Are Essential Oils an expensive luxury
I work part-time as a telemarketer, raising funds on behalf of charities. Last week one of our clients popped in for a briefing. Amongst other sad statistics, they mentioned that many Australian families are unable to afford medication (I forget the exact stats).
My mind instantly turned to Essential Oils.
You may think that’s odd or even insensitive, but I was thinking about how affordable, effective, long-lasting and versatile they are in comparison to pharmaceutical medication.
I feel there is a misconception about the cost of Essential Oils.
That they are for rich people or at the very least, for people with surplus money. That if you are in a lower-income household, they are an indulgent luxury.
In my mind, they are essential because of the impact they can have on you and your family’s health.
Natural solutions are an affordable option, not just one just reserved for the well off.
I’m not suggesting families in abject poverty should be buying a bottle of peppermint over putting food on the table, this is more food for thought.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if low-income families were provided with Essential Oils as a cost-effective, natural alternative to expensive medication.
To delve into this a bit deeper, let’s talk turkey and compare.
Three common ailments
To make a comparison, I’ve explored 3 common health ailments that may affect a typical family.
Tummy upsets or gastro, the common cold and headaches.
I’ve taken an Essential Oil that is considered supportive, worked out the cost per drop and then run a comparison with available pharmaceutical alternatives.
On average, a 15 ml bottle contains 250 drops. So to work out the cost per drop I’ll take the price of the oil and divide it by 250 drops.
Before we do that, because of the world we live in, please make sure you read the disclaimer at the end of the post.
1. Upset Tummy/Gastro
Gastro or gastroenteritis can have the following symptoms:
Stomach pain, diarrhoea, belching, gagging, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, or flatulence.
Gastro-stop is listed as effective only for diarrhoea and pain, to find relief from indigestion you will need another product.
For a 48 pack of peppermint flavoured Gaviscon chewable tablets it costs $8.99, which works out at 0.37c per tablet. Gaviscon contains aspartame as an ingredient. It has had much press over the last few years as to whether it is toxic or not.
For gas, again you will need to use something else, De Gas comes in at 0.27c per capsule.
If you are experiencing nausea, Travacalm is 0.45c ($4.49/10) or Kwells at 0.71 (8.49/12), though they are suggested for travel sickness.
(Digestzen also contains Ginger which aids with nausea, have a look at my ‘What’s in my Essential Oils Box’ episode 3 where I share a funny story about Ginger and nausea.)
Colds can be a bit trickier to break down. Not only are there a range of symptoms, but there are also a range of products that can help. From my point of view, prevention is better than cure.
On Guard (Retail: 0.21c / Wholesale: 0.16c per drop) is recommended to help boost the immune system and prevent colds in the first place.
To make things easier I’ve compared Breathe, the respiratory blend to the pharmaceutical alternative for managing congestion and Tea tree with a cold and flu tablet.
In the Q&A section of Vicks’ website it reads:
Q: Can Vicks VapoRub be used on babies?
A: No. Vicks VapoRub should only be used on children ages two years and up. Vicks BabyRub may be used on babies three months and up.
Vicks BabyRub works out at 0.34c per application ($8.49 for 50g)
Essential Oils, if properly diluted, can be used on the whole family. (babies 1 drop per 10ml carrier oil, toddlers 2 drops and young children and the elderly 3-4 drops)
Cold and Flu
You are warned that the night tablets may make you drowsy and again they are not suitable for children below 12 years old.
Demazin Kids Cold and flu syrup ($18.99 for 200ml) for ages 2-4 take 7.5ml twice daily (0.70c per dose) and 5-12 15ml ($1.46c per dose) as needed.
Tea Tree is a mild oil and with proper dilution, is available to use on the whole family. For more uses, have a look at this post by the lovely people at Jen Reviews.
Just like colds, headaches can be complex, with a number of types and causes.
For the sake of simplicity I’ll compare Peppermint, which, in this study, has been shown to be effective in the management of tension headaches, against Panadol.
Panadol is not recommended for children under 7, so you will need to source an alternative for younger children. Paracetamol also reacts with other medication and there is the risk of liver and kidney damage if you take too much.
How much is your health worth
Something that will always stick in my mind was a conversation I had at the farmers market.
I was approached by a patron saying she was struggling getting to sleep and was looking for an alternative to sleeping pills. I mentioned Lavender.
‘How much is it?’
‘Wow that is so expensive! I don’t need to sleep that much’
The negative effects of sleep deprivation one side, Lavender – $38/250 = 0.15c per dose vs Tramedo – $6.99/20 = 0.34c
When you factor in that there are 250 drops per bottle and that one oil has multiple uses, doing the maths, Essential Oils are not as expensive as many think.
I personally choose them over single use, expensive and synthetic alternatives, it just makes cents to me.
I mentioned the disclaimer and there it is:
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post is in no way, shape or form offering medical advice or suggesting medical protocols, it is merely for illustrative purposes. If you choose to use Essential Oils as alternatives to pharmaceuticals you do so of your own free will and choice and not by my recommendation.
*All pricing is done in Australian dollars and was current as of the 06/03/18. Pharmaceutical alternatives prices were sourced from Chemist Warehouse