Health Benefits of Essential Oils

The olfactory senses trigger emotions, which is why essential oils are often able to lift mood and make you feel good. These natural oils can also have antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

When used safely and diluted properly, essential oils can enhance the flavor of food and provide additional health benefits. However, they can irritate the respiratory tract in individuals with certain conditions like asthma and COPD.


Aromatherapy uses scented plant oils in a diffuser or diluted with water and applied to the skin, such as in massage. Essential oils are thought to help treat many health conditions, including stress, insomnia and depression. They also may ease pain, such as from shingles or a headache.

The odors of these oils stimulate smell receptors in your nose that send messages to the part of your brain that controls emotions. Researchers are still investigating how and why this might happen.

It’s important to talk with a trained professional before using essential oils for healing, such as an aromatherapist, nurse, doctor or physical therapist. These experts can teach you how to use the right oil for your needs and give you proper instructions on dilution and storage. And they can alert you to potential problems, such as if an oil irritates your skin or isn’t safe during pregnancy. They can also help you find research on the benefits of different oils and recommend quality products.


Essential oils are powerful kitchen power tools that can bring a new dimension of flavor, aroma and health benefits to your meals. They are also convenient and have a longer shelf life than fresh herbs or spices.

They are concentrated sources of flavors and aromas so you can use much less of them versus using fresh herbs or spices. They can also replace certain artificial or natural extracts in recipes. For example, adding peppermint or orange essential oil to chocolate can create unique and interesting flavors.

You should add the oil toward the end of the cooking process as they evaporate quickly. Also, it is best to use a food-grade, therapeutic grade essential oil (see the FDA’s GRAS list of essential oils generally recognized as safe for consumption). You can also experiment with different recipes and combinations of flavors. Keep a record of what works so you can recreate it in the future. Added bonus: many of the essential oils used for culinary purposes can actually extend the lifespan of food by acting as an antimicrobial.

Personal Care

Essential oils are liquid extracts of many potentially beneficial plants. They’re used widely in natural and alternative health practices such as aromatherapy and naturopathy. Some research shows that certain essential oils may help with a few health conditions, but the evidence is generally limited.

They’re also popular in beauty products, as fragrances, and in cooking, where they can add flavor. Lavender oil, for example, is often used to reduce stress and anxiety and promote sleep. Tea tree oil (melaleuca) is commonly used to help with acne, dandruff, and insect bites.

Because they’re so concentrated, pure essential oils are usually safe to inhale or apply to the skin if they’ve been diluted with a carrier oil. However, they can be toxic if ingested and can cause severe reactions in some people. Follow manufacturer recommendations carefully when using them. And never use them around children, pets or anyone with a compromised immune system. They’re also not recommended for pregnant women.

Health Care

Since ancient times, essential oils have been used by many cultures for a variety of purposes. They are said to enhance relaxation, lift moods, soothe pain, boost immunity and even repel mosquitoes.

While many claims about the health benefits of essential oils have been anecdotal, there is some scientific evidence that specific essential oil can help relieve certain conditions (1). However, it is important to note that commercially available essential oils are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It is also important to use caution when using essential oils because some can be irritating or toxic. It is important to find a good, quality producer that makes pure essential oil without anything added. You can also try mixing different essential oils to create a blend that may be more effective. It is also important to always dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil before applying it on your skin. If you have any concerns about using essential oil, talk with your healthcare provider.