Can one drop of essential oil, alleviate headaches, get rid of stress and help you sleep?
After walking into Perfect Scents, a perfumery near the Country Club Plaza, KCTV5 News found the quick answer is, 'yes.'
“There’s a little roller ball on here, you just use it back here on your temple,” said owner Nancy Pell as she showed us how to apply her headache relief essential oil. She told us not only do people tell her this works, but they come back for more.
So what are essential oils? Essential oils are made from plants. They are a concentrated liquid from a plant, and it is usually extracted by distillation.
Pell opened up her store back in 1989 with just 14 oils. Now, she is selling about 350.
She tells us, she “think(s) people are looking for a more natural way, besides taking a pill to solve a problem.”
And, she’s onto something. A Reuters report shows the global essential oil market accounted for $5.91 billion in 2016, and that’s forecasted to reach $12.85 billion by 2023.
Pell sells a variety of fragrances, but she makes her oil essential oils. That takes the guesswork out about what’s in the bottle.
“It’s very refreshing,” said a customer as she sprayed a mixture of lavender on herself.
But with so many options out there, it gets complicated. How do you sort through what’s real and what could be synthetic.
“Honestly I thought they were a scam,” declared Rebecca Ishum.
Essential oils were a last-ditch effort for this mom of quadruplets.
“These are my babies,” she said. “I’m not going to cut corners when it comes to my babies.”
Her kids were born early and had low immune systems and even some respiratory issues.
“We had an uphill battle,” said Ishum.
She spend hundreds of dollars on oils before she found one that worked. She also learned the risks.
“It’s not a regulated industry,” Ishum said. “So people are able to lace this with other substances that are not actually pure essential oil.”
That means even if a bottle says its 100-percent pure essential oil, that’s not always true.
In her kitchen, Ishum asked us if we were willing to try something different. She tells us her family drinks Ningxia Red every day. It’s a supplement that has essential oils in it, and she says it helps her family stay alert throughout the day.
“We feel great, that’s everything for us,” Ishum said.
Studies into the effects of essential oil are slim and even less is known about ingesting oils.
KCTV5 went to The University of Kansas Hospital and asked Director of Integrative Medicine Dr. Yoon Hang John Kim if this supplement was something he would recommend.
“If you look at this, it’s really no different than eating the food, the question is would this be more beneficial than actually eating actual fruit? And I think that answer is probably not,” said Kim.
Poison centers across the country have noticed an increase in calls about essential oils.
The Missouri Poison Center had just 50 calls per year from 2008 to 2015, but that number jumped up to 107 in 2016.
“You don’t want to be the guinea pig and end up with liver issues or kidney issues,” Kim warned.
However, he has recommended some of his patients to use essential oils past, to help fight foot fungus or relieve stress. It won’t cure anything he says, but it certainly can help.
It’s best to experiment in small doses and see what works for you. Consult a doctor if you have any questions.
Experts advise putting just a drop or two on, and then wait and see if you need more. Be sure to read labels and directions.
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