Shedding extra pounds is never an easy task, and people on a weight-reduction program often look for any help they can find to expedite the process and make it less of a burden. Aromatherapy and essential oils may seem unlikely allies in the battle against bulge, but there is growing evidence that they can help suppress the cravings that so often sabotage a diet. Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids extracted from various plants.
Holistic medicine expert Ellen Kamhi, Ph.D., author of Alternative Medicine Magazine’s Definitive Guide to Weight Loss, points out that essential oils can readily penetrate body tissues—either through inhalation or through the skin—and exert their influence on the central nervous system. The oils of certain flowers are useful in short-circuiting a number of psychological and physiological mechanisms associated with eating habits, the author notes.
Kamhi says that the essence of the agrimony flower inhibits eating habits triggered by frustration, whereas black-eyed susan helps to ease the impulses behind gluttonous behavior. The essence of impatiens can be used to reverse the tendency to gulp and swallow food; iris targets cravings for sweets; morning glory can be used to break an addiction to fast food and a desire for stimulants, such as caffeine in coffee and cola drinks; and pink monkey flower eases cravings motivated by shame and low self-esteem. If you are overeating to assuage painful emotions, the essence of pink yarrow can help, and snapdragon is useful in relieving oral fixations that may represent a sublimation for feelings of unexpressed anger or misplaced libido, says Kamhi.
Deborah Mitchell, author of Natural Medicine for Weight Loss, offers recipes for two aromatherapy blends that can help to suppress appetite. One is designed to be used as an inhalant, while the other is a massage oil that can be applied directly to the skin of the abdomen. To make the inhalant blend, combine 15 drops of bergamot oil and 10 drops of fennel oil in a vial or other glass container that has an airtight cover. Roll the vial between your palms until the two oils are thoroughly mixed. This blend can be inhaled to curb cravings.
Mitchell’s massage oil recipe calls for the addition of three drops patchouli oil, five drops of bergamot oil and 10 drops of fennel oil to 1/2 ounce of a carrier oil, such as almond, canola, jojoba or sunflower oil. Blend thoroughly. This blend can be applied to the skin of the abdomen several times a day, or as needed. If you plan to be out in the sun while using this massage oil, Mitchell suggests that you omit the bergamot oil from the blend as this oil increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
In Reference Guide for Essential Oils, author Alan Higley profiles ThermaMist, a patented blend of essential oils that not only helps to curb appetite but also increases metabolic rate and energy levels. The product contains three essential oils: grapefruit, peppermint and spearmint. These oils, in combination with ThermaMist’s other ingredients, reduce food cravings, according to its manufacturers. Three spritzes of this spray into the buccal cavity, or vestibule, of the mouth is the recommended mode of application. Use the spray three times a day or whenever cravings become hard to resist.