What Are Essential Oils And Do They Actually Work?

Essential oils are known to be good for skin treatment and soothing muscle inflammation. There are many benefits of using essential oils that we will talk about later in this article. But first, what are essential oils?

Essential oils, also known as volatile oils, atherolea, ethereal oil, are simply extracted from the plants containing volatile chemical compounds.

Health benefits of essential oils

The use of essential oils for health benefits is called aromatherapy or essential oil therapy. Here are a few common health problems that are treated by using essential oils.

Anxiety and stress

Every two in five people suffer from anxiety and stress. Aromatherapy has shown quite a postive response in treating anxiety and stress. Alongside traditional therapy, even the smell of essential oils work wonders in treating stress and anxiety.

Massaging using essential oils helps in relieving anxiety and stress, though only till the time the massage is taking place.

Treats migraines and reduces headaches

We often see that in temples, peppermint oil and ethanol mixture are dabbed on people's foreheads. If you ever wondered why it is because ethanol mixture and peppermint oil helps calms nerves and reduces headaches.


Many studies have proven that smelling oils, especially lavender oil, helps improve sleep quality. Smelling lavender oil has shown a positive response in treating insomnia.

Reduces inflammation

Essential oils in a study have exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. Using essential oils helps in fighting inflammatory conditions.

However, the effect of the essential oils like oregano and thyme on inflammatory diseases and their safety and effectiveness are unknown.

Antimicrobial and antibiotic

Essential oils like peppermint and tea tree oil are extensively used for their antimicrobial effects as they show positive results in fighting bacterial infections. Although these essential oils have some exciting health applications, they have not been proved to have treated bacterial infections in humans.

Mosquito repellent

It has been suggested that essential oils are a perfect alternative to human-made mosquito repellents. Essential oils like citronella have shown the properties of repelling certain types of mosquitos for a few hours. These natural repellents are more useful for a longer time when combined with vanillin.

Popular types of essential oils

There are about more than 90 types of essential oils, and each essential oil has its unique benefits, potential, and smell. Here are a few popular types of essential oils and their health benefits.

  1. Lavender: Relieves stress.
  2. Lemon: uplifts mood, reduces headaches, aids digestion, and more.
  3. Jasmine: helps with stress, anxiety, depression, childbirth, and libido.
  4. Rose: reduces anxiety and stress and improves mood.
  5. Chamomile: improves relaxation and mood.
  6. Sandalwood: helps to focus and calms nerves.
  7. Tea tree: fights infections and boosts immunity.
  8. Bergamot: reduces stress and treats skin conditions like eczema.
  9. Ylang-Ylang: treats skin conditions, nausea, and reduces headaches.
  10. Peppermint: helps in digestion and boosts immunity.

How do the essential oils work?

Essential oils are commonly used in the practice of aromatherapy to treat many health problems. Essential oils are meant to be inhaled and not swallowed.

The chemicals of essential oils interact with your body in several ways. They can be inhaled or applied directly to the skin. When essential oils are applied to your skin, some plant chemicals are absorbed.

Inhaling the essential oils stimulates the area of your limbic system, which is a part of your brain that plays a role in your emotions, behavior, long-term memory, and sense of smell. The limbic system is responsible for forming memories, which is why familiar scents can trigger your feelings or memories.

The limbic system also plays an important role in controlling several unconscious physiological functions like breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.

How to choose the right essential oils for you?

The quality of essential oils can vary significantly as they are products of unregulated industries. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while choosing good quality oils:

Quality: the quality of the essential oils is said to be the best when they have been changed the least after the extraction process. Always choose a chemical-free essential oil, extracted through cold pressing or through distillation.

Purity: chose the oils that have only aromatic plant compounds without any synthetic oils or additives. Pure essential oils usually list the botanical names of the plans they are extracted from.

Reputation: purchase essential oils from the brands that have an excellent reputation for their products' quality.

Side effects and safety measures of essential oils

Just because a product is all-natural does not always mean it is safe. Herbal and products may contain a lot of bioactive compounds that can harm your health.

However, when essential oils are combined with a base and inhaled or applied on the skin, they are considered safe. But make sure to consider others around you when you are inhaling the aroma are not pregnant women, pets, and children.

Side effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rashes
  • Asthma attacks

The most common side effect of essential oils is rich, but they can also cause severe reactions that have been associated with death.

Oils such as cinnamon high in phenol can cause skin irritation if applied on skin without combining them with a base oil. Essentials that are made from citrus fruits can result in burns when the skin is reacted to sunlight.

Swallowing essential oils should be strictly avoided, as doing so could be very harmful and fatal.

Women that are pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to avoid using essential oils. Otherwise, the essential oils re considered safe unless applied directly without a base oil or ingested.

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