The Benefits of Using Essential Oils



Report Posted On: 2023-06-28

Prudence is our Senior Research Analyst for markets including retailing, beauty & personal care, commercial agriculture and farming across African markets. Her core expertise includes market trend analysis, brand research, competitive analysis and business planning. She has been working at Researchtec for more than 4 years, starting as Research Assistant Intern before becoming a senior analyst.



Essential oils, often used in health practices such as aromatherapy or massage, have gained consumer awareness associated with their health benefits as evidenced by the fact the essential oil market size is expected to reach $11.67 billion by 2022.Contemporary life stresses out many people leading to daily stress, anxiety, inability to sleep and depression, as well as making many people vulnerable to common illnesses like flu, cold or even cancer in worst case scenarios. But as people turn to alternative health practises such as Yoga, meditation, herbal medicine etc, the use of essential oils is also garnering alot of interest due to the known as well as hidden benefits they have for people that use them. For instance, essential oils are known for alleviating mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and they are the best kept secret for combating modern stress. Why do you think they are used in relaxation practices such as aromatherapy or massage? 

In this article, I take a look at some of the known and hidden benefits of using essential oils.

Table of Contents




Essential oils, often used in health practices such as aromatherapy or massage, have gained consumer awareness associated with their health benefits as evidenced by the fact the essential oil market size is expected to reach $11.67 billion by 2022.[1] Contemporary life stresses out many people leading to daily stress, anxiety, inability to sleep and depression, as well as making many people vulnerable to common illnesses like flu, cold or even cancer in worst case scenarios.

With the advent of alternative living and health practices such as Yoga, meditation, acupuncture or herbal medicine etc., many people are resorting to natural remedies including essential oils to prevent illness, due to their effectiveness, and fewer side effects as compared to modern pharmaceutical drugs.[2] Some of the most commonly used essential oils include lavender, peppermint, oregano, myrrh, lemon, thyme, lime, etc.  

Essential oils

Photo Credit: Krasner Elle.

Before consumption, essential oils are harnessed from plants or flowers using two major methods; 1) distillation, where the plant’s materials are vaporized and condensed to produce essential oils and 2) extraction, where the fruit is mechanically pressed to squeeze out the juice and the oil.[3] The extraction method is mainly applied when producing citrus based essential oils such as lime, tangerine, lemon and others.

Other known methods of producing essential oils include Enfluerage, solvent extraction, maceration, and carbon dioxide process. During aromatherapy, essential oils are applied in many different styles such as aromatherapy baths, massages, or even mouthwash, where few essential oil drops are added to a cup of water and rinsed in the mouth. Essential oils can also be inhaled directly by use of a handkerchief or tissue, through gargling (where essential oils are mixed with honey and warm water), scented pillow, through steam (steam inhalation), sauna, etc.[4]


Using essential oils is associated with numerous benefits and some shortcomings as discussed below; -

1. Hormonal balance

Essential oils can be used in hormonal balance. When approaching menopause, women tend to have declining estrogen levels and hormonal imbalance that leads to mood swings, slowed metabolism, sleep disturbances, among others. Essential oils such as thyme, geranium and clary sag help to balance estrogen levels in the body and have been proven to reduce high estrogen concentrations for women approaching menopause.[5]

One of the added benefits of restored hormonal balance therefore is, essential oils help improve fertility and can help prevent early menopausal symptoms for women. Hence, essential oils are beneficial to older women who still want to bare children at an older age. However, people suffering from breast or ovarian cancer should not use essential oils because they enhance production of estrogen in the body, which facilitates growth of cancers. Likewise, pregnant women, small children and children going through puberty should not use Essential Oils as they may lead to excessive growth of breasts in boys due to estrogen elevation, according to the National Cancer Institute.[6]

2. Improved brain functionality

If you have watched the movie Limitless, you will remember the main character played by Bradley Cooper became super intelligent with a four digit IQ by taking a certain wonder drug. But did you know that you can improve your brain functionality considerably by using Essential Oils such as peppermint and Cinnamon.

Essential Oils contain powerful anti-oxidants that help improve brain function naturally while reducing inflammation that could lead to memory issues. So while peppermint and cinnamon Essential Oils will not impart you with NZT level super intelligence, they can improve brain attention, memory, reduce fatigue which is why they are currently used to help prevent Alzheimer and dementia diseases.                                                                                  

                                              Cinnamon essential oil                                            

                                                                    Photo Credit:                   

3. Improved mood and relaxation

There is a reason essential oils are a must have ingredient in relaxation practices such as aromatherapy, massage and others. Well, it turns out Essential Oils contain small molecules that can pass through your brain or blood and influence the parts of your brain that control feelings such as stress, anxiety and depression. This explains why they can be used to cure or prevent such mental disorders.

If you have used lavender scented products in your house or car, you will probably know its exquisite scent and mood relaxation effects. Lavender is actually the most effective Essential Oil you can use when treating depression, stress and anxiety disorders because of its proven relaxing and soothing effects in helping relieve anxiety, tension and nervousness.[7]

With its healing properties, you must incorporate Essential Oils like lavender in stress and anxiety relief, as well as combating depression. Other Essential Oils that can also help in stress and anxiety relief include Bergamot, Rose oil, and Frankincense.

However, Essential Oils should not be used by all people especially those with certain medical conditions, such as asthma patients. They may experience allergic reactions to Essential Oils that may lead to mild irritation or redness.

To be sure, seek medical advice before using essential oils.

                                                       Lavender essential oil

                                                                   Picture Credit:

4. Improved immunity

Essential oils are also very helpful in boosting your immune system and fighting infections. In fact, studies show that essential oils such as lemon, ginger, oregano, myrrh have been used to fight fungal and bacterial infections such as candida, cold and flu because they contain chemical components such as terpenes and esters that help fight external bacteria that threaten our health. With their high antifungal, anti- inflammatory, and anti- bacterial properties using essential oils will help you prevent infectious diseases and improve your immunity. [8]  Essential oils can also be used for body detoxifying to boost immunity.[9] On the other hand, some essential oils have proven to make people very sensitive to ultraviolet rays from the sun which causes sunburns to develop faster than normal.

5. Better digestion

Also, essential oils can be used to support digestion. Essential oils such as oregano, thyme, peppermint, ginger and funnel help build a high metabolism and support digestion of food. They aid digestive enzymes like proteases and peptidases to break down food and absorb protein nutrients needed to build body tissues and provide the energy that you need.

These essential oils also strengthen and tone the intestines and stomach, helping to eliminate abdominal pain and bloating, indigestion, constipation, ulcers and nausea. [10] The result is a high metabolism, that will enable you keep fit, and in-shape to avoid obesity.

However, some people tend to experience headaches, dizziness, or other uncomfortable symptoms during aromatherapy which often cease after essential oils are washed off, but if they don’t, it is recommended the person leaves or stops any session.


[1] Grand View Research (2015) “Essential Oil Market Size To Reach $11.67billion by 2022: Grand View Research, Inc ” [online] at 

[2] Warren Delicia (2016) “Why More People Than Ever Are Embracing Holistic Medicine” [online] at

[3] New Directions Aromatics (2017) “How Essential Oils Are Made” [online] at

[4] Oshadhi (2018) “HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS” Oshadhi [online] at

[5] Barbo Rosita (2018) “Essential oils for Estrogen boosting” [online] at

[6] Johnson Kimberly (2017) “Are There Disadvantages to Aromatherapy?” [online] at

[7] Borreli Lizette (2016) “Lavender And 5 Other Best Essential Oils For Anxiety Relief: The Healing Power of Smell” [online] at

[8] Healy Hanna (2015) “10 Best Essential oils to support the immune system” [online] at

[9] O’Connor Cat (2015) “5 Detoxifying Essential Oils To Boost Immunity” [online] at

[10] Krasner Elle (2018) “6 Essential oils that improve digestion” [online] at



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