Are essential oils essential?

So before going to my review on essential oils (specifically Young Living oils), here’s a disclaimer for the title. Essential oils are the extracts from herbs or plants, from which oils are produced. Its term has no connotation related to the word essential itself which means absolutely necessary or extremely important. Its usage perhaps come from the root word essence, which signifies the very essence of the her or plant present in the oil. So now we get that out, my title should be ‘Are essential oils important?’ But let’s put it that way for the sake of posh-y literary prose.

So my story goes this way: After seeing a constant stream of essential oils “testimonies” on Facebook and been given a lavender spray by a friend, I finally gave in and bought my first set of essential oils from Young Living. And after living in Australia for three years now, it really is popular here where going organic and natural are the norms. So I joined the bandwagon! It was not exactly cheap, it was whooping dollars that can buy groceries this family for a week or two. I then considered it as a Christmas gift for myself. So glad to have that excuse!

Now that was more or less 2 months before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, and boy was I truly grateful that I bought the essential oils when hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, and toilet papers (what?) were running low or empty in grocery shelves.

Now is it effective? Hmm, I can’t say for sure. As a mom of two young kids, here’s my personal review:

It’s fair to say its effectivity is more about placebo effect especially on diffusing

When you use oils, you somehow feel assured that you’ve done something to keep those unwanted virus away. I put essential oils in our cleaning sprays and I diffuse oils every night, but that’s it. The effectiveness isn’t officially backed up by science yet. So it still can’t replace washing hands or using rubbing alcohol/sanitizer as the first on the list of cleanliness measures.

I have yet to try tea tree oil on acne or wounds. But we’ve known for long that tea tree oil is THE oil treatment for those skin problems. So that’s a given. It is effective.

Make sure to test patch and use it conservatively the first time

I’ve been skeptical about essential for a long time. First, because I’ve got two very young kids who I don’t want to be exposed with the harm that essential oils may bring. I waited until our little one turned one year and a half to try the oils for my family. Second, because I myself am very sensitive and somewhat allergic to essential oils. Let me tell you about a few of my experiences:

First time use of Panaway

The first time I used Panaway (with carrier oil) was to rub it topically on my husband’s ankle for massage. A few days later, I got superdry and itchy hands. When the itch went away, the skin became flaky.

First time use of Peppermint

For the peppermint, I rubbed it on my hands and smelled the oil from it. That was one of the instructions on how to use that oil. I did get an instant relief of clear nose and boost mood. But a few minutes later, I had palpitations from which I am really prone of especially when I drink lots of coffee.

First time use of Digize

As for the Digize, I diffused it on our diffuser overnight. Halfway through the night, I got stomach aches and went to the toilet like a bus on full circle duty. You could call it mild diarrhea.

First time of Thieves

Now, Thieves is like the flagship essence of the Young Living family of oil. They’ve made a whole set of cleaning products out of this combo oil.

First time I smelled it, I didn’t like it but got used to it later. Its smell reminds me of a burnt leather.

Final thoughts

It took some time before I got comfortable in using the oils on a daily basis. The first reactions I had with the Peppermint, Digize, and Thieves no longer happen. But I still stay away from Panaway.

Different people will have different experiences, so it’s really case to case basis. But I found it truly important to use it with caution especially with the young kids in spite of the raves and trends about essential oils these days.

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About Author

Cathy is a busy-bee homemaker who blogs on the side. Introvert, tea-lover, and rigidly frugal, she can wrap you words as long as her little tots are sleeping and not all over her just yet.