Do essential oils really work?

Do essential oils really work?

Essential oils are consistently in the media and are getting a ton of buzz lately. Essential oils are plant extracts. They're made using certain plant parts that are steamed or pressed to capture the compounds from the plant that produce fragrance. It takes a lot of plant material to make a small bottle of essential oil. But the essential oils have other functions besides smelling good.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. It has been around for centuries! When the essential oil is inhaled, the scent molecules in the oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain. This impacts the amygdala, or the emotional center of the brain. (There is a science behind it!)

Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin as well. If you have ever had a therapeutic massage, the massage therapist may have used some essential oils to help relax muscles or reduce stress. 

Essential oils can help with a variety of ailments. Many of these we deal with daily. We use essential oils as natural remedies for anxiety, migraines, nausea, insomnia, and so much more. You can use essential oils too by either adding a few drops to a diffuser or via bath or body products infused with them. 

There is a lot of research available for us to learn from different mixtures of essential oils. Some essential oils are not recommended for children or people with sensitive skin or allergies. So, make sure you are studying up before dapping a drop of bergamot or ylang-ylang oil. Essential oils can be powerful because they are concentrated. 

Recommended reading: Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, Hardcover Spiral-Bound Book 

Some of the most common essential oils are lavender oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil and lemon oil. Each of these oils has their own chemical makeup and uses. For example, tea tree oil has been used for wound healing, and more commonly for acne, athlete's foot and insect bites. 

You can find essential oils just about anywhere these days. Always check the label to make sure it is pure essential oil. It is best to buy essential oils in dark-colored, glass containers as opposed to plastic or clear bottles. Essential oils can dissolve plastic over time which ruins the oil. Lastly, fragrance oils are not pure essential oils. They are a mixture of oils and form an entirely different chemical makeup. Look for bottles that contain a single essential oil in its purest form. 

Essential oils can help with many ailments, improve your mood, provide a fragrance or blend to produce new scents. For more information on essential oils here are a few resources:

Source: John Hopkins Medicine, 2021.