What do you think of essential oils?

PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
I saw this bit of recently published research about essential oils.

Here's a link to the full paper
"We found that receptivity to pseudo-profound fabricated statements and religiosity were the most consistent predictors of greater use of, perceived effectiveness of, and a willingness to spend more money on EOs."

Basically, the more likely you are to believe BS, the more likely you are to embrace the use of essential oils.


  • Everything they found is "as expected". The only comment I would have on the article is that I can clearly see a false positive: "while being conservative was associated with the use of essential oils for spiritual enhancement". There is an overlap of being conservative and other traits which lead to conclusion conservative => more likely to use EOs. 
    Other than that, totally agree and it's not only essential oils. I wasted hours explaining to someone that those hundred dollar moisturisers aren't worth the money. I made an exact copy of a luxury moisturiser that she couldn't distinguish from the original, but she still buys those products and brags she got them on sales for an amount I am not even going to mention. Doesn't like sulfates and uses a shampoo with SLS, the list goes on and on. And it's an individual with good education, high IQ and a successful career, yet absolutely no scepticism when it comes to marketing. Any BS written on the label and published in some BS source like Guardian on topics like EOs or coronavirus, or peptides or useless food supplements would be accepted as truth. We think that there are no such people around us, but if you take a close look, they are everywhere. What I found shocking, some of them are very intelligent otherwise.
  • DASDAS Member
    edited March 22
    Sure, but the same applies to pretty much anything. It's Lisa's rock for tigers, if the consumer wants to buy that magic he will. That's the easy consumer, but the thing is marketing is permanently focused on selling bullshit to everyone. They mislead and confuse within that huge gray line that defuses and stretches every day. If I say my shampoo has the power of mango or whatever to detangle, the consumer won't know the functional ingredient it's a quat. It's almost lying and certainly omitting the truth. 

    But regarding your question I think EOs are freaking expensive, and better left in the hands of my perfumist. The only useful ones I ever used are pine and citronella, and stability is a bitch. 

    It's easy to blame the consumers, but the reality is people think they work because marketers spend billions on half lies to lead people to think it works, let's not pretend otherwise.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Certainly some EO's work well as fragrance ingredients. For other purposes, the evidence is much less convincing.  Although I suppose it depends on the specific claim about the specific oil.
  • Cafe33Cafe33 Member
    We have a friend here who is convinced EOs are like medicine. I mean I am not completely sure if she would use it to fight cancer. What I don't understand is how a company like Doterra is allowed to function in the USA. 

    Our friend has entire cases of Doterra products, and no amount of talking to would convince her that they are not holistic drugs.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It all comes down to exactly the wording of their claims.  Plus, supplements in the US are practically unregulated since the passage of the DSHEA back in 1994 
  • I’ve used tea tree eo when I had a finger infection starting at the border between my nail and cuticle. It was green and was getting bigger day by day. Purely anecdotal but after a few drops of pure eo for about 2 days, the green colour totally disappeared. This was about a year ago. Also own essential oils for perfumery. 
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