Health Benefits of Essential Oils

Essential oils

Essential oils are powerful plant extracts that have a variety of health benefits. They can relax your muscles and nerves, reduce stress and anxiety, heal wounds, ease headaches, and more.

However, before you use them, it’s important to learn how to properly use them. Most importantly, you should never ingest or inhale undiluted essential oils.


Aromatherapy uses the scents of essential oils to improve health and well-being. These oils are extracted from the roots, stems, leaves, needles, petals, rinds and fruit of plants. They can be inhaled or applied to the skin using lotions and massage oils.

Chemicals in the oils bind with receptors on your brain’s olfactory system and affect the limbic system, which controls emotions. This is how aromatherapy can help reduce depression, anxiety and stress. It may also make your breathing easier and lower your blood pressure.

But more research is needed before these essential oils become medicines. Only trained professionals should use them to treat serious conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or cancer. If you want to try aromatherapy, choose products that are clearly labeled and store them safely away from heat and sunlight. Avoid those that are packaged in plastic bottles, which can dissolve the oil over time and taint it. You should also consult a qualified aromatherapist before starting any treatment plan.


When you smell the aroma of lavender flowers, inhale a whiff of rosemary while cooking or put a drop of peppermint on your breath to stimulate alertness, you’re experiencing the power of essential oils. These highly concentrated natural extracts from the leaves, flowers and bark of various plants have been used for centuries to improve health. They can help you sleep better, fight infections, soothe aches and pains, alleviate headaches, reduce stress and anxiety, promote healthy skin and even treat common colds.

They can be used in several ways, but the most popular is inhaling them. The olfactory nerves in your nose connect to the part of your brain that influences emotions and behavior, so when you inhale essential oil fragrance, it reaches this area instantly. The olfactory nerves also respond to aromas in your food and drink, so you can use them to flavor foods or beverages. Just make sure the oils are safe to ingest and check their label for dietary use instructions.

Pet Care

The use of essential oils has convinced some pet parents to try a holistic, natural approach to improve their furry friends’ health. Many pet problems, from itchy skin to anxiety, can be treated with oils, such as frankincense oil for calming dogs and lavender oil to help relieve itching in cats.

However, it’s important to remember that every animal is different and what may be safe for one dog or cat may not be safe for another. Essential oils in their concentrated form can be dangerous for pets, especially if directly applied to the skin or coat, ingested or inhaled.

If your pet experiences an adverse reaction to an essential oil, contact your veterinarian or poison control hotline immediately. It’s also helpful to bring a bottle of the oil (safely sealed) to your veterinary appointment, as this will provide more information about what was used and how your pet reacted. This will allow your veterinary provider to make the best decision for treatment.

Health Care

Essential oils can improve health in a number of ways. Applied topically they can reduce pain, swelling and inflammation, such as in the case of arthritis, sprains or headaches. They can also be used to repel insects, such as mosquitoes. They may even help alleviate agitation in people with dementia, according to a 2016 study.

Inhalation and topical use are safe for most adults. When using them for skin applications, it’s important to dilute them first with a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba or coconut oil. Ingestion is not recommended, but may be safe in some cases, depending on the oil and dosage.

It’s important to note that despite the many purported benefits of essential oils, they are not FDA-regulated pharmaceutical drugs and therefore lack the rigorous testing required of pharmaceutical products. As such, they should never be ingested or used as treatment for serious medical conditions without the guidance of a state-licensed, credentialed medical professional.