Essential Oils for ADHD – Helpful or Just Snake Oil?

I’ve been toying with the idea of trying out essential oils to help me manage my ADHD and anxiety symptoms, as well as to kick these sinus & headache problems to the curb. I was shopping with my friend the other day and we went into Saje, which I have always inhaled the scent of when walking past it in the mall. Probably on my way to Justice, and muttering the lies I would like to believe, “We’re just going to look! We don’t need anything, so we’re not buying anything.”

My friend has tried out a few of the things and she says they either work, or the power of suggestion works on her kids. Either way, it’s a win.

I was very tempted, but I have that “whole loaf of bread” syndrome.

Whole loaf of Bread thinking is what Nerdguy and I have named our thought pattern of having to go “all in” or not do something at all. All or nothing. It comes from him insisting we didn’t have bread when we first lived together, because to him, if it wasn’t a full loaf then we clearly didn’t have enough to make sandwiches. He wasn’t ever going to use the whole loaf to make the sandwiches, but middle ground is tricky.

So because of my “whole loaf of bread” issues, I tend to jump in with both feet when I am trying something new. Trying a couple of oils isn’t an option for my brain. If I make a purchase, I’m not leaving there without three multi-symptom kits, a diffuser for every room, and possibly a staff member. Which gets expensive. And possibly involves jail time.

I also know this about myself—I’m either intensely interested in something, or I’ve lost interest completely, and it’s dead to me. My former houseplants are literally dead to me.

Obsessed with ADHD (For Now)

I also believe that purchasing things is all I need to do to solve a problem. For some reason it is always shocking to me that the stack of purchased, yet unread, self-help books, displayed in my Billy Library, have not actually accomplished anything in my life other than to justify Billy, and give me something to hide my chick-lit behind.

I buy books, hoping they will solve problems, just by being on my shelf. Will essential oils work the same way? #ADHD

Finally, I’m torn on whether I believe it will make any difference. The descriptions on the bottles, and the testimonials from friends and internet acquaintences, about all of the essential oil companies, sound promising and hopeful. But the skeptic in me…the one who controls my left eyebrow…can’t help wondering if it sounds too good. After all, isn’t there some cautionary tale involving snake oil? Although one brand of snake oil, was less snake, and more Vick’s Vaporub, so now I’m super confused, because that stuff actually is helpful. Maybe the outrage came more from having to pay extra for the diffuser. Or disappointment at not having a container of venom with which to “treat” their cheating husband’s wounds. It’s possible I missed this lesson in history class.

My mother-in-law has been chasing us around for year with her famed “Chinese Linament” and we have all been a family of naysayers, terrified to put this on ourselves. If you even hinted at a minor pain, she was down the hall to retrieve her bottle of oil, with instructions to take it home and apply religiously. If you didn’t want her to apply it to you right then and there, you had to be prepared to put Nana in a headlock, right in front of her own grandchildren. You can’t blame us for our skepticism though…it’s never been clear where she has got this oil from, and the label isn’t going to give you any clues…for one thing, it is written entirely in Chinese. But even if I could read it, that wouldn’t help me because the label (and the box the bottle came in!) has mostly decomposed on every bottle she has ever given us. “Gee Mom, does the ligament help me with my muscle pain, by melting the muscles into threads? Sign me up!” It seems reminiscent of my dad’s theory of offering to kick the other leg, so I stop thinking about a bruise. Yes, it definitely makes the original pain seem less significant, and yet it’s not quite what I was going for.

But now, all these years later, my mother-in-law gets to have the last laugh. I think she’s healthier than all of us put together, and she looks like she could be my (younger) sister. Damnit why didn’t I listen to her?!

At the very least, essential oils can cover up the freezer-burn/microwave popcorn smell of my rice bag!

At the very least, essential oils can cover up the freezer-burn/microwave popcorn smell of my rice bag!

What are your thoughts? Have you tried essential oils, especially for treating ADHD? Helpful, not helpful, snake oil in a diffuser? Let me know what you think, and what I should start with!


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