You may have heard that essential oils have health benefits as they help release stress and depression and improve sleep quality. Some people use essential oils for aromatherapy, believing that extracts can help treat diseases.
Some studies show that oils can improve a person’s mood and make them feel relaxed and calm, however, there is no evidence regarding disease treatment.
While caring about our health, we think of purchasing the best hygiene products and natural substances as we believe that everything that is natural, is safe.
There are some controversial opinions regarding essential oils’ impact on health. Let’s dive into the health effects that essential oils can have if you think of starting to inhale them.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are extracted from plants by steam/water distillation or cold pressing. The oils contain the flavor, fragrance, and the “essence” of the plants, and that’s why they are called essential.
Most popular essential oils:
- Tea Tree
When Are Essential Oils Used?
Manufacturers extract essential oils for these main purposes:
- Create perfumes
- Add the scent to creams and bath gels
- Apply and massage the oils into the skin
- Inhale them
Mostly, essential oils are used in aromatherapy: the process of inhaling essential oils or absorbing them by your skin for health benefits and well-being. People believe that when they breathe in the smell of the extracts, oils enter the lungs and may benefit their body.
Positive Impact of Essential Oils
If done correctly, essential oils may have positive effects. Experts think that when people inhale oils, the scent molecules travel from the nerves to the brain and may impact the limbic system, which is responsible for your emotions, behaviors, long-term memory, and sense of smell. The system plays a role in forming memories, and that’s why smells can trigger feelings and memories. People believe that when you apply and massage essential oils on your skin, it creates relaxing effects on your muscles. Each essential oil can have various effects, and as there are no scientific claims regarding their positive impacts, there are only assumptions.
Here are a handful of essential oils’ presumed health benefits:
- Treats stress and anxiety
- Treats headaches and migraine attacks (peppermint oil)
- Improves sleep quality
- Reduces muscle aches
- Boosts mood
- Improves immunity
However, the topic of essential oils’ impact on health requires more in-depth research and evidence.
Side Effects of Essential Oils
Here are steps you should avoid doing to prevent side effects:
- Do not apply essential oils directly to your skin, instead, you should dilute them.
- Do not consume essential oils.
- Do not use photosensitive oils in the sun.
- Do not run diffusers all day long.
Side effects of using essential oils include:
Allergic Reactions — Some people may experience allergic reactions and irritations while using essential oils. Some oils that are more likely to have adverse reactions if you are allergic are the following — lavender, tea tree, jasmine, peppermint, ylang-ylang, lemongrass, etc. They can cause irritation, skin rashes, and even allergic reactions.
If you want to apply them to your skin, it’s essential to dilute them with a carrier oil.
Before applying, it’s crucial to do a patch test that helps you to see if you have any allergic reactions or not. To do that, you should wash your forearm, dry it, rub a few drops of a certain essential oil, wait for a day, and then wipe it. If you notice that your skin is red and swollen, then definitely you have an allergic reaction to the oil, and should not use it anymore. If you feel uncomfortable before 24-hour passes, then you must wash your hands with soap and water.
Asthma Attacks — Inhaling essential oils is dangerous for those who have lung conditions like asthma. The oils may contain volatile organic compounds that can irritate the airways and air quality, and affect the lungs. Some certain oils such as lavender can cause shortness of breath and trigger asthma attacks.
Sensitivity to sun rays — You become more sensitive to ultraviolet rays of the sun during aromatherapy. Oils can make you get sunburns quickly and more severely.
Here are some other health threats that inhaling essential oils may cause:
- Throat swelling
- Shortness of breath
While looking for essential oils, you should consider two important factors like quality and purity. Find oils that are chemical-free and pure.
People have controversial opinions regarding inhaling essential oils. Some of them think that they have positive effects, while others believe that oils affect health negatively. Finding high-quality research and studies on this topic is hard today because scientifically there are not many claims. As a rule of thumb, using anything too much can harm your health. Thus, you should use every item in moderation not to harm your health.