However, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were the latest trend. Essential oils are everywhere these days, from our cosmetics to our humidifiers.
It’s undeniable that essential oils smell amazing. Whether you like floral, citrus, woody or musk scents, there’s an essential oil out there to satisfy your olfactory senses.
But what if essential oils could do more than just smell good?#oilsforeverything has been hashtagged nearly 45,000 times on Instagram – but should we really be using them for everything?2
We take a look at some of the ways essential oils are used – and the evidence for whether they work.
Among the best essential oils for anxiety are lavender, bergamot, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and frankincense.
Using essential oils in diffusers, oil burners, room sprays and linen sprays can offer relaxing benefits. Alternatively, you could use essential oils to keep you feeling calm, in massage oils, or added to baths and body care products.If you have a friend or loved one, you could try creating a homemade essential oil gift to share a little calm.
Try a few drops of lavender, marjoram, vanilla or cedarwood on the underside of your pillow. You could also add a drop or two to a carrier oil or your usual hand lotion and give yourself a relaxing hand massage to unwind just before bed, before holding your cupped hands to your mouth and breathing deeply.Check out our top 7 essential oils which could help you sleep better.
The refreshing effect you’ll feel from a peppermint hair mask comes from the menthol in the peppermint oil, which is responsible for getting the blood flowing to those hair follicles and supporting new growth.Other great essential oils for hair growth include lavender8 and rosemary9. Remember, healthy hair grows at a rate of around ½ an inch per month.
Try coconut oil instead, as it’s mild and well-tolerated on most skins (unless you have a coconut allergy). It’s best to follow the advice of your GP or dermatologist when it comes to eczema relief.
Eucalyptus oil is a great essential oil for cough support as when inhaled from the bottle, on a cotton handkerchief or as part of a vapour or steam, it can help loosen mucus.One study found that using a spray made from the essential oils of aromatic plants (including eucalyptus oil) can provide support when faced with minor upper respiratory issues.11
Bergamot oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, vetiver oil and cinnamon oil are all useful natural remedies for acne, as well as other skin conditions.Neroli essential oil is one of the best essential oils for skin. It’s nourishing and hydrating and has been shown to help soothe sensitive skin.12
Be careful, though – essential oils are very strong (their name comes from the fact that they contain the concentrated ‘essence’ of the plant) and they must be diluted before use.
Always dilute essential oils for skin in a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, castor oil, wheatgerm oil or avocado oil before applying to the skin.
That’s why they could support hormonal balance in women, from periods to the menopause.
One of the best essential oils for hormone balance is clary sage. It can help regulate stress hormones in the body, which wreak havoc on hormonal harmony.
Apply it to pulse points, heat it in an oil burner or inhale from a handkerchief.
However, some essential oils really do seem to hold analgesic (pain relieving) properties.Aromatherapy is an increasingly popular way to manage mild to moderate pain such as headaches, stomach cramps, as well as chronic pain such as neck, back and knee pain.16
The most commonly used essential oils for pain management aromatherapy are lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, chamomile, and peppermint.Aromatherapy is known as a complementary medicine, which means it is meant to complement treatment under the care of a medical professional. It’s important to note that essential oils should never replace medical treatment. Shop Aromatherapy
Last updated: 31 July 2020