How many of us have heard about the beneficial effects of essential oils? Liquid extracts from plants, essential oils are often used in aromatherapy—a form of alternative medicine that is used for health and well-being.
Manufactured by steam or through cold pressing, once aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create the final product. The best part about essential oils is that they are all-natural and do not have any significant side-effects—unlike chemically created medications.
This is perhaps why they are so popular. But are they really worth it?
Well, different essential oils have different purposes. Some offer relaxation, other promise to fight acne, and others claim to heal. In any case, pure essential oils are more than just a fad. No siree! They are bursting with many benefits, some of which we’re decoding here:
1. Essential oil is used to relieve stress
Studies show that the aroma of certain essential oils helps treat anxiety and stress.
The aroma of sweet orange, for instance, has been found to have a tranquilizing effect. A study conducted by the Universidade Federal de Sergipe in Brazil tested the potential anxiolytic effect of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) aroma on volunteers, before coming to the conclusion.
Another study by Neuropsychiatric Rehabilitation Laboratory in Hong Kong highlighted that aromatherapy could be used as a complementary therapy for people with anxiety symptoms as well.
2. Essential oils help relieve headaches and migraines
A study by the Neurological Clinic of University of Kiel in Germany found that peppermint, ethanol, and eucalyptus oil mixtures increased cognitive performance and had a muscle-relaxing and mentally relaxing effect. They also had an analgesic effect (drug-like) to reduced sensitivity to headaches.
Another study by the University of Kiel found that 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution efficiently alleviates tension-type headaches.
3. They also offer anti-inflammatory benefits
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Lipid Research also found that essential oils of thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel, and bergamot have anti-inflammatory properties. It stated that these oils reduced the expression of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme by at least 25%.
4. Essential oils can offer much-needed relief to insomnia patients
Lavender oil has been shown to have a beneficial effect on sleep quality of women after childbirth. This was deduced through a study led by Department of Reproductive Health of Tehran’s University of Medical Sciences in collaboration with other researchers.
In fact, an experiment conducted by the Turkish Dokuz Eylul University, in collaboration with Gaziantep University and Gaziantep University Medical Hospital, found that lavender essential oil increased sleep quality and reduced level of anxiety in patients with coronary artery disease as well.
5. They also have antimicrobial properties
Essential oils such as peppermint and tea tree, amongst others, have antimicrobial properties. A Pakistan-based study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that essential oils possessed antibacterial powers against multi-drug resistant bacterial strains.