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The Best Uses For Essential Oils And Why They Work

Kat Giuffrida
ByKat GiuffridaNov 30, 2021

Simply Earth Eucalyptus

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their healing and medicinal properties, and have remained popular to this day for their wide range of uses. While some consumers use these herbal compounds for relieving pain or mitigating illness, others enjoy using them for purifying their homes or incorporating them into their meditation practice. Here, I'll review 3 of the most popular uses of essential oils and include several studies that validate their specific health benefits. I'll also share my own experiences with using specific essential oils to achieve these health outcomes as well.

Please keep in mind that all of the studies I included in this review resulted in positive effects, whereas other studies you may encounter online may present conflicting results. Additionally, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or have sensitivity to the use of some essential oils and it is extremely important to research which oils may trigger potential side effects prior to their use. As the consumer, it's up to you to compare these studies and make an informed decision as to whether or not you should use essential oils to achieve certain health outcomes. 

Essential Oils For Anti-Aging And Skin Health

Health Goal: Essential oils can be used in the treatment of skin disorders and may also be used to combat free radical damage for anti-aging effects. Essential oils are effective in anti-aging and healing the skin for many reasons including their antioxidant properties, ability to retain moisture and nourish the skin, and their effects on the HPA axis. It is possible to achieve skin health benefits through using both diluted essential oils topically and through inhalation.

Relevant Study: A study conducted on lemon oil assessed its ability to prevent tissue damage in the skin related to free radical damage stemming from exposure to UVA and UVB from sun lamps. The study compared the use of lemon oil against that of α-tocopherol (the most biologically active form of vitamin E) and found that the lemon essential oil solubilized in grape-seed oil was more effective as an antioxidant in respect to its scavenging action against peroxide free radicals and is a plausible form of treatment for lifestyle-related skin diseases.

How To Use: You can mix a few drops of lemon oil or rosehip oil (lavender and almond oil also work very well) with 1 TBSP of coconut oil, or another carrier oil. Then, apply this mixture using a cotton swab or damp cloth to the areas of your skin that need the most care. You can also place this same mixture into a bath and sit in the water for around 15-20 minutes. If you choose to go the inhalation route, simply place a few drops of your preferred oil into a diffuser and let the diffuser complete a full cycle.

Essential Oils For Anxiety And Stress

Health Goal: The volatile oil components of essential oils are able to pass into the capillary blood vessels and then pass the blood-brain barrier which affects the entire central nervous system. As such, many oils can be effectively used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and pain management.

Relevant Study: A study conducted in 2012 assessed the effects of the inhalation of lavender oil on emotional states, the autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity compared to that of a control group and sweet almond oil. The autonomic parameters measured in this study included blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin temperature. Study participants were also requested to estimate their mood responses and an electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded to measure the power of theta and alpha brain activities. Individuals who inhaled lavender oil experienced significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, and skin temperature. They also experienced more positive emotions, had lower levels of fatigue, and were able to relax within a shorter amount of time.

How To Use: You can place a few drops of lavender oil into a diffuser to create a calmer atmosphere throughout the day. If you're trying to induce sleep, you may want to inhale lavender around 30 minutes prior to bed. You can also use a roll-on to apply lavender oil to your wrists so that you can inhale it wherever you are, regardless of whether or not you have access to a diffuser.

Essential Oils For Cleaning

Health Goal: Essential oils can be used to clean surfaces and disinfect the air due to antimicrobial and antiviral components, such as terpinen-4-ol and 1,8-cineole. Two of the best essential oils for these purposes are tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil.

Relevant Study: One study analyzed the antiviral activity of both tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils against influenza virus that was obtained on an air filter surface. This study also tested both oils in aerosol form against viral particles. The results showed that both essential oils were able to inactivate microorganisms within 5–10 min of contact on the fiber surface and that there was statistically significant inactivation of airborne influenza virus. However, tea tree oil displayed the greatest results in respect to disinfection compared to eucalyptus oil.

How To Use: In general, most people prefer to use eucalyptus oil for purifying the air and tea tree oil to disinfect surfaces. However, you can use both of these oils for cleaning surfaces directly or in your diffuser.  If you're using these oils to clean countertops or other surfaces you'll want to add 6-10 drops of either oil into a mixture of 2 cups of hot water and a 1/2 cup or full cup of vinegar. Mix the solution lightly and then add it into a spray bottle. Now, you can directly apply this DIY cleaning solution to the surface you want to clean and then wipe the oil around in circles with a slightly damp washcloth. You may want to test a corner of the surface that you're cleaning to ensure that the cleaning solution does not lead to discoloration, however, most countertops and tile will not be affected.

If you're using these oils to purify the air, add 6-8 drops of either oil into your diffuser and leave it on until it goes through the full cycle.

Key Takeaways

Although my review only included a handful of relevant studies, I can assure you that there are hundreds of other studies available online that confirm similar results for the benefits of certain essential oil on the health of skin, reducing anxiety, and for disinfection. If you're eager to try out essential oils, then I suggest checking out any of the products sold by Simply Earth. You can also read more about our team members' experiences with this company's essential oils by going to this page and scrolling down to individual reviews. We realize that essential oils aren't for everyone, but they're certainly worth a try if you're looking for complementary health solutions or want to enhance your home.

What are your favorite uses for essential oils? Let us know in the comments!

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Kat Giuffrida
Kat Giuffrida

Writer by night, SAHM by day. If I'm not behind the keyboard or baby-wrangling, you can most likely find me training in the pool, lifting weights, or chugging an extra large coffee.

I've contributed to over 200 articles on My Subscription Addiction which include best of lists, recurring reviews, sponsored posts, and informational guides. My favorite topics include:👩🏼‍🍼🏠🪴🍲☕️🏋️‍♀️🐈.

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