Essential Oils for weight loss purpose has become something popular but there is more essential oils can do for your health other than losing weight.
Essential oils have seen an upward move in usage and popularity in the past few years. Names like doTERRA, Young Living, Plant Therapy, NOW Foods, and more tout properties like anti-anxiety, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, sleep-inducing, and stress-reducing.
One of the most interesting hyped benefits of essential oils is their power to you lose weight. They are said to boost your diet and exercise routine, strengthen you for workouts, and possibly curb food cravings. Is all of this true?
Essential oil are natural substances extracted from one plant species, usually through some form of distillation (using steam and/or water). Some companies employ mechanical methods such as cold pressing to extract their oils.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, “essential oil” is derived from the original term “quintessential oil,” which points to the idea that distillation was a process of removing the spirit from the plant. Quintessence, or spirit or life force, is thought to be the fifth element of the world by many religions. It’s also been called akasha, aether, and other names.
The oils takes the aroma and flavor of the plant from which they are extracted from. Since they are (usually) left in the purest form possible, essential oils are regarded as a natural alternative to medications. They are most often used in aromatherapy and massage therapy.
What are Their Benefits?
At the time they were still in plants, essential oils serve to attract pollinators, play a role in allelopathy (relating to an organism’s production of biochemicals), fight against insects, and protect the plant from fungi and bacteria.
In humans, essential oils are said to have the following properties and benefits:
- calming effects
- increased focus
- energy boosting
- digestive health
- weight loss
- relief from headaches, nausea, and skin conditions
- reducing muscle soreness and enhancing athletic performance
Various Types of Oils
There are almost a 100 different essential oils, and each has its own distinctive aroma, taste, and properties. Some of the most popular oil and what they are known for include:
- peppermint—relieving indigestion, headaches, sinus issues, and menstrual cramps
- lemongrass—relieving musculoskeletal pain, fevers, common cold, sleeplessness, and anxiety
- chamomile—helping with relaxation
- eucalyptus—relieving asthma, coughing, and headaches; also protecting against insect bites
- bitter orange—relieving indigestion, improves athletic performance, and more
- fractionated coconut—helping with fat loss
- lavender—antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, soothing and sedative properties
- bergamot—anti-anxiety properties
- tea tree—treating acne
Are these essential oils safe to consume? Well it’s a yes and a no. There are few essential oils that are safe to consume, and some that are not. Other factors that determine whether an essential oil is safe to ingest include potency, quality, and personal sensitivities.
Many research on consuming essential oils has been conducted in animals—not humans—so there’s no real consensus as to whether we should or shouldn’t be consuming these products yet. What we do know, however, is that the safest way to consume essential oils is as part of a vegetable or gelatin capsule.
This way it helps to prevent irritation to the intestinal mucosa (the lining that protects our digestive tract).
If you consume essential oils without prior research, you may put yourself a dangerous risk for serious digestive discomfort among other symptoms.
Most high-quality essential oils are not harmful when consumed in the recommended way (within a capsule) or when diluted. You have to consider the quality of the oils you decide to ingest. Many essential oils may have harmful substances in them such as dilutors, solvents, or other additives. If you’re not sure what is in your essential oil, definitely don’t ingest it.
Since there is little government regulation surrounding essential oils, it’s important that you do your own research on your products. Even products that claim to be pure could have remnants of pesticides or might have been distilled with faulty methods.
Safe Essential Oils to Consume
The FDA has a list of essential oils that are “generally recognized as safe.” These are safe to consume in the recommended manner (within a capsule) or diluted with water. In fact, peppermint oil—the capsule version—is even linked to alleviation of symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
Essential Oils You Should Never Consume
Arborvitae, birch, cypress, cedarwood, wintergreen, white fir, and eucalyptus oils are not recommended for consumption.
Consuming these oils can cause symptoms of toxicity such as drowsiness, shallow breathing or shortness of breath, coughing and gagging, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.
If you do mistakenly ingest one of these oils, you should immediately rinse out your mouth and call the national Poison Control center to get accurate help.
Oils for Weight Loss
With over 90 essential oils on the market, a handful may help with weight loss.
It’s important to note that no essential oil is proven to directly lead to weight loss. Instead, their unique properties provide benefits that may extend to your weight-loss efforts.
A better mood, better sleep, boosted energy levels, improved digestion, and relief from aches and pains are all benefits associated with essential oils that might have a positive impact on weight loss. More research is needed to determine the true efficacy of essential oils in humans, but the limited evidence we do have is promising.
- Sage may help due to its protective properties against oxidative stress, which is linked to obesity and diabetes.
- Garlic is known to have many protective properties, including resistance to weight gain. In an animal study, garlic essential oil was found to protect mice from hyperlipidemia, obesity, inflammation, and more.
- Ginger supplements have also led to positive changes in body weight, insulin resistance, and lipid profile in animals.
- Peppermint, lemongrass and others may aid in digestive processes.
- Bergamot and others may help due to stress-reducing properties.
- Juniper is associated with antiobesity, antidiabetic, and antioxidant properties.
How to Use These Oils
As noted earlier, ingesting essential oils may not be the best method to promote weight loss (or any other health goal) because of safety considerations. However, diffusion and topical application are two effective methods that may help.
By diffusing or topically applying essential oils, you can reap some of the benefits that correlate to weight loss. For example, using lavender at night may result in a better night’s sleep, which in turn can give you more energy and motivation for your morning run. Good quality sleep is also linked to making better food choices throughout the day.
If used topically, you should dilute your essential oils to avoid skin reactions such as redness or burning.
Using essential oils in accordance with massage may even promote further weight loss. The benefits of both together can significantly impact your range of motion, focus, mood, sleep, and the way your body feels—all of which are important factors in your decision to work out and eat nutritious foods.
While essential oils can make a great addition to your healthy lifestyle, their sole use isn’t and shouldn’t be weight loss. Instead, focus on proven methods such as exercise and healthy eating to lose weight, and use essential oils as supplements to help with sleep, stress, or other factors that may be interfering with your weight-loss progress. If you do want to incorporate essential oils into your weight-loss program, you should first speak with your doctor or another healthcare professional.