Aromatherapy and Weight Loss

We are all trying to find that miracle weight loss solution.  Unfortunately, essential oils alone will not shed weight.  For example, although there have been claims of Grapefruit essential oil stimulating weight loss, there is no scientific research to back it.  However, emotionally, the can indeed effect our weight loss.

We don’t want to rule out essential oils.  Used in conjunction with various other weight loss techniques and healthy choices, the can play a big role in reaching your goals. Let’s first address a few weight loss myths.

The Detox Theory Myth in Aromatherapy

A myth we often see in Aromatherapy is that essential oils will “detox” the body. However, there are no essential oils that are going to detox the body.

Along with other processes, there are 3 organs of the body that do a great job detoxing daily.  The organs that function in this manner are the kidneys, through the skin (our biggest organ) when sweating and the liver.   It’s a myth that essential oils will “open the liver to increase liver function”.  (1)

The best way to detox your body is with plenty of fresh water and nutrients so these organs can do their jobs properly.

The only time that someone might really need help with detoxifying is if his or her kidney or liver is failing. In those extreme cases, dialysis is the choice.

Our Metabolism

To clarify, it is misinformation that essential oils can stimulate our metabolism.  Our metabolic process is orchestrated by many hormones and our body’s circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm regulates the physiological process, telling our bodies when to sleep, eat, and rise.  Environmental changes such as sunlight and temperature can affect these processes.

Hormones have various actions from controlling appetite to speeding up the mitochondria, which plays a critical role in the generation of metabolic energy in eukaryotic cells. These cells are responsible for most of the useful energy derived from the breakdown of carbohydrates and fatty acids.  They are converted to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) by the process of oxidative phosphorylation or, to simplify it, they are the little energy packets inside each cell that burns energy and more. (2) (3)

Nutrition and what we eat makes a difference in how our body will respond. We need to provide what it requires so that all its zillions of cells have the necessary basic elements it requires to run smoothly including minerals, vitamins and nutrients such as proteins, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats that the body cells need.  Our bodies can run like a fine-tuned engine, when we keep maintenance up.

Internal Use of Essential Oils and Our Gut Flora

I often see the suggestion of using essential oils internally for weight loss. Without training in proper application, vehicle delivery and correct oils to use internally, certain oils when ingested will kill off your natural gut flora which can create further health issues rather than positive effects. If you plan to use essential oils internally, we suggest you seek out a Clinical Aromatherapist in your area to guide you along. They have been trained in the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of essential oils and internal use.

*Before beginning your weight-loss regimen to regain a healthier lifestyle, check with your health care practitioner if you have any underlying health issues before beginning your weight loss journey. Your practitioner may give you tips for defining why you may have poor eating habits, whether it be from depression or other issues*

Our Lymphatic System

One last thing we can look at before moving on to how essential oils can help with your weight loss is our Lymphatic System.  Since it also plays a role in keeping healthy and weight control, understanding how you can help it function better will boost your overall health.

Keeping it to basics, the lymphatic system flows one direction, up.  There are lymph nodes along the way including in our ankles, knees, the groin area and on. (see chart) The Lymph vessels are located next to the blood vessels.  There is no pump like the heart to move the lymphatic fluid around.

It takes movement and exercise since it plays the key role in helping the lymphatic system function properly. The lymphatic system relies on the movement of the whole organism, powered by muscle contractions, to keep the lymph fluid flowing.  The lymphatic system carries its fluid towards the heart.   The lymphatic system ties into the immune system as an intricate part of the system and the immune system relies on every system of the body.

As you can see, the body has many intricate parts at work that can work in our favor.  However, like a fine tune car, we must take care of our bodies and that starts inside, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Knowing the reasons for weight gain and addressing them is a great place to start.  Crash or fad diets will not work so we each must find what works with our own unique body chemistry.  There are several reasons for weight gain:

  • Depression
  • Poor eating habits
  • Lack of nutritional knowledge
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Eating to comfort
  • Eating out of boredom
  • Grief
  • Loneliness
  • Eating because everyone else is

*Essential oils can be used to energize us and keep our spirits up, so we can make it to the finish line*

Essential Oils Can Help

Using essential oils will not miraculously drop the pounds. They will, however, assist with you with emotional lows and withdrawal type symptoms that you may experience as you move forward with your weight loss program.  Essential oils can offer energetic protection, strengthen self-confidence and motivation, relieve depression and bring clarity to the mind as well as be emotionally uplifting.

Essential oils molecules consist of constituents or components within them that offer therapeutic properties.  This is nature and not surprising.  Therapeutic properties exist in most plant species.  They are used in foods, drugs, and products we use daily. But notice the labels also come with warnings and so holds true with essential oils.

Essential oils are condensed which make their therapeutic properties potent but also raises some safety concerns.

Following a safe regimen, essential oils can increase endurance during difficult times and offer support, comfort and confidence in challenging situations.  Many can be calming to your mind and help to promote a stronger self-image.  Oils such as Siberian Fir is emotionally vitalizing and increases positive energy. What I find remarkable about essential oils is there is no noticeable side effects that drugs come with such as heart racing, sudden changes in emotional nervousness.  Essential oils are subtle.  Many times, I will stop and realize that my mood has changed in a positive direction.

To address our weight loss issue, we can help by addressing the underlying causes of excess eating that leads to weight gain. We’ve listed some blends that may address some issues relating to weight gain.  The following blends can be used topically, although I find the emotional aspect of essential oils are better applied through inhalation.

Blends can be used in conjunction with carrier oils or inhalers. Inhalers can be purchased from various sights including some essential oil sites as well as Amazon.  When using inhalers, blend all your oils together and add 15 drops per inhaler.  Once added, snap on cap, label so you remember what each inhaler is for and use as needed.  For lotions, creams or use with carrier oils, blend at 1% or 9 drops per ounce.  Do not use essential oils undiluted externally or internally.

Anger Blend

  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinesis
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata var. genuina
  • 8 drops Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizanioides

Anxiety Blend

  • 2 drops Rose otto Rosa damascena
  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • 4 drops Lime Citrus aurantifolia
  • 4 drops Sweet Marjoram Origanum majorana

Confidence Enhancer Blend

  • 5 Basil Ocimum basilicum ct linalool
  • 10 Clary Sage Salvea sclarea
  • 2 Jasmine Absolute Jasminum grandiflorum
  • 10 Siberian Fir Abies sibirica

Depression Blend

  • 10 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • 5 drops Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis
  • 5 drops Rose Geranium Pelargonium roseum x asperum
  • 5 Drops Clary Sage Salvea sclarea

Energy Blend

  • 5 drops Ginger Zingiber officinalis
  • 6 drops Grapefruit Citrus paradisi
  • 6 drops Cypress Cypress Cupressaceae

Fear Blend

  • 5 Basil (Sweet) Ocimum basilicum ct linalool
  • 3 R. Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile
  • 3 Clary Sage Salvia sclarea
  • 5 Sweet Marjoram Origanum marjorana
  • 5 Bergamot Citrus bergamia

Grief Blend

  • 8 drops Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizaniodes
  • 3 drops Lemon Citrus limon
  • 2 drops Helichrysum Helichrysum italicum
  • 3 drops Ylang Ylang Cananga odorata var. genuina
  • 2 drops Clary Sage Salvia sclarea

Happy Blend

  • 10 drops Patchouli Pogostemom cablin
  • 5 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia
  • 5 drops Vanilla Oleoresin


  • 3 drops Sweet Marjoram Origanum majorana
  • 2 drops Frankincense Boswellia carterii
  • 3 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia
  • 4 drops Vetiver Chrysopogon zizanioides or Ruh Khus Vetiveria zizanioides


  • 4 drops Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini var. motia
  • 4 drops Ruh Khus (Wild Vetiver) Vetiveria zizanioides
  • 4 drops Lavender Lavendula angustifolia


  • 5 drops Rose Geranium Pelargonium roseum x asperum
  • 5 Drops Clary Sage Salvea sclarea
  • 10 drops Bergamot Citrus bergamia


  • 7 drops Palo Santo (Holy Wood) Bursera graveolens
  • 1 drop Neroli Citrus aurantium var. amara
  • 2 drops Cedarwood Juniperus virginiana
  • 2 drops Mandarin Citrus reticulata

Energize Your Workouts

When you prepare for your workouts, diffuse uplifting and energizing essential oils.  Keeping safety in mind, they can include grapefruit, rosemary, lemon, lemongrass, lime, orange, peppermint, rosemary and spearmint.  Take your time and pace yourself.  Weight loss and nutrition is a lifestyle change.  Take one challenge at a time, never giving up your goal for good healthy living.

Citrus oils have an uplifting and nergizing effect on our emotional state.  Data studied and obtained on Lime essential oil suggested that lime through inhalation plays an important role in weight loss and could be useful in the treatment of drug-induced obesity and related diseases. (4)

Moisturize Your Skin

Lastly, as you lose weight, keeping your skin moist and healthy is important. Loosing several pounds, especially too quickly, can leave our skin loose and sagging. Keeping your skin well moisturized is especially important during this time. Take your time and lose weight gradually, allowing your skin time to improve elasticity.

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