OK, so this is a little off-topic from actual cooking, but since many essential oils are made from products that are also used in cooking (and since several google searches on this have revealed nothing) I thought I'd ask you all anyway, in case someone can help enlighten me about this.
So I cannot stand the smell of essential oils. I experience them as suffocatingly overpowering and cloying, with the exception of pure citrus oils, which I find very pleasant. Because of this I have a very negative association with them and have stayed away from them completely.
Then yesterday a client of mine came in with some essential oils on her hands that apparently had something to do with boosting the immune system among other things (I have no opinion on the validity of this idea, btw). She said it was a combination of orange, clove, cinnamon, and thyme. Now if I had these exact things simmering in water on my stove I would probably love the smell, but in essential oil form I found it overpowering and disgusting. Anyhow, a few minutes later I had a bizarre coughing attack, and then a few minutes after THAT my previously very clogged sinuses cleared completely. I was intrigued, and yet because of my extreme aversion still don't really relish the idea of using the oils.
It got me thinking, though, I have told a number of people about my reaction to essential oils, and so far no one seems to share it. I googled many variations on the sentence "I find essential oils cloying and disgusting" and found nothing. So I thought I would ask you, a community of people who I assume have a pretty refined sense of smell on the whole, are there others like me out there? Is it merely the intensity of the smell of the oils that makes me react to the oil-version so differently than the food-version (citrus excepted)? Is there something present in, say, thyme oil or cinnamon oil or that is perhaps mitigated by other compounds present in thyme-the-herb or cinnamon-the-spice so that it doesn't bother me in food-form? Any thoughts?