Aside from their use in aroma and flavour, there exists some research on added benefits of certain essential oils. The uses of essential oils are far reaching encompassing aspects of health, pesticides, and aromatherapy.
Below are listed a few of the examples of essential oils benefits in research.
Clove essential oil has been shown to exhibit antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, insecticidal, and anaesthetic properties[i].
Eucalyptus oil is widely popular in aromatherapy. Vapour inhalation as well as oral ingestion of eucalyptus oil has been shown to have beneficial effects against bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Furthermore, eucalyptus oil has been shown to have antimicrobial, immune-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and spasmolytic effects[ii]. Eucalytpus oil is also used as component in pharmaceutical preparations to relieve the symptoms of influenza & colds. It also has antibacterial effects on pathogenic bacteria found in the respiratory tract. It can also be used to relieve bronchitis13 & stimulate the immune system14.
Essential oils of garlic, clove bud, ginger and cinnamon leaves were found to have antioxidant properties via inhibition of hexane oxidation[iii].
Peppermint oil has shown evidence of helping to control symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome[iv].
Lebanese sage essential oil has demonstrated anti-colon cancer properties[v].
Thyme essential oil has been shown to play an important role in in-vitro cytotoxic activity against tumour cells resistant to chemotherapy in mice[vi].
A mixture of lavender and bergamot essential oils was found to have relaxing effects when topically applied on humans[vii].
An essential oil mixture of orange and ginger has shown some promise for short term knee pain relief when applied as a massage[viii].
Rosemary essential oil was shown to be effective against colitis in rats, suggesting its possible benefits as a remedy for inflammatory bowel disease in traditional medicine[ix]. It also has been shown to be a very effective ingredient that can be used in marinades to prevent the formation of carcinogens10.
Garlic oil has been shown to lower prevalence of cancer when consumed in higher amounts11.
[i] Chaieb K, Hajlaoui H, Zmantar T, Kahla-Nakbi AB, Rouabhia M, Mahdouani K, Bakhrouf A. The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review. Phytotherapy Research: PTR. 2007 Jun;21(6):501-6.
[ii] Sadlon AE, and Lamson DW. Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Alternative Medicine Review: a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic. 2010 Apr;15(1):33-47.
[iii] Misharina TA, Terenina MB, and Krikunova NI. Antioxidant properties of essential oils. Prikladnaia Biokhimiia Mikrobiologiia. 2009 Nov-Dec;45(6):710-6.
[iv] Grigoleit HG, and Grigoleit P. Peppermint oil in irritable bowel syndrome. Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. 2005 Aug;12(8):601-6.
[v] Itani WS, El-Banna SH, Hassan SB, Larsson RL, Bazarbachi A, Gali-Muhtasib HU. Anti colon cancer components from Lebanese sage (Salvia libanptica) essential oil: Mechanistic basis. Cancer Biology & Therapy. 2008 Nov;7(11):1765-73.
[vi] Ait M’barek L, Ait Mouse H, Jaafari A, Aboufatima R, Benharref A, Kamal M, Benard J, El Abbadi N, Bensalah M, Gamouh A, Chait A, Dalal A, and Zyad A. Cytotoxic effect of essential oil of thyme (Thymus broussonettii) on the IGR-OV1 tumor cells resistant to chemotherapy. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. 2007 Nov;40(11):1537-44.
[vii] Hongratanaworakit T. Aroma-therapeutic effects of massage blended essential oil on humans. Natural Product Communications. 2011 Aug;6(8):1199-204.
[viii] Yip YB, and Tam AC. An experimental study on the effectiveness of massage with aromatic ginger and orange essential oil for moderate-to-severe knee pain among the elderly in Hong Kong. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2008 Jun;16(3):131-8.
[ix] Minaiyan M, Ghannadi AR, Afsharipour M, and Mahzouni P. Effects of extract and essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on TNBS-induced colitis in rats. Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2011 Jan;6(1):13-21.
11. Teuscher E (2005). Medicinal Spices (1 ed.). Stuttgart: Medpharm.
12. Salari, M. H., Amine, G., Shirazi, M. H., Hafezi, R., and Mohammadypour, M. “Antibacterial effects of Eucalyptus globulus leaf extract on pathogenic bacteria isolated from specimens of patients with respiratory tract disorders.” Clin Microbiol.Infect. 2006;12(2):194-196.
13. Lu XQ, Tang FD, Wang Y, Zhao T, Bian RL, Effect of Eucalyptus globulus oil on lipopolysaccharide-induced chronic bronchitis and mucin hypersecretion in rats, Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi, 2004 Feb;29(2):168-71.
14. Serafino, A., Vallebona, P.S., Andreola, F., Zonfrillo, M., Mercuri, L., Federici, M., Rasi, G., Garaci, E., and Pierimarchi, P., Stimulatory effect of Eucalyptus essential oil on innate cell-mediated immune response, BMC Immunol. 2008; 9: 17