For thousands of years, people have touted the healing abilities of essential oils for everything from minor aches to major depression. Although research on the efficacy of these oils is often limited, there’s evidence to suggest that certain oils do have medicinal properties.
Essential oils are distilled and pressed from plants and left in their purest, rawest form. Because of this, they’re often seen as a natural alternative to traditional medications.
If you’re trying to lose extra pounds, you may want to consider adding essential oils to your weight loss plan. Essential oils may be able to provide you with a number of complementary benefits.
How can essential oils aid in weight loss?
- Essential oils can enhance your diet and exercise plan in multiple ways.
- They may help energize your workout.
- They may also help curb food cravings.
Although essential oils are unable to directly promote weight loss, they can enhance your diet and exercise plan in multiple ways. For example, essential oils such as lavender can promote better sleep and relieve insomnia. When you get the proper amount of sleep, you’re more likely to have a productive day.
This includes having more energy to exercise and less desire to eat sugary foods. People who are tired are generally more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks or fast food that can provide an instant sugar rush.
Some oils may also help:
- reduce anxiety
- relieve tension
- reduce feelings of depression
- ease aches and pains in the body
- improve digestion
The idea is that if you’re feeling mentally and physically well, you’re better positioned to stick to your weight loss goals. This may mean keeping up with your exercise routine or reaching for fruit instead of sugary sweets.
More directly, essential oils may help:
- curb food cravings
- energize your workout
- correct cellulite
- correct stretch marks
What the research says
Research is needed to truly determine the efficacy in humans, as well as the potential benefits and risks associated with using essential oils. But although research is limited, there are a few studies that support the use of essential oils for weight loss management.
Some essential oils used for help with weight loss include:
In one 2014 study, researchers studied the chemical compounds found in juniper essential oil. They found that the oil has rich antiobesity and antioxidant properties.
Although there isn’t any research directly assessing the use of juniper essential oil to lose weight, this evidence suggests that it may be a useful tool in weight loss management.
The oil is thought to reduce water retention, so topical application may be the best approach.
Long used in Asia for its medicinal effects, sage essential oil may also help treat or prevent obesity. A 2013 study found that sage essential oil can help protect the body against oxidative stress. This stress can lead to conditions like obesity, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and more.
In a 2014 animal study, researchers found that garlic essential oil offers many protective properties. This includes helping reduce body weight gain.
How to use essential oils for weight loss
If you want to add essential oils to your weight loss management plan, you should first consult your doctor. They can work with you to assess whether this is the right option for you and discuss any potential risks.
Topical application is your best bet when using essential oils for weight loss. Depending on the oil used, this may help you reduce water retention and bloating or reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.
Be sure to dilute the essential oil of your choosing with a carrier oil before application. Applying undiluted essential oil to your skin may cause inflammation or irritation. Some carrier oils include coconut and olive oils. You should add one ounce of carrier oil to every 12 drops of essential oil.
It’s important to do a skin patch test with this mixture before doing a full application. The skin on the inside of your forearm is generally the best place to do this. Wait 24 hours and take note of any symptoms you may experience. If you don’t experience any irritation or discomfort, the mixture should be safe to use.
Risks and warnings
- These oils shouldn’t be ingested.
- Undiluted essential oil can cause irritation and inflammation.
- You may be more susceptible to sunburn with use.
Although essential oils are generally seen as safe to use, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Essential oils shouldn’t be ingested. These oils are super potent, and even a few drops can cause you to experience severe gastrointestinal discomfort. If you do ingest essential oil and have an adverse reaction, seek medical assistance.
Never use undiluted essential oil, as it may cause inflammation and irritation. You should always do a patch test to determine how your skin will react to the diluted essential oil.
If you are pregnant or nursing, be sure to consult with your doctor before use.
You should also wear sunscreen when using essential oils topically. They can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and more likely to burn.
Other ways to lose weight
The most common way to lose weight is to follow a healthy and balanced diet. It should be rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, and clean proteins.
Healthy fats are generally found in oils and foods like avocados, fruits, and vegetables. Clean proteins include beans and meats that aren’t fried or breaded.
You should also add in exercise to your daily routine to burn calories. A deficiency in calories can lead to weight loss. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of daily activity at least five times a week. This can be anything from brisk walking to gardening to riding a bike.
You can also add weightlifting to your routine to help create muscle, which burns more calories than fat.
If these don’t work, consult your doctor. They can assess your current weight loss plan and help you restructure it as needed. In some cases, they may also recommend weight loss surgery.
A common option is liposuction, which involves removing the fat from your body. Lap band, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve surgeries are becoming increasingly popular. They can all be quite invasive, and you should expect a long recovery time.
What you can do now
If you want to start incorporating essential oils into your weight loss plan, reach out to your network. Talk to your friends, family, and coworkers, as you may find someone who personally sells them. They can help answer questions and ease your concerns. You can also visit any health foods store. They usually offer an array of oils from which to choose.
Be sure to read up on any side effects and look for “therapeutic grade” on the label. Essential oils aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so it’s important to buy from a manufacturer that you trust.