Essential oils extracted from plants (literally taking the “essence” of the scent and flavor of the plant or herb) have been used for medicinal and wellness purposes for centuries. Sometimes the benefits come from rubbing the oils into the skin but they can also be added to warm baths or misters to inhale for aromatherapy benefits. Depending on the oil, they can be used to ease headaches or muscle pain, help with emotional issues like anxiety and stress. Some oils (such as peppermint, lavender, and lemon) have more than one purpose and can be blended, so we checked out kits that cover the basics. When choosing, make sure these collections include any personal favorites. We also looked for oils that are naturally derived rather than having gone through a chemical process. This ensures they are purer and less diluted, with authentic aromas to create a pleasing scent to ease your aches and pains — or, just to make bath time into a spa ritual.
Hey Natalie, I personally don’t like the multiple level marketing tactics of the big companies. I know many of the reps are genuine, but I also think there’s a lot of misinformation and disregard for safety promoted by many of the representatives selling oils for these companies because they are motivated by selling more and more (commissions, higher rank–reaching diamond level, etc. ). I’m not saying this is everyone, but I’ve seen this behavior demonstrated often by the model of selling. Plus, many of their claims are pure marketing gimmick (they have good oils, but their marketing that “their oils are the only pure oils” is nonsense). Because their reps receive a large commission on sales, the oils are far more expensive than they need to be (based on my research). I have nothing against these companies, but the practices I’ve witnessed over the years is enough to keep me away.
According to a systemic review and meta-analysis published in Pain Research and Treatment, there is a significant positive effect of aromatherapy, compared to placebos or control treatments, in reducing pain. Researchers evaluated 12 studies on this topic and found that essential oils were especially helpful in treating postoperative pain, obstetrical pain and gynecological pain. (14)
Frankincense also demonstrates anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects when tested in lab studies and on animals — specifically, helping to fight the cells of specific types of cancer. (7c) A 2012 study showed that a chemical compound found in frankincense called AKBA may kill cancer cells that have become resistant to chemotherapy. (7d)
In the era of modern medicine, the naming of this treatment first appeared in print in 1937 in a French book on the subject: Aromathérapie: Les Huiles Essentielles, Hormones Végétales by René-Maurice Gattefossé [fr], a chemist. An English version was published in 1993. In 1910, Gattefossé burned a hand very badly and later claimed he treated it effectively with lavender oil.
Shown to the right is a bottle with a rubber dropper top. It's okay to use a bottle with dropper top to store essential oils that are blended with carrier oils at very low dilution for a few months or less. However, do not store pure, undiluted essential oils in bottles with rubber dropper tops. The rubber will turn to mush and ruin the oil. It's okay if the bottle has a plastic orifice reducer (euro dropper) insert inside the bottle as the material can withstand essential oils.
Aromatherapists, people who specialize in the practice of aromatherapy, utilize blends of supposedly therapeutic essential oils that can be used as topical application, massage, inhalation or water immersion. There is no good medical evidence that aromatherapy can either prevent, treat, or cure any disease. Placebo-controlled trials are difficult to design, as the point of aromatherapy is the smell of the products. There is disputed evidence that it may be effective in combating postoperative nausea and vomiting.