Aren't Essential Oil Blends Magic Potions?

A practical phenomenon in the essential oil world is oil blending. Essential oil blends can work synergistically meaning they are more powerful in combination than as a single oil species. 

That makes sense. 

Lard and lye make a good soap, iron and carbon make stronger steel, milk and beneficial bacteria make immune-boosting yogurt, etc. 

Oil blends themselves are not what some Christians have a problem with – it is the New Age sounding blend descriptions found in much of the essential oil marketing material.

   Without condoning descriptions that make these blends sound like magic potions or New Age self-actualization tools, I will say that many of these descriptions are full of toothless, fluffy sentiment because the FDA does not permit the use of any sort of language that makes substantial health claims. 

Experienced essential oil users know what the blends are for, but market copywriters can’t say outright, “This oil blend will help balance your hormone levels during PMS,” but rather must resort to something fruity like, “This sweet, herbaceous aroma can help promote feelings of stability and calm during cycles of moodiness.” 

Marketers also use words that fit their own paradigm and the paradigm of their customers.
   Of course, many of the descriptions really do seem to make New Age assertions, like this one that claims to support our spiritual health:

 “This blend contains an aroma that supports the ability to forgive yourself and others while letting go of negative emotions, an important part of personal growth,” or “This blend promotes feelings of protection and security when diffused, and can be used to guard against negative energy.” 

Is it right to use physical nourishment for the purpose of attaining spiritual health? I will have to address that question in another blog.

   My question for consideration here is, “What do the blends actually do? How do these molecular combinations actually affect the body?” We can’t just dismiss them all as ‘magic potions’. God gave these plant oils their virtues. They have natural, God given ‘powers’ to interact with the body. They are good on their own merit.

   I’ll give an example. There is a blend of oils that has a peaceful, calming effect on the emotions. According to the formulators of this blend, “This fragrant oil is a wonderful addition to your meditation, evening routine, or playtime with the kids. With a comforting, fresh aroma, [this oil blend] creates a relaxing environment that’s especially great for homes with children. You’ll love that you can use this oil for you children’s bedtime and then for yourself for a moment of quiet after the house has settled down.”

   Now you may disagree with the assumption that children need to be sedated before playing with them, or decide not to diffuse this blend during your evening prayer-time, but empirical evidence supports the claim that this oil blend does, in fact, have a relaxing effect. 

   Is there anything wrong with that? 

   A recent, humorous experience will explain further. We were visiting my sister’s family in the country, and my son was playing with his five cousins in the living room. It was getting rather clamorous and unruly as our children are not the calm, quiet type. To add to the mix, the family dog, Lucy, was, likewise, all wound up - jumping around with the children. The children’s noise was one thing but the aggravating canine was too much, so I called the labradoodle over and put a few drops of the above mentioned calming blend on the pads of its paws. 

   Within seconds, and without any commands, Lucy immediately walked over to her bed underneath the piano, lay down, and was as sedate as a baby for the next half hour.

   I could not explain to you chemically how exactly this particular oil blend worked in this situation; but if it worked, it worked. There was obviously no placebo influence in the case with the dog. Something in the chemical make-up of the oil bend produced this effect. I could just as easily drink a glass of wine for a similar chemical effect, but why not use this oil blend in the family car or before a stressful meeting?

   The point is: aromatherapist’s observations can be instructive even if their corny explanations are flawed. Whether I think my sister’s dog was [sarcastic voice:] ‘empowered by oil angels to align with my spiritual energy’ or I believe that God gave calming properties to these oils, the fact is, I put the oils on the dog’s paws and it calmed down. By observing similar patterns in myself and others, I can come to the conclusion that the oils work a calming effect. 

   I don’t have to agree with speculative explanations about why, but it would be foolish to deny the legitimacy of human observations and refuse to glean anything from them. If we perceive something to be true, we should accept it, even if the one explaining it is operating out of a non-Christian paradigm.

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