One of trendiest categories in wellness right now is the essential oil phenomenon. If don’t use them, or haven’t tried them, then surely you’ve heard about them. Multiple major brands are carving out prominent spaces within this niche. The oils carry a variety of different theoretical functions and purposes. From the outside, it’s easy to size the whole industry up as a pyramid scheme or gimmick. After all, there are a lot of lofty claims, with limited amounts of scientific data or substantive research to back them up. Do essential oils work? Are they actually worth trying? Our article today will seek to cut through the noise and deliver the info you need to know.
What are Essential Oils?
These aromatic compounds derive from inside plants, and purport to offer various types of positive effects. We’ll delve into some of the specific properties and usages in a bit, but first let’s drill down to their origins and concept. Do essential oils work? in order to answer that question, we must first understand what they are trying to achieve.
Every living organism has its own natural processes and mechanisms for healing, growth and regeneration. The idea behind essential oils is to isolate the properties within plant life that serve these purposes. Then, you by strategically applying them, you can receive some form of these capabilities. Think of it as a distant and much less complex version of stem cell therapy. There are a wide range of benefits that the many different types of essential oils can strive to provide. These range from pain relief to stress reduction to healing to immune boosting and much more. Of course, if you want to cut past all of the deeper ramifications, essential oils can more commonly serve as a simple form of relaxing aromatherapy.
The oils are extracted from plants through a distillation method, usually using steam. It takes a great deal of any kind of plant to produce a small amount of its essential oil. For instance, producing just one pound of peppermint essential oil, you need more than 250 pounds of peppermint leaves. This helps explain why they are rather expensive.
One can apply them in many different ways, whether it be applying directly to the skin, ingesting, breathing via incense or other methods. So, do essential oils work as advertised?
Do Essential Oils Work?
It depends on who you ask, and what you’re really looking for. At a base therapeutic level, these oils are certainly effective. The strong and immersive scent of lavender or peppermint has legitimate calming and soothing properties. When you apply them, you are bound to gain some benefit. Many people rely on them daily as part of a stress relief routine.
As far as the more extensive and controversial benefits are concerned, there is less certainty. Will essential oils help stop you from developing cancer? Will they cause wounds to heal more quickly? Can they cure an upset stomach, or deliver detoxifying and cleansing benefits? Outside of small studies and conventional claims, there isn’t much evidence of these things. You’re best off using essential oils for their legitimate relaxing, soothing and stress relieving benefits. As far as the more dramatic proclamations — take them with a grain of salt.