Essential oil diffusers are the new “it” girl. They calming therapeutic effects have hypnotized everyone and almost every home, office, school, shop, and even even gym seems to have one. But what are essential oil diffusers and why are they so popular these days? We are here with a simple beginner’s guide to essential oils to help you understand just how magical they are and whether or not they are worth the buck.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are a sector of complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, that are treatments outside of the immediate medical field. And as the market for CAM has increased in the past few years, so has people’s interest in essential oils, diffusers, aromatherapy, and such. The Global Aromatherapy Market Analysis, Companies Profiles, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast predicts that the market for aromatherapy will grow by 8 percent by 2024.

Inhaling the aromas from essential oils can stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is a part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and long-term memory.

So, what are these essential oils everyone is raving about? For our beginners who are new to this trend, essential oils are highly potent oils which come from plants. They have many beneficial properties and are available in various flavors/scents. They are multi-purpose, so they can be used on your hair, on your skin, for aromatherapy, and few medical purposes too.

But before you begin…

While these essential oils are beneficial, they are also quite strong. It is crucial that when you use them for topical purposes, always use a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba oil. These carrier oils help to dilute essential oils. You should also do a patch test before applying this to any part of your body incase you are allergic or sensitive to the product.

Very few essential oils can be taken orally; however, not all are like this. Before taking in any essential oils, please check with your healthcare professional and find out which ones are safe to ingest.

Always, and we can’t stress this enough, always buy essential oils that are labeled as “pure.” There are many knock-off versions in the market that do not carry any benefits. So be mindful of what product you are purchasing.

Types of Essential Oils

As you have probably seen, there is not just one essential oil out there. Each of these scents have their own benefits. Here are a few of the common essential oils in the market currently:

Lavender Oil

This essential oil has a subtle floral scent and is best known for its calming benefits. Lavender has been around for ages and is used to treat many types of ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, hair loss, nausea, acne, skin irritations, etc. It is most commonly used in aromatherapy as its fragrance promotes calmness. There are many ways to use this product such as by inhaling it through an aromatherapy diffuser, applying it to your skin, adding it to your bath, spraying it on your pillows, etc.

WARNING – Despite its many benefits, lavender oil does have a few side effects: nausea, headaches, skin irritations (for those with sensitive skin) and vomiting. Always check with your general physician before getting in contact with the oil.

Rose Oil

Rose essential oil is great for reducing anxiety, treating acne, and even imposing skin complexion to a certain extent. It is extracted from the petals of various Rosa species such as Rosa centifolia L. and Rosa damascene Mill. Many studies have found that rose oil does in fact have many therapeutic properties such as functioning as analgesics and anti-depressants. Based on Persian Medicine, it has a few other pharmacological features such as being anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhoidal. The best way to use this oil is by inhaling it through a diffuser or by applying it to your chest, neck and wrists (make sure to dilute it first with a carrier oil).

WARNING – The side effects for rose oil include: skin irritation. Can be avoided if you increase the amount of the carrier oil; however, if your skin reacts extremely stop using and see a doctor.

Ylang Ylang Oil

This essential oil has a fruity, yet spicy aroma and grows on the Cananga tree. It has been a staple in the market for years. It has a long list of benefits for your health such as promoting relaxation, reducing depression, killing bacteria, lowering blood pressure, improving memory, and building self-esteem. It is often found in many cosmetic products because of its beauty benefits. Ylang ylang oil can be added to baths, applied to skin, and even inhaled through an oil diffuser.

WARNING – Side effects include: skin irritation, poisonous to dogs and cats, has few ingredients that people may be allergic to.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint essential oil has a minty herbal aroma and is best used for boosting your energy levels, improving digestion, relieving pain, reducing vomiting sensations, soothing muscle spasms, etc. It can be applied to skin, used in an oil diffuser, put in the bath, and sprayed on sheets.

WARNING – Side effects include: heartburn, headaches, mouth sores, and irritated esophagus if ingested.

Tea Tree Oil

This is another common and highly used essential oil that has numerous benefits. Tea tree oil is best for soothing allergic skin reactions or inflammations, treating dandruff, reducing hair loss, stimulating blood circulation, and even improving acne-prone skin. you can use this in an oil diffuser or apply it topically.

Lemon Oil

A citrusy essential oil filled with many antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation, help treat anemia, boost energy, relive headaches, and improve digestion. You can either use it in an oil diffuser or apply it topically.

WARNING – Because this oils is highly photosensitive, avoid any exposure to sunlight after applying it to your skin. It is better to use it at night and wash it in the morning.

Choosing the Right Essential Oils

As we mentioned in the beginning, it is important to check the labels and ingredients of any essential oils before purchasing them. There are numerous companies to there who claim to be selling oils that are “pure” or “natural” or “medical grade.” But in reality, these terms don’t have much credibility in the market. This industry is not regulated, so the quality and the composition of these oils vary.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind the next time you are buying essential oils:

  • Quality: Avoid any essential oils that are ridden with excess chemicals. Choose the ones that have been through minimal processing. The best ones are usually extracted through distillation or mechanical cold presses.
  • Purity: Always check the ingredient list of the essential oil. make sure that it has only aromatic plant compounds and no additives or synthetics. You known an oil is pure when the ingredient list includes the plant’s botanical name and its origin.

“If a company does not list the plant’s scientific or botanical name as well as where they sourced it from, it’s likely not a good product.”

Harpreet Gujral, director of integrative medicine at Sibley Memorial Hospital
  • Reputation: Purchase essential oils from reputable companies that are backed by good reviews for creating high-quality essential oils.

Hopefully you are now better equipped to purchase essential oils and reap their benefits. The research around the uses of essential oils, especially medically, are still ongoing. But that does not mean that you can’t enjoy their amazing and known advantages now. So, this is your sign to take that plunge and join the aromatherapy trend. We promise you won’t regret it.

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