The Benefits of Essential Oils

Essential oils

Essential oils have been used for centuries in different cultures for various medicinal and health purposes.

Their uses are vast, ranging from aromatherapy to household cleaning products to personal care and natural medicine. Today, we look at what the science says by exploring recent studies on various essential oils.

How Essential Oils Are Made

Essential oils are made by distilling or extracting plant parts, such as flowers, leaves, bark, roots, and peels, resulting in a powerful concentration of botanicals. In fact, just one drop can have amazing effects.

Here are some of the many proposed benefits of essential oils (according to the experts).

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot oil may improve your mental health. According to a small study in 2017, people who inhaled bergamot essential oil in a waiting room reported feeling more positive than those who didn’t.

Another small study in 2015 also concluded that inhaling bergamot oil reduced feelings of anxiety and fatigue. A 2013 review echoed this finding, with scientists concluding that bergamot oil may be able to relieve depression, anxiety and mood disorders by getting the brain to release feel-good chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.

Bergamot oil may also fight food poisoning when inhaled, according to a 2016 study that found it had “weak to strong effects” on destroying certain types of bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses. This effect is due to a compound found in bergamot oil known as Linalool.

Bergamot oil may even help to lower cholesterol. A review of several studies found that flavonoids in bergamot oil helped to reduce lipid levels in the body, though researchers aren’t sure why.

Bergamot oil also appears to reduce pain and inflammation due to the presence of compounds Linalool and carvacrol. In fact, several studies found that both compounds had anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and pain-relieving properties when inhaled and applied directly to the skin.

Chamomile Oil

Chamomile essential oil is extracted from the chamomile plant. The oil is made specifically from the flowers of the plant.

There are two main varieties of chamomile, namely:

  • Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis)
  • German chamomile (Matricaria recutita or Chamomilla recutita)

Chamomile oil is rich in flavonoids, sesquiterpenes and other beneficial chemical compounds that contribute to its anti-inflammatory, soothing and calming properties, according to a study in 2024.

Its anti-fungal and analgesic effects have also been shown to repair damaged tissue and strengthen and repair the nervous and immune systems, helping to induce sleep, relaxation and pain relief.

That same study mentioned that chamomile is most commonly used to treat anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, mastitis, neuralgia, convulsions, pain and infection, skin inflammation, cough caused by bronchitis, fever, colds, wounds and burns.

Another study in 2023 mentioned that chamomile is effective in treating inflammation and infection of the skin and eyes and for various microbial infections such as gum disease and oral cavities.

Citronella Oil

According to a 2018 study, citronella oil can be used as a safe and effective insect repellent. In fact, it's the only plant-based repellent advocated by the CDC for public use.

Citronella oil also appears to significantly decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate after inhalation. In addition, participants in the study reported feeling fresher and in a better mood. Moreover, the power of alpha and beta brain waves was increased based on another study done in 2012. 

That same study reported that citronella could be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome by acting as a diuretic and antipyretic to induce gastric relaxation.

For centuries, citronella has been used for a variety of purposes, including:

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

A 2015 study revealed that eucalyptus oil can be used to treat diabetes hepatotoxicity and inflammation. It also showed that some eucalyptus plant species are used to treat feverish conditions such as malaria, typhoid and cholera.

The same study mentioned that anticancer, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties have been attributed to eucalyptus oil. As a result, these plants are considered herbal medicine. The study also mentioned that the oil was a good source of natural antioxidants and that it could be used in medical products to promote health and prevent disease.

Another study done in 2019 found that it can be used as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic agent, and to treat flu, common cold, and nose bleeds.

Various properties like anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, astringent, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidative, antiviral, antitumor, antihistaminic, anticancer cytochrome p450 inhibitor and hepatoprotective effects have also been reported by many researchers according to this study in 2018.

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium oil has long been used for its antibacterial and antifungal properties according to a study done in 2013. Belonging to the Geraniaceae family, it's composed of various chemical compounds such as linalool, citronellol and geraniol.

This oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, generally non-sensitizing, and is not known to cause side effects.

Found to be antidepressant, antiseptic and wound healing, the same study mentions that geranium oil may be one of the best oils for diverse dermatological problems such as oily skin, eczema and dermatitis.

Another study in 2015 cites that apart from its pleasant aroma, geranium essential oil has anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative, anxiety-reducing, and muscle-relaxing properties.

Often used in aromatherapy applications, geranium essential oil helps reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and sadness and helps to balance the skin.

Ginger Oil

According to a 2017 study, ginger essential oil is another anti-inflammatory remedy that’s particularly effective in preventing chronic joint inflammation.

Ginger oil contains paradols, shogoals, phenolic acid and gingerols, and these components are well known for their antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, anti-hypertensive, anti-gastrointestinal and analgesic benefits.

Another study done in 2022 notes that ginger essential oil has also been reported to show antimicrobial activity against specific strains of bacteria, particularly Salmonella typhi, E.coli and S.aureus.

Ginger oil has also been proven a highly effective treatment of respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma and other lung-related issues.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is widely known for its medicinal properties. More specifically, its antimicrobial, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and antioxidant properties have benefitted people in many ways.

Lavender is one of the most commonly researched medicinal herbs, and according to a study in 2022, it's been used to cure various ailments including antibiotic resistance, certain side effects, and even drug addiction.

The above study also cites that lavender oil may be used to treat local infections (as an alternative to antibiotics) and in the prevention of the formation of biofilm on teeth.

Lavender essential oils contain linalool, linalyl acetate, 8-cineole-ocimene, terpinen-4-ol and camphor. Because of this, lavender oil has been found to be effective against microorganisms like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans, Aspergillus nidulans, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil is made up of numerous bioactive compounds, such as citral (mixture of geranial and neral), isoneral, isogeranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate, citronellal, citronellol, germacrene-D.

According to a study in 2022, these compounds make it a powerful antimicrobial, anticancer, antiamoebic, antidiarrheal, antifilarial, antitussive, antiseptic, larvicidal, insecticidal, miticidal, ovicidal, acaricidal, analgesic, anaesthetic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antinociceptive, antihypertensive, anti-obesity, anxiolytic, and antimutagenicity potential, cardioprotective, antirheumatic, and haematological plant.

There are 180 species of lemongrass. Some of these include:

  • Cymbopogon citratus
  • Cymbopogon flexuosus
  • Cymbopogon winterianus
  • Cymbopogon martinii
  • Cymbopogon nardus
  • Cymbopogon refractus

Lemongrass oil has been used against a wide variety of disease-causing microbes and, according to the above study, can be used as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral medicine.

Conclusion

According to the research, essential oils have many great properties and can be used to treat a variety of ailments. If you’re looking for a natural remedy that may help with stress, anxiety, sleep, pain, nausea, headaches and more, essential oils might be worth a try.

Essential oils are perfectly safe when used in aromatherapy but may be toxic when ingested. Adding essential oils to tea or putting a drop or two on your tongue is therefore generally not advised unless otherwise instructed by a licensed medical professional. Essential oils are concentrated and can be harmful if used improperly.

 

At Refined Naturals, we want to emphasise that we do not provide or offer any medical advice or diagnoses. The content found on our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

 

It is important to always consult with your physician or other qualified health provider regarding any medical condition or health-related concerns. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it based on information you have read. Use of information available is at your own risk.