Essential Oils- What Are They and How Do They Work

Essential Oils- What Are They and How Do They Work

Plant extracts and other components like the stem, root, leaves, and flowers find use in aromatherapy, an alternative form of medicine that promotes health and harmony. Plants are the sources of essential oils. Plant oils capture its aroma and flavor, or its “essence.” These oils contain a unique blend of aromatic compounds. Steam/water distillation and cold pressing are methods that yield essential oils. Producers then combine the extracted aromatic chemical with carrier oils to form a finished product. Chemically produced essential oils are not essential oils because they do not go through the natural extraction process. This article covers all the basics of essential oils and their health benefits.

What does essential oil do?

Essential oils

A variety of essential oils find their use in aromatherapy, which typically involves inhalation. As you breathe in the aromas of essential oils, your limbic system, which affects your emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and memory, is stimulated. Familiar scents trigger memories and emotions. In addition to controlling breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure, the limbic system also plays a vital role in controlling other involuntary functions. In this sense, some people claim that essential oils can affect the body physiologically. However, science does not confirm such claims yet.

You should not swallow essential oils. Essential oils contain multiple chemicals that have the potential to affect your health. You can absorb some of these chemicals through your skin. Many scientists believe application methods, such as using heat or applying to different body parts, can enhance absorption.

Different types of essential oils

Each essential oil has its typical smell and distinct benefits. There are more than 90 known essential oils. Following is a list of the most used essential oils and their impact on health –

Essential Oil

Health Benefit


Relieve stress.


Boost energy and aid digestion.


Improves mood and reduces anxiety.


Calm nerves and help with focus.


Aids digestion, mood, headaches, and more.

Chamomile, Ylang-Ylang, and Tea Tree add variety to this list.

Essential oils — health benefits

Even though essential oils find their use in a wide range, we know little about their ability to treat some health issues. In this section, we’ll examine the evidence for essential oils treating some of the most common health issues.

Anxiety & stress

As per a study, 43% of people use alternative therapy options to eliminate their ailments like stress and anxiety. Aromatherapy has been quite successful in this case. A substantial number of studies have demonstrated that essential oils can treat anxiety and stress, as well as traditional therapy.

Essential oils
Image: freepik

Because of the distinct odors of the compounds, blinded studies are difficult to conduct and are not likely to be free of any bias. In the case of AllTimeCare essential oil blends, a team of dedicated R&D researchers conducts this task around the clock. However, numerous reviews have been inconclusive on the relieving effects of essential oils. Migraine & headache

Users observe reduced headache pain after applying lavender or peppermint essential oil blends to the forehead. In the Persian tradition, applying chamomile and sesame oil blends to the temples is a treatment for migraines and headaches.

Inflammation reduction

Essential oils have been suggested to help fight inflammation. There is some evidence that they are anti-inflammatory. Study results showed that ingestion of thyme and oregano essential oils induced colitis remission in mice. Caraway and rosemary oils produced similar results in rats. There have been limited human studies examining the effects of these oils on inflammatory diseases. They are therefore untested for safety and efficacy.

Antibiotics and antimicrobial

In light of the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, researchers are looking for new compounds that fight infections. Some positive results have been observed in test-tube studies of essential oils, such as tea tree oil and peppermint oil when examining their antimicrobial effects.

In addition to aromatherapy, essential oils have many other uses like

  • As a scent in natural products and homemade cosmetics.
  • Alternative to manufactured mosquito repellents.
  • Extending the shelf life of foods.

Choosing the right essential oil

The composition and quality of essential oils can vary a lot since they are products of an unregulated industry. Users need to consider the aspects of the extraction process, purity, reputation, and packing when selecting high-quality essential oils. Check out essential oil packing standards. Oils that are diluted with synthetic fragrances, chemicals, or oils should be avoided as well.

Precautions and side effects

Essential oils contain bioactive compounds that can be harmful to your health, just like plants and herbal products. Natural does not necessarily mean safe. Most essential oils are safe when they are inhaled or combined with a base oil for application to your skin. If you’re inhaling the aroma, consider your surroundings, including pregnant women, children, and pets.

It is possible to experience side effects if the blend does not suit your skin type. Asthma attacks, skin irritation, sunburn, headaches, and allergies are some symptoms to watch out for. Essential oils are more likely to cause a rash than any serious reaction, and fatalities are rare. Ylang-Ylang, tea tree, peppermint, and lavender are the most frequently reported to cause side effects.

Essential oils are not edible oils

Essential oils are generally considered safe. These should not be swallowed as they may be harmful and, in some cases, fatal. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using these oils, even though few studies call these safe for them. Some people, however, may experience severe side effects from their use, especially if applied directly to the skin or via injection.

The bottom line

If combined with a base oil, tested essential oils are safe to inhale or apply to the skin. Users should not consume these oils. There is, however, little evidence to support their associated health claims, and producers overplay their efficacy. Essential oils can be helpful for minor health problems when used as a complementary therapy. Users should not rely on essential oils in case of serious illnesses. If you are on medication or have a critical health condition, you should consult your doctor before using these products. Essential oils can be useful in treating health conditions. However, it seeks more research.

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