Although essential oils are beginning to gain popularity, many people are still not aware of their benefits. More than just a pretty scent, many essential oils have scientifically-proven health benefits that can improve our well-being and our daily lives immensely. However, they often are not given the fanfare they deserve.
These fourteen underrated essential oils have all been proven to benefit our health in a variety of ways, from killing disease-causing bacteria to improving your digestion. Do you have these oils in your medicine cabinet? Maybe you should!
1. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries, for complaints ranging from hair loss to stomach aches.
A new study has found that the oil of this herb is also effective in treating hypoglycemia. Research subjects given this fragrant oil had slightly high blood glucose with less insulin release. This small change in blood glucose can be meaningful for people who suffer from mild hypoglycemia.
More research will be needed to prove rosemary’s other reputed health benefits, but it appears to be a potent remedy for the common problem of low blood sugar.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is used to repel insects and disinfect wounds, among other uses.
In fact, this pungent oil appears to have incredible power as an antimicrobial disinfectant. In several trials, it has even been found to be active against MRSA, a form of staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to antibiotics and frighteningly common in medical facilities such as hospitals.
MRSA causes thousands of deadly hospital-acquired infections every year and is regarded as a highly dangerous superbug. It is resistant to many disinfectants and very difficult to treat, but this common essential oil can fight it.
3. Lemon Balm
The essential oil made from lemon balm, or Melissa officinalis, has been reported to reduce anxiety and help stabilize mood.
In a double blind randomized controlled study, lemon balm essential oil was shown to substantially reduce agitation in patients with dementia. This is important because patients with dementia often suffer agitation that can only be treated with powerful sedatives that come with equally powerful side effects.
The agitation associated with dementia is far more difficult to treat than everyday agitation and anxiety, so there is a good chance lemon balm essential oil will be even more effective at soothing your own frayed nerves.
4. Fennel Seed Oil
Fennel seed oil is not the most common essential oil, but it can have very real effects on your digestive tract.
Fennel seed has long been used to aid digestion, with many ancient cultures chewing on the seeds after dinner.
A new study shows that this sweet scented oil reduces painful spasms of the gastrointestinal tract and other digestive complaints associated with infant colic. No side effects were noted, making this a very promising essential oil for indigestion and related complaints.
5. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint gum, tea, and other formulations are often used for nausea, morning sickness, and other illnesses of the digestive tract.
Peppermint oil appears to be even more effective, reducing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome by around 50%. This oil was found in a study to significantly reduce bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and several other common yet debilitating symptoms of IBS without any side effects.
You do not need to have IBS to see the digestive benefits of this essential oil. The next time you are feeling a little queasy, consider giving this cheap and healthy alternative remedy a try.
6. Sandalwood Essential Oil
Although this oil is often associated with hippie incense, it can have serious positive effects on your skin.
Sandalwood essential oil is often used to treat rashes, acne, blisters, and other skin maladies. It appears to encourage the growth of healthy skin and to protect skin cells from the many toxins and irritants of modern life.
The next time you have irritated skin, consider using this aromatic oil for natural healing.
7. Geranium Oil
Geranium oil is an unsung hero in reducing or eliminating pain and inflammation. In fact, it has been proven to significantly reduce the pain and other symptoms of shingles, a disease that commonly affects the elderly and immune-compromised.
Because there is little effective treatment available for the intense nerve pain associated with shingles, geranium oil may be a suffering person’s only hope!
It also is reported to help with other types of nervous system related pain, including headaches. Reach for this oil before grabbing acetaminophen or ibuprofen; it has fewer side effects and none of the liver toxicity of common pain relievers.
8. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is often used to provide relaxation and a pleasant smell, especially in aromatherapy. However, this flowery oil also appears to reduce inflammation and pain.
The exact way that lavender oil achieves these positive benefits is currently being studied, but there are no reported side effects or cautions.
If you have problems such as joint aches, headaches, and other inflammatory pain issues, lavender oil may offer both relief and relaxation. In addition, you will always smell like a flower garden when you use this natural anti-inflammatory.
9. Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage oil is often recommended by naturopaths for balancing hormones. It is particularly powerful in relieving menstrual irregularities, symptoms of menopause, and even as an aphrodisiac.
A recent study supports its use for problems associated with female health. Aromatherapy using a blend including clary sage was found to reduce menstrual cramps and other unpleasant issues associated with women’s monthly cycles.
Young women who were treated with this blend of essential oils reported a significant improvement in cramps and other period-related pain, often with immediate results. This little-known oil may be one of the fastest ways to deal with discomfort associated with menstrual periods.
10. Houttuynia Cordata Thunb Oil
This plant packs a tongue-twisting name, which might be why it has yet to become popular in the Western world.
Also known as a chameleon plant, the Houttuynia Cordata Thunb is commonly used in Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation and treat viral infections.
Its use as an antiviral has been supported in several studies, including one in which compounds from Houttuynia were found to be effective in treating viruses including influenza, herpes simplex and HIV. Even better was the fact that this plant was able to treat the viruses without any toxic effects on cells.
Although it may have a promising future in the medical world, you can still buy this plant and its essential oils today at stores that carry traditional Chinese medicines.
11. Chaste Berry Essential Oil
Also known as vitex agnus castus, the chaste berry plant has been used for centuries to induce labor, lessen the effects of menopause, and otherwise treat a variety of gynecological complaints.
Several studies have supported the use of this essential oil for symptoms of menopause.
Essential oils from both the berry and the leaves of this plant were found to reduce hot flashes, irregular menstruation, and mood swings associated with the change of life.
Chaste berry is believed to stabilize female hormones and to encourage the body to regulate its own hormonal balance, which is why it is effective for such a diverse range of complaints.
12. Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass oil has a sweeter, less medicinal odor than tea tree oil and has been found to repel mosquitoes for more than two hours from application.
In addition, it is gentler on the skin and lacks the poisonous qualities of commercial mosquito repellents such as DEET. If you have been using lemongrass solely as a flavor in your cooking, you may be missing out on one of its more interesting uses.
13. Black Pepper Oil
Do you know someone who is struggling to kick a tobacco addiction? Black pepper oil may be the key to overcoming cravings and other physical tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
In a study of people who were quitting smoking, black pepper extract was found to decrease cravings as well as common withdrawal symptoms such as shakiness, fatigue, and dry coughing.
Black pepper is present in almost every home, so it is surprising that its extract has the potential to improve many lives by assisting in smoking cessation.
14. Manuka Oil
Our mouths are filled with germs, bacteria that cause tooth decay, gingivitis, and serious dental infections. Manuka oil has been shown in studies to be effective in killing several of the species of bacteria that are most associated with dental problems. At the same time, they were found to be sage and have no toxic effects on healthy human tissue.
Adding a little bit of this essential oil to your toothpaste may be an effective way of reducing cavities and improving overall oral health.