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ssential oils are most commonly used in the practice of aromatherapy, in which they are inhaled through various methods.
Essential oils are not meant to be swallowed.
The chemicals in essential oils can interact with your body in several ways.
When applied to your skin, some plant chemicals are absorbed (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
It’s thought that certain application methods can improve absorption, such as applying with heat or to different areas of the body. However, research in this area is lacking (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Inhaling the aromas from essential oils can stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is a part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and long-term memory (5Trusted Source).
Interestingly, the limbic system is heavily involved in forming memories. This can partly explain why familiar smells can trigger memories or emotions (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
The limbic system also plays a role in controlling several unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. As such, some people claim that essential oils can exert a physical effect on your body.
However, this has yet to be confirmed in studies.
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