To many, essential oils are just the latest and greatest in healthy living fads. However, the reality is, essential oils have been around for thousands of years and used to treat all sorts of different ailments. From physical and psychological problems to using essential oils for weight loss, these oils can be used in a wide variety of ways.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of essential oils, especially when it comes to weight loss. So please, bear in mind, the statements made throughout this post should only be used for furthering your knowledge, and before implementing any internal use, please consult a professional.
What Are Essential Oils
Essential oils are a natural oil that has been extracted from a plant or other source. These oils retain the distinctive fragrances of the plant and are typically used in aromatherapy.
These oils are typically obtained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing, according to Healthline. It’s essential to know how your essential oils are made because if they were processed chemically, they lost their purity, rendering them pretty useless when it comes to their health benefits.
As mentioned before, essential oils are typically used in aromatherapy, and in more recent years, the oils have gained popularity as both topical and internal treatments for things such as stress, digestion issues, and migraines.
When used in aromatherapy, essential oils are typically inhaled into the olfactory system by the users. The olfactory system contains any organs or cells that relate or contribute to the sense of smell.
When users inhale essential oils through the nose, such as eucalyptus oil for treating a cough, the airborne molecules interact with their olfactory organs. By inhaling these oils, they get into the body quickly, and they interact with the body through several systems, including the respiratory system, which is why many users find relief through this method.
Remember the eucalyptus oil for treating the cough? This essential oil is used to help relieve coughing and to help break up mucus in the chest.
Even if you don’t use essential oils on their own, many products do! For those who use Vicks VapoRub, for example, will notice that it is listed as an active ingredient.
Another system that can be majorly affected by the use of essential oils is the limbic system, also known as the “emotional brain.”
This system of the body is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control a wide variety of functions, such as heart rate and stress levels.
Inhaling certain essential oils, such as lavender, can help users calm their minds and help them relax. In fact, lavender is a very common ingredient in products designed to help users sleep, such as Vicks ZzzQuil Purse Zzzs Gummies with Melatonin, Chamomile & Lavender.
While less popular due to many people’s skin sensitivities, essential oils can be used topically, thanks to the skin being semi-permeable. This allows the oils to be absorbed directly into the skin.
Common topical uses for essential oils are for pain, skin conditions such as eczema and also for relaxation.
Take lavender essential oil. As mentioned above, this oil has a calming effect on the body, and while inhaling it seems to have a quicker calming effect on most people, others find that applying this oil to their temples, wrists, and feet can help speed up the calming effect.
An important thing to note about using essential oils topically is that users should always use them with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are a type of vegetable oil, such as olive or coconut oil, that ensures that essential oils can be applied to the skin without harming it.
It is possible to cause yourself physical injury when using essential oils!
One such example is using photosensitive oils, such as bergamot, on the skin without diluting it with a carrier oil. This can profoundly increase the chances of the user getting a severe burn on the site of application.
This is why it is always important to dilute your oils before you use them topically. Using carrier oils will not reduce their effectiveness, so why bother taking the chance?
When it comes to using essential oils, and using them safely, this is where things get a little bit grey.
Many people swear by ingesting essential oils to treat a variety of different reasons, including treating digestive issues and using essential oils for weight loss.
When users decide to use essential oils internally, they generally go about it by adding a few drops of a given oil to their food. Alternatively, some choose to place a few drops under the tongue, or even add a few drops to a veggie cap and swallow it whole.
For example, some believe that ingesting peppermint oil is a good way to help Irritable Bowel Syndrome. According to One Green Planet, peppermint oil reduces stress, which in turns reduces Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms such as gas, bloating and pain.
“Just a tiny drop of the oil in some hot water with lemon and ginger (other digestive aids) is a powerful, natural therapy for an upset, IBS tummy.”
Here is the thing…
Everyone is going to react to essential oils differently. Every person’s body is different!
So, while some find it useful to ingest essential oils, others find that it has adverse side effects. Moreover, while some are going to praise the use of them, it is imperative to realize that using them in this manner has the potential to cause harm, such as burning the esophagus or the tongue.
It is highly recommended that essential oils do not be taken orally unless under the strict care and guidance of a medical professional.
Can Essential Oils Help with Weight Loss?
While nothing can replace a good diet and proper nutrition, some do believe that essential oils can be used to help with weight loss.
Because the use of essential oils internally is so controversial, we won’t be looking at how ingesting them can help with weight loss. What we will be looking at is how they can help curb cravings and increase energy to help users on their weight loss journeys.
Believe it or not, someone’s overall mood and energy play a significant roll in whether they can lose weight or maintain weight loss.
Weight loss is a never-ending battle against yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. It can be hard to juggle all these different aspects of the journey, so no wonder people become stressed out and falter.
So, can essential oils help with weight loss? While there is no solid answer as this field is still being studied, many believe the answer is yes.
Top 10 Essential Oils for Weight Loss
Aromatherapy for weight loss? While the concept may seem puzzling to some, it has some promising studies to back it up, according to Natural Living Ideas.
How can essential oils be used for weight loss if users aren’t ingesting them? It’s simple. Thanks to the olfactory glands, our bodies are capable of “near-immediate interactions with the brain’s amygdala and hippocampus.”
So, by inhaling the oils through the nose, which also talks to the brain receptors, the body can react to the therapeutic effects of these oils and help us bypass the psychophysiological hurdles involved with weight loss.
Below, listed in no particular order, are ten essential oils for weight loss that many believe can have major effects, including appetite control and stress reduction.
Grapefruit oil is a very popular essential oil when it comes to weight loss because it can activate enzymes in the body.
According to Josh Axe, DNM, CNS, DC, founder of DrAxe.com, author of Eat Dirt and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, “It contains powerful compounds that support your metabolism and cleanse your lymphatic glands, allowing them to carry nutrients to your tissues.”
Topically – Reduces Cravings
Inhalation – Increases energy and endurance
By diffusing lemon oil in your home or rubbing it onto the bottom of your feet, it can help detoxify your body by cleansing it of toxins that build up inside your body. Much like grapefruit, lemon oil also supports lymphatic drainage.
It is also a rather uplifting scent and can easily help elevate your mood and energy. Moreover, for those achy muscles, lemon oil can be applied topically with a carrier oil to help with pain as it is a good anti-inflammatory.
Topically – Relieves Pain
Inhalation – Increases mood and energy
Peppermint oil has many benefits including being a natural appetite suppressant and works to ease the muscles of the stomach when applied topically, helping to reduce bloating. It is also a great muscle relaxer, helping to treat achy muscles.
Inhaling peppermint oil is also shown to help improve memory function, calm the nerves and make users more alert.
Topically – Reduces appetite
Inhalation – Increases energy and alertness
Cinnamon oil is known for being able to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. By using it topically, the body can absorb it quickly.
“By balancing your blood sugar, cinnamon oil can reduce sugar cravings and overeating,” Axe says.
When diffused through the air, it helps to prevent any fatigue and moodiness that can get in the way of your day.
Topically – Reduce Cravings
Inhalation – Prevents fatigue and moodiness
Ginger oil is known to help support digestion and reduce inflammation. By adding a few drops of ginger oil to a warm bath and soaking in it, it can help reduce inflammation, especially in the belly region, and the sweet smell can help reduce sugar cravings.
Topically – Reduces Cravings
Inhalation – Reduces inflammation
Lavender oil seems like a go-to for everything. When it comes to weight loss, lavender oil is great because it helps to relax the individual and prevent strong emotional swings that can cause them to overeat. By applying topically or inhaling it, lavender can relax the mind and body and help kill those cravings.
Topically – Reduces Stress
Inhalation – Reduces Stress/Lessen the urge to binge
Much like lavender, bergamot helps tremendously when it comes to breaking the negativity cycle that can lead to binge eating.
In fact, a study that examined the effects of 15 minutes of bergamot oil aromatherapy showed that participants saw improvement in overall mood and energy, it also showed a decrease in the hormone cortisol, which is released as a stress response.
Topically – Boosts Mood and Energy
Inhalation – Boosts Mood and Energy
Fennel is a great source of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s wake-sleep cycle. When diffused, Fennel oil can help to reduce cravings and help users get more restful sleep.
A recent study showed that inhaling fennel oil twice a day could result in fewer calories consumed and a faster rate of food digestion.
Topically – Reduces Cravings
Inhalation – Suppresses Appetite, restful sleep
Lemongrass oil is a great oil for a variety of reasons. It works as an anti-fungal, antioxidant, sedative and more.
When applied topically, it can help cleanse the body in a variety of different ways. When inhaled, lemongrass as the ability to relax the mind and body to help reduce stress.
Topically – Cleanses the body
Inhalation – Reduces stress
Like lavender and bergamot, rosemary oil is another oil that can reduce cortisol levels significantly.
“Sniffing rosemary essential oil for five minutes can significantly reduce your cortisol levels. So, not only are you less stressed, but your waistline will thank you, too! Keep a little bottle by your bed and in your desk,” says Karena Dawn and Katrina Hodgson of Tone It Up.
Topically – Reduces Stress
Inhalation – Reduces Stress
Using Essential Oils for Weight Loss
Essential oils have been around for thousands of years, and they have proven to be helpful on many occasions.
So, is it safe to say that essential oils for weight loss make sense? I’d say yes.
As long as users are well aware of proper uses, essential oils can make a great addition to any weight loss journey!