Are essential oils good for you? Are they bad for you? Are they neither good nor bad, sort of like a placebo? It’s a hot debate in the natural health world.
Essential oils are highly concentrated oils taken from plant parts. Some holistic advisers swear by them. Other folks are skeptical, while some scientists and others in the medical field share a few words of caution.
There are many alleged benefits to using essential oils. But before you reach any final conclusions, consider these views on six of them.
Alleged Benefit #1: Better-Quality Sleep
One of the most popular reasons many use essential oils is because of their perceived sleeping benefits. Just as folks drink certain teas to fall asleep faster and enjoy a deeper sleep, some say oils from those same plants have similar effects.
Some experts warn to pay attention to directions. If applying the oils directly on your skin, they do not suggest using undiluted oils, which can contain 20 times the recommended dose of certain herbs.
Alleged Benefit #2: Less Stress
There are those who claim that essential oils can ease stress and calm anxiety. Since many headaches are attributed to stress, there are physical reasons why folks would want to use the oils to reduce it. Also, some parents use them on children who have behavioral problems before going the “medicinal” route.
On the other hand, how the oil is used is very important. Studies show that oils can have negative effects when used in combination with certain other oils and medicines.
Alleged Benefit #3: Healthier Skin/Skin Repair
Many essential oil lovers use the concentrated oils for the purpose of healing the skin. For some, that means clearing up acne and skin blemishes. For others, that could mean healing cuts and even soothing the pain associated with certain skin injuries.
But reports show that ingesting more than a small dose of certain oils (such as wintergreen oil, which is associated with pain relief) is “like swallowing a large amount of adult aspirin.” Such a statement would suggest alarming adverse effects.
Alleged Benefit #4: Better Digestion
Some believe you can cure digestive upset by applying certain essential oils on the skin in the abdominal area in a “clockwise direction.” They claim the oil will seep in through the skin and into the bloodstream.
But other sources report that “children with their thin skin and immature livers might be more susceptible to toxic effects than adults.” That would imply the oils could have negative effects on your organs.
Alleged Benefit #5: Cough and Flu
It’s common for some essential oil users to inhale oils to soothe them if they have the flu or the common cold. In this case, some would say the oils act more as a reliever than a cure.
But it’s reported that folks have suffered from seizures if they aren’t careful with how they apply the oils. In some cases, children have been sent into comas after digesting certain oils.
Alleged Benefit # 6: Jet Lag Recovery
Some holistic advisers recommend mixing different essential oils together to help travelers recover from jet lag. Oils are also said to help with sleep, alertness and energy. But when misused or abused, some say the oils can cause not only comas but hallucinations as well.
It’s important to remember that no two cases are identical. Everyone comes with different medical histories and conditions. If you have long-lasting health concerns, please consult your physician. Untreated health problems can result in more adverse health effects and even death.
Finally, here’s a list of five of the most popular essential oils, as well as what some claim they are good for:
Peppermint. It’s no wonder peppermint is a popular gum flavor. Peppermint oil is used to freshen breath. It’s also used as a muscle pain reliever and a natural energizer.
Lavender. While the scent is known to be very calming, lavender oil is also used for an ability to heal the skin from cuts and irritations.
Lemon. Lemon oil is popularly used to curb overeating and for body cleansing. It’s also used for stomach illnesses such as queasiness and cramps.
Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus oil is used to treat the flu and common cold, and sinus and allergies, and to wash hands.
Grapefruit. Grapefruit oil is used to reduce depression, clean the body and help with weight loss.