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

Young Living Essential Oils

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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, Native American Nutritionals. 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 my 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.  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.

Nice.

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 essential 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 it 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 ;-).

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 and Deep Relief 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 :-).

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, 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?

Comments

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  1. I signed up for the free email subscription (I didn’t know where to leave this note to you)… :) Have a wonderful day!

  2. Sharon Clark says:

    We have used YL oils a lot. Our vet actually uses them too. For headaches we use peppermint and lavender at the temples and the base of the neck. In case of a fever you can put a couple of drops of peppermint in the belly button and on the feet. It actually works. For digestition you can also use DiGize. I do not like the smell at all but it works. You can rub it on the belly or drink it. For virus I have actually put a few drops on the tongue and it has stopped the throwing-up. My husband was a skeptic at first but he will not let us be without DiGize or Thieves in the house.

  3. Hi – I just wanted to say that Peppermint oil is great for digestion – EXCEPT for those with GERD (which I unfortunately suffer from) – the oil relaxes the esophogeal sphincter even more and can cause very intense heartburn.

  4. Hi,
    Do they have oils that will help with asthma? Just curious as one of my young daughters appears to have the cold/virus induced kind.

    • Adrienne says:

      Hi Laurie.

      According to the Oils guide that I referenced, a number of oils could help. They recommend a number of types, but when I looked at a forum that I have access to where remedies are recommended, overwhelmingly people with asthma recommended RC and said it worked great. Others mentioned were Peppermint and Raven (another blend). The RC is made from a number of oils including eucalyptus. I am glad you asked since my son doesn’t have asthma, but he has needed an inhaler for a deep asthmatic cough that’s accompanied an illness. Thank you! Let me know if I can help you further. I am going to order the RC and Raven with my next order so I can have them on hand and hopefully avoid the inhaler.

  5. I generally have a strong dislike when bloggers put together product promotion posts, I’ve even stopped reading some because of too many junk posts (Freschetta frozen pizza posts, really?). You are different. I have so much respect for you and believe that you wouldn’t promote something that you hadn’t thoroughly researched and I will now be looking into essential oils myself.

    • Adrienne says:

      Wow – thanks, Julie! I must admit, it’s been tempting on occasion to write posts “just to make money” but I haven’t done it. And don’t plan to. I am even working on getting ads off my sidebar that I don’t care for. It’s hard. Blogging takes a long time (as I’m sure you know) so it’s important to get paid–but I hope to gain trust and then readers will know that I am really only recommending what I like. Of course, I can be wrong, but I am trying to do as much research as I can. And I really didn’t mean for this to be a promo. There are other products of theirs that I’ve loved and I just can’t believe how they’ve helped me.

      Let me know if I can help you with your research at all. I’ll do what I can.

  6. Great article about the beneficial uses of essential oils. I would like to add a few points for clarification.

    First, not all essential oils are made equal. Young Living Oils (as well as our OraWellness blend) are made from the highest quality of essential oil ‘ranking’, called therapeutic grade.

    Also, if one is going to be using essential oils internally, it would be wise to take serious consideration of the energetic effects of the oil(s) on the system. For example, I noted in one of the comments a person mentioning about peppermint for digestive issues (and how it wasn’t for her because it caused heartburn). Taking broad brush strokes at health issues that really require a consideration of the imbalance is potentially dangerous. The energetic reason why peppermint may not be ‘good’ for your digestive issues is due to the fact that peppermint is cooling. So, if you have signs of stomach fire then peppermint would help balance. However, if one has a ‘cool’ stomach already, peppermint would aggravate the imbalance.

    This brings me to the issue I have with the Thieves line of oral health products. They use only warming oils. While Thieves does work to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth, being only warming oils, it can also imbalance the system used over time.

    It is for this exact reason why we created a blend of therapeutic grade, 100% organic and wild crafted essentials oils to use to help restore health in the mouth that is made of a balance of both warming and cooling oils. If you would like more information, here is a link to our site. http://www.OraWellness.com

    Holler with any questions. We’re here to help.

    • This arena of cool vs warm and our whole systems is very new to me. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I wonder what you think would happen in the mouth over time and what you think one should do to find out about “cool” vs “warm” with our whole systems. I assume it gets pretty complicated.

      • The concept of herbs being cooling or warming finds its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the concept of yin/yang. I agree that it seems complicated at first. In reality, much of it is just common sense too so it’s not as complicated as it seems. For example, mints are cooling (think of the peppermint patty commercials from childhood with the person going down a ski run). Cinnamon, clove, ginger and many others are warming (think of mulling spices used in winter time to ‘warm’ a cold tummy)

        My concerns of long term use of a product that is made with only warming or cooling influences is in its impact to the whole system, not just in the mouth. You see, it’s been proven that what we put in the mouth in the form of oral care products gets absorbed into the bloodstream, sometimes even faster than if we swallowed it.

        What this means is the warming or cooling influence of the products we use in our oral care will impact the system. In some cases short term cases, this influence could be beneficial. However, over the long term, I question the impact of imbalanced formulas to overall health. You see, our systems are constantly in flux and changing. While I don’t know that using imbalanced formulas in the mouth will cause imbalance in the body, I prefer to apply the ‘precautionary principle’ and assume the risk. This is exactly why we formulated our blend as a balance of warming and cooling oils. Thus, the blend effectively addresses the bad bugs in the mouth and does so without inadvertently imbalancing the system as a whole in the long run.

        Ok, I got long winded… Maybe I’ve just been thinking this way for many years and the idea is more complicated than it seems to me now. :)

        I hope this help with the discussion of assisting each of us to navigate to greater oral health as well as positive change in supporting our immunity as well.

        To your health!

        • Adrienne says:

          Thanks for clearing that up somewhat. I have not looked into Chinese medicine as much as I’d like, though my current practitioner is very well versed in it and apparently studied under an expert. Always something new to learn!

  7. Love these posts, I need to try that peppermint, cause I’ve been having headaches far to often lately, and hate taking anything for it (won’t take tylenol at all). Would like to try some of the other ones you have talked about too…will have to wait a little while though, cause I don’t have the money for the kit, and thats what I’d love to get, as there are several that sounded like they would be good to try.

    • Adrienne says:

      I don’t like Tylenol either. I’d be happy to talk w/ you any time you think you might wish to try the YL oils. Also, of course, it is good to get at what is really causing your headaches. My son used to get them a lot until we started doing Nutritional Balancing. You can see the link to our practitioner, Theresa Vernon, on my adrenal fatigue post. Also, there may be food issues involved. Take care!

  8. I have been wanting to use essential oils for aroma therapy for a long time. But I avoid them as a pre-caution in bodycare products and don’t add them to my homemade cleaning products because some of them MAY be endocrine disrupters, just like everything else, it seems: http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jan2007/niehs-31.htm
    I don’t think one study confirms anything one way or another but I would like to see more research done. I’m glad to hear you are getting great benefits though. I have no doubt they can have healing properties.

    • Adrienne says:

      Hello. I just read this. Being the “investigative reporter” type that I am, I searched the internet. Here is what I found. “Neither Lavender nor Tea Tree Oil Can Be Linked to Breast Growth.” When I read the study you forwarded I was concerned about the possibilities that this second resource brings up.

      I really appreciate you mentioning this. I just hope I can keep up w/ all the questions and thoughts! Yikes :-)!

  9. I am new to the essential oil scene. So I’m slowly learning what all the benefits are. Like you, I would rather use these than OTC or prescribed meds. My son has ASD and since his diagnosis last year we have been taking care of our bodies with a more holistic method. Chemicals in every shape and form are bad news and we tend to stay away from them.

  10. Very cool info! We even have this stuff around the house…my husband was doing some reading and shopping about EO’s. I suffer from headaches…next time, I’m getting out the Peppermint Oil!

  11. Please read about Gary Young and Young Living Essential OIls at http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/young.html. He sounds like a con artist.

    • I’ve read a lot of things about Gary Young. I got satisfactory answers to my concerns prior to signing up. In fact, some of the accusations I find to be highly suspect. I will say that I found all the attacks on his to be a bit disconcerting.

      Additionally, the author of Quack Watch basically makes it a point to go after almost anything in the alternative realm. I haven’t (of course) read everything on his site, and there are some things that he talks about that I have issues with (like Reiki), but there are valid alternative therapies that he takes issue with.

      I am not easily taken by things. These oils are working. If Mr. Young as some issues that he needs to deal with, so be it. But if I didn’t buy something just because there were questions about the owner of the company, then I probably would buy nothing.

      Now – that being said, I did ask a lot of questions about YL before signing up.

      Here is a partial rebuttal to some of the claims by QuackWatch and information about some of the other people whom Dr. Barrett attacks regularly.:

      Here is a refutation of the QuackWatch claims that I would encourage you to read:

      Thanks for sharing! It’s important we all stay “on our toes”!

  12. LOVE my Young Living oils! Peace and Calming in my kids feet and being diffused keeps them happy and I hear less fighting! :)

  13. Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
    The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

    Numbness
    Pins and needles
    Pain, particularly at night
    Darting pains from the wrist
    Radiated or referred pain into the arm and shoulder
    Weakness of the hand
    The little finger and half of the ring finger are unaffected.

    so pain in your little finger is NOT a symptom of carpal tunnel.

    • Hanna.

      I had carpal tunnel (diagnosed by an excellent doctor in Oklahoma) years ago. This felt exactly the same to me.

      Because of your comment I went and did research on the web. It appears that sometimes carpal tunnel can affect the other fingers, but that this could have been ulnar nerve entrapment or cubital tunnel syndrome. Either way, they can be treated with surgery and I avoided it.

      So, thanks for the info – I will update that post accordingly, but it is still miraculous and a great treatment that saved me pain and a load of money. Here is one thread on a forum that shows more info:

  14. Love peppermint oil for my tummy after eating too much Chipotle. :) My daughter asks for it to rubbed on her tummy when she has a tummy ache, too.

    I have used Thieves for headaches (a drop on the tongue), but I’ll have to try peppermint oil next time.

    (found you via the Green Resource link up)

  15. Good info. Think I will get some.

  16. So…I see you have an ad for Doterra on the sidebar…do you now prefer them over young living? Just wondering…still hoping to get some from one of them, but not sure which is best…like the idea of the theives oil from young living…but… thats not my first purchase if I ever do manage to be able to get something from one of those companies. :-))

  17. I love your site> thankyou for your wealth of information WONDERFUL

  18. i have used oils for a couple years now. i am a believer who was raised in a FDA only approved home, so it was a big leap for me. i wanted to share that i use the YL original thieves toothpaste for deodorant. it works great & is aluminum free. thanks for the oily posts!

  19. I WAS WONDERING I AM NEW TO ALL THIS IS THERE A LIST THAT TELLS WHAT OILS DO FOR EACH THING AS WELL AS A WAY TO DETOX

  20. “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? I found this on naha.org. It says that any deaths from EOs are extremely rare and that it is typically due to accidental ingestion by infants. I think you will agree that there are tons of fatalities from OTC and prescription meds, or from infections that arose from hospital stays.

      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.

  21. 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!
    Thanks

    • Hi Mandi. NAN has a book on their site that might interest you. Here is the owner’s response to your question.

      Humm if Young Livings Pan Away did not work, they are having some serious issues. The next step would be going with straight Helichrysum and then adding a little lemongrass and peppermint to it. If the Pan Away did not work, the Sports Pro will not do the job either.

      So the best would to use the more expensive Helichrysum but they may want to try out the less expensive oil first. Also what probably will assist is the Defense. It will be slow but over time it will work. I have a couple professional athletes use it and they tell me it cuts their injury recovery time in half.

      Now if none of the above works, I would then still go with the oils but also do a radical diet change and also emotional release. Have a wonderful day,

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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”.

  25. 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!

  26. 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. http://wholenewmom.com/health-concerns/eczema-and-food-allergies-our-story-from-despair-to-healing-part-one/ 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. :)