Inhaling some essential oils counteracts tiredness and fatigue, even when these conditions are linked to illness, convalescence and Long Covid. This is what emerges from three scientific studies, all very recent (Hawkins et al, Complement Ther Med, 2022 - Mahdavikian et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2021- Tian et al, Molecules, 2022).
Essential oils, what they are and properties
Essential oils are made up of volatile fat-soluble compounds and are contained in different parts of plants, such as flowers, leaves, stems and roots. The essential oils, once extracted, when inhaled are released into the bloodstream and activate the limbic system, which is the complex of brain structures that influence emotions and behaviors. The exact mechanism of action is not yet known, but some essential oils, more than others, have been shown to reduce and to counteract anxiety but also to bring energy and strength where previously there was tiredness and fatigue. It is precisely on this last aspect that we focus our attention today. Fatigue is a condition that can affect everyone, due to a very stressful period that we live, but also for diseases that can affect us or in the periods of convalescence, as in the case of Long Covid. But let's understand better.
Fatigue and Long Covid, here is the blend that comes to the aid
The first study analyzed the effects of a blend of essential oils on fatigue caused by Long Covid. Scientists recruited 40 women, all recovered from Covid for 6-9 months. The volunteers were all experiencing a state of persistent fatigue for at least 5 months when the experiment began. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was kept as a control while the second group was asked to inhale for 15 minutes, twice a day for 2 weeks, 4 drops of an essential oil blend poured onto a handkerchief. The blend was given by the essential oils of thyme, orange, clove and frankincense. At the end of the experiment, the volunteers who had inhaled the blend of essential oils had more energy and less fatigue, both physical and mental. These results are really noteworthy also because studies have observed that brain fog, another typical symptom of Long Covid, and fatigue are associated. Therefore, a reduction in fatigue also leads to an improvement in concentration, attention and memory.
Heart problems and fatigue, here are the essential oils that are useful
The second study made it possible to observe that, in the case of patients with heart problems and fatigue, inhaling the essential oils of mint and lavender reduced fatigue. In particular, smelling three drops of mint or lavender essential oil poured on a handkerchief and inhaled in the evening countered fatigue, but also insomnia and anxiety.
Physical fatigue and burnout, these are the essential oils that bring energy
Fatigue is not always linked to an illness or its after-effects. Sometimes we may lead a very physically strenuous life or we may be exhausted, tired and with a fatigue that is more mental. Even in these cases, essential oils come in handy. The latest study made it possible to observe that, in case of fatigue caused by physical exertion, inhaling the essential oils of citrus fruits, such as bergamot, orange and lemon, allowed a quick recovery and reduced post-exercise fatigue. In particular, bergamot oil showed the most effective anti-fatigue action. On the other hand, if the fatigue is mental, the essential oils that most help to restore and infuse energy are the essential oils of mint and basil, even in the case of a nervous breakdown.