Redneck Guide to Essential Oils

butter                There is a virtual explosion of interest in essential oils. Touted as the cure-all for everything from apoplexy to Zenker’s diverticulum, these miniscule vials of natural plant oils are becoming more popular than wrinkle cream at a Woodstock reunion. A quick search of the internet turns up 101 uses for essential oils and a plethora of places willing to sell you the latest, the best and the rarest essential oils of all. Some of the most expensive essential oils will rival a week stay on a popular cruise line.

Sandlewood essential oil from India sells for nearly $500 per ounce but it barely cracks the top ten list.  For all you Pot-head wannabes there is Cannabis essential oil derived from the flower of the cannabis plant. Topping out around $950 per ounce this is guaranteed to promote relaxation and relieve tension. I couldn’t imagine feeling relaxed if I accidently spilled my thousand dollar bottle of Cannabis oil. The most expensive is “Champaca Absolute Oil” priced at a mere $2300 per ounce. It is supposedly the best at relieving depression. I can visualize my unbridled euphoria after plunking down a couple grand for a smudge of grease in a bottle the size of a suppository. I suspect the relief of depression is in the seller and not the buyer.

I must offer my own disclaimer as I have not used nor do I intend to use any of these above stated essential oils. Essential oils like acupuncture, herbal tea, valium and a week in Tahiti all offer real and placebo benefits. If it works for you then it’s real. However, I do have some experience with real life essential oils and I wanted to share that information with my readers.

Essential by definition means it is necessary for whatever task or purpose determined by the user. For example, if someone wanted to open a bottle but didn’t have a bottle opener, then the bottle opener would be determined to be essential. The bottle could be opened by other means such as pliers or teeth (if the intended user has any) and this may prove to be adequate however less than optimal but the bottle opener would still be considered essential.

Use of essential oils depends on the circumstances of the user. Some oils may be used infrequently but others may be experienced on a regular basis. One of my favorite essential oils is used almost on a daily basis, often several times each day. It can be applied topically if you desire to whatever body part suits your fancy but it provides the most benefit if ingested. The good news is that this essential oil is available by the pound and at a price affordable to the most destitute among us. Butter is the most essential of all oils and is all natural. Don’t fall for the chemically modified oils designed to look and act like butter, they just don’t have the same level of quality.

Butter is great at treating depression. Numerous unofficial studies conducted by myself over a 50 year span have identified the healing effects of a pound of butter. A big melted pat of butter on toast or a scoop of melting butter perched in the center of a stack of steaming pancakes has a tendency to prevent depression if used first thing in the morning. Used in the evening it is best applied to king crab legs and lobster tails by dipping into small vats of melted butter. Who doesn’t realize the enhancement of a pat of butter to a steaming baked potato or on top of a grilled medium rare ribeye steak? How about puddles of golden butter filling up the tiny potholes on an English muffin? Butter is among the most essential of oils. In the delightful words of my granddaughter Ella, she has proudly proclaimed, “Life is a butter dream”. I couldn’t agree more.

While butter may top the list of everyday essential oils, lard may be a close second.  Rendered from the fat of a pig this may seem unappealing at first.  I have heard from those in the generation before me that lard sandwiches were a staple.  While not usually consumed in it’s pure state it is best used as ingredient in pie crust or used to deep fry Canadian walleyes or catfish dipped in cornmeal. How about fried potatoes and onions with a healthy dash of salt and Frank’s hot sauce?

Most of us prefer the spicy version of lard known as bacon grease. Smoked with mesquite or hickory and doused with liberal quantities of salt and other unnamed preservatives to enhance the flavor and enjoyment it is certain be included in your list of most favored essential oils. Moderation is the key with lard and bacon grease. It is best not to be consumed on a daily basis but as an essential oil, if used properly it can enhance your quality of life.

The best non-edible essential oil is an old standby in garages across the mechanical world. WD-40 in its classic blue and yellow aerosol can is essential at several levels. As a lubricant it is easy to use to loosen up rusty tools, bolts and squeaky door hinges. There is a report from Asia where a bus driver used WD-40 to loosen a python snake that was tightly wound around some portion of the under carriage of his bus. I guess that would be called snake oil. Many anglers have learned that WD-40 can be used very successfully as a fish attractant. A couple of discreet squirts on your fishing lure and you are sure to claim bragging rights from your friends.

The most unusual use of WD-40 was reported by a friend of mine. He was a small engine mechanic and used liberal quantities of the lubricant in his shop. When troubled with aching knees he would simply spray his arthritic joints with a generous coating of WD-40 and rub it in. It may have helped to loosen his knees but it didn’t do much for the rest of him. At his funeral he was quite stiff.

The whole essential oil phenomenon is something that has failed to grasp my full attention. I won’t say it doesn’t have merit. It may. I prefer to stick with my old tried and true oils that have never failed to meet my expectations. A pat of butter, a drizzle of bacon grease and a squirt of WD-40 and I am ready to face the world.