Introduction to Essential Oils
Essential oils are naturally occurring, rapidly evaporating or volatile aromatic (fragrant or sweet smelling) compounds that are extracted from the bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Essential oils are concentrated oils and possess the odor and other characteristic properties of the plant.
They are used chiefly in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics, and medicines. Aromatherapy is the art of utilizing essential oils to balance, harmonize and promote healing of the physical and mental health of an individual.
Essential oils are gaining popularity as an alternative, safe and effective way to treat a wide variety of health conditions, including weight reduction.
Essential oils have been in use since ancient times. Essential oils such as lemon, orange, lavender, rose were found helpful in relieving anxiety, stress, and depression, whereas those from ginger, grapefruit, cinnamon helped in curbing appetite, improving digestion, and losing weight. Usually a few drops of essential oil are added to a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, coconut oil, olive oil before usage. Essential oils for weight loss work by suppressing appetite or increasing the body’s rate of metabolism or a combination of both.
The essential oils have an effect on the limbic system (structures in the brain that deal with emotions, memories, appetite, sleep and dreams). Also, our sense of smell has an incredibly powerful impact on our feelings. Just imagining the aroma of coffee or the sweet smell of flowers quickly peps up our mood. Human body can distinguish about 10,000 different scents. Various essential oils provide specific effects such as:
- Mental and physical relaxation
- Curb appetite
- Enhance the mood
- Stress relief and promote well-being
- Improve blood and lymph circulation
- Strengthen immunity
Essential oils can be used singularly or can be blended together to achieve maximum benefit.
Five essential oils are explained, along with a healthy, nutrient-rich diet and daily physical activity, that will add the extra punch which is needed to lose weight.
1. Grapefruit Essential Oil:
It is one of the most effective essential oils used for weight control. Studies have found that a 15 minute exposure to grapefruit oil three times a week reduces appetite and body weight.
- It suppresses the appetite, lowers cravings and hunger, as a result of which the stomach is easily satiated.
- It contains a compound D-limonene, which helps to increase metabolism and break down body fat.
- It supports the cleansing and improves drainage of the lymphatic system which carries nutrients between the tissues and the bloodstream. This reduces cellulite and prevents bloating.
- It is also used as detox to cleanse the body of toxins. It also reduces water retention.
2. Lemon Essential Oil:
- Like grape fruit oil, it also boosts metabolism while suppressing appetite. It also improves digestive health.
- Helps to reduce stress. The tendency to overeat has a lot to do with stress levels. When we are under stress, our bodies release a variety of hormones that favor the storage of fat in the body leading to significant weight gain.
- As in grapefruit, lemon essential oil also contains the compound limonene which increases the body’s ability to burn fat.
- The high vitamin C content boosts collagen formation, firmness in muscles, fights infections, inhibits bacterial and viral growth, stops hemorrhages and increases elimination of toxins from body.
- It improves energy levels.
- Reduces depression and uplifts mood.
3. Cinnamon Essential Oil:
It helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, thereby aiding weight loss and reducing sugar cravings. When blood sugar levels are unstable, a person tends to overeat and gain weight. When there is too much sugar in the blood, the body increases the release of insulin to get sugar molecules into the cells. If the cells already have enough sugar for fuel, they cannot accept any additional sugar. Hence, insulin has to convert these excess sugar molecules into fat which is stored in the body.
- It reduces the risk of heart disease and inflammation, improves blood circulation.
- It helps to suppress appetite and boost metabolism.
- It reduces food cravings and improves digestion.
4. Ginger Essential Oil:
- Supports digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
- A key compound in ginger oil, called gingerol, effectively reduces inflammation in the body and improves absorption of the vitamins and minerals.
- Reduces sugar cravings.
- Eliminates flatulence and helps to clear bowels.
- Promotes sweating, which helps remove toxins from the body.
- Improves brain and memory function.
5. Peppermint Essential Oil:
- A natural energizer that boosts energy levels, reduces fatigue and helps the mind to focus.
- It curbs hunger pangs and can help to feel full faster.
- Improves the functioning of the digestive system and soothes upset stomach.
- The cooling sensation felt when used topically, provides pain relief, increases mental alertness, and promotes a more positive outlook on life.
- Helps to manage stress. This helps avoid the temptation of overeating when a person is under stress.
- It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, iron, potassium, magnesium which are essential for the promotion of good health and for improving the metabolic processes of the body.
Essential oils are used topically, inhaled, or ingested. Sometimes combinations of delivery methods are used.
Essential oils can be applied or massaged onto the skin. The active chemicals in essential oils are absorbed into the blood stream. The essential oil should be massaged for at least 30 minutes directly where fat or cellulite accumulates. This will help the body to eliminate toxins and waste materials stored in fat cells.
The essential oil can also be added to bath water and used as a body soak for at least 20 minutes to achieve the best results.
Essential oils are mostly applied to the skin along with a carrier oil such as coconut, sweet almond or olive oil, or as an ingredient in lotions and other beauty products.
When essential oils are inhaled the aromatic molecules travel through the nasal passage and chemically interact with the brain. They can change the mood, energy, and even appetite. Essential oils for weight loss work by suppressing the appetite or increasing the body’s rate of metabolism, or even a combination of both, since the part of brain that processes smell is the same that controls feelings of hunger and fullness.
Essential oils can be inhaled directly from the bottle, or by adding a few drops to a cotton ball or a fabric and slowly breathing in the vapors before a meal reduces appetite and helps to avoid overeating.
This is a controversial use of essential oils. One or two drops of essential oil are added to 200 ml of water, tea, salad dressing or a smoothie for the best results. It is best to drink it in the morning after waking up or before breakfast. This helps set the metabolism on the right track.
- The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17211115)
- Exploring Aromatherapy - (http://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-are-essential-oils/)
- Relaxation effects of lavender aromatherapy improve coronary flow velocity reserve in healthy men evaluated by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography. - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17689755)
Latest Publications and Research on Top 5 Essential Oils to Make You Lose Weight
- Long-Term Weight Loss, Metabolic Outcomes, and Quality of Life at 10 Years After Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Are Independent of Patients' Age at Baseline. - Published by PubMed
- Effects of Surgical and Non-surgical Weight Loss on Migraine Headache: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. - Published by PubMed
- Comparison of different surface disinfection treatments of drinking water facilities from a corrosion and environmental perspective. - Published by PubMed
- A potent risk model for predicting new-onset acute coronary syndrome in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in Northwest China. - Published by PubMed
- Adsorption of cyanobacterial extracellular polymeric substance on colloidal particle: Influence of molecular weight. - Published by PubMed