Essential oils play a supportive role in so many ways. From relieving side effects of treatments to ameliorating effects of illnesses, it’s often the indirect benefits that are felt the strongest. For weight loss, this list is just a starting point – get creative with your oil “stash” to see what might help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Of the well-researched citrus oils, lime in particular has had very promising results regarding weight loss. One study, published in 2010, observed lime essential oil both assisting weight loss and preventing weight gain. The study concluded: The data obtained in this study suggested that lime essential oil plays an important role in weight loss and could be useful in the treatment of drug-induced obesity and related diseases. (1) For anyone who has packed on weight after a procedure or prescription, this comes as welcome news! Application: Include lime in culinary recipes, topical formulas, and diffusion blends to maximize a wide range of actions.
Another much-loved citrus oil, grapefruit shatters our expectations of what a weight loss tool should be. Instead of yet another thing to drink, eat, or take, grapefruit seems to be just as effective in other ways. In evaluating the effects that grapefruit and lavender oils have after simply being smelled, researchers found that nerve impulses were affected extensively, leading to fat-burning and appetite-reducing benefits. (2) Topically, grapefruit is a cosmetic boost during weight loss efforts. As part of a topical blend massaged onto the abdomen, grapefruit contributed to reduced waist-circumferences and composition changes, boosting self-image for the women who participated. (3) Application: Include grapefruit in lotion and massage oil blends; diffuse before and during meals.
The primary evaluation for cinnamon in various forms centers around diabetes itself, and cinnamon oil has been able to modify glycemic control in those cases. Additionally, in one recent study, researchers were able to observe some pancreatic protection – the pancreas being our center for insulin regulation. (4) For diabetics, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is paramount, and glycemic control is part of the process. For everyone else, protecting the pancreas and helping the body better deal with glucose can be beneficial for weight loss, as well. Application: Enjoy a drop or two diffused in stimulating weight loss blends or diluted into culinary or internal preparations.
Considered a mild stimulant, peppermint has been studied for its ability to improve athletic performance and endurance. Chances are, reading this far into an article about weight loss, you aren’t an athlete. Baby steps and good choices will get you to your goals, though, and that’s where peppermint comes into play. As a digestive herb, the peppermint plant has been enjoyed with meals in many cultures and for countless generations. As an inhaled essential oil, it has another suggested digestive purpose: affecting appetite and caloric intake. (5) Application: Diffuse with grapefruit for a bright scent that may also brighten up your daily calorie count!
Indicated in traditional and folk uses for weight control, one suspected reason behind this may be cardamom’s gastroprotective effects. As a digestive oil, cardamom has been known to protect the stomach against ulcers and damage. (6) Weight loss and control begins and ends in the stomach, not only what you eat but the way your body uses it. Damage in the stomach and the gut can put a damper on even the best diet. Take care of your gut and it will take care of you! Application: Culinary preparations, or dilution into a capsule. As with all oils indicated for internal use, one or two drops at a time is more than sufficient.
We don’t know a lot about cumin essential oil yet, but what we do know is promising. The whole herb, for example, is often used to combat inflammation and diabetes. It’s this direction that researchers followed in 2005. In evaluating the chemical composition of cumin seeds, the study was able to pinpoint specific ways in which cumin – notably, some of the compounds found in the essential oil – affects the body’s blood sugar response. (7) Cumin is considered a digestive herb and essential oil, certainly worth trying out in your weight loss blends. Application: Try cumin in culinary preparations or simply diffused as part of a blend.
7. Black Pepper
To really demonstrate thinking outside of the box for weight loss support, let’s turn to black pepper. In the 1990s, black pepper essential oil was used via inhalation to help reduce the symptoms of withdrawal for people as they quit smoking. (8) How might this benefit weight loss? The spiral of food addiction is often part of weight management problems, especially related to sugar. Taking care of your body as you make changes is important – going “cold turkey” on anything can create problems. Perhaps black pepper will help you take these steps as it did for smokers. You never know until you try! Application: Diffusion and personal inhalers.
Diffusing Blend for Weight Loss Support
Try this stimulating, appetite-curbing combination for use around workout times, when cravings hit, or during mealtimes. Add 2 drops of the following oil blend in a gel cap for occasional support. Be sure to discontinue use immediately if acid reflux develops (can sometimes happen with peppermint).
Weight Loss Blend – equal parts of:
For aromatherapy, add 5 drops each to a diffuser!