Essential oils can help in reducing weight by working on the part of the brain that deals with satiety, as well as in the breakdown and release of unwanted fat and toxins from the body.
Certain essential oils can also help fight the sugar cravings. Bear in mind that these still need to be used in conjunction with keeping to a healthy diet and some form of exercise. Don’t expect great results if your diet consists of junk food.
The satiety mechanism
Satiety or the sense of fullness is regulated by a part of the hypothalamus in the brain. Our nose and olfactory nerve (our sense of smell) is also connected to the hypothalamus. As we know, essential oils liberate odour molecules. These make their way to the top of the nasal cavity, making their way through the mucous membrane and eventually binding to the receptor sites on the olfactory nerve. From here, individual odour molecules are taken by the limbic lobe in the brain and intensified in a way that the brain can respond to these stimuli. Interestingly enough, the limbic part of the brain is also known to be the emotional centre of the brain. This limbic lobe communicates its information to the hypothalamus, which controls the ability to feel full. This explains why an emotional state can also trigger our desire for food.
I suspect a number of the fast food chains incorporate this into their food preparation to trigger cravings and desires that are not really beneficial to us. Well we can use the sense of smell in our favour too: to suppress appetite and emotional responses to food. A study carried out in the early 90s found that the inhalation of peppermint essential oil had an effect on the satiety centre in the brain (the hypothalamus).  The six-month study involved over 3000 people and during that period the average weight loss was 30 pounds (13.6kg).
If you want to give peppermint oil a try, you can either inhale it before a meal or place a few drops in a glass of water and drink before each meal. Make sure the oil is pure therapeutic grade in quality.
Essential oils for reducing weight
Peppermint oil isn’t the only oil that can help. Some others to consider are fennel, grapefruit, lemon myrtle and ocotea. In some cases, I’ve also included people’s experiences as well.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). Fennel seeds have been used for hundreds of years as a digestive aid and to balance menstrual cycles. Its properties include anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antiseptic, analgesic, anti-parasitic (worms), a digestive aid and to increase metabolism. Its use should be avoided if one is epileptic or pregnant. You can inhale it, diffuse it or take it internally (see also other people’s experiences below).
Blend classification: Equaliser and modifier
Blends with: Basil, geranium, lavender, lemon, rosemary and sandalwood
Odour: Type: Top to Middle Notes (20-80 per cent of the blend); Scent: sweet, somewhat spicy, liquorice-like
Fennel Helps Me Overcome Desire For Sweets
WA, United States
After Christmas I had eaten too many sweet treats and was into a sugar frenzy, needing to eat something sweet every day. I ordered YL fennel oil and began to use it daily. I don’t like licorice but I like the smell of fennel and it keeps the sugar demons at bay; my appetite is back to low-normal and I am losing weight again.
Fennel Helps Sweet Cravings
MI, United States
I have a huge sweet tooth and was looking for something to help me with these cravings. I discovered that by putting a drop of fennel oil on the inside of each wrist and a dab on my tongue caused my sweet cravings to completely disappear.
Fennel For Sugar Blues Or Appetite Control
Karen Brooks, aromatherapist
Sweet fennel oil used topically on the wrists; licorice or anise tea diffused in water for 10 minutes very good mitigator of sugar blues/cravings/PMS and menopausal symptoms also great for feelings to anger to begin dissipating.
Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi). I first wrote about grapefruit oil in my post The benefits of citrus oils and in Limonene: a natural anti-cancer weapon. In addition to limonene it has a compound known as citral, which has been researched for its ability to increase the metabolism and decrease appetite. A study reported in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that citral not only enhanced the metabolism but also reduced the buildup of fats by hindering the formation of fat cells.  I find that the best way to use grapefruit essential oil is to use it daily as a substitute for soft drinks and juices. It has a nice taste, as do orange and tangerine oils.
Blend classification: Modifier and enhancer
Blends with: Basil, bergamot, cedarwood, chamomile, cypress, frankincense, geranium, juniper, lavender, peppermint, rosemary, rosewood and ylang ylang
Odour: Type: Top Note (5-20 per cent of the blend); Scent: clean, fresh, bitter, citrusy
Once a size 12, I am now a 6
UT, United States
I, Ayse Zencir, am using essential oil for a year now. I fell in love with them. My best personal testimony is my weight loss. I used to drink grapefruit oiled water everyday 7 drops in 8 cups of water. Now my size is 5-6. I used to wear size 10-12. Let me inform you my recipe. I add 7 drops of grapefruit oil in to 2 litres of water, shake them very well. One or two hour before every meal, I drink 2-3 cups of oiled water. All day I drink only this oiled water …
In a month you may feel the results, but you may not see any weight change until 2 month ends. Keep trying …keep trying… Everybody has different body. It may vary person to person. You may feel dizzy or rapid heart beats or headache…so it is good to start with 1-2 drops for a week.”
Grapefruit oil for depression and weight loss
MN, United States
About a month ago we started our annual “wellness program” at work. I read in the Essential Oil Desk Reference about grapefruit oil helping with depression, and being a fat dissolving oil. I try to have a bottle of water each day that has 4 – 6 drops of grapefruit oil in it. I have been in a much better mood and with some quality time spent on the treadmill. I have had some weight loss as well. I really think the grapefruit oil has helped with keeping my “down days” in check. Just remember to shake the bottle to keep it mixed. It tastes great!
I was taking grapefruit oil primarily as a liver cleanser/detox. I knew that it was great for cellulite/lipolysis (destroys fat cells), however for some reason I thought that the weight loss would be more gradual. After a few comments from family members over the weekend, and the official weigh in this morning, I realized this was not the case! I had been losing weight gradually over the year and was near my ideal weight. After a few weeks on the grapefruit oil, I was actually below my ideal weight and I had no choice but to find another oil to continue my liver cleanse!
Lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) . Historically, lemon myrtle was used to flavour food and as an air freshener for wardrobes, cars and closets. It has properties that include anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-viral, calming and sedative. In its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity, research is showing that it may be more potent than Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). Along with lemongrass oil, it’s been found to be quite effective against the MRSA bug.
However in regard to weight reduction, where lemon myrtle interests us is its citral content. Of all essential oils it has the highest level of citral — 90 per cent — much higher than grapefruit. Its nearest rival is lemongrass at 80 per cent. How to use it? Try 4-5 drops in a vegetable or gelatin capsule in the morning, diluted with a vegetable oil (coconut, olive or almond). The research on the strong antibacterial effects of citral suggests that it could diminish gut flora. Hence, if I were using this, I would probably take a good probiotic at night before bed.
Odour: Type: Top Note (5-20 per cent of the blend); Scent: extremely lemony and crisp
Ocotea (Ocotea quixos). I first wrote about this oil in my post Essential oils of the Amazons and also Essential oils of Ecuador – Ocotea. Its main ingredients are cinnemaldehyde and cinnamate, which give the oil its cinnamon like taste and smell. Its properties include: antibacterial, anti-diarrheal, anti-fungal (yeast), anti-inflammatory, disinfectant and it promotes good digestion.
Gary Young, who has been studying ocotea for a number of years and now distills it in Ecuador has had amazing results with patients who have blood sugar imbalances, including diabetes type 1 and type 2. A number of people who were insulin dependent and used ocotea are now completely off insulin. (Note: Please consult your health practitioner before cutting any medication or changing your health regimen.)
Gary Young indicated that 2-3 drops 3-4 times a day was a good level to be using ocotea. And a number of people using ocotea have also noticed weight loss and a decrease in cravings. This is unsurprising as in many cases of type 2 diabetes there is a link to obesity and weight gain. The best way to apply ocotea is drop it under the tongue and leave for 1 minute before swallowing. Interestingly, a number of patients also reported feelings of peace from using ocotea.
Losing Fat And Very Happy
NM, United States
I have used 2-3 drops under my tongue 3 times a day for the last two months. I have found my cravings for carbs and sweets have significantly reduced.
I am beginning to really see the fat around my belly and hips drop. Honestly, I’ve tried other weight-loss products including another company’s essential oil blend, different supplements, powders, drinks, etc., and nothing has worked like the Ocotea.
I am 56, my doctor recommended I lose weight, which with menopause has been extremely difficult so I am very happy with the results so far with using Ocotea.
Ocotea for weight loss
I started with 1 drop under the tongue morning and night, then 2 drops, after one week, well, it changed my taste buds all together, sugar to me is actually tasteless now. I lost interest in all sugary things, my body is actually looking for vegetables and fruits and I’m never hungry. I never thought that would be possible. I have lost 7kg over 8 weeks without any dieting and never crave for treats, how good is that?
Which of these oils to use? Perhaps an approach that combines two or more of these that I mentioned. One possibility: peppermint and either grapefruit or lemon myrtle; one to help you suppress the appetite and the other to help breakdown existing fat in the body. Or if you have blood sugar/insulin issues you might want to include ocotea with a couple of drops 2-3 times a day. And just remember essential oils won’t take away the need for a healthy diet and exercise. If you would like more information on the oils mentioned in this post or are interested in obtaining them please contact us.
Till next time!
Disclaimer: Please remember that anything discussed here does not
constitute medical advice and cannot substitute for appropriate medical care. Where essential oils are mentioned, it’s recommended you use only pure, unadulterated therapeutic grade essential oils and follow the safety directions of the manufacturer.
 Hirsch, A.R., and Gomez, R.: “Inhalation of Odorants for Weight Reduction,” The International Journal of Obesity, Vol. 18, Supplement 2, August, 1994, p. 79.
 Modak, Tamonud and Mukhopadhaya, Abhilash.: “Effects of citral, a naturally occurring antiadipogenic molecule, on an energy-intense diet model of obesity, ” Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 2011 May-Jun; 43(3): 300-305