Are Essential Oils a Scam? ~ A Skeptic Looks at Thieves® Oil

I thought essential oils were a scam. Then I got really sick and got to put them to the test. Did the Thieves Oil perform? Find out what happened next.

UPDATE 1/2013- Before reading this post, 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.

Really, I'm not. However, when one is really sick and mainstream medicine isn't helping, one starts looking elsewhere. With all that we've been through with autism, adrenal fatigue, heavy metals, and more, I've been in and out of doctor's offices.  I've tried, among other things:

  • chiropractic
  • homeopathy
  • kinesiology
  • ionic foot bath (just once)
  • acupressure
  • tons of supplements (no – I haven't weighed them.  But if I did I'm scared if it would be close.)
  • Nutritional Balancing.  Our current plan that I'm really pleased with.  See more in this adrenal fatigue – and this one too.

Anyway, we've tried a lot on our road to healing.  I've been really careful not to mortgage the farm (er – our house) in trying to heal my son's autism, but it's been tempting at times.

Looking back at that list, I guess it's pretty hard to think that I'm a skeptic, right?

But really I am.

We've tried a lot, but we really did put a lot of thought into all of these “healing options” and most of them we aren't doing anymore.

Either haven't worked, or we've found something that's worked better or cheaper.

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 healing anything sounded, well, basically loaded with woo woo foo foo to me.

Well, it seemed that over and over 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.

“Yeah, right. Sure,” this skeptic thought.

I thought essential oils were a scam. Then I got really sick and got to put them to the test. Did the Thieves Oil perform? Find out what happened next.

I Got Sick

Anyway, about 10 months ago, I got sick.

Really 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.

“No.”

OK then.  Someone recommending it who wasn't selling it. Now I was seriously curious. Are essential oils a scam?

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.

Good stuff.

(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:

Fingernail Infection

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 did 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.

Cold / 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. (I wish I'd thought to take a photo the first day.  Sigh.)

Herpes Cold Sores

There was no sign of the sores within 3 days.

Cystic Acne

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.

Sinus Infection

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.

Persistent Illness with Fever

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.

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!

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 looks like a GREAT resource:

Essential Oils Natural Remedies Book

Please share your thoughts on and questions about essential oils. Do you or did you think essential oils are a scam?

This post is for entertainment purposes only and is not to be used as medical advice as I am not a physician, nor do I pretend to be one. Please consult with your physician prior to using any kind of natural remedy or supplement.  Thank you.

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

Comments

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  1. I think essential oils and alternative therapies in general are not given the consideration they deserve. My M.D. actually recommends alternative therapies before she goes to medications. AND they have worked.

  2. Adrienne, I hate to burst your bubble but unfortunately you have absolutely no concrete evidence regarding ANY of your claims about essential oils. For all you know it could honestly just be a “placebo” effect instead. Please don’t ever blog again unless your either: a) a certified doctor or b) you have conducted a study and evaluated your findings. Your wasting everyone’s time by us viewing this and your giving extremely misleading information, complete garbage review !!!!

  3. Yordan Yordanov says:

    I believe. The person that wrote this .. not article but a piece of text is sooo uninformed. It is just, sad. It is so dull. Jesus. Dear Americans, you have way way way bigger problems with what you eat everyday than with essential oils. U purchase EOs from big companies and u dont even know where they come from, how are they extracted etc. I am producer of oils and herbs i know so much about them and how they help. I export to so many companies all over the world and I know that pharmas use them extensively. This blog or whatever this is is pathetic. Please hire some professional to edit your crap. And for god sake, learn some medical researches. Please do!

    • Hello Yordan. I’m really confused by your comment. You are correct that we have many issues with what we eat. However that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned w/ putting synthetic oil on our skin. Then in the next sentence you seem to be saying that it’s important to know more about where our oils are coming from. I’m confused.

      I don’t appreciate your saying that my blog is pathetic and crap. That kind of accusation isn’t welcome here.

    • I couldn’t agree more buddy. Finally some truth 🙂 !

      • So Yordan seems to be an exporter of essential oils but you think they are garbage according to your other comment. Which is it — you think they are garbage and so you think his business is stupid or you think that they are a valuable product?

    • Yordan, can you give the link to your blog, or your info? I want to read all the info and research you’ve written and shared with us. Thanks.

  4. I am so thankful for your posts regarding EO. I have been looking into them since my daughter suffers with 4-5 ear infections per year. Her doctor said that’s not enough for tubes (really?) and that we can just treat with antibiotics. Umm, no more thank you! We are changing doctors and looking for alternative solutions to this problem. Anyways, my EO loving friend got me to buy some YL because that’s what she uses and said that it’s costly, but worth it. I’ve done MLM before and I know that great products don’t have to cost a fortune. That’s a huge reason I chose not to participate in MLM companies anymore. I came across your post after submitting my purchase with YL and trusting my friends advise, even though I felt I should have done my own research. Your post are so informative and I appreciate you recommending a company that takes the quality of their products to a whole other level. I am have looked around their site all evening and have decided that all my future EO purchases will be made with them. I greatly appreciate your honesty, your ability to admit if you were wrong and your constant updating to make sure that you are providing the most accurate information possible.