You've heard all about essential oils and you really want to try them—you just can't really figure out why they're so essential and how they can possible aid you in curing everything WebMD says is wrong with you. Well, we've rounded up some much-needed info that will help you finally answer that lingering, unspoken question: are essential oils worth the hype?
What are Essential Oils?
First and foremost, essential oils are natural and organic oils derived from the distillation of plants. They can be worn on the body or used as an aromatic aid in stress-reduction, overall wellness and skin rejuvenation. Essential oils can also be used to help with restlessness, insomnia, menstrual pain, rashes, headaches and insect bites. Sounds pretty promising.
Essential Oils in Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a common practice used to relieve anxiety, stress and tension. Plus, it can improve your mood and help you to achieve a balanced state of wellness. It's believed that the inhaled aromas from essential oils stimulate brain function and aid in psychological and physical well-being too.
While most evidence for the usefulness of aromatherapy and essential oils is anecdotal, a U.K. study did find that aromatherapy using essential oils, combined with massage therapy, helped to reduce anxiety and improve mood in patients diagnosed with anxiety and depression. However, lack of other scientific studies backing the prevalence of essential oils could be problematic, suggesting a possible placebo effect (because really, who wouldn't be relaxed after a massage!?).
Wearing Essential Oils
With the rise of essential oils, it's more common to find your girlfriends replacing their perfume with their favorite natural scent. From chamomile, which aids in relaxation and sleep, to rosemary, which is said to improve alertness and mental clarity, you can find an essential oil that suits your needs and signature scent. Plus, they never have that too-sweet smell, for all the down-to-earth babes out there.
The Most Common Essential Oils
Here are the seven most common essential oils you might consider using in aromatherapy or as a perfume:
Lavender: A calming scent, lavender essential oil are commonly used in baths and laundry for sweet-scented sheets. It can also be used to soothe the skin from acne or inflammation.
Tea Tree: Made from steam distilled from the leaves of the tea tree shrub, tea tree oil is an antiviral and antibacterial commonly used for skin irritations, dandruff and acne.
Jasmine: From the flower, jasmine oil is used for its uplifting benefits, as well as to relieve muscular aches and joint pain. It also soothes dry or irritated skin.
Rosemary: Long recognized as a sacred plant, the fragrant rosemary oil enhances awareness and soothes muscle aches and pains. It can also be used to aid in coughing and other respiratory ailments.
Sage: The astringent properties of sage and sage essential oil make it beneficial for aiding in conditions like acne, dermatitis and eczema.
Chamomile: The ultimate calming essential oil, chamomile is best prescribed to those suffering from anxiety, stress, anger and impatience. It can also help with headaches, joint stiffness and irritated skin.
Eucalyptus: From the grand Australian eucalyptus tree, this oil is used as a healing aid for the respiratory system and is said to aid in colds and flus.
Though there are a lack of studies proving the effectiveness of essential oils on the wide range of ailments, aches and pains they reportedly aid in, we suggest you take it upon yourself to decide whether essential oils are worth the hype or not. After all, everyone is different and so are the effects certain scents may have on you. Essential oils have become so popular for a reason, so try a few out and choose the one that makes you feel the most calm and refreshed. Worst case scenario? Your house will smell ahhhh-mazing.