Essential oils have been rising quite a bit in popularity here in the United States over the last several years.  Are you sick of them too?  Well I am.  Let me tell you why.

Why I Am Sick and Tired Of Essential Oils

Let me paint the picture for you:  one night I had ordered a salad and was looking for a table to sit down at to enjoy my food.  Now, this place I was eating at was a public market so needless to say, at six-thirty in the evening, it’s quite a busy place.  I finally find one open table directly across from a group of younger women (likely in their thirties).  I sit down and I’m hit immediately by a smell of about fifteen different essential oil scents wafting in the air. It was disgusting. But as I ate my salad and quietly listened to the health claims that each different scent would do, it became near comical.

The Essential Oil Craze

As you can see here, essential oils have been trending up in the last several years. I had asked one of my guy friends if he was familiar with them but he wasn’t. Chances are he doesn’t have a girlfriend or a wife (he has neither). The other odds are is that he doesn’t work with very many women. I on the other hand am entrenched in a profession that is dominated by about ninety percent women. So to me, essential oils are about as common as going to the store during the month of February and being inundated by mom’s pushing their daughters to sell Girl Scout Cookies (take it easy, I’m not anti-Girl Scouts, I really do love capitalism).

So what gives?  Why are essential oils becoming so popular?  Is it because there has been some unknown cure for cancer that has been discovered and that Western medicine was simply blinded by?

The Essential Oil Scam and The Western World

 

As you can see here, essential oils are primarily popular here in the United States.  Canada comes in second by a large gap.  For the exception of the Western World, essential oils are incredibly unpopular.  Now, that doesn’t mean that just because the term “essential oils” isn’t being searched for on Google doesn’t mean that people aren’t using them in other places.  Maybe they just don’t have computers.  Or they’re more busy spending money on things that will actually keep them alive.  Like food.

Why I Think Essential Oils Are Stupid

  1. Evidence is largely anecdotal.
    1. Yes, I’m aware that small studies (and very small at that) exist for few oil scents but that doesn’t mean a thing.  It really doesn’t.  The evidence in support of essential oils is largely anecdotal.  That means the evidence is something like this, “I had a friend who put essential oils on her stretch marks after after her pregnancy and they completely disappeared!”  Well, hey, you know what, if they cured your stretch marks, that’s good for you.  But are you sure it’s attributed to essential oils?  That also doesn’t mean that essential oils cure stretch marks.  Nor should they be marketed as such.  I’ve even heard people claiming that essential oils cured their gallstones.   Ah, who knows.  I heard from a friend that drinking soda while eating pop rocks will kill you.
  2. They’re largely sold through MLM Companies.
    1. The vast majority of essential oils are sold through multi-level marketing companies (think AMWAY).  I’m not necessarily against the MLM model.  I am however against having people pay a “startup” fee and then with little training on pathophysiology go out and claim that essential oils will heal your ailments or cure you completely.  MLM’s will take anyone who is willing to pay out the start-up fee and become a “brand partner.”  They don’t care about background or experience.  So there’s just no way to regulate what people are saying.  Especially when people are financially motivated.

With all of this said, I’m not completely against aromatherapy.  There are some great benefits to it.  But the essential oil industry is built upon profit as much as the pharmaceutical industry is.  So heed caution when taking advice on essential oils being the cure all to your ailments.