Need a lift? Try one of these research-backed essential oil remedies
September 25, 2014
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The essential oils
From ancient Egypt to modern times, essential oils have been used to treat anxiety, aches, and even acne. Check out these 14 picks and learn how to harness their healing powers.
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Peppermint to feel more alert
Smelling peppermint essential oil made drivers perkier in one study. In another, basketball players who sniffed peppermint oil had better energy and performance.
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Lemon to get a happiness hit
Japanese researchers found that folks with depression who sniffed citrus fragrance were able to lower their dose of antidepressants; the scent helped normalize hormone levels.
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Lavender to sleep better
Research shows that lavender increases brain alpha waves associated with relaxation and deep sleep. The do-it-all scent may also alleviate PMS symptoms and reduce pain.
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Ginger to alleviate nausea
Ginger teas and candies work, but smelling the essential oil also eases queasiness, per research done by anesthesiologists; cancer centers use it for patients who've had radiation.
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Grapefruit to reduce appetite
One small study of rats published in the journal Neuroscience Letters found that inhaling grapefruit oil can inhibit a key gastric nerve, dulling the sensation of hunger.
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Lavender, chamomile, and neroli to ease stress
A 2013 study of ICU patients published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that sniffing this combo significantly reduced anxiety.
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Eucalyptus to stop sniffles
This scent reduced stuffy noses and head pressure in people with sinusitis, per a German study. Put a few drops in a sink with warm water, drape a towel over your head and breathe it in.
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Black pepper to quit smoking
In one study, cigarette smokers who inhaled it reported having fewer cravings than those who didn't; the scent irritates the back of the throat, a sensation smokers miss.
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Sweet orange to quell anxiety
In one study, adults who inhaled this oil and then took a test handled the pressure sans increased anxiety. Other citrus oils, such as bergamot, can also help you keep your cool.
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Rosemary for better focus at work
The scent can improve concentration, speed and accuracy during mental tasks, per a study at Northumbria University in England. Other recent research found it may boost memory, too.
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Tea tree oil to fight infections
Antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial, this oil is so potent that it has killed MRSA and staph in lab settings. Mix it with a carrier oil to fight off athlete's foot, acne and dandruff, or add a couple of drops to a squirt of your shampoo.
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Peppermint to stop headaches
In one study, rubbing this oil (mixed with alcohol) into temples soothed headaches. In another, a massage with peppermint and eucalyptus oils (also combined with alcohol) reduced post-workout muscle cramps.
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Lavender to soothe cuts and ease PMS
Reach for it to soothe scrapes and stings. A few drops of lavender oil combined with the same amount of rose oil, plus an ounce of sweet almond oil, may ward off painful menstrual cramps when massaged on the abdomen.
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Cedarwood for hair loss and skin irritation
Blended with rosemary, thyme, lavender and a carrier oil and rubbed into the scalp, it can help with hair lossin one study, 44 percent of women saw new growth. Or pair with melted coconut oil to soothe eczema.