How do Essential oils work?” can be a difficult question to answer. And one that will always be asked. Unless, you have had a personal experience with essential oils, or someone you know has; then it can be difficult to understand how these volatile liquids, do what they do! And how they do what you are being told. 

Let’s look at how they work in a clinical situation.

How Do Essential Oils Work Clinically?

There is a wide array of essential oils that can be used for a myriad of different ailments. Whilst you have to remember they’re not considered cures, they do work in ‘tandem’ with other medicinal steps you may be taking, which have been prescribed by your doctor.

I don’t want to bore you anymore with the scientific information, but I do want to explain to you further. I will endeavour to try and make this as simple to understand as humanly possible, because I do not entirely understand myself all of the science behind how the oils do what they do. But I am always learning and researching on a daily basis.

There are different attributes to each oil that make it helpful to use when trying to assist in ‘whole body wellness’. Each of these attributes, listed below are part of the chemical makeup of an essential oil. While not every oil will have all the attributes listed, it is a good bet that many of them have at least two or three of these compounds within their chemical makeup.

  • Terpenes – inhibit toxin accumulation and discharge them from liver and kidneys
  • Esters – antifungal, calming, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral
  • Oxides – expectorant, antiseptic, anesthetic
  • Alcohols – antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, stimulate immunes system
  • Phenols – fragrance, antiseptic, antibacterial, possibly anti-cancerous
  • Ketones – stimulate cell regeneration, loosen mucous
  • Aldehydes – anti-infectious, sedative, topical irritants, calming when inhaled

What the list above does tells us, is that each attribute can be helpful to the body in it’s own way. This is regardless of what condition you are trying to manage or prevent, these attributes can assist you in doing so effectively.

How Do Essential Oils Work Topically?

Drops of oils on the skin.

The skin is one of the easiest ways to use essential oils.  Why is this so? They are absorbed quickly due to their molecular size, compared to other oils whose molecular size is larger. Thus allowing their benefits to do their work quickly in the body with minimal effort on your part. Just rub and enjoy!

To avoid sensitivity, they are best used in a carrier oil of your choice. For example, fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil. I would like to point out, that this doesn’t change the desired effect you are wanting to achieve. You have to remember these oils are potent, and the last thing you want is to build up a sensitivity to any of the oils.

Some practitioners suggest massaging the skin first to aid in the absorption of the oils. I would agree with this advice because during my time using essential oils, I have seen firsthand how they absorb into the skin. They often absorb better if you loosen the skin and open the pores a bit to receive the oils. The best place to apply oils is on the soles of the feet, the pores found there are much larger than anywhere else on the body. When it comes to working with the oils in a topical manner, it is important to remember that not all oils should be used on the skin. Some oils such as Clove and Oregano, fit into this warning. They are considered hot oils. These types of oils can produce variable skin reactions that are not pleasant. To use these essential oils in this manner. It is best, to dilute in a carrier oil to aid the absorption of the oil, without unwanted desired effects. Great idea right? There is another way but we will talk about that later. If you want to know, keep reading. Unless, you’ve fallen asleep 😴

How Does Inhalation Work?



The oils also work well through inhalation. Inhalation is a great way to use the oils. The way they work through this method is through the olfactory nerves and system. These are specific cells that relate to not only the nasal passages but the whole system of the body. Studies have been shown that oils have a direct effect on the brain and how the body responds to specific oils.

You can use an ultrasonic diffuser, this is filled with water and you add 3-5 drops of the oil. This kind of diffuser doesn’t alter the properties of the oil, it merely produces a fine mist of humidified vapour and dispersing the oil into the surrounding air. The effect is almost immediate.

A great example is when you inhale Lavender oil. One of the main uses of lavender is to relax the body and mind. The easiest way to use this particular oil, in my experience is to inhale it. This is found to be true with lots of people who have used the oil in this way. There are a handful of studies showing how lavender effects the brain, but I’m sure like anything there is probably more research being undertaken.

How Do Essential Oils Work When Ingested?

Use appropriate dilution of oils.


This is a difficult question to answer. The reason is because there are two standard thought patterns with this mode of use.

Some say you should never use them this way while others use them frequently in this manner. I have used oils internally for a while and believe that, when used correctly, essential oils do work can contribute to and aid in the wellness of the individual.

The problem with ingestion comes down to the purity of the oils you are using. Due to the fact that companies are not regulated by governing bodies when it comes to their claims of purity, this can be a sticky situation to try and address.

There are guidelines in the appropriate dilution and maximum amount per day. Please ensure you adhere to this at all times.

I recommend doing your research and looking for studies on any company you are considering. When you look at the companies or grades of oils that company produces, keep in mind the grades of essential oils.

Do Essential Oils Work?

This is a good question, and one I get asked frequently. It really depends on how the individual decides to use the oils. It also greatly depends on what you are using the oils for. Some people will only choose to inhale them, or apply them topically whilst others will regularly use them internally when appropriate.

Personally, I use essential oils in a variety of ways. I use them in every way mentioned on this blog post and have had great success with them whilst others have not been successful at all.

I believe it to be important to tell you this because different oils will react to your body and it’s systems in different ways. What works for one person, often may not work for another in the same way. It is my hope and desire that if you take the journey into essential oils that they work well for you, no matter how you decide to use them.

When you decide to start out with essential oils, it is important to understand the variety of effectiveness for each person. This is because each persons body is unique and that can, and often does change the outcome of how the oils will work for you and others. It may mean, a bit of trial and error in regards to the oils. This means possibly using a combination of oils to reach your desired outcome.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post. I would love for you to leave me a comment, if you have been successful in finding the right oil for you and the particular problem you were looking at alleviating.

Please feel free to contact me at any time via my email at

Whether it’s purely for a chat, or advice to find your oil. 😊





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