Essential Oils: Drawing the Line Between Hype and Health

Essential Oils: Drawing the Line Between Hype and Health

In the recent years, essential oils have gained a lot of popularity. This is partly because of aggressive selling through models like multi-level marketing. Indeed, some of the leading brand names in essential oils have been put on the spot for various controversies and have – it can be argued – given essential oils the reputation of a fad or a pseudo-science, due to badly-motivated sales practices.

Some players in the conventional cosmetic and wellness industry have also been stunned and threatened by the exponential growth of essential oil products as an alternative to beauty and wellness. In this regard, many have looked to discredit or water-down the merits of essential oils.

There is no doubt that some marketers (both for and against the spread of essential oils) have placed their bottom-line first, leading to wild claims regarding what essential oils can do. Having said this, the discourse should not downplay the role and function of essential oils. Do they work or are they just being hyped by companies looking to cash in big?

The best way to understand essential oils is to go back to the source. The modern age has learned about these oils from past generations. In this regard, looking at how essential oils were in the past and why, may hold the key to their relevance and efficacy.

It is really hard to conclude that these oils did not serve a vital role in wellness. This article therefore goes back to where it all started to see how essential oils worked and why they were so dear to many cultures of the world.

Use of essential oils in ancient Egypt

If you know a bit of Egyptian history, beauty was at the heart of their identity. It is estimated that these oils were used from 2000 BC. In addition to promoting beauty, Egyptians cherished wellness, spirituality and empowerment of the mind. They were even passionate about life after death. Essential oils were the center of the beauty and medicinal regimes of Egyptians. Icons like Cleopatra were documented to have used these oils to achieve optimal beauty in conjunction to the fatty oils, clays and sea salts available to her. Men and women of means showed off their status by adorning excellent scents that could distinguish them accordingly.

The upper class was well defined owing to ointments and salves they could afford. Pictorials on temple walls of ancient Egypt tell a story of how they extracted and valued essential oils. The royal families valued the various recipes and formulas; they would unearth powerful oils for beauty and wellness.

The ancient pyramids of Meroe in Sudan’s desert

Upon the discovery and excavation of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, more than fifty jars of essential oils were uncovered. These jars are as valuable as the gold that was also in the tomb. The uses of these oils in Egyptian culture were for beauty or skin care, medicinal, aromatherapy, status and spiritual reasons.

Use of essential oils in India

India is known for its ancient healing system known as Ayurveda. This method of healing has been practiced for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda is an Indian text that means ‘life knowledge’. At the core of this ancient healing model are essential oils. This approach to healing combines practical elements, philosophy as well as the spiritual.

Ancient literature about the healing system documents hundreds of herbs and aromatic oils used for natural beauty and wellness. The oils include ginger, myrrh, sandalwood, cinnamon and more. Today, Ayurveda is gaining traction as more people look to alternative medicine. To be specific, the western world has opened its eyes to natural alternatives that utilize essential oils to achieve beauty and health naturally.

Use of essential oils in China

Shennong was a Chinese ruler who is best described as the father of Traditional Chinese Medicine. His medical journal dated 2700 BC detailed the use of over 350 plants for healing and wellness. This ancient herbalist is said to have tested herbs and oils himself to understand their use and effects. In fact, he is said to have discovered tea. This cultural hero pioneered and taught how to use nature for healing.

The Great Wall across the historical northern borders of China.

China has indeed contributed greatly to the development of medicine and is a great producer of essential oils. Modern medicine also borrows a lot from Traditional Chinese Medicine and this goes to show that essential oils cannot be overlooked.

Use of essential oils in 19th century Europe

Over the years, the importance and significance of essential oils only increased. In 1910, a French cosmetic chemist suffered an accident in his lab where he burned his hands severely. He dipped his hands in a large container filled with lavender essential oil. Immediately, the burning and tissue gasification stopped and healing started the next day. This French chemist named Gattefosse developed a keen interest in investigating the effect of essential oils on burns. In the second world war, he treated many wounded soldiers with essential oils and went ahead to coin the term ‘aromatherpie’. 

Biblical references

For Christians, the bible is the ultimate authority on spirituality and knowledge. To this end, this sacred book refers to essential oils not less that 9 times. In fact, the holy book mentions at least 12 essential oils. Among the oils mentioned include frankincense, myrrh, fir, cinnamon cedarwood, spikenard and more. In context, all essential oils in the bible depict positivity and healing. There is great importance assigned to these oils and for this reason, many Christians use the oils religiously.

User reviews

Independent customer reviews give you a clear picture of how the products work; if they work. In light of this, look at honest reviews and see what people say about essential oils. There are many oils that serve different roles. You should come to an informed conclusion before buying.   


The above history is just a small snapshot of how essential oils have shaped cultures and brought beauty, health and healing. Today, it is important for you to test the oils. Find out whether they work for you or not. Distinguishing between sales goals and the merits of the oil is the best thing to do. You will discover that high quality essential oils are indeed a viable alternative to beauty and health today.


132 thoughts on “Essential Oils: Drawing the Line Between Hype and Health”

  • Sandy Klocinski
    by Sandy Klocinski

    The rise of the wellness industrial complex has put things like natural beauty and essential oils in the spotlight for their perceived lack of chemicals. But you’d be wise to be aware of their limitations

    • mohsen
      by mohsen

      Hope I will be selected for the prize!

    • Cruise
      by Cruise

      Am really inspired to make my own essential oil.

    • audra
      by audra

      really good point, sandy

  • Lisa
    by Lisa

    Very helpful, I always wonder what is true or not.

  • Jennylyn Gross
    by Jennylyn Gross

    Thanks for the info

  • kimrk56
    by kimrk56

    I enjoyed reading about the history of essential oils.

  • David Hollingsworth
    by David Hollingsworth

    This is good information to see which oils are good or bad for you.

  • Myst Anglin
    by Myst Anglin

    This has some great information. Thanks!!

  • Driq
    by Driq

    Great giveaway!

  • Isaiah Glasbrenner
    by Isaiah Glasbrenner

    Great Info!

  • Lee9
    by Lee9

    Bit short

  • Natalie
    by Natalie

    I had no idea about the religious significance of essential oils!

  • Kakhaber Khmelidze
    by Kakhaber Khmelidze

    Thanks for the info.

  • Tamra Phelps
    by Tamra Phelps

    I definitely think that certain scents can lift a mood. I'm not sureo I believe the more extravagant claims about essential oils, but they might help.

  • Beth Wiggins
    by Beth Wiggins

    Helpful as I've heard quite a bit about essential oils in the past few years and have wondered if it was true. Thank you.

  • Cleveland White
    by Cleveland White

    this is very informative

  • Gary
    by Gary

    Oils have had a special place in cultures, like anointing oils.

  • Mohamed Emam
    by Mohamed Emam


  • Lisa Johnson
    by Lisa Johnson

    Thanks again for the great information!!!

  • Jon
    by Jon

    The religious angle is new to me.

  • joeline curtobernal
    by joeline curtobernal

    Ancient times is a good source to rely on and egypt and the oils they used sounds awesome and I didn't know the oils were biblicle.

  • Anita Kennett
    by Anita Kennett

    So very usefull

  • Ellie L
    by Ellie L

    I have used essential oils to help me relax before going to bed as I don't always sleep well.

  • Christina A.
    by Christina A.

    It's amazing to think about the history of such things--we have been using these products for thousands of years!

  • Gregori7
    by Gregori7


  • Mikhail S
    by Mikhail S

    I need same oil that using Cleopatra :))) Thanks for info!

  • sheila ressel
    by sheila ressel

    I can see why essential oils are used so much around the world. I love using them in my home and they really work!

  • Minta Boggs
    by Minta Boggs

    I have never tried essential oils but I have heard great things like they even help with headaches. Wow! I didn't realize how long ago they were being used.

  • Bob77
    by Bob77


  • Karla
    by Karla

    Interesting and informative.

  • Sandra Watts
    by Sandra Watts

    All good to know and extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Michelle Damon
    by Michelle Damon

    Thank you for the clarification! It can get pretty confusing!

  • B.J. Bernal
    by B.J. Bernal

    Such an awesome post, I learned a lot of new things! I love using essential oils, they help so many different things!

  • Tere Hidalgo
    by Tere Hidalgo

    Essential oils are good for you, all around. Once you try them, you are hooked.

  • Alexandra Hartnell
    by Alexandra Hartnell

    Cool how versatile the oils are!

  • Nicole Watson
    by Nicole Watson

    Thank you for the info. I didn't know any of this.

  • kal
    by kal


  • Candice
    by Candice

    Very interesting, I hadn't heard some of this before.

  • P Baver
    by P Baver

    I have never come across spikenard before. But on a general note, Interesting that these royal luxuries are now widely available.

  • Pamela Gard
    by Pamela Gard

    We can learn so much about healing by looking into the past/history and how did they maker due to heal from sickness or the stimulate healing

  • Mary An
    by Mary An

    Between Hype and Health I choose Health!

  • Vlad Dronov
    by Vlad Dronov

    Essential oils is true gems of beauty products.

    • Belinda Rue
      by Belinda Rue

      Informative, can't wait to try them all.

  • laurie damrose
    by laurie damrose

    I have read in history of the use of essential oils,I would try them.

  • Leslie
    by Leslie

    I use oils religiously and I love cleaning my house with them

  • Melissa Roberts
    by Melissa Roberts

    Really great tips to keep in mind when shopping for oils!

  • Debbie P
    by Debbie P

    These sound great and so relaxing.

  • Jodi W
    by Jodi W

    Thanks for the information. I did not know they used them that early and found it interesting

  • Marshall
    by Marshall

    I'm running Sweet Orange through the diffuser for an air freshener as we speak.. My wife is learning, over time, that I have legitimate chemical sensitivity(The night I woke up covered head to toe in painful hives was a wake up call for us both)..

  • Kristin Smith
    by Kristin Smith

    Ive heard from a friend who is an ambassador for an essential oils company, that some essential oils are in fact still full of unhealthy do you know which ones to avoid! They all seem to be "good" for you...but is that really the case?

  • Carrie D Conley
    by Carrie D Conley

    All this information, not sure about the hype or the truth

  • Laura Lanza
    by Laura Lanza

    I use these now - found more information about them here though

  • Tracy Kirkpatrick
    by Tracy Kirkpatrick

    Have not used essential oils because of lack of real information. Thank you so much! I will be doing more research.

  • mj rudy
    by mj rudy

    This is very informative, thanks

  • Monica Sanders
    by Monica Sanders

    So much research has gone into your products so we don't have to. We can just be naturally beautiful, thank you

  • robyn donnelly
    by robyn donnelly

    Essential oils are healing and calming as well. I have been using them for about 6 months myself on a more regular basis. Still have to be careful because they can and will interact with certain medicines.

  • Alys James
    by Alys James

    Great article!

  • Helena
    by Helena

    Essentials oils are really expensive here in Finland!

  • Agisilaos
    by Agisilaos


  • Lynn Tereba
    by Lynn Tereba

    Love that essential oils can work for just about anything, for me is the great smells for my house and using it in beauty products.

  • Jamie L Grimes
    by Jamie L Grimes

    Good info thanks

  • Susan Smith
    by Susan Smith

    It's interesting to learn how versatile the oils are!

  • Abdu
    by Abdu

    A very unique article about essential oils history could have never been better.

  • Melissa Allen
    by Melissa Allen

    I want to try essential oils, especially stress relieving ones.

  • Kathy Pierce
    by Kathy Pierce

    I am new to essential oils but I have enjoyed what I have tried.

  • Rena Walter
    by Rena Walter

    Thanks for the info.

  • Paula Pennachio
    by Paula Pennachio

    I have to get some I have to try it

  • Paula Pennachio
    by Paula Pennachio

    I worry about buying ones that will just rip me off and waste my money

  • Kathy McGhee
    by Kathy McGhee

    Oils have been used for years and some people have good body chemistry that can work great and others do not. I believe that the oils do have very calming reaction to our smells. Thank you for the opportunity to enter your sweepstakes.

  • Dee
    by Dee

    I think that you have to find the ones best suited for you

  • Belinda Amwake
    by Belinda Amwake

    I have used essential oils in the past, it can be very soothing.

  • Ron Weinberg
    by Ron Weinberg


  • Karen Jaras
    by Karen Jaras

    I have been using essential oils for decades, love them.

  • Tina F
    by Tina F

    Interesting to see all the uses of the oils

  • Tiesha
    by Tiesha

    Thank you for the information.

  • Jeenah Olafsen
    by Jeenah Olafsen

    Interesting history.

  • Matt Jason
    by Matt Jason

    Essential oils is really key to soft and healthy skin.

  • christy
    by christy

    Good info on essential oils.

  • christy
    by christy

    Interesting info about oils and their historic use.

  • katie
    by katie

    I didn't know use of essential oils were so widespread. I haven't really dabbled in use of them yet.

  • Shawna O
    by Shawna O

    Very interesting information. I don't know a lot about essential oils so this was very helpful information for me to learn. I'm interested in using essential oils. Thanks.

  • Veronica Lee
    by Veronica Lee

    Interesting! I didn't know that there was a religious significance to essential oils!

  • Anita McMurtrey
    by Anita McMurtrey

    So many dangerous chemicals in our products these days. I prefer natural ingredients

  • Debra, Walker
    by Debra, Walker

    I, will, definitely, try, essential, oils, now

  • Gabrielle
    by Gabrielle

    The one thing that concerns me is that I've heard that essential oils can be toxic to pets and so I've been leery about them for that reason.

  • Sam
    by Sam

    I guess the only way to really find out if they work is to try them

  • Clem
    by Clem

    The history is interesting. I've never tried them.

  • RobynL
    by RobynL

    I haven't tried any yet but have heard many people say that they like this one of that one.

  • Jennifer Raska
    by Jennifer Raska

    Wow... Thank you so much for this amazing information!!

  • Angie McWilliams
    by Angie McWilliams

    Love this

  • bunyep
    by bunyep


  • Saundra McKenzie
    by Saundra McKenzie

    Very helpful information. Thanks for the post.

  • Joanne
    by Joanne

    I have done product testing on some of the 'hype' products and look for ward to trying more personal care /health products that will do what they are supposed to and not harm any part of me.

  • Richard Hicks
    by Richard Hicks

    I am a big fan of essential oils.

  • gloria patterson
    by gloria patterson

    I use a lot of oil, but don't know enough about them

  • Monika
    by Monika

    I can't stand the multi level marketing brands of essential oils, and the "training" the sales people get who then give advice is ludicrous. Thank you for pointing this out.

  • Laura H
    by Laura H

    I love essential oils!

  • Sarah L
    by Sarah L

    Essential oils work well for me. I do make sure I get certified ones.

  • Skylar McCoy
    by Skylar McCoy

    Essential oils will change your life, it is a must

  • Antoinette M
    by Antoinette M

    Interesting article. I think it is important to look for quality essential oils. Thank you!

  • Jim May
    by Jim May

    The history of essential oils was very interesting

  • Darren Scrubb
    by Darren Scrubb

    Important information concerning essential oils people need to hear.

  • Linda Henderson
    by Linda Henderson

    I do like using essential oils and I always try to make sure they are the real thing before I use them.


    great info

  • John Sweeney
    by John Sweeney

    simple product

  • Emylie Morris
    by Emylie Morris

    Essential oils can be amazing, but they aren't a cure for everything!

  • Tina Gruszauskas
    by Tina Gruszauskas

    Listen to the ancestors.


    I choose Health over Hype any day! Looks like some amazing products!

  • Michael Christofield
    by Michael Christofield

    Thanks for the info.

  • Kristy Chown
    by Kristy Chown

    I swear by the essential oils I have and only learned about them last year! I didn't know you could use them in food.

  • Timmy
    by Timmy

    Really doesn't apply to me.

  • marlene harris
    by marlene harris

    too many to choose from love then

  • April
    by April

    I was always intrigued by "balms" in the bible. They were always infused with plant essences and were used for healing and in ceremonies. But I agree we should test oils first. I remember using peppermint oil orally after a friend told me "her" brand of oil was safe to do so. I immediately regretting doing so. I've had some oils be a miracle cure for me, others NOT. But I think it works differently for everyone. I've had some friends swear by one oil for something and it did nothing for me, and then what an oil did for me didn't work for a friend the same way. Strange. Great post, thanks!

  • April P.
    by April P.

    I used to be a consultant for an essential oil company and do believe they work a lot of the time. I love EOs and still use them on occasion!

  • Calvin
    by Calvin

    Definitely a good observation.

  • phyllis owens
    by phyllis owens

    good article

  • laura feist
    by laura feist

    love essential oils

  • Ashley Mains
    by Ashley Mains

    I love my essential oils! Its so important to do that research first!

  • Barrie
    by Barrie

    WOW! I had no idea oils had been around for so long and in so many places!

  • ikram
    by ikram

    Loved reading about the use for essential oils in China! Learned a lot about the history, this was amazing!

  • Bexx
    by Bexx

    Very interesting article, I had no idea about the history of essential oils

  • Suzie Marie Stewart
    by Suzie Marie Stewart

    This was so interesting , I've always loved oils but this is a ne6w level, thank you for a very special article

  • Jeanette Leighton
    by Jeanette Leighton

    I've always wanted to visited to visit Egypt I'm 40 and have never been abroad

  • paula cheadle
    by paula cheadle

    You can never tell which is myth or fact

  • Jennifer
    by Jennifer

    Very informative!

  • Amy
    by Amy

    I've heard a lot of essential oils--they seem to be all the rage. Sounds like they have been around for ages though.

  • Leanne
    by Leanne

    I had no idea essential oils were used that long ago . That’s pretty neat .

  • Louis A Davila
    by Louis A Davila

    I am new to essential oils but I have enjoyed what I have tried.

  • Shawn E
    by Shawn E

    Very informative history!

  • rhonda miotke
    by rhonda miotke

    Very well done article, lots of very useful information.

  • Ellie Brunskill
    by Ellie Brunskill

    If it works and it does it well then cost becomes irrelevant

Comments are closed.