You may have recently heard that aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine, is gaining popularity. Aromatherapists believe that the scents they obtain from raw, distilled plant materials can help with numerous issues that may be physical, psychological or even spiritual. Although many people stand by these claims, there seems to be limited scientific evidence to support its effects. If you’re someone who is looking to use these scents, here is a list of the scientific evidence behind some of the main components that many essential oils are made of. This information has been published by the National Center For Complementary And Integrative Health. Please bear in mind that some of the studies leading to these claims may have been conducted on small sample sets and always ensure that essential oils are not used as a complete alternative to conventional medicine.
It turns out that there is very little scientific evidence to support the claims that lavender oil might help with intestinal problems, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and dementia. Although a study conducted in 1998, suggests that when lavender oil is massaged onto the scalp with a combination of other oils, it could help with hair loss resulting from a condition called alopecia areata. Other studies have been conducted on the effects of lavender for treating anxiety and have shown mixed results.
Products with peppermint essence has been believed to help with a number of issues ranging from irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, common cold, headaches, muscle ache and itching. According to the NCCIH, “Results from several studies indicate that peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules may improve IBS symptoms.” It also states that there is preliminary evidence that peppermint oil in combination with caraway oil may help with indigestion. There is limited evidence that peppermint helps with headaches or with the common cold.
Chamomile extract has been said to help with there have been preliminary studies indicating that chamomile as a dietary supplement may help with sleeplessness, anxiety, and gastrointestinal conditions such as upset stomach, gas, diarrhea. There are a few studies that suggest chamomile could help with generalized anxiety disorders. The study also suggests “that products containing certain combinations of herbs that include chamomile may be of benefit for upset stomach, for diarrhea in children, and for infants with colic.” It turns out that chamomile alone has not been shown to be helpful for these conditions.
Ginger is a spice that has been used in folk treatment for centuries. It is used to treat nausea and rheumatoid arthritis among many other ailments. There has been evidence that indicates that ginger helps with pregnancy related nausea and can also be helped in controlling nausea with relation to cancer chemotherapy when used along with conventional anti-nausea medication. The is limited evidence that support the other claims.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is used as an ingredient in many beauty products. It is believed that it helps with acne, athlete’s foot, lice, nail fungus, cuts, and insect bites but there is a very small amount of research that tea tree oil is helpful in these conditions.
Cinnamon is a common spice obtained from the bark of the tree with genus Cinnamomum. It is believed to help reduce diabetes, weight, gastrointestinal problems and loss of appetite. The NCCIH reports, “A 2012 systematic review of 10 randomized controlled clinical trials in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes suggests that cinnamon doesn’t help to reduce levels of glucose or glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a long-term measure of glucose (blood sugar) control.” It was also found to not show any improvement in blood pressure levels of patients with type 2 diabetes.