Social Question

chyna's avatar

Have you tried essential oils and do they really work?

Asked by chyna (42900points) March 7th, 2017

I see them everywhere now and they claim that a few drops of certain oils can do anything from make you feel tranquil, boost energy, make your feet less tired, and it goes on and on. Can anyone tell me if they have actually tried them and if they are a scam or actually work?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

45 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Essential oils IMHO are a slippery form of aroma therapy. I blend my own body oils for body and hair that I use at bedtime or after bath and there are specific fragrances that I do believe promote a relaxation response. Lavender, jasmine, chamomile, and sandal wood are my favs. Essential oils are used in bath oils, candles, soaps and some people will put a drop in each nostril to help them chill out.

I find using them to be mostly relaxing but I do know if you rub the oils on very vigorously you can “wake up” your skin and feel energized. How you employ them makes all the difference.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I doubt they work other than as a placebo.

syz's avatar

They smell good. Does that count?

canidmajor's avatar

It depends on the oils, the brands, and how you use them. I make a bug repellant from essential oils and witch hazel that is more effective than DEET. I make a substitute for Vicks Vapo Rub that is very effective at lessening congestion. I make an astringent that cleans up scrapes and minor wounds with antiseptic properties. I make a magnesium body butter that is very effective at bringing down swelling, and easing aches and pains in soft tissue, and speeds healing of bruises.
Remember, most pharmaceuticals were originally derived from plant sources.
I never use essential oils for aromatherapy, but the stuff I make smells pretty good as a nice side effect.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rick swears by Skin So Soft as a mosquito repellent.

canidmajor's avatar

With me, Skin So Soft doesn’t even make a dent, unfortunately. I am one of those that they come from miles around to dine on. They bring friends. Ugh.

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III Dryer softener sheets work very well….Boy Scout tested.

Cruiser's avatar

I know this was about essential oils but @canidmajor cracked the egg on other homemade therapies and we use rose hips tea, dandelion tea, nettle tea therapeutically and my wife makes a tincture of echinacea from coneflowers.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think they do anything but smell good, but smell can be powerful.

Giorgio Armani created his Acqua di GiĆ³ to smell like the island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean. It’s his favorite place to relax and unwind.

When I live outside of Florida, once I’m about an hour south of the northern border of the state, it starts to smell like Florida. It smells like home, warmth, and happiness. I get a similar feeling in the Catskills in the summertime. Smells like childhood, and brings back memories with my grandma.

Biofeedback has been used to reduce blood pressure, slow respiration, and other health related indicators. People learn what to think about to settle themselves. I think the smells can work the same way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We are not normal!

Cruiser's avatar

@Dutchess_III “we are not normal” What are you suggesting? Do I suddenly need counseling? Where do I apply for this “normal” certificate?? Help me please!!~

cazzie's avatar

The latest research shows that citronella does not chase away mosquitoes. Installing a fan is the best defence. Mosquitoes don’t fly very well and a slight breeze will keep them away.

Like @JLeslie said, scent can be powerful. Smells can be nauseating and also settle our stomachs. We can also be taught to associate certain smells with being ill and they will remind us each time. They do not cure skin problems or headaches, or menstrual cramps. The collection of some EO’s harm the environment and should be avoided unless they come from sustainable resources. Some EO’s that say they are Sandalwood are not, but a cheap Indian substitute.

I’m extremely wary of the claims and uses being recommended for EO’s in these new MLM scheme companies. EO’s are very strong chemicals. In some respects, very toxic. Wintergreen EO and Tea Tree should be delivered with very specific warnings about use. I have quit online groups that discuss natural soap making products because there is so much bullshit claims regarding EOs and when I try to explain and show them scientific studies, they come at me with fangs and claws. It’s some scary shit.

I know that some combination of EOs sell more soap than others. ;)

Seek's avatar

Re: Mosquito repellent:

I’m a historical re-enactor. I often go on camping trips in the woods in Florida (where the mosquitoes get to live and breed all the way through winter – yay!)

I pack my clothes between trips with a bar of lavender soap. Between the lavender and the long sleeves I’ve had nary a problem with mosquitoes, even when sleeping in a canvas tent that doesn’t close.

Re: EOs applied directly to the body for “magical healing properties” or whatever bullshit DoTerra is saying these days:

EOs are powerful chemicals and while they do smell pretty LOTS of them should not be applied in concentrated form directly to skin.

I had a DoTerra rep assault me with a dab of an EO blend on my wrist. About two minutes later my skin was on FIRE. I’m like, “That was basically straight marjoram oil, wasn’t it, no carrier?” she didn’t even know what she was doing. THEN she tried to tell me to put coconut oil on it to get it off. Um, no, that would make it spread. Pass the Dawn and get the fuck out of my way.

ragingloli's avatar

The only ones that work, are those made from pureed snakes.
All others are a scam!

snowberry's avatar

I use essential oils all the time. Used the right way, they’re awesome.

My RN daughter is very allergic to hospital soap and sanitizer, so much so that she had open wounds on her hands from using them all the time. Yes, it was extremely painful, and she shuddered every time she used them. We concocted a solution of thieves oil in gentle liquid soap that is as effective as harsh hospital soap. Now her hands don’t have open wounds on them anymore. That’s good.

.

cazzie's avatar

Mild soap instead of harsh surfactant from the hospital is much better for skin. What is ‘Thieves oil’? Can you please supply the botanical name?

canidmajor's avatar

@cazzie it’s readily searchable.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My sister mixes and sells them but I think it’s basically bullshit. A few smell nice and could have “relaxing properties” because of that.

As far as mosquito repellent nothing works better than a good fire.

canidmajor's avatar

As lovely as fans and fires are, there is a logistics issue with having them out in the everyday world.

cazzie's avatar

@canidmajor No, because there are different sorts. There is some mix of oils being called ‘Thieves oil’. It seems to vary by maker. There is no essential oil called ‘Thieves oil’.

canidmajor's avatar

Well then, ask for a brand and search that. But your previous posts sound kinda like you think it’s all bunk anyway.

Cruiser's avatar

@cazzie I thought there was Thieves or Four Thieves essential oils

Actually I know there is because I have a vial in my bathroom. Great aroma too!

cazzie's avatar

@Cruiser ‘s link quotes ingredients as ‘Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary’

one I found had these ingredients: Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus X Limon (Lemon) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (Red Thyme) Oil, Thymus Vulgaris (White Thyme) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil.

So, that’s my confusion.

Seek's avatar

Who the heck is putting cinnamon oil on their skin? Are they crazy?

ragingloli's avatar

*cue ominous music
deep-voiced Narrator: “The year is 2017, and humanity is still full of suckers.”

cazzie's avatar

Cinnamon (cinnimal) and Clove (euginal) are two of the most highly contact-toxic essential oils there are. They are among the worst sensitisers there are. Geraniol is also a known culprit that causes allergic reactions. Geraniol is what makes things smell of roses and it is often used as a masking agent. It is extracted from, usually, a type of geranium because it’s cheaper than extracting it from rose absolute.

Brian1946's avatar

Doesn’t poison ivy also secrete an essential oil?

Cruiser's avatar

@Brian1946 I know someone who can make you a bar of soap out of the poison ivy essential oil if you are interested!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Everybody at my wedding got poison ivy because my son made an essential wedding arch for me out of poison ivy vines…

snowberry's avatar

Hey guys, you don’t put it on your skin straight- you dilute it, just like we did with the alternative hospital soap we made for my daughter. If it’s too strong, yes, it will cause problems if used straight on the skin. There are lots of chemicals out there that are too harsh to be used straight on the skin, especially as in my daughter’s case. she had open wounds on her hands from that nasty hospital soap and sanitizer, remember? So we had to come up with a soap that didn’t destroy skin, but still was hospital grade effective against the nasty bugs.

(Sheesh!)

cazzie's avatar

Yeah,... Sheesh…. and yes, Cinnamon and Clove, even diluted, are still strong sensitisers.

canidmajor's avatar

Ah, @snowberry, it’s no use trying to convince the people that KNOW BETTER (eye roll). I’m glad your daughter had wonderful results, because, you know, you’re not a complete idiot. I have had some surprisingly good results with various essential oils appropriately used as well, but lots of people figure that if something isn’t pharmaceutical, it’s just bunk.
Silly ol’ them.

snowberry's avatar

Yes @canidmajor you’re right. I need to tell her that open wounds are far more preferable in an environment with lots of antibiotic resistant germs, MRSA, C. diff, and the like. I’m sure she’d much prefer having a greater opportunity to contract one of them. And she really misses the pain too!

Yeah! It’ll be great!

cazzie's avatar

If she had used just the mild soap without the EO’s as a test to see if that is what healed her skin, I’d be more likely to believe the EO’s actually helped.

I guess EO use also increases one’s use of snark and sarcasm.

snowberry's avatar

@cazzie, OF COURSE she would have healed up without using essential oils!

It was NOT The essential oils that healed up her hands! Her hands healed up because she stopped using the extremely harsh soap and sanitizer!

She is ALLERGIC to the CHEMICALS in the hospital soap and sanitizer! They caused CHEMICAL BURNS (open wounds) all over her hands!

However she had to use something to kill the nasty germs because she works in a hospital!

THESE ESSENTIAL OILS IN GENTLE LIQUID SOAP KILLED THE NASTY HOSPITAL BUGS BUT STILL WERE GENTLE ENOUGH ON HER SKIN TO ALLOW IT TO HEAL!

That is the entire point of using essential oils in the soap!

I am not being snarky or sarcastic now. I am trying to emphasize my point in every way possible within the limitations of text. If you can’t get my point this time, I’m sorry.

snowberry's avatar

And to further emphasize my point, the only way she could have just used mild soap to heal her hands is to quit her job. She is working in her chosen profession, which is in the hospital! So no, she could not have just used mild soap to heal her hands. Using mild soap is not an option for her there!

cazzie's avatar

@snowberry You remember what I do for a living, right?

snowberry's avatar

(Edited) Yes, that’s why I don’t understand what you are missing here.

cazzie's avatar

Well, you keep making unsubstantiated claims about essential oils, then and ignore people who actually formulate them.

snowberry's avatar

Ok, then YOU come up with a better alternative to the hospital soap and sanitizer that she’s allergic to. I’m sure she would be interested to see, and if it can be done I’ll make sure she gets it. We live in the USA.

canidmajor's avatar

Child care?

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Another alternative is regular soap without antibacterial chemicals is basically as effective as antibacterial soap.

cazzie's avatar

It’s not letting my post my reply….

cazzie's avatar

@snowberry My recommendation is to use the mild soap without the essential oils. She should put her hands in cotton gloves at night with a really good coating of a body butter of sheabutter/ricebrain oil on them. If it makes her feel better, she can scent the bodybutter with only a few drops of lavender, but no clove and no cinnamon, especially if she has open sores. My sister has the same problems with her hands at the hospital she works. The soaps there are very harsh detergents. Essential oils in a wash-off product are for scent only. There is not enough contact on the skin for them to be anything other than nice smelling.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther