Essential Oils & How They Work

Within the last few years, there’s been a lot of hype about essential oils and their healing properties. But is it much ado about nothing?

Speaking from first hand experience, I can tell you that they do actually work! Not surprising, as you may know if you’re a regular here on my blog (thank you, by the way ?), I try to always go the most natural way when it comes to remedies. I think the pharmaceutical companies, partnered with the physicians, have made it far too easy for the general public to get a hold of strong medicines that, while in some instances are necessary, could be substituted for a holistic remedy that doesn’t carry the side effects.

When I was diagnosed several years ago with anxiety/depression, I was immediately put on medicine to increase my serotonin levels. While eventually (approximately 6 weeks) the medicine did work in terms of my anxiety and depression, the side effects were almost as unbearable as the ailments themselves. I began to gain a lot of weight, I felt blasé, every once in awhile I would experience irregular heartbeat, my overall energy level was effected (this, though, could have something to do with the weight gain).

After a few years of being on my prescription medicine–and gaining an obscene amount of weight–I started exercising and, with the supervision of my doctor, slowly weened myself off my medicine. Now, I will say, this is my own personal experience, and everyone is different, and you should ALWAYS seek professional consultation when it comes to your health. With that being said, the side effects of coming off that medicine were equivalent to a hangover: migraines, dizziness, etc. These lasted for about a week after being completely off of it.

I began to start feeling better. I noticed my energy was up, I was more motivated and didn’t seem so foggy headed. I searched the web for all natural remedies for my anxiety, should it flare its ugly head again. One of the first search results was essential oils. I read about its claims and then testimonials of people who had used essential oil therapy and it had worked for them. I thought to myself, “What have I got to lose?”

Over the years, I’ve tried different oils, but there’s certain oils I always have on-hand because they work for me. These oils are easy to purchase and seem to do the trick for most people.


I’ve always loved lavender and in most places I’ve lived, always had a lavender plant in the yard.

Lavender essential oil is great for aromatherapy as it has a soothing and calming effect. If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, this is definitely an oil you’ll want to keep on hand. It’s also beneficial when it comes to sleep; because of its calming properties, it helps you unwind to allow your body and mind drift off asleep.


Peppermint is a great mood enhancer. Because of its bright scent, I use this in the morning to wake me up. One whiff of it, and you’ll be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, lol.

If you have digestive issues, peppermint tea is a tummy tamer. It helps relieve nausea and other symptoms related to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).


I make sure to have plenty of eucalyptus oil on hand before cold and flu season–it’s an absolute necessity!

Not only does it help relieve congestion (nasal and chest), eucalyptus is also beneficial for helping to clear the mind and re-energizing.

If I’m sick–or feel like I’m trying to get sick–or I’m achy because of a particularly stressful day, I’ll run a bath with some Epsom salts and add about 10 drops of eucalyptus oil to it. It’s so soothing and relaxing and I feel so much better, physically and mentally, after my soak.


Orange oil is one of those all-in-one remedies; it helps with anxiety, congestion, depression, mood and promotes detox.

This is another oil I like to use in the morning time because the scent is very invigorating. It doesn’t have quite the punch as peppermint, but it definitely helps with waking me up.

When it comes to helping with anxiety, a study was published in 2000 that documented the calming effects of breathing in the scent of orange oil. 72 people, of varying ages, were placed into one of two waiting rooms prior to undergoing dental treatment. Using a diffuser, in one waiting room they dispensed the scent of orange essential oil; the other waiting room had no dispenser or odor. The study showed that the people (particularly females) who waited in the orange scented diffused room had lower levels of anxiety and overall better mood.


Mandarin, while similar to orange, has a slightly warmer citrus aroma. This is a great alternative to orange during the fall/winter months. It has a very calming and soothing effect. It’s also great to combine with lavender or cloves.

Not only is it calming, it can also be used as an antiseptic. When applied to a wound, it forms a protective barrier, keeping the germs out and preventing infection.

These are great starter, and staple, essential oils to keep on hand. But don’t stop there–there’s so many other essential oils that treat a wide range of symptoms. As always, check with your doctor before starting any treatment, but if you’re looking for a more holistic approach, essential oils is an excellent jumping off point.

The content provided in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that Sara Without the H is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. The opinions and content included in the article are the views of the author only, and Sara Without the H does not endorse or recommend any such content or information, or any product or service mentioned in the article. You understand and agree that Sara Without the H shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in the article.

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Photo by Chelsea shapouri on Unsplash

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