If you’re like most people, you probably think of essential oils as fragrances that are used in perfumes and aromatherapy. What you may not know is that these tiny bottles of natural goodness offer a wide range of benefits for your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
In fact, these concentrated plant extracts (from plants, flowers, fruits, leaves, and bark) have been used for centuries in traditional medicine and home remedies to treat a variety of ailments ranging from physical pain to emotional stress. Essential oils work by entering the body through topical application, inhalation, or ingestion. Each with its own unique blend of natural components that can provide a range of different health benefits depending on how it is used.
Although there are many benefits to the sense of smell, this article will look more closely at the other amazing benefits of using essential oils.
Relief from stress and anxiety
One of the most well-known benefits of essential oils is their ability to reduce stress levels by creating a calming atmosphere with their pleasant aromas through aromatherapy. Many essential oils can also influence your brain, nervous system, and muscles to induce a state of relaxation and serenity. Research has shown that inhaling certain aromas can also stimulate the limbic system (the part of your brain that controls emotions) and reduce the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our body.
Best essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety
- Lavender essential oil has been demonstrated to acutely influence the brain, prompting an uptick in alpha waves associated with calming.
Improved sleep quality
Exploring the power of essential oils is an excellent way to drift off into a peaceful and restful sleep. The calming and soothing aromas of essential oils can help clear the mind, relax tense muscles, and slow your breathing rate—all of which are necessary for falling asleep quickly. Additionally, certain essential oils have sedative properties that can aid in deeper and more restorative sleep. When used properly, these natural remedies can be just as effective—if not more so—as traditional over-the-counter sleep products. It’s worth a shot to see if they will work for you.
Best essential oils for sleep
- Lavender essential oil: Undeniably, this purple flowering shrub is the most researched plant when it comes to the best essential oils for sleep.
- Roman Chamomile essential oil
Some essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties that make them great for soothing muscle aches and pains. In addition to being massaged into the affected area, these essential oils can also be inhaled through aromatherapy for additional relief. When using the oils topically for pain relief it is important to ensure that it is diluted with a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil before applying essential oils to the skin.
Best essential oils for pain relief
- Eucalyptus essential oil: Similar to the effects of peppermint, but studies also show that inhaling the aroma of eucalyptus also had a pain-relieving effect
- Roman and German chamomile essential oil
Boost mood and fight depression
Aromatherapy and essential oils are a great way to get an instant pick-me-up and improve your mood. Studies have also revealed that aromatherapy could be a viable treatment option for people affected by depression, regardless of the subject’s background or situation. The invigorating aroma of essential oils can also activate the limbic system in your brain, thus enhancing both memory and mood. When this occurs, neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are released in the brain which creates positive feelings of elation, contentment, and inspiration.
Best essential oils to fight depression and boost your mood
- Lemon essential oil: Studies show that citrus scents (including grapefruit and sweet orange oil) are particularly effective at improving your mood.
Improve focus and concentration
Studies have shown that certain scents are associated with improved concentration and productivity. Whether you’re studying for an exam or working on a project at work, diffusing essential oils in the air can help keep you focused on the task at hand.
Our top picks
- Peppermint oil: Research suggests that inhaling the aroma of peppermint has a beneficial effect on neural pathways in the hippocampus, enhancing memory, reasoning capabilities, concept formation, attention span and problem-solving.
Headache and migraine relief
Add essential oils to your medicine cabinet for a natural solution to reducing headache and migraine pain. Clinical studies have proven the efficiency of these powerful plant-based compounds in soothing both headaches and migraines. Certain essential oils help to reduce inflammation in the head and neck, while others can help relax tense muscles that cause pain. Some are even thought to stimulate endorphins, which are your body’s natural painkillers.
Best essential oils for headaches and migraines
- Lavender oil: Not only is this essential oil good for anxiety and stress, but studies also show that inhaling it can help relieve migraines
Many essential oils can provide a soothing effect on your stomach, in addition to promoting healthy digestion. If you experience an upset stomach after eating, a soothing aroma might be the perfect remedy to restore your body’s balance.
Best essential oils for relief from nausea or upset stomach
- Peppermint oil: For fast-acting results, inhaling peppermint oil has proven to do the trick.
- Ginger oil: If you’re feeling queasy, studies show ginger oil is a great solution that can provide quick relief from nausea symptoms – especially when it comes to motion sickness.
Support immune system
Certain essential oils have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial properties which make them great natural remedies to support immunity during cold season or when fighting off infections. Multiple scientific studies have revealed that essential oils like eucalyptus and ginger possess unique properties that are beneficial for enhancing the immune system.
Best essential oils to boost the immune system
- Eucalyptus oil
- Ginger oil
- Clove oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
Better Skin Health
From skin tightening to healthy aging and a radiant complexion, the healing properties of essential oils are renowned for their ability to beautify. Certain oils also have antibacterial and antifungal qualities. For instance, tea tree essential oil is often used to treat acne and Athlete’s foot due to its ability to kill bacteria on the surface of the skin. These plant extracts are highly concentrated, supplying an array of active elements to improve the overall condition of your skin. You never want to apply essential oils directly to the skin. To address your skin issues through the use of essential oils, consulting with a dermatologist about these potential remedies is highly recommended.
Best essential oils for skin care
- Frankincense oil
- Tea tree oil
- Jasmine oil
- Lavender oil
- Rosemary oil
Unlock the benefits of essential oils
Essential oils offer so many wonderful health benefits that it would be impossible to list them all here. From improved sleep quality to boosted focus and reduced stress levels, essential oils are well worth exploring if you’re looking for new ways to incorporate self-care into your daily routine. Start with just a few essential oils to get started (we recommend peppermint and lavender essential oil), and before you know it, you’ll be feeling the benefits that these powerful plant-based compounds have to offer. Please remember to use essential oils responsibly and never ingest them unless instructed by your doctor. Be sure to read up on any safety concerns or potential allergies before using any essential oil.
Related Article: how essential oils are extracted from plants