Elmore Oil – Does it work?

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While watching TV today (the cricket if you must know), I saw a promo for ‘A Current Affair’, featuring the typical line-up you’d expect, but one caught my sceptical eye – Elmore Oil. I seem to recall this from days past, and sure enough a quick google revealed the same story on Channel 7 (Today Tonight) in 2007.

The claims made for this stuff are pretty extraordinary, so I thought I would do some quick investigation, and the findings are interesting.

At the outset, I’m not saying that the stuff doesn’t work; but, like Glucosamine, it seems to be supported mainly by testimonials, anecdotes and a s**tload of advertising and media saturation. So let’s have a look.

The claims are that Elmore Oil can help you if you suffer from back pain, neck pain, arthritis, hip pain, joint pain etc etc. The components are well advertised : olive oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil and vanilla. But it’s how they are put together that’s the secret. I’ll let the inventor tell you about them himself:

Elmore Oil is manufactured using a process known as Triple Maturation. It’s unique to Elmore Oil and it bonds the actives in the essentials oils to the circulatory components found in Vanilla so we have a product which enters the body quickly and gets to the source of the pain and inflammation quickly.

The underlined emphasis is mine. I didn’t understand it either. Not off to a good start in my book.

Looking at their website (I’m reluctant to give it to you – just google Elmore, and you will be deluged!), I see that they speak of clinical trials – yay. And not only clinical trials, but double-blind, placebo-controlled and crossover. Things are looking up.

The results summary on the site is quite promising, and yes, shows some benefit. Let’s have a look at the trial report itself then.

Not that I’m a medical research expert or anything, but the first thing that strikes me about this report is that it’s a total of 4 pages long – actually 3 and a bit, of large font, well spaced text. No header, footer, and no confidence that it wasn’t just run up at home. OK, it may be the summary of the actual research, but where is the actual research?

I tried to find it, but they haven’t made it accessible on the web, and worse than that, it doesn’t appear to have been published in any journal let alone a credible, peer-reviewed one.

So as for research on Elmore Oil, there hasn’t been the opportunity for any peer review or replication, and the sole evidence for its efficacy is from one brief trial at none other than the Veterans Memorial Medical Center, in Quezon City, in the Phillipines. What? Haven’t heard of this august research institution? It’s a government funded hospital for the retired personnel of the armed forces of the Philippines and their dependents. Among all government hospitals in the Philippines, VMMC is apparently the only one that’s not under the supervision of the Department of Health. It’s under the administration of the Department of Defense. Now your confidence is sky-high, right?

Ok, well let’s keep our cynicism in check for a bit longer. Surely the researchers cited in the paper are very experienced, and well known in the research community? Let’s see:

Dr Ruth S Sy – Principal Investigator – has no other research reference I can find. Maybe they are just not published to any online repository that I can get to.

The ‘clinical trial coordinators’:

Dr. Leticia Lucero – Palma – as for Dr Ruth. Very modest online presence until Elmore Oil.

Dr. Bill Paspaliaris – Hello… Dr. Bill is all over the net. In 2007 Dr. Bill was charging a fortune for autologous stem cell therapy (i.e. therapy using one’s own stem cells), which is, it seems, to this day unproven and frowned upon by a whole host of organisations. He appears to be part of a world-wide consortium pushing this therapy, known as the ICMS. This link features a number of practitioners, one of whom has been in the gun from a number of corners, including this from the ASCC, and this from the US Food and Drug Administration.

This final article from the journal Nature, rounds off the current thinking on autologous stem cell therapy. In summary, while the use of stem cells to treat a variety of conditions works because we are replacing stem cells being killed off with cells performing the same function, the use of stem cells to treat conditions where we expect the introduced stem cells to behave in different ways, is clinically unproven.

So what to make of all this?

Clearly, we can’t say that Elmore Oil is bogus.

But if they were serious about proving their product’s efficacy, surely they would not settle for:

  • one clinical trial
  • done in a veterans’ hospital
  • in the Philippines
  • not published in any journal for peer review
  • not replicated
  • using an unpublished principal researcher
  • and supported by a researcher known to peddle unproven (and controversial) therapies.

If they were serious, surely an invitation to others to replicate the work to prove its efficacy would be to everyone’s benefit – those suffering with debilitating joint conditions and those who seek to make a buck.

I’ll leave any further judgements to you.

Update: For a follow-up to this article, in which I talk to some local researchers about Elmore, read this article.

28 thoughts on “Elmore Oil – Does it work?

    Prof David Colquhoun said:
    December 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I agree with you 100% . Channel 9 have been very irresponsible . Free advertising to unproven therapy and “trials” unpublished and not even presented at any meeting and from “Dr Bill”!! Why?

    […] up with puff pieces which can be nothing more than advertorials (see earlier writings on Elmore Oil here and here – and stand by for some new developments in my investigation of […]

    About Research Transparency « rationalbrain said:
    January 23, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    […] on January 23, 2011 Further to my recent spray about the TGA accepting gifts, and Elmore Oil’s dubious research offerings, there has been a lot of chatter recently regarding conflicts of interest in research […]

    […] last we left this saga in December 2010, I was complaining about the marketing tactics used by Elmore Oil (basically […]

    Barry Thompson said:
    May 27, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I just want to say that I have been using elmore oil for a few years now and it I think it’s amazing. It’s not just me who seems to think so either, but many of my friends and family (including my wife) also use and love elmore oil. I had terrible pain in my back, as well as crippling arthritis in my hands which made it difficult to hold objects (brought on from years as an electrician). But elmore oil fixed me up like no amount of glucosamine ever did and I swear by it, and so does my wife.

    I stumbled across this blog and I have to say it made me pretty angry to hear somebody slagging off a wonderful product, after doing little more than reading the website and calling it “research.”

    Did you even bother to go and get a bottle to try for yourself before you wrote this? And what about the thousands of testimonials from people just like me that use elmore oil and say how great it is? I guess they’re all wrong and you’re the only one who is right? It seems to me that you’re just one of those types who likes conflict, who likes to be on the outer. Why else would you start your own blog and use it to can products you’ve never even tried or tested?

    I understand that you created this blog to “to encourage conversation, not simply be a one-way rant by me” and yet that’s exactly what it is. This post is months old and you’ve only had 4 lousy replies. I’m guessing 3 of them were by a friend or family member who only even bothered to write anything to humour you.

    But enough about you, more to the point. You seem to insist that elmore oil only works if it can be proved in a lab by a bunch of white coats in a fancy duble whatever study. Which brings me to my earlier point. Do you actually believe that tens of thousands of people are all lying? Are you calling me a liar?

    Without this amazing product I wouldn’t even be able to hold my pot glass or bend to tie my shoes. My wife wouldn’t be able to walk up a set of steps. Now I can do what I bloody well like and my wife could run up a mountain if she bloody well chose too. And it’s all thanks to elmore oil. It does work, and there’s a reason why so many people love it and why it’s all over the news. If you want to go ahead and “encourage conversation” then I’d like to see you publish this reply.

    -Barry

    […] it seems that at last someone has challenged me on the whole elmore thing. See previous articles here, here, here and here. This correspondent seemed to think putting me down was the way to make his […]

    Robert King said:
    June 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I have been reading all the ‘to and fro’ on your blog babble about many subjects, but most interestingly about the Elmore Oil that you appear to have a deep seated hatred for.

    I don’t know much about the product but as an observer it seems there is a hidden agenda there over the clinical trial issue at least, and your distain for the Filipino people comes through quite strong and so I did some digging of my own.

    It would appear that your one and only supporter, Professor Colquhoun, is a disgruntled and failed researcher himself (he has an interest in a Brisbane based clinical research facility that’s not doing so well) and he obviously has some sour grapes about an Aussie company going off shore to do its research.

    Well like you I decided to do my own research and so I called the Elmore Oil Company and got to talk to the MD there. While he has never heard from you, or of you (as Chris Kanaris) he had in fact heard from Professor Colquhoun.

    Apparently, just like you, Colquhoun is a racist, as he wrote an email to the company degrading the Filipino people for their apparent lack of ethics, quality and initiative. I was told that Colquhoun was promptly given a stern and concise rebuttal email, with all the real facts about why the trial was conducted in the Philippines, and was never heard from again.

    Piecing the events together with the Elmore Oil MD, I established that Colquhouns email and subsequent rebuttal by the company was just a couple of months before your initial blog appeared.

    Since Colquhoun is a serial blogger himself ( a noble profession for a supposed academic) it doesn’t take a genius to work out that you are most likely buddies who colluded together to vilify the Elmore Oil Company after Colquhoun got his bum spanked over his racist email.

    Ah! … hidden agendas are not that hard to uncover with a little detective work.

      rationalbrain said:
      June 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm

      Yes, it’s a giant conspiracy, and you’re the one who uncovered it. Congratulations.
      If indeed you have been reading my ‘babble’ (yes, go on, play the man), then have you picked up nothing about the need for evidence in decision making about health issues? Have you seen nothing about all the other remedies and potions and modalities out there? Why are some people so sensitive about a little criticism of this product? Is it perhaps that you have a vested interest somehow? I think it’s more likely that you’re part of the Elmore marketing machine, though now I’m starting to sound paranoid. And how is it that you were able to speak to the MD, and they’ve never responded to any questions I’ve asked? You must be very privileged. Need I say more?
      Since you’ve got a ‘dialogue’ going – ask him for the clinical trials. Go on, ask him for the Latrobe report by Dr. McBurney. Or any other for that matter.
      If you’re suggesting racism, then you’re completely on the wrong tram, and looking to deflect attention from the main issue. I suppose next you’ll be telling me the Nazis tried to suppress Elmore, since that’s the next trick in the bag after racism. As I said to the previous writer, there are a lot more articles on homeopathy than Elmore. I didn’t deride Filipino people, I derided Elmore for their choice of trial location, researchers and quality of their claimed evidence, including withholding the evidence that shows that the claimed benefits are not better than using baby oil or whatever. If you can’t handle that, then you haven’t understood a word I’ve written.

    Elmore Oil feedback please… « rationalbrain said:
    June 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    […] fact, page views are picking up as time goes by, in particular for these articles here and here, and now number in the many hundreds. This traffic has, in recent weeks, resulted in just […]

    Ann said:
    August 14, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    “At the outset, I’m not saying that the stuff doesn’t work; but, like Glucosamine, it seems to be supported mainly by testimonials, anecdotes and a s**tload of advertising and media saturation.”

    Well, I’ll add that I bought some after the sales job on a shopping network and of course reading as many reviews as I could read before the product ‘sold out’. It did NOTHING for me, or for my mother.

    I didn’t spend much on the bargain collection so it was worth the money to keep my ‘vigilant’ side up for the next ‘bargain’ magic product. Something akin the the very expensive new face lotion on the same shopping channel, with testimonials all over the place. This stuff will actually reverse time. We WILL look younger. Of course, it takes a bit longer than the 30 day money back guarantee. So I watched each time and longed for it to be true, wished for it to be true. So I researched the damn stuff. There it was – their trial & very impressive results came from an obsure place in a more obscure country. I emailed these wonderful producers of this stuff and asked about that. Nothing. No reply. So I emailed the shopping channel to pass on my question. Nothing. No reply. So, I phoned the ‘business & producers” – I was told to simply try it for myself. So I asked for a sample. No no no. Buy it and try it. Oh please

    In any case, the point is, loads of women were vouching for this product. I’m absolutely certain they were the real deal. Like any face cream – you want it to work badly enough; it’ll work. Like any pain elixer – you want it to work badly enough; it’ll work.

    One thing I do know definitely works – my MONEY. And so I’m not parting with it so easily next time.

    Thanks very much for this effort. I appreciate it and it confirmed what I know. Big money is made from foolish people.

    BTW Calling racist is a cheap shot used in desperation. Quite apparent here because there is absolutely nothing racist. If a clinic, doctor, business or whatever is in a country, western, eastern or on the moon – and the thing is not up to scratch. That’s not racist – it’s just not up to scratch. DESPERATE EXTREME.

    PS I am not a relative or friend as the author obviously knows, but I have doubts about the business interest of some here.

      rationalbrain said:
      August 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks for the support Ann. Interesting to hear an anecdote from the other side of the fence for a change.
      Sorry you got stung, but sounds like it was a wake-up call.
      cheers
      rb

    Scott said:
    December 14, 2011 at 3:05 am

    We have used this product in our household and fiund that it has worked for us for several issues.
    Shoulder recovery from Rotator Cuff surgery – not initially of course but for a year or two after.
    Knee pain, etc. Arthiritis in hands.

      rationalbrain said:
      December 14, 2011 at 7:17 am

      Good to hear you’ve had success.
      But how do you know the shoulder would not have improved anyway? Having dealt with hundreds of shoulder issues (one of which is mine), my physiotherapist will tell you that most of them will resolve naturally, especially after ‘a year or two’.
      And this is the point I keep making – we can’t tell from anecdotes whether the stuff works, because there is no control – we don’t have a version of ourselves which is not being treated against which to compare outcomes.
      If someone in your house has arthritis in their hands, I suggest trying the stuff on one hand, and baby oil on the other. I think you’ll find the same outcome, but at half the cost.
      Cheers.

    More Elmore Oil nonsense « rationalbrain said:
    April 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

    […] claims), and that users could be enjoying a placebo effect.  In fact I followed up the evidence here, and it’s paper-thin to say the least. Interestingly, there website now cites the study at […]

    Nomore Oil – Miracle Cure? « rationalbrain said:
    June 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    […] for six weeks; it got a bit better, but didn’t go away. At about that time, I wrote some articles about Elmore Oil, and after doing the research, decided not to bother trying it, despite having the perfect ailment […]

    ron heferen said:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    elmore oil works a 100% , i had back pain ,it took a while to work , now i can go week with out , use of elmore oil , it is worth it weight in gold ,it is also cheap, before the use of elmore oil i tried every think, but it was elmore oil that done the job. thanks again for elmore oil .ron

      rationalbrain said:
      July 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      Ron pleased to hear you’re better. How long did you have the problem and what did doctors tell you about it? I suspect you could have got the same results from ordinary massage. Save your money and use some baby oil next time. I guarantee it will be just as effective as elmore.

        Wayne said:
        October 27, 2014 at 1:36 pm

        A friend of mine gave me a 50ml bottle of Elmore Oil and suggested I try it. I have no cartilage left in my left wrist, numerous old fractures, a bone that won’t stay where it’s supposed to (the lunate), and now arthritis. (How did I damage my wrists – because they’re both bad, it’s the left that’s BAD bad – so much? Decades of punching makiwara and heavy bags, very hard and very often.) The doctors at Lahey Clinic suggested wrist fusion to deal with the high pain levels and because the wrist has been so damaged so much that short of taking bones out and fusing it, there isn’t anything else they believe they can do for it. So against that backdrop, when given the bottle of Elmore Oil I figured there wasn’t much left to lose. Within two days I was out of the wrist brace and experiencing a (subjective, of course) 75% reduction in pain (for context, the pain from the wrist usually feels as if a nail has been driven through it). Okay, so the oil doesn’t work for everyone. It surely does work for me. I’m glad I was given the bottle and I intend on getting more once this bottle is empty. Before this the only way I could get ANY pain relief was to take narcotics, which I am not willing to do long-term. (I need to be addicted like I need a third buttock.) I, too, wish actual clinical study data was available. But then again, I wanted something to reduce the pain, I already have enough reading material. Anecdotal? Sure, to *you.* It’s not to me. And yes, I’m a real person with real damage and real pain who doesn’t much give an aerial intercourse if you believe me or not.

        rationalbrain responded:
        October 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        Well obviously you do care, since you’ve bothered to write. I am also glad to see you’ve read the thread and have anticipated my comments!
        All I can say is good for you. Although it does sound kind of miraculous.
        Just out of curiosity, instead of buying a new bottle, get some plain eucalyptus oil instead and see how that goes.
        Even better, do one of each, and blind yourself to which is which. Sounds like an interesting experiment.
        There is nothing in Elmore Oil (or the magic dust they put in it) that could possibly explain your benefits, so would be interesting to see how another of the many wonder oils on the market would also do the trick.
        Good luck with it.

    Sheepy said:
    October 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    If there is a money back gaurantee know body loses. The only thing lost is somebodys time and effort to rid them selfs of some obvious pain which you cannot get a refund for if your doctors treatments don’t work. No I have not try it but I will get some for my wifes dicky knee to see if it helps. Only my time wasted but hey its raining and I had nothing else to do.

      rationalbrain said:
      October 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      The only problem with your logic is that the scammers rely on 2 things:
      1. Most people feel like they’ve had an improvement either by placebo, wishful thinking, or the natural cycles most aches and pains, and,
      2. If people feel like they’ve wasted their money, they are often too embarrassed to admit they’ve been had. This happens even for large cons.
      So good luck to you if you’ve got the discipline to actually really test that the stuff has worked, and, then to demand a refund if you’ve proven that it doesn’t.

    Rick Lariviere said:
    October 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

    “…bonds the actives in the essentials oils to the circulatory components found in Vanilla” and “Triple maturation” sound pretty made up to me. I’d rather they just say it works and we don’t know why or how. Just like we don’t know what the cause of osteoarthritis is (except maybe ‘wear and tear’) A peer reviewed study would be nice instead of anecdotal references.

    Maddi said:
    September 17, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I suffer from fibromyalgia, no pain medication or anti-inflammatories help (as fibromyalgia pain does not come from inflammation). As an 18 year old, the last thing I want to be doing is dosing up on stuff like Tramadol that does nothing but make me sick and tired. My Mum came home with a bottle of Elmore Oil and I tried it, despite being sceptical, and I was amazed that it worked. It didn’t take the pain away, but it did take the edge off. I’ve now been able to come off all my pain medications unless I’m having a severe flare, which I didn’t think possible!

      rationalbrain responded:
      September 18, 2013 at 7:41 am

      So now this magic stuff is doing pain relief in nerves too! Wow, is there no end to its capabilities?
      Have you tried rubbing ordinary baby oil in the affected areas? I bet you get the same response.
      I must say Maddi, I find it hard to believe this is a real story. It’s very much in the mold of all the other ‘testimonials’ I’ve received which appear to come from the Elmore PR department.
      But other readers may be more gullible.

        Maddi said:
        September 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        It’s a real story… I’m a real person with real problems. I haven’t, and it doesn’t work as well, though it does help a little. I don’t care that it could just be a placebo effect, the fact that it actually does SOMETHING is enough for me.
        Ps. Saying that someone’s legitimate story is fake is extremely offensive.

        Maddi said:
        September 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm

        *have. Sorry. I made a typo because I’m a real person.

        rationalbrain responded:
        September 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        OK, my apologies then. You wouldn’t believe the number of spam-like emails that come out of that organisation.
        I’m glad it helps you, in whatever way does.

        Maddi said:
        September 19, 2013 at 7:13 am

        Thanks. And every other organisation too, ha.

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