Actually, without research, it’s wise not to make judgments right away of anything.
So, for this article, we have to learn about the purpose of essential oils, their benefits and negative aspects.
Only then can we say whether they’re legit or not.
The concentrated hydrophobic oils which are extracted from plants and retain the essence of plants are called essential oils.
Distillation is generally used for extraction of essential oil, but sometimes mechanical process such as cold processing is also used.
The number of available essential oils in the world is 90 or more.
Examples of common essential oils are lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, peppermint, rose, tea tree, jasmine, lemon, ylang-ylang, and bergamot.
Although essential oils are not edible per se, it has many vital applications and the most common, as well as the most important use of essential oils, is for aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils or other aromatic substances to promote physical and mental health.
Some general health complications are cured by essential oils.
Some curative applications of aromatherapy are discussed below.
Nowadays, stress and anxiety are the most common problems in our lives, and it has a negative impact both on our physical and mental health.
Aromatherapy has played a vital role in promoting relaxation and tranquil feelings for a long time now.
Stress, insomnia, or depression can be reduced by applying essential oils topically or by inhalation.
A few essential oils are vital in reducing stress and anxiety, some of which are below:
Rose Oil: Rose oil is is used for calming emotions, reducing headache, and maintaining hormonal balance.
In case of stress or depression, rose oil can strengthen the condition of the heart.
Direct application to the skin of warm rose oil aids to neutralize mood swings.
Lavender Oil: Lavender essential oil provides relief from stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
It’s also effective to calm the nerves, alleviate restlessness and enhance the quality of sleep.
Bergamot Oil: Bergamot oil extracted from the scrape of scented citrus fruits is used to improve mood, feelings of happiness, blood circulation and body imbalances.
Ylang Ylang Oil: It’s derived from the Cananga tree found in Indonesia and enhances the joy and comfortable feelings by the decreasing heart rate and neutralizing mood swings.
Jasmine Oil: In Asia, Jasmine oil is broadly used to treat insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression.
It also works as a sedative for enhancing mood and increasing energy levels.
It promotes relaxation if applied directly on the neck or by adding a small amount in a hot shower.
Melissa Oil: Melissa oil, also called lemon balm or ‘elixir of life’, is used to promote mental calmness, as well as an anti-depressant.
It also improves feelings of anxiety and gloominess.
Chamomile Oil: The chamomile essential oil is used to enhance mood and destress by reducing anxiety as well as calming the nerves.
Clary Sage Oil: As an essential oil, Clary Sage has an earthy scent that cures depression by soothing stress and anxiety.
It works more effectively in combination with chamomile oil.
Basil Oil: Basil oil, also known as the queen of medicinal plant in India, is one of the most important essential oils for the treatment of fatigue, mental stress, anxiety, and depression.
Neroli Oil: It’s extracted from the neroli citrus fruit and works as a sedative and neiutralizes feelings of anger.
A small amount is also used in the hot shower for relaxation from stress and anxiety.
Studies have shown that around half of the old people in the world suffer from headaches.
There are many OTC medicines for the treatment of headaches with various side effects.
This is why some old people turn to natural medicine like essential oils to avoid the side effects.
The essential oils which provide relief from headaches and migraine are below.
Rosemary Oil: Rosemary oil is traditionally responsible for the treatment of headaches by enhancing circulation.
Eucalyptus Oil:Inhalation of eucalyptus reduces the symptoms of headaches caused by blockage of sinuses.
It’s also useful to lower blood pressure and remove pain when inhaled.
Peppermint Oil: Researchers showed that tension headache could be relieved by using peppermint oil on the forehead.
Also, it contains methanol as the main ingredient which is responsible for the relief of pain associated with migraine by applying to the head.
Chamomile Oil: People traditionally use chamomile oil for relaxation.
It reduces headaches due to stress and anxiety.
Lavender Oil:Lavender oil is one of the most important essential oil for the treatment of migraines and headaches caused by stress.
Researchers showed that lavender oil inhalation is effective and safe for gentle treatment of headaches and migraines.
It has been found out that essential oils have a significant effect on enhancing both sleep quality as well as the quality of life.
The combination of essential oil is more useful than a single oil.
Here we will discuss the impact of some essential oil on sleep.
Vanilla Oil: Vanilla oil is used to treat lowering blood pressure, calm the nerves, restlessness, and hyperactivity because of its sedative action.
The scent of vanilla can reduce anxiety and depression by promoting sound sleep.
Sandalwood Oil: Although sandalwood is not suitable for nighttime, it’s used in the daytime for relaxation by inducing sleep.
With earthy scent, sandalwood oil possesses a sedative effect which decreases wakefulness by enhancing the quantity of non-REM sleep.
Jasmine Oil: Jasmine has a delightful scent that induces sleep.
By decreasing restless sleeping, it enhances the quality of sleep.
Research showed that by releasing all types of sleep benefits, it reduces stress, depression, and anxiety.
Rose & Geranium Oil: Both possess the same floral smell, which is used to decrease anxiety and stress, thus, enhancing the quality of sleep.
Lavender Oil: Lavender oil has tranquilizing action and is used for enhancing sleep quality, improving sleep amount, and increasing daytime alertness.
It’s the most effective essential oil for patients with insomnia.
Citrus Oil: Citrus oil, such as bergamot oil or lemon oil, can help medical patients fall asleep quickly by relieving stress and anxiety as well as promoting sleep quality.
Essential oils can aid in improving inflammatory states, which is shown in the cure of mouse colitis using a mixture of thyme with oregano essential oils.
Peppermint oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties on wounds.
Anti-inflammatory effect was also found in eucalyptus oil, which diminishes cytokines responsible for inflammation and effectively abates CRP and oedema at the inflammation site of the total body.
Chamomile essential oil treats digestive tract inflammation.
But only a small amount of research has been done on human inflammatory conditions using essential oils, so their usefulness is very much unexplored.
Research showed that essential oils have strong antibacterial properties, such as found in eucalyptus oil, that can kill or reduce the outgrowth of S. aureus, E. coli, Listeria innocua, and several other bacteria.
Clove, cinnamon, pimento, oregano, thyme, and rosemary oils have a potent antibacterial effect on Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Peppermint oil also carries antibacterial effect against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.
There are many other uses of essential oils besides for aromatherapy, for example, as a mosquito repellent, in cosmetics preparation or industrially, for increasing the shelf life of food.
Ginger candies and ginger teas also good for alleviating nausea.
Ginger oil is also used for to ease queasiness, as well as, possible positive effect on cancer treatment.
Essential oils are generally safe to use , but they do have negative side effects too.
Among these side effects, rashes are the most common side effect.
Some essential oils like peppermint, ylang-ylang, lavender and tea tree can cause adverse reactions, even, death.
The essential oils which are rich in phenol like cinnamon oil are responsible for skin irritation ,so it’s wise to dilute them with a base oil.
Some oils react to sunlight and can cause burns.
Some negative side effects are listed below:
- Eucalyptus may cause seizures when ingested.
- Double vision, vomiting, nausea, facial flushing, contact dermatitis, and irritation in the mucous membrane can be caused by cinnamon oil when used without dilution.
- Bergamot oil is responsible for skin irritation and burning sensation by applying it topically in high concentration.
- The topical application of nutmeg oil may cause rashes or burn sensation and on some, may cause hallucination or even coma.
- Ingesting peppermint oil can cause heartburn.
- A vast amount of sage oil ingestion may cause seizures, kidney damage, tremors, vertigo, vomiting, restlessness, increased heart rate.
- The topical application of lavender oil can cause hormonal imbalance in males before reaching puberty.
- Tea tree oil may cause irritation or rash when applied topically and cause confusion or hormonal imbalance in males before reaching puberty when ingested.
Although essential oils are beneficial for health, some factors need to be considered carefully before using, like:
- medications and supplements being taken
- underlying health conditions
Other factors to consider too are:
- chemical composition and purity
Besides these factors, there are some safety guidelines to consider before using essential oils.
For topical application, the oils should be diluted with carrier oils to avoid some side effects like rash, skin irritation, phototoxicity, and so on.
The concentration level of these oils must be kept under 5 percent.
In the case of internal use, the user would need certification, advanced training or consult with a professional.
In general, all should avoid oral ingestion or oils, as well as, local application on the vagina, mouth, or other parts with mucous membrane.
Caution should also be observed for Aromatherapy.
Take careful note of the appropriate guidelines for dilution, diffusion and ventilation to avoid irritation of mucous membranes.
Some essential oils are safe during pregnancy, but some are harmful to the fetus.
Although it has been proven that some oils can reduce fear and anxiety during childbirth, it’s better to talk with healthcare professionals while using it during pregnancy.
In the case of infants and children, essential oils should be used with extra precaution and be in consultation with healthcare professionals.
Keep the essential oils out of reach of children, too.
From the above discussion, it’s clear that essential oils have beneficial effects on the human body.
That being said, we should use them with intelligence, moderation and in consultation with experts to avoid complications, severe and fatal.