ICYMI- It's a boomtown for the Essential Oil industry right now.
According to a study by Grandview Research, the essential oil market totaled $4.8 Billion in 2019. And it's forecasted to reach $7.3 Billion in revenue by 2024. My family will be contributing to that figure.
Indeed, how can I forget the day that neat little arrangement of small brown vials of oil first appeared in my house? They featured tantalizing names like OnGuard, Balance, InTune, DigestZen, Slim &Sassy, and Romance.
But ever since that day, I've had some questions. For instance, essential oils certainly smell potent-- but do they actually work?
(Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash)
I decided to take on a personal mission, do some research, try them myself-- and help get to the bottom of the oils phenomenon from a layman's perspective. This article is a firsthand report of my experience with essential oils.
Here's My Essential FAQs:
- Is my family single-handedly supporting the essential oil industry?
- Are we in fact, being sold snake oil? Or do essential oils actually work?
- Are essential oils worth the cost?
- Which oils do I recommend?
- Which oils do I NOT recommend?
Are you ready to learn the essentials about essential oils? Good. Because the opinions you are about to receive will not be diluted with organic coconut or jojoba carrier oil.
Ready? Let's roll.
Is My Family Single-Handedly Supporting the Essential Oils Industry?
Let me first state, that I'm not being paid by any essential oil companies to write this. I'm definitely paying them! So consider this clean, unbiased, but anecdotal data.
I asure you I've developed my opinions based on experience, one roller-ball application at a time.
After all, experience is a great teacher. But if you don't feel like recreating the wheel, I've gathered here my experiences with essential oils.
For example, one of the first experiences many get is shock when they see a $200 DoTerra charge show up in their bank account. I admit, that made me mouth the letters WTF in my head when I saw it.
But instead of getting upset about it, I tried rubbing some Joy Oil on the pulsing veins on either side of my neck. That brought me a sliver of perspective.
That perspective? That the essential oil industry garners $4.8 Billion in revenue a year. Which means I'm not the only one investing money and counterspace into oils. But it still hurts when you buy an oil you don't like. So with that inspiration, I next applied a healthy dose of InTune, and sat down to write this article.
I do it for the masses who might be wondering the same thing as me.
Are We All, In Fact, Being Sold Snake Oil Here? Or Do Essential Oils Actually Work?
First and foremost, the DoTerra website does in fact feature the following official FDA disclaimer:
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.” --DoTerra.com
In other words, if you like eating On Gaurd pellets like caviar, be aware they may not actually protect you from the cold and flu.
Let's get into the reviews:
OnGuard: I'm skeptical. As hinted at above, OnGuard sells itself as an immune system booster. I don't know if OnGuard protects me from the flu, but it certainly makes me drink more water to flush the hot cinnamon taste from my mouth. (Yes, essential oils are edible. Along with OnGuard, other edible oil flavors include Lemon, Lime, Wild Orange. Black Pepper, Cardamom, Fennel, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Frankincense.) In contrast, if you want to boost your immune system, I'd recommend eatting cleaner, cutting back on the sugar, and washing your hands after touching public surfaces. Bottom line, I don't recommend OnGuard. If you like the taste, just buy a pack of Big Red chewing gum instead at a fraction of the price.
InTune: I'm a believer. InTune actually does seem to help me dial in and focus. That said, the reason it helps with focus may be that it's smell is so pungent that it drives people out of the room you're in. But I don't really care why it works, InTune helps me focus and get work done. In addition, the dank smell has grown on me. Recommended.
Lavender: Love it. Lavender seems to help our three young kids relax (slightly) at bedtime. That's not the only reason why I love Lavender. Instead, I really love it because I realized lavender reminds me of Grandma's aftersun Clarion lotion from my childhood. She'd apply that on us after we got out of the bathtub after a long day at the beach. Grandma's house, summertime, and beach days of childhood? Put another way, Lavender smells like my happy place. I'd recommend it to anyone.
Frankincense: Big Believer! Makes me feel Holier than Chance the Rapper singing with Justin Bieber. Why is that? If you recall from the Navtivity story at church, Frankincense made an important appearance at Christmastime. The three Wisemen brought baby Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Growing up, I always thought the best Wiseman was the one who brought them gold. But think about it. The guy that brought Mary some great-smelling Frank oil would've clearly saved the day. Why? Becuase they were out in a smelly barnyard! And, at $90 a bottle for Frankincense, it's nearly as expensive as Gold! Recommended. Don't wait for the Wiseman.
Romance: Oddly effective. Speaking of the holiest-of-holy's. I'm a fan of the Romance oil blend. Let me first say this, Romance smells awful. This dense, musk of a scent is by far the worst smelling oil DoTerra makes.
But I swear, on the moon and the stars in the sky, that there must be some sex panther or raw phermones in that stuff, because it just seems to work in serious and mysterious ways on me and my wife. Try it and thank me later.
Romance is Rec-O-mmended. Because as they say in Anchorman, "60% of the time, it works every time."
Breathe: Waste of money. In my opinion, both the Breathe and Peppermint oils are nothing more than expensive Vic's Vapor rub.
While I'm at it, don't waste money on Citrus or Lemon oil either. Instead buy an orange and a lemon, and eat the peel. Not recommended.
Slim & Sassy: Definitely Snake Oil. This product is 100% a play on your insecurities. Think about it. Even if this oil did somehow make you slim, sassy is mindset. But hey, I just said I love Lavender because it reminds me of my childhood.
So if Slim & Sassy makes you feel slim and especially if it makes you feel sassy, don't let the fact that it's pure snake oil deter you. Final analysis, be my guest (you sassy minx you.)
In Summary: It's Complicated, Darnnit!
Slim & Sassy underscores a key take away of mine about essential oils. A lot of the effectiveness of an oil relies on the power of suggestion. Similar to the placebo effect. But that alone doesn't mean they don't work. Because even the placebo effect is complicated!
A recent study showed that the placebo effect was actually as effective as a certain type of knee surgery. In other words, if you believe it works, it has a greater chance of working. And also, the brain is probably more powerful than we think.
Here's my final take away. If it doesn't break your budget and a smell makes you feel something real, who cares?
If InTune helps you feel focused and productive, get after it. If Frank makes you feel spiritual, Amen to that.
And if Romance gets you and your partner hornier than a sex panther, rumble in the jungle!
So in essence, when it comes to essential oils-- seriously just follow your nose!