buy something just to have to add it to a carrier oil for it to work in some cases. That said, I have found myself blending together both EOs and herbs for my health and my family.
        For sleeping? To shut down the brain so I can sleep, I pray first, then sing a children’s hymn. When my mind wanders, I pull it back to the song and keep doing so until all of a sudden I’m waking up. At my age, I do a midnight wakeup most nights and it bothered me until I learned that before we had artificial lighting, sleeping through the night just didn’t happen. The first sleep was for relaxing after the day, then awake for romping. 😉 then back to sleep to get the restful sleep we all need. After learning that, I sleep well knowing I’m doing what my long ago ancestors did. 😉

        • Folks sure do have different senses, however I find it interesting the particularity with which the essential oils and culinary “gurus”, etc. talk about how things smell and taste so I guess there is supposed to be some universality?

          That’s interesting about the sleeping through the night – really? Never heard of that. Where did you hear about that? I love the nights that I sleep all the way through.

          • It was a show on PBS talking about the development of lighting from fire to the current lights we have. I really have found it interesting how many have jumped on the EO bandwagon. Knowing and using different herbs can be so much more interesting. Especially since I started by researching what I normally use in my cooking. So I just began by looking into my spice drawer. 🙂

          • Fascinating. Thanks!

  10. I would love any information you have on adrenal fatigue. I was prescribed 3 different meds and feel much worse taking them so have stopped and trying to heal my body naturally. I know your not a doctor but any advise would be a blessing, thank you.

  11. I am curious… After doing a ton of research (obviously not enough), I went with Young Living for my all natural/organic face scrubs, body butters, soaps, and facials.
    Now, I am wondering, after investing so much money, are the Young Living Oils of a high enough quality to continue using for my customers.
    I spent hours researching natural oils and benefits for the base of the products (coconut oil, shea butter, palm oil, olive oil etc.). Now, I am concerned with whether I am actually providing quality essential oils in their products. It is not feasible for me to replace my entire stock of essential oils, especially because I just replaced my jasmine today. You know what a hit$ that is.
    I am just looking for your opinion as to whether or not my quality product has been compromised by the essential oils now???

  12. Everything I read about lavender says how wonderful it is. The scents of lavender and lilacs tend to give me a headache. I used to think I was alone with this side effect, but have found several others who have an aversion to them as well. What would you suggest as a replacement that provides similar benefits?

    • What kind of thing are you hoping to address? I didn’t like lavender either and really didn’t care for YL’s lavender. Have you tried NAN’s? Here is a link to Rocky Mountain’s. Their site is a little easier to shop on as they have fewer options. I like theirs. (affiliate link).

      • Thanks for your quick response, Adrienne! I am very much a novice when it comes to essential oils. My yoga studio has begun incorporating them in some of the classes and I have enjoyed them. We have mostly used eucalyptus, peppermint, an orangey citrus oil, and a few others I can’t recall. I am going to an essential oils yoga workshop at the studio, taught by a doTerra rep. I have been doing a lot of reading on a variety of sites and will go with an open mind, but with just enough background to not buy any products just yet. I am looking for oils that that are refreshing/stimulating for daytime, that are relaxing – for night, and oils that help with everyday aches/pains from exercise. I plan to purchase a few, along with a diffuser. I have explored a few web sites – Rocky Mountain, NAN, and Mountain Rose, but have yet to purchase any. It is a bit overwhelming!

        • So here is a very lengthy response I got from the company. (Native American / Rocky Mountain).

          None of this is medical advice, of course.

          So for pain relief we have basically three levels of pain relief depending how much you need.
          Most: Relieve Me (aff link)
          Average: True Blue (aff link)
          Minor: Pain Ease (aff link)

          We also have a few other ones that will be on sale tomorrow (for 40% off!) its called

          Muscle relax

          and Ow-Ease. They are customer inspired blends we are clearing out. (those are both affiliate links)

          For yoga I would suggest Pain Ease, but my personal favorite and the favorite for most people in this office (we funnily just talked about it this morning) is True Blue. I really like that one. It has wintergreen and blue tansy in it, so its really powerful. But pain ease will be better if you have sensitive skin. It seems like men prefer true blue more because its more powerful and dont mind the icy-hot type “burn” haha.

          Refreshing daytime: I like citrus oils a lot. Its hard to say for sure, there is a blend called “energize” which is really popular (and one of my top favs). Floral oils are popular daytime oils as well. Blend of jasmine, blend of rose, blend of Neroli, etc. Oh and try Citrus Passion and Orange Cream. Those are both delightful. I know a lot of people love Joyful Moments.

          Nighttime oils: I really like Peace and Quiet for winding down at night (another fav), and lavender is always nice. Anything with sandalwood in it is nice or ylang ylang.

          For diffusers I am obviously a huge fan of AromaCloud diffusers from us. We are designing some new AromaCloud models that will look really cool, but the guts of the diffuser is basically the same so these are awesome. One year warranty is also unheard of with diffusers from what I know.

          We have a whole bunch of oils for diffusing while doing yoga. Basically any oil that is emotionally uplifting or spiritual.

          I so hope that helps :).

          • Wow! Thank you for reaching out to NAN/Rocky Mountain for me. Their information is very helpful. I will be checking out some of their suggestions. How nice that some will be on sale! I like the comparison chart they have listing DoTERRA oils and their oils. Since my first into was with DoTERRA, that was my background. I have done a lot of research on essential oils, and knew that while I liked the DoTerra scents, I wanted a different company. Thank you for your help!

          • You are so welcome!!

  13. Maxx Ratto says:

    Whenever I have headaches I always use peppermint on my temples and behind my ears. Also Lavender has helped me with relaxing and relieving tension which usually is the cause of my headaches.

  14. Thanks for all this information. Just got done reading your posts on essential oil companies and I appreciate all the work and will be taking your recommendation. I’ve “dibbed and dabbed” for a while. Bought some EO in the grocery store then put it away for years only to recently reopen the EO door again. I found doTerra & YL and didn’t like the whole MLM idea. I feel their emphasis is not directed where it should be- providing the best product. I’ll use the oils I have, don’t like to waste money but now I feel like I have a better direction.

  15. Pat Graham says:

    I really enjoy reading your articles. They are very through and informative. However, could you please put a date on the articles that you write. I think that it is important that we know how current the articles are. I would like to know the date that you wrote the 7 part series “Announcing the Best Essential Oils Company”.

    Thank you and have a great weekend!!

    • Hi there. The dates are in the comments – I’m torn about which way to go w/ the dates. When I put them there people would comment asking me if I still stood by the information b/c the date is old, and now I get this kind of comment so I’m confused about the best way to go – thanks! Let me know what you think.

      • Pat Graham says:

        Thank you for your response. I am not sure I understand that the dates are in the comments. Are you saying that the date of the article(s) are the dates that someone posted/contacted you? If so, do I have to look for the oldest post to determine the written date?

        • Yes, that’s what I mean. The comments are in chronological order so the first comment is likely on the publication date of the post, or at least very close to it. Hope that helps!

          • Pat Graham says:

            Hi Adrienne

            Sorry to keep bothering you about this. But the comments do not appear, to me, to be in chronological order and it is difficult, for me, to determine a date . Could you please let me know the date of this article? I would appreciate it.


          • Pat Graham says:

            Actually, I would like the date that you wrote the 7 part article on which essential oil companies are the best.

            Thank you…

          • Just shared it w/ you – 1/25/13.

          • Hi there. They are in chronological order, but in a post with that many comments you need to scroll back a lot. It was published 1/25/13. Hope that helps – thanks.

  16. I currently on a “campaign” to learn to use more of healing plants that are already on our property. Recently made a batch of plantain salve and sent it along with the nurse, to our pre-teen camp. She said there a lot of bug bites and it was good for that. I cook in iron and bumped my forefinger knuckle on the hot pan one morning. Went out to the front yard, picked a plantain leaf, chewed it to a pulp which went onto the knuckle and covered it loosely with a band-aid (just to keep the pulp in place.) Never heard a peep out of it! In fact, I forgot all about it.