I wanted to like essential oils so much. I really did.

“A drop or two of this in the back of the throat and that cold is as good as gone,” my neighborhood guru assured me after scanning her spiral bound guide.

I recall the words “all natural” and “homeopathic” before opening up my sore gullet. The 20 minutes that followed were somewhere between Sandra Bullock wheeling around the cold heart of space struggling for breath, and Dumbledore pleading with Harry down in that freaky cave from Book 6. Heeeelp…me!!

Maybe I didn’t do it right.

My next experiment with the oils was when my two year old had the croup. My guru suggested diluting a few drops of a potent breathing blend into virgin olive oil and soothingly apply the salve to her chest, spine and the bottoms of her feet.

The way she describe the regimen over the phone, it sounded so relaxing that when the barking seal woke me up at 2am, I fetched my kit, whipped up the salve, then cooed reassuringly to my darling that everything was going to be all right. Mommy had the right stuff to calm her breathing and help her sleep.


Turned out, my two year old didn’t like pungent oils slathered onto her body in the middle of the night. She howled, kicked and screamed to get it off, get it off!!! I wiped and wiped, to no avail. That stuff is persistent! Red faced and still kicking, I had to do something to calm the angel.

“Mommy has a special mist that is supposed to relax you and help you feel better” I sang in a sweet voice as I added two drops of the peppermint in my kit to a spray bottle of water.

Fssst, fsst, fsst….

“WAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! It’s like mommy toothpaste!!! I hate mommy toothpaste!!!! AAHHHH! My EYES!!!!!”

My husband was awake now.

“What are you doing to her?!” he asked while rubbing the heels of his palms over his tired face.

“She said this relaxes people!!” I quickly doused my own face to prove my point. Fsst, fsst, fsst. “Argh!! It’s not working!!!!!”

“What is that smell?”

“It’s a blend of soothing oils!! It’s helping her calm down and breathe!!”


I figured it was either my lack of bedside manner or my angel’s high strung personality, (probably both), that turned that night into the croup debacle of 2013. Despite the essential oil fiasco, I was willing to give them another shot.

“Mom, my tummy hurts,” moaned my ten year old.

Wait! I have an oil for that. Oooooh, so exciting. I quickly concocted a water bottle of oil infused elixir for her to glug down. According to the guru’s blog, this should settle her tum-tum in no time.

“Blech!! This tastes like black licorice! Ugh! Do I have to drink all of it??!!”

Bottoms up!

To be fair, tummies really do feel loads better after a good vomit.

Okay, maybe she was minutes away from losing her lunch anyways, oils or no. And I really did want a more natural approach to medicine. My next opportunity for essential oil success was just around the corner: springtime allergies!

“Gently swipe a drop of lavender along his brow bone and along his jawline,” said the guru.

“Should I dilute it?”

“No. Neat will be just fine.”

Like bar tending, “neat” is essential oil speak for straight up.

My poor seven year old. Every spring I think he has pink eye. His over-the-counter allergy medication barely keeps it at bay. I was so excited to try a new trick to cure his itchy eyes! After school I reclined his slender frame on the couch and told him I had a new medicine for his allergies that would heal his irritated eyes and have a real calming effect. A gentle swipe here… and there….There we go. Now doesn’t that feel better?”

“AAAHHHHH!!!!! My eyebrows are burning!!!! They are burning off!!!! Do you hear me? BURNING!!!!”

I grabbed a wet washcloth and tried to wipe if off, but oil doesn’t mix with water now does it? Man, that stuff is potent.

“But…but the lady said….”

My seven year old cut me off. “Stop listening to that lady!!! I hate this stuff!!!! Do you hear me? HATE IT!” he roared.

His eyes turned even redder than before after all that crying and rage, but it at least the copious tears plunged out the nasty pollen from his eyes and sinus cavities.

What came next was the fatal blow. I had the audacity to smear the breathing blend under his nose. “It’s to help clear your airways after all that fussing. Don’t worry. It’s not the lavender!” I promised. It was too late when I saw that his nose was dry and cracked from all his nose blowing. Let’s just say essential oils+cracked open skin=disaster. Dis. Sast. Ter. I’m still not sure if he’s forgiven me for that one.

I have more oil horror stories, but I’ll close the curtain there. I know, I know! I’ve read the success stories. I’ve listened to the podcasts. I personally know people who have found great relief from those rootin-tootin’ oils.

But for whatever reason, oils and my family just don’t mix. Don’t feel too bad for me though. I didn’t become a distributor. Although if I did, they’d probably work.