Essential Oils As a Natural, Complementary Therapy

Essential oils may seem like a buzzy, modern trend but they’ve been used for centuries. And they can be a natural, complementary therapy that supports your wellness goals and alleviates symptoms of some conditions.

If applied to the skin, always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil to prevent irritation. Also test the oil by applying a small amount to the inside of your wrist.


Aromatherapy involves the use of fragrant essential oils in a variety of ways to enhance health. Oils are inhaled or added to a carrier oil for direct application to the skin, and they can also be consumed (but not all oils should be taken by mouth).

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that contain volatile aromatic compounds. They can be used individually or in a combination of oils to create aromatherapy blends with specific therapeutic purposes.

The scent of certain essential oils stimulates smell receptors in the nose that send messages through the nervous system to the limbic system in the brain. This is thought to alter mood and behavior. However, evidence is weak for many of the claims about essential oil benefits. And some oils can be harmful when ingested or applied to the skin without being properly diluted. Talk to your healthcare provider before trying aromatherapy.


Essential oils are a natural alternative to chemical products. They are concentrated hydrophobic liquids containing volatile, plant-based chemical compounds and carry the fragrance of the plants from which they were extracted.

They are used to add flavor and scent to food and drink, as well as in incense and household cleaning products. They are also often used for aromatherapy, as their scents are believed to affect the olfactory nerves, which connect directly with the amygdala of the brain and influence the emotions.

Most of the world’s pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are produced through steam distillation. Other methods include cold pressing, expression, sfumatura and resin tapping. Since most essential oils are classed as Class 3 Flammable Liquids, they must be carefully handled to avoid contact with skin or eyes. For this reason, oil companies that respect their oils use dark-tinted glass bottles to protect the quality of the product and do not allow their products to be exposed to oxygen.

Personal care

Many people use essential oils as natural remedies for a variety of health conditions. They can be inhaled, either directly from the bottle or diluted with a carrier oil and a diffuser or humidifier. They can also be applied to the skin (as instructed on the label), added to a bath, or used in cooking.

Peppermint, for example, may relieve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms when taken in an enteric-coated capsule (from a trusted health supplement provider) or inhaled. Other oils might help with a headache, relax tight muscles during a massage or promote sleep or a healthy complexion.

However, scientific evidence supporting many of the health claims about essential oils is limited and mixed. Moreover, prolonged inhalation of undiluted essential oils can negatively impact cardiopulmonary health, such as cause wheezing and congestion. In addition, different individuals might have different reactions to specific essential oils. Therefore, it’s important to perform a patch test and carefully monitor and adjust usage based on how your body responds.

Health care

Essential oils can be used to support a variety of health ailments. They can be applied to the skin, inhaled or ingested. They can also be added to baths or diffused throughout the home. Many oil companies make broad claims about the benefits of their products, but evidence is limited and more research is needed in humans.

The chemicals in essential oils provide a wide range of health benefits, such as soothing and calming the body. They can be categorized as esters, which relax the nervous system, balance and loosen tension; ketones, which exhibit expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties; and oxides, which have strong antibacterial properties. Examples of esters include lavender and roman chamomile essential oils; ketone oils are lemon, peppermint and tea tree; and oxides are orange and ravintsara.

It is important to remember that these oils are highly concentrated and can cause irritation if used directly on the skin or inhaled without proper dilution. They can also trigger asthma and other respiratory symptoms.