So, are essential oils medicines or malarkey? Some proclaim them a cure-all for anything that might ail you, while others are skeptical, deeming them a “snake oil.”

Essential oils refer to highly concentrated substances extracted from roots, stems, bark, flowers, or any part of a plant. They can positively impact your health and well-being as long as you safely use them. Interestingly enough, it can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil.

Aromatherapy, using essential oils for therapeutic benefit, has been used for centuries. When inhaled, scent molecules travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain. The skin can also absorb essential oils. Adding them to a humidifier or a diffuser is an option, but you should not take them orally. There are dozens of essential oils, all with different fragrances and chemical makeups. Which essential oils are best depends on what symptoms you’re looking to ease or fragrances you prefer. Some of the most popular essential oils include:

  • Lavender oil: Many people find the lavender scent relaxing. It can help relieve stress and anxiety and promote good sleep.
  • Tea tree oil: Also called melaleuca, Australia’s aboriginal people used this essential oil for wound healing. Today, it’s commonly used for acne, athlete’s foot, and insect bites.
  • Peppermint oil: There’s some evidence that peppermint essential oil helps relieve nausea. It may also relieve tension headaches when applied topically. 
  • Lemon oil: Many people find the citrusy scent of lemon oil a mood booster. It’s also often used in homemade cleaning products.
  • Orange oil: Orange oil may decrease anxiety and stress by soothing your nervous system.
  • Rosemary: Breathing in rosemary can improve speed and accuracy during demanding mental tasks.
  • Ylang-Ylang: One study found that people had a lower heart rate and blood pressure after using ylang-ylang.

Essential oils can lift your mood and make you feel good with just a whiff of their fragrance. For some people, they may even help alleviate the symptoms of various conditions. Look for 100% pure and organic oils, which are free of fillers and synthetic fragrances. 

For more information on incorporating them into a healthy lifestyle, click here.  

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