We hear plenty of things about essential oils – from advertisements on national television to family and friends talking about how they have or haven’t helped their health problems. However, trying to figure out whether essential oils really work can be a challenge.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are plant-based oils which are thought to have many health benefits. The oils are concentrated and extracted from plants such as lavender and chamomile. For each plant which is used to make essential oils, there are several varieties and strains. This means that you can look for a specific type of essential oil to help with whichever problem you are trying to solve.

What are the benefits of essential oils?

When considering whether essential oils really work, it’s important to first understand what the reported benefits of essential oils are. They are wide-ranging and vary between plant types, but include benefits such as increasing concentration, helping to relieve symptoms of depression, and reducing inflammation. It is thought that people are healthier if they regularly use essential oils or live in an environment where essential oils are used often.

Is there any evidence that essential oils work?

The problem with proving the use and value of products like essential oils is that there is often a lack of studies which have been carried out. Studies have been conducted around the questions of whether essential oils really work, but in most cases, they have been inconclusive. This suggests that further, and differently designed, studies need to be carried out in order to provide some concrete evidence as to whether essential oils really work.

People who have used essential oils, however, often report that they noticed benefits. Lemon oil, for example, has been known to help relieve nausea, while tea tree oil is used often in cosmetic products such as face wash to help relieve symptoms of acne. Lavender oil has long been used to promote relaxation and better quality sleep.

So do essential oils really work?

While you may struggle to find scientific evidence around the uses and benefits of essential oils, it doesn’t mean you should rule them out completely. If you have a problem which you think essential oils may help with, do some research to find stories from others who have experimented with essential oils for their health. This will help you to find out which types of essential oils could help you.