Essential oils have become a popular natural remedy for a variety of ailments, quickly becoming one of the most well-known holistic medicinal treatments. Essential oil makers extract the oil from various leaves, flowers, and plant seeds, and these oils retain the scent, or “essence,” of its origin. People often use essential oils in aromatherapy, but use extends to perfumery, food preservation, and even pest repellant.
So, what’s the science behind it? Essential oils stimulate the sense of smell. The scent molecules from these oils travel from a person’s nose to the amygdala, part of the brain’s emotional center. This can help calm nerves, assuage negative feelings, aid sleep, and even boost the immune system response.
While there is not widespread clinical research around essential oils as a cure for all of these ailments, some studies and anecdotal research concluded it can improve conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. So while it might not be a cure-all, if you’re feeling drowsy, stressed, congested, or have some other physical or mental pain, essential oil use may be worth a shot.
Read on to learn more about the 11 most beneficial essential oils for aromatherapy.
Not only can peppermint oil make a room smell fresh, but it can also make you feel refreshed. This popular oil, derived from the flowering parts and leaves of a peppermint plant, is known for improving memory and alertness, so it’s highly recommended for those who work long hours. Studies have also found it can boost athletic performance, reduce headaches, soothe muscle aches, and, as a limited amount of research shows, may also aid with irritable bowel syndrome.
One of the most common essential oils, lavender, comes from the iconic purple plant and is often found in perfumes and soaps. A whiff of this oil can be a soothing sensory experience — it’s no wonder hotels like to lightly spray it on linens and spas decorate waiting rooms with it. A 200-person study showed that lavender oil effectively lessened patients’ anxiety in a dental office, suggesting it can be a great remedy for relaxation and stress relief.
Derived from the white flowers of jasmine plants, this essential oil is also frequently mixed into perfumes, including the timeless Chanel No. 5. Jasmine has a sweet, romantic smell, making it a noted aphrodisiac. It’s a mood-booster that can help reduce stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression, and is even recommended for menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms.
This essential oil packs a punch– it’s full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like Vitamin A, zinc, and magnesium. In small doses, these vitamins aid in improving physical and mental wellbeing through fighting infection and improving memory. Sage emits a strong, spicy scent that is relaxing, reducing blood pressure, anxiety, and inflammation.
A fresh cup of orange juice may bring back happy memories of childhood breakfasts or summer soccer games. In fruit form, it’s famous for its immune-boosting properties, but it also packs a whole lot of punch as an essential oil. Orange is a mood-enhancing scent that can help reduce anxiety and stress. A small study also showed inhaling a bit of orange can help improve running times, and another showed it’s potential to aid in weight loss.
Cinnamon is a popular ingredient for cooks, bakers, and drink-makers, and it’s also a go-to aromatherapy for improving focus and energy. This essential oil improves blood flow to the brain, giving a much-needed pick-me-up when you’re feeling bogged down or distracted.
This essential oil’s benefits make it popular during the cold and flu season. Derived from eucalyptus plants, this oil contains eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol, which help to break up congestion and reduce headaches. To use this essential oil, you can diffuse it or put a few drops on your hand and inhale after taking a hot bath or shower.
Drinking chamomile tea has long been a favorite pre-bedtime routine. While chamomile is known to help promote good sleep, drinking too much tea before bed can cause a midnight bathroom run. As an alternative, consider chamomile aromatherapy. In addition to helping you catch some extra zzz’s, a 2018 study showed this essential oil also calms feelings of anxiety.
Mental fog is real, especially if you’re prone to an afternoon slump or have had trouble sleeping. Suggestion: ditch the third cup of coffee and diffuse some rosemary next time you’re feeling out of it. This essential oil stimulates the brain to promote clarity and improved memory function.
This essential oil isn’t actually derived from a tea plant but rather from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree native to Australia. Tea tree oil is known for its benefits to the immune system and is also praised for its anti-fungal properties. Further, this essential oil is a popular ingredient in shampoos as it can help clear up pesky issues such as lice, dry scalp, and dandruff.
Lemony fresh smelling rooms is often a gold standard in cleanliness. It’s no surprise — lemon may taste sour, but it smells fresh, often putting people in a better mood and flexing its anti-stress powers. When diluted, lemon oil has a high D-limonene concentration, which helps reduce wrinkles and firm up skin, making it a great addition to your skincare routine.
Disclaimer: BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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