Essential oils are plant extracts. Crushing or steaming plants releases their essence and fragrance into rich oils. These oils are the basis of most aromatherapy products, including candles.
In recent years, the use of essential oils has gained popularity. It’s now one of the most popular alternative health remedies. Essential oils are touted as treatments for a variety of conditions, from headaches to cuts and scrapes.
For centuries, essential oils have been used as a natural way to boost mental, emotional, and physical health. Today, many people look to natural remedies in place of more traditional medications.
Essential oils, such as lavender and chamomile, are widely recognized as being able to relieve stress and encourage sleep. Some oils may also treat inflammation and irritation.
Unlike certain medications, the use of essential oils isn’t seen as treatment for a specific condition, such as vertigo. Instead, oils are often used to relieve the associated symptoms.
Although there’s some medical basis for the use of essential oils, most evidence is unreliable. Many studies are small and don’t produce conclusive results. More research is needed to determine the lasting benefits or risks of using essential oils.
However, many people have found essential oils can provide relief from the symptoms of vertigo, like dizziness, nausea, and headaches. Some of the specific oils used include:
Lemon balm oil
The herb peppermint, a cross breed of water mint and spearmint, is a common aromatherapy scent.
A 2013 study on the use of peppermint oil for menstrual pain found that the herb reduced several associated symptoms. These included nausea, headache, and vomiting, which are also experienced with vertigo.
The same 2013 study also found that women who used ginger oil to treat symptoms of painful menstruation experienced fewer bouts of nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and headache.
In this study, the ginger and carrier oil mixture was massaged onto the abdomen. For vertigo, consider using the diluted essential oil on the upper chest, neck, and temples.
It’s important to note that this study used ginger oil, not fresh ginger.
Fresh ginger, which can be purchased at grocery stores, has also been used for centuries to reduce nausea and upset stomach.
Essential oils are used primarily in two ways. You can massage the diluted oil into your skin, or you can inhale it.
Essential oils are very concentrated. For example, it takes 220 pounds of lavender flowers to make one pound of lavender essential oil.
Because the oils are very potent, it can be dangerous to apply them directly to the skin. To avoid skin irritation, you should first combine the essential oil with a “carrier oil.”
Carrier oils help dilute the concentration of the oil, making it gentler on the skin. The most widely recommended carrier oils include:
- virgin coconut
- extra virgin olive oils
After mixing a few drops of essential oil with a larger volume of carrier oil, massage two to three drops of the mixture onto:
- your forehead
- back of your neck
- your temples
Use extra caution when applying the oil mixture to your face and neck because the skin in those areas is very sensitive.
Skin irritation or an allergic reaction is possible. You should perform a patch test on your skin. A patch test will help you determine if you’re allergic to the oil before using it over a large area.
Add a few drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water. Hover your face over the water (being careful not to touch it). Place a towel over your head and the bowl. Inhale for a few minutes.
You can also place drops of the oil in a diffuser that will scent the room.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally considers essential oils to be safe. When used as directed, essential oils rarely cause serious side effects or complications.
However, if you apply undiluted essential oil to the skin, you may experience pain, irritation, and inflammation. Because of this, fewer risks are associated with inhalation or diffusion methods.
You also shouldn’t ingest essential oils. This can lead to:
- stomach problems
Some essential oils are toxic.
The best approach for treatment depends on your symptoms and what’s causing vertigo.
If you experience mild or infrequent vertigo, it generally goes away on its own. Lying down in a quiet, dark room can help relieve any symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to treat your symptoms.
If you feel dizzy when lying down, you may have a particular type of vertigo known as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
To treat BPPV, your doctor may recommend a procedure known as canalith repositioning, or the Epley maneuver. This procedure aims to move particles from your ear canals back into areas where they won’t cause issues. Most people will experience relief after one or two treatments.
Your doctor may teach you how to do the canalith repositioning movements on your own. This can help you treat your vertigo independently if you’re unable to get to your doctor’s office.
If your vertigo becomes severe and the repositioning treatment option doesn’t work, you may be a candidate for a surgical option.
During surgery, your surgeon will block the portion of your ear responsible for your symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, with that bone plug in place, about 90 percent of people experience a successful reprieve from their symptoms.
Many people use essential oils with great benefit. If you’re interested in using essential oils to relieve your symptoms of vertigo, keep these tips in mind.
Find a reputable source
As with nutritional supplements, the FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils. That means the FDA doesn’t study or give approval to these products before they’re sold.
It’s important you find a source that sells pure oils and doesn’t dilute their oils with other, less effective, and potentially dangerous, products.
Seek out an aromatherapist
Before you dive into the world of essential oils, you may want to consult an aromatherapist.
Aromatherapists aren’t medically licensed, but they’re trained in the use of aromatherapy as an alternative treatment. They can help guide you toward useful oils and recommend best practices for using them.
Pick a carrier oil
Most carrier oils are fine for people with sensitive skin, but before you slather yourself with avocado oil, test a small patch of skin to see if you have a reaction. This way, you can catch any reaction before it becomes more troublesome.
And remember, don’t apply the essential oil directly to your skin. You’ll need to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil first.