Most of us have probably had a friend or relative use an herbal supplement that they swear by or an essential oils concoction that they swear works wonders for their headaches, sleep, joint pain, and everything else. It’s no question that natural remedies can be powerful and work wonders – but are they truly effective for weight loss?
In fact, essential oils can be used to help you in your weight loss journey, just like they can be used to soothe you to sleep at night. Let’s review some essential oils you can use while you work to lose weight and improve your wellbeing.
With so many essential oils out there and having so many different benefits, it can be hard sometimes to determine which oils will help you in your weight loss goals. Before we dive into this, let’s first answer the question “What is an essential oil?”
What essential oils are good for weight loss?
An essential oil is a naturally occurring compound extracted from plants that carries the fragrance and some properties from the plant. These essential oils are powerful and generally diluted with a carrier oil for effective and safe use. Essential oils for weight loss might not help you directly in dropping pounds, but their benefits and indirect impacts can make a difference in a variety of ways. Here is the list of 8 best essential oils for weight loss:
- Peppermint Oil – This oil can help boost energy levels and help you before, during, and after your workout. The scent of peppermint can help decrease fatigue and enhance focus and might also help reduce cravings. One study found that ingesting peppermint oil water can lead to more open airways to help you move oxygen more efficiently during a workout. This increased ventilation from peppermint oil might help you maximize your exercise leading to weight loss.
- Lemon Oil – Lemon oil can have both energizing and relaxing properties. Citrus scents can help give you a boost when you need but also can soothe and promote a positive mindset. We know this is important during a weight loss journey. It can get tough and when the scale is tested, so is your mindset. Recenter and find your happy with some lemon zest. This oil has also been shown in research to promote neurological activity aiding in weight loss as well through fat metabolism.
- Grapefruit Oil – Studies show that grapefruit oil can play a role in our bodies’ automatic processes, specifically digestion, heart rate, and metabolism. Grapefruit essential oil, physiologically, can help nutrients reach your tissues more quickly using the lymphatic system and bloodstream. This oil might also have a hand in appetite control and craving reduction which can help in your weight loss journey. Some studies have also shown that grapefruit essential oil might play a role in fat loss.
- Ginger Oil – Ginger oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties to ease pain and act as an antioxidant. Inflammation can wreak havoc on the body and in the weight loss process, incorporating antioxidants and minimizing inflammation can be important. Ginger essential oil also aids in digestion and absorbing nutrients. These properties help you keep energized and moving more throughout your day (less pain, more loss).
- Fennel Oil – This might seem like a less well known option, but fennel essential oil and its sweet, licorice scent can be beneficial in the weight loss process. This oil can promote better sleep and reduced stress levels that can lead to weight gain or make losing weight more challenging. The scent of fennel essential oil also helps increase melatonin, which while important for sleep, can also help reduce cravings and aid digestion.
- Lavender Oil – This essential oil might be more well known and the lavender scent is one that most are familiar with. It might be in your hand lotion or bath soap. Lavender essential oil reduces restlessness, and has a calming effect on the body. This calming result can have a huge impact on your weight loss journey as you switch your comfort methods from foods to something more aromatic. This can also lead to better sleep and reduced stress. In fact, one study found that lavender oil helped improve sleep in cardiac patients with diagnosed sleep disorders.
- Bergamot Oil – A bergamot is a citrus fruit about the size of an orange but properties somewhat similar to a lemon. Bergamot essential oil is another oil that can have a soothing, relaxing effect on the body that can be important in a weight loss journey. This essential oil can have positive effects on mood, mindset, and focus, as well as help in managing and coping with emotions in a healthy way through stress relief. Physiologically it has also been shown in research to help in lowering total cholesterol levels.
- Cinnamon – Having trouble with your sweet tooth? Here is an essential oil for you. Cinnamon essential oil can help curb sugar cravings and the urge to indulge in sugary treats which can help avoid drastic highs and lows in blood sugar. A more stable blood sugar level can promote weight loss by helping to keep your energy levels and hormone levels steady. Cinnamon might also help reduce inflammation in your body as well as providing heart-healthy benefits.
If you have questions about using essential oils and whether or not they might be safe for you, ask your healthcare provider for more detailed information. While these oils come with their benefits, it’s also important to understand that some can come with risks. Never use undiluted oils as these can cause skin irritation and reactions, and make sure to use ingestible oils as directed.
Now that we’ve listed some essential oils for weight loss and what they might do for you, let’s dive more into how to use them.
How to use essential oils for weight loss
First and foremost, always make sure to talk with your doctor about adding any supplements into your routine, especially when it comes to applying something to your skin or taking something orally. Your doctor might advise you to do a skin test on the back of your forearm before continuing on with any regular topical use. Second, check to make sure that the essential oil you’ve chosen is diluted with a carrier oil to avoid skin irritation or redness. Carrier oils typically are another plant based oil such as olive or coconut oil. If diluting your own oil, the ratio to use here is 1 ounce of carrier oil for every 12 drops of essential oil. All of this is well and good (and important) but how would you go about incorporating these oils into your routine?
Here are some ideas and how-to’s:
- Peppermint Oil – Peppermint essential oil can be ingested, rubbed into the skin, or diffused through the air. Rub a few drops into your temples or put 10-12 drops into a hot bath to soothe sore muscles. Make peppermint water or tea by adding 1-2 drops of oil to your cup.
- Lemon Oil – Apply lemon essential oil to the skin at the wrists, temples, or neck for energy and scent. You could also diffuse the oil in your home or office to make it feel inviting.
- Grapefruit Oil – Grapefruit essential oil can be diffused, ingested, and rubbed into the skin. Feeling a mid-afternoon chocolate craving hit? Drip a couple drops of grapefruit essential oil into your water or rub a small amount onto your wrists or chest.
- Ginger Oil – Ginger can be great for adding flavor and sweetness to tea or smoothies without the actual sugar. Use a couple drops in your morning smoothie or evening tea. Rub this essential oil into the skin around the stomach or diffuse it through the air.
- Fennel Oil – This essential oil comes with many stress relieving benefits. Take some time for self-care and place several drops in a hot bath, diffuse during your bedtime routine, or rub into your temples to minimize stress throughout the day. This oil can also be inhaled (read “sniffed”) as well for a calming sensation.
- Lavender Oil – Probably more well-known than fennel for stress relief, lavender essential oil can be used in several different ways. Diffusing it through the air leaves a comforting scent in your home or office. This is also another oil whose scent can satisfy cravings. Use this oil in your next massage appointment or rub into your skin on your own for more immediate relief. Apply to the temples, wrists, or back of the neck at bedtime to improve sleep.
- Bergamot Oil – Bergamot essential oil is another oil with stress relieving benefits. This oil could be used in a hot bath, but could also be mixed with shampoos, body washes, or facial scrubs for soothing experience. This oil could be diffused in the air, dabbed on clothing, or applied directly to the skin.
- Cinnamon Oil – Cinnamon scents aren’t just reserved for Fall anymore! Cinnamon essential oil is a great option for teas and smoothies to help you kick the sugary sweeteners. Add 1-2 drops for safe use. Diffuse the oil at home or work or inhale (“sniff”) the scent directly from the container to help manage a craving.
This list barely scratches the surface of all the creative ways in which these oils could be used. You might find yourself using them in a DIY project to make potpourri, incorporating them into your smoothies and teas, or finding ways that are all your own. You might even use these in some recipes.
Essential oil recipes for weight loss
These recipes might not be what you think! Essential oils can be mixed and combined for different scents and remedies. Generally these are used with a diffuser to help move the different scents across the air. You might also blend a few for rubbing into your skin after a long day or for a boost in the afternoon. These recipes involve using anywhere between 8-12 drops if using a diffuser and 2-3 if applying to the skin. Let’s take a look at these recipes that use the essential oils we’ve already mentioned.
- Morning Refresher Blend – Uses scents of peppermint and orange to get your day going.
- Be Happy Diffuser Blend – Combines scents of bergamot, lavender, and geranium.
- Focus and Calm Blend – Uses drops of herbal oils, cypress, grapefruit, cedar, and lavender essential oils.
- Mental Clarity Blend – Blends scents of rosemary, peppermint, and lemon. May also be rubbed into the skin with a carrier oil.
- Wind Down Essential Oil Blend – Mostly lavender, this recipe also combines cedarwood, orange, and ylang ylang scents.
- Cooling Relief Blend – Combines lavender essential oils with aloe vera and chamomile to be placed on sore areas.
- Repetitive Work Wrist Blend – Uses ginger essential oil combined with birch and helichrysum oil.
- Healthy Joint Blend – Uses ginger oil, juniper, eucalyptus, and marjoram. Combine with a carrier oil.
- After a Workout Blend – Combines lavender, frankincense, and eucalyptus. Massage into sore muscles for post-workout relief. Also see Sore Muscles Blend.
- Digestive Assist Blend – Blends together grapefruit, peppermint, ginger, and fennel essential oils massaged into the stomach area using a carrier oil.
As you’ll see, these blends and recipes are only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to essential oils.You might also find oils that are pre-blended such as doTerra Slim. It’s important to note that using these oils can’t replace other healthy lifestyle habits along your weight loss journey, such as good nutrition and being physically active but they are another tool to have in your tool box along the way. These oils and recipes can create a holistic approach that accounts for, not just body, but the mind as well.