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Essential oils are growing in popularity, but what does the research say? This is how essential oils can help.

Do perfumes have the power to ease your pain or improve your mood? Is aromatherapy a fad or an important part of a holistic approach to healing?

Is your nose a gateway to your brain?

Experts are delving into these kinds of questions and are realizing that powerful herbal scents may have a place in the science of health and healing. While many people are looking for natural (and safe) remedies for insomnia, chronic pain, and more, essential oils like lavender, jasmine, ginger, and spearmint are gaining popularity for their potency. .

Granted, research is limited. However, some small studies suggest that aromatherapy may be beneficial. Many people report that essential oils help them feel better by relieving nausea, relieving muscle soreness, or promoting relaxation after a stressful day.

What is an essential oil?

Essential oils are extracted from flowers, fruits, leaves, or seeds to capture the aromatic “essence” of the plants they come from. The result is a highly concentrated oil that can be inhaled, massaged in, or added to lotions or bath water. The idea is that these botanical scents target olfactory receptors in the nose and trigger effects that travel to the brain via the nervous system. When absorbed through the skin, some oils are also said to have antifungal or antibacterial effects.

Essential Oils for Pain Relief

Researchers studying aromatherapy as a way to relieve pain after surgery found that people who tried it not only managed their pain better, but also reported greater satisfaction with their care. Of course, essential oils are only part of a post-operative pain management plan.

Women giving birth have also reported positive results with scents such as rose, lavender and frankincense. In one study, these scents appeared to help relieve anxiety and anxiety and reduce the need for pain medication.

Which essential oils for better sleep?

Chamomile tea and lavender lotion before bed are known sleep aids. But are they really effective? Studies on hospitalized patients confirm this. They have shown that these scents can promote relaxation and improve sleep.
Professional caregivers can also benefit from this. In a study of shift nurses, participants slept better after an aromatherapy massage at the end of a night shift.

What about indigestion and nausea?

Stomach upset can be a side effect of many diseases, from pregnancy to cancer. But studies suggest that essential oils may help. One study showed that people with leukemia who used their choice of lavender, chamomile, or peppermint found relief from nausea and loss of appetite. In another study, peppermint essential oils helped some pregnant women reduce nausea and vomiting during labor.

One can also use a cotton ball with a drop or two of ginger or mint essential oil to relieve nausea.

How to feel better with aromatherapy

Regardless of the health benefits of aromatherapy, using scents that you like or that make you feel good can help you relax and feel better. Sometimes lemon essential oil for headaches and mental fatigue or tangerine for restlessness, anxiety, nausea and sleep.

How to use aromatherapy safely

When used properly, most essential oils are safe. But it’s important to remember that they are powerful and not all can be used equally. For example, an oil that is safe to use in a diffuser may not be safe for the skin. In fact, some citrus oils can cause severe burns if you apply them directly to your skin and expose yourself to the sun.

It is also important to follow the directions and dilute the oils properly. For example, before applying to skin, you can add a few drops to water for an aromatherapy diffuser, or to a neutral “carrier oil” such as vegetable oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil.


Manion CR, et al. Essentials of essential oils. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 2017;74:e153. aromatherapy. Natural Medicines. called Aug. 24th, 2017.

Lakhan SE, et al. The effectiveness of aromatherapy in pain relief: A systemic review and meta-analysis. Pain research and treatment. 2016;2016:e1. called Aug. 25th, 2017.

Karadag E et al. Effects of aromatherapy on patients’ sleep quality and anxiety. Nursing in intensive care. 2017;22:105.

Cho MY, et al. Effects of aromatherapy on anxiety, vital signs and sleep quality in patients with percutaneous coronary intervention in intensive care units. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;2013:e1. called Aug. 25th, 2017.

ChangYY, et al. The effects of aromatherapy massage on sleep quality in nurses on monthly rotating night shifts. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017;2017:e1. called Aug. 25th, 2017.

Blackburn L., et al. The effect of aromatherapy on insomnia and other common symptoms in patients with acute leukemia. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2017;4:e185.
aromatherapy. University of Maryland Medical Center. called Aug. 25th, 2017.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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