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  • Writer's pictureSusan K. Edwards

Essential Oils or Snake Oil Remedies?

You’ve heard all the buzz about essential oils, and you would like to try them. But then you see some of their prices…seriously? Before you shell out the bucks, you want to be sure they are ESSENTIAL oils, not snake oil remedies!

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly are essential oils?

Essential oils are the highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences extracted from parts of the plants. These oils often have hundreds of organic constituents that may promote beneficial responses when applied or inhaled.

They can be applied (diluted) to skin, inhaled, diffused, or added to perfumes, cleaning or personal care products. When they are applied to your skin, they must be properly diluted with a carrier oil.

Essential oils are different than fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are man-created and while they smell amazing, they have no therapeutic properties. They are perfumes.

Do Essential Oils Work?

Many customers ask me if essential oils work. My response is they have been considered precious and in use for many uses for thousands of years. In my experience, only things of value continue in use over the millennia.

Essential oils have been used to instantly soothe or enliven. They are also known for their physical, spiritual and emotional uplifting properties. Oils can bridge the gap between cutting edge technology and traditional wisdom and help you energize your life and reclaim your natural balance of both body and mind.

Will certain oils “cure” you?

No. They support your body’s natural ability to heal. They can be an excellent complement to traditional healing methods. Some have useful properties, such as being anti-fungal and antiviral that can assist you in achieving and maintaining a healthy balance. Long before modern pharmaceuticals, essential oils played a vital role in traditional wisdom designed to achieve a healthy balance of body and mind and soul.

Ok. You’ve convinced me. Which Essential Oils Do I Need?

Due to the precious nature of essential oils, they can be pricey. Happily, you only need a few drops to get the job done! Still, out of the many hundreds of oils, how do you choose which ones to invest in having in your toolkit? Here are the four that I consider must haves.

  • Peppermint

  • Tea Tree

  • Eucalyptus

  • Lavender


Another great way to go is with blends. Blends are a combination of two or more oils that creates the desired effect and spares you having to purchase each of the oil ingredients separately. Some are undiluted, meaning you will still have to mix with your carrier oil before applying to your skin. Some are already diluted to the proper concentration and ready to go. Roll-ons are a perfect combination of convenience and effectiveness.

Other Benefits

In addition to therapeutic benefit at the emotional and physical level, essential oils can be used in household and laundry cleaners. Some oils act as a natural insect repellent and pesticide. You may recall using citronella candles during the summer to keep mosquitoes away. Hate spiders? Peppermint oil can create an effective barrier to keep those pesky arachnids out of your personal space without the use of dangerous chemicals.


Spider Repellent Recipe

2 oz spray bottle 2 oz water 1 – 2 drops dish detergent (helps oil ‘stick’ to surface) 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

Clean areas around door and window sills. Shake spray bottle to mix ingredients and spritz areas spiders would enter.


No matter what your need, essential oils can play a vital role in achieving a natural, organic result. Pay attention to the quality, purity and reputation of the oil brand and the distributor. If it’s cheap, be very cautious. Pure, effective essential oils are precious and pricey. Make sure it is an “essential” oil, not a perfume or fragrance oil. While those smell wonderful, they have no therapeutic value.

So welcome to the world of essential oils! Now you know what they are, and some of their many uses. Once you get started, you will find it impossible to quit. They are amazing, wonderful, effective and oh, so amazing!

Susan K. Edwards, L.S.H., is an author, Reiki Master and Energy Healer whose work centers around reminding people that it's, "All About Love!" She and her husband own Wildhair Studios’ Rock Shop in historic downtown Paducah, Kentucky. You can purchase an aromatherapy kit with the four essential oils mentioned in the article here.

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