Essential oils are liquids with a fragrance extracted from plants, through steam or pressing, and which contain the natural chemicals that provide the specific smell and flavor to the plants where they come from.
They are used in perfumes, in food flavourings, in medicine and in aromatherapy, which is a type of complementary medicine in which essential oils are used to promote relaxation, a feeling of well-being and internal balance.
On the NCI website, one of the official Institutes of Health attached to the network of National Institutes of Health of the USA and whose mission “is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behaviour of living systems and the application of that knowledge to improve health, prolong life and reduce diseases and disability”, a good amount of information about aromatherapy is published:
- People use aromatherapy primarily to improve their quality of life and reduce tension and anxiety.
- It is possible to combine aromatherapy with other complementary treatments and with standard treatments for controlling symptoms (specified by doctors).
- Aromatherapy may act by sending chemical messages to the part of the brain that affects moods and emotions.
- There are no studies that associate aromatherapy with curative treatments but with related aspects such as quality of life, tension, anxiety, nauseas and vomiting.
- In the safety tests of essential oils, very few side effects have been found.
- It was found that lavender and tea tree essential oils have similar effects to those of the hormones.
- Aromatherapy products do not need the approval of the Food and Drug Administration of the United States because specific medical effects are not attributed to them.
This post is a summary of the information, public and official, published on the Web pages of the US health system.