Are essential oils a scam? Is Thieves Oil (or other oil blends like it) a scam?
I used to think so! I mean, these teeny tiny bottles of oil smelled nice, but they're supposed to heal people?
Well, here's what happened to me.
I'm a Skeptic
I'm not one to trust in alternative remedies easily.
Really, I'm not. However, when one is really sick and mainstream medicine isn't helping, one starts looking elsewhere.
Among other things, we've tried:
- ionic foot bath (only once)
- tons of supplements (no–I haven't weighed them. But if I did I'm scared it would be close to a ton.)
- Nutritional Balancing. You can read more about this in this post on adrenal fatigue.
Anyway, we've tried a lot on our road to healing. I've been really careful not to mortgage the farm (er–our house) while trying to heal my son's autism, but it's been tempting at times.
Looking back at that list of alternative medical practices, I guess it's pretty hard to think that I'm a skeptic, right?
But really I am.
We've tried a lot of things, but we really did put a lot of thought into all of these “healing options” prior to working with them, and most of them we aren't doing anymore.
Either they haven't worked, or we've found something that's worked better or cheaper.
Before finishing this post, please note that I am NO LONGER USING YOUNG LIVING ESSENTIAL OILS.
I moved on for various reasons. You can read more starting with this post, or skip ahead to the final post here.
Are Essential Oils a Scam?
Well, the latest object of my skepticism is….you guessed it. Essential Oils.
I'd heard about essential oils a number of times over the years.
People would tell me how great essential oils were and I'd think, “Yeah, right. You're just trying to get me into another one of those network marketing things.”
And frankly, putting oil on your body and expecting it to heal anything sounded, well, basically loaded with “woo woo foo foo” to me.
Nonetheless, it seemed that over and over that someone would be telling me about essential oils. Especially the antibacterial blends, often called “Thieves” or “Four Thieves” or something like that.
Those blends and the oils in them are supposed to be antiviral, antibacterial. And are often touted as being a cure all for many ailments.
“Yeah, right. Sure,” this skeptic thought.
I Got Sick
Anyway, about 10 months ago, I got sick.
I had a bad cold that I just couldn't shake. For a long time.
I had fluid in my ear and then my nose – and then both. Three weeks or more passed. I started asking friends for advice and feared that the dreaded antibiotic would be in my future. One natural-minded friend suggested I try one of these multi-level-marketing company anti-bacterial blends.
“I always use that when I feel something coming on. It's great!” she said.
“So, do you sell the oils?” I asked.
OK then. Someone recommending it who wasn't selling it.
Now I was seriously curious and was wondering if maybe the essential oils weren't a scam?
So I went on a hunt to get some without spending the huge retail price for a bottle.
I got a small sample from a local woman, but it wasn't nearly enough to deal with my problem. So I called the original person who had told me about Young Living and she sent me a larger sample– enough to get me through a few days.
Three days after I started taking the oil (I took 5 drops, followed by a “gulp” of water, up to 5 times per day) –I was better.
(Please note that I no longer recommend taking essential oils internally unless one is under the care of a physician or other medical professional or certified aromatherapist — someone who knows your condition and your overall health. Furthermore, taking oils internally can lead to damage of the mucous membranes, and essential oils must be emulsified before using with a water base.)
Since then, this oil blend, or similar blends from other companies have helped myself and others with various ailments:
I used to be really prone to these–getting an infection just after something jabbed me under my fingernail (for one of them about 5 years ago, I ended up needing antibiotics since it got really nasty). I hadn't gotten them for awhile, but I did get one again about 5 months ago.
Colloidal silver and peroxide wouldn't do anything, so I thought about the “Thieves oil-type” blend.
I stuck a little of the oil (straight / neat – I wanted it to be strong and didn't care if it stung) on another clean fingernail, pushed it into the injured area – and a few days and several treatments later, the infection was gone.
(Update 3/17: I no longer recommend nor use essential oils neat / undiluted.)
Viral Mouth Sores
One night, while we were out, my son complained that his lip was sore. He said he'd gotten bumped. When we got home, however, there were 6-7 obvious herpes sores, filled with pus (sorry to be so descriptive.)
After doing research on oils and herpes sores, I ended up trying Thieves again, this time diluted with a carrier oil.
The next day, here is what his lip looked like and it was MUCH better than before. (I wish I'd thought to take a photo the first day. Sigh.)
There was no sign of the sores within 3 days.
I used to have a rough time with acne in my 20s but hadn't really struggled with any skin issues but rosacea since then. Suddenly, this past month, I started getting some small breakouts. None of them really bothered me, however, until I got a large cystic breakout next to my cheek.
I used the anti-bacterial blend diluted with a carrier oil and overnight the cyst had shrunk noticeably. Within 3 days it was gone.
Another reader shared that she's used one of these blends on some underarm cysts / sores and they've vanished.
A local reader who is prone to sinus issues had a bad sinus infection again.
She ended up trying the Immune Strength blend from my favorite essential oils company, and all signs of the infection were gone overnight.
Another local reader's son had a bad fever for several days that was had become worrisome. She'd gotten an Rx for an antibiotic but really didn't want to fill it (see my story about avoiding antibiotics). She ended up trying an anti-bacterial essential oils blend along with an herbal supplement and said that the next day her son woke up and he was his old self again.
The “Thieves Oil Story”
Thieves-type oils were apparently developed from historical information about four thieves in France who would rob victims of the Black Plague (get it–stealing things off of dead bodies. Ick.)
They'd protect themselves from the plague with a secret recipe of natural ingredients including cloves and rosemary. The thieves were captured and given a lighter sentence in exchange for their recipe. And it really works.
Now I don't know if this is a valid story at all, but it's interesting, and the essential oils involved have been shown to have many antibacterial and antiviral properties. There are many studies about these qualities including this one and this one.
Essential Oils can be a very valid part of your natural medicine cabinet. I'll fill you in on more in my next post on essential oils where I'll talk about Peppermint, Wintergreen and other oils and my experience with them.
And I really don't mean this to be a commercial. I am just so floored by my experience with them that I feel compelled to share (some things are just too good to keep to yourself!)
But Essential Oils are Expensive!
Do you feel this way? I did.
So – how do essential oils fit into a “financially concerned” household?
You can buy these blends pre-blended for convenience from the essential oils company that I recommend. You can go here to see how I ended up choosing this company. It's a series, so you can read what you like – some of the comments got pretty dicey though.
And when someone gets sick, we don't go through a whole bottle. It's a whole lot cheaper than the gas (whoa – $4 per gallon?!) and copay and maybe an antibiotic on top of it. And we all know there is more than up-front finances involved with antibiotics and other meds, right?
Additionally, you can make your own anti-bacterial essential oils blend and save a bunch of money that way.
Again, please note that I am no longer using Young Living Oils.
I moved on for various reasons.
You can read more starting with this post, or skip ahead to the final post here.
You can see my DIY Antibacterial Essential Oils Blend here.
I'm not one to trust in alternative remedies easily.
Interested in learning more about using essential oils for healthy living? This book is a GREAT resource:
Free Essential Oils Report and VIP Newsletter Access
Also, if you go and grab my Free Report on 10 Things to Know About Essential Oils Before You Buy, you will not only get more myth-busting essential oils information, but you'll get access to my VIP newsletter as well–complete with updates, great healthy living offers, of course new posts on essential oils, and more.