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Aromatherapy candles contain essential oils. Essential oils such as lavender have therapeutic uses and may help relieve stress. However, there has been little research into the specific benefits of using essential oils in candles.
People may find aromatherapy candles calming because they emit a pleasant aroma and create soft lighting. People often associate them with self-care, which may encourage people to take some time to relax.
This article will look at the potential benefits of aromatherapy candles, some of the candles available, and how to use them safely.
Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with their healthcare provider before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.
Aromatherapy candle is a general term for candles that contain an indefinite amount of essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated substances that come from plants and resins.
Because there is no single definition of what makes something an aromatherapy candle, products can vary in quality and potency. Some contain only essential oils, while others mix essential oils and artificial fragrances.
Researchers have not fully investigated the potential health benefits of essential oil candles. However, certain essential oils may help relieve feelings of stress. Also, a 2019 study found that inhaling lavender essential oil can reduce anxiety.
Early evidence suggests that other essential oils may also ease stress, including:
- Clary sage: A small study in females going through menopause found that clary sage reduced cortisol levels. Cortisol is one of the hormones involved in the body’s stress response.
- Bergamot: Another small study in females showed that bergamot reduced negative emotions, fatigue, and salivary cortisol levels.
- Ylang-ylang: A 2014 pilot study found that people who inhaled ylang-ylang for 30, 60, and 90 days reported higher self-esteem than those using a placebo.
As these studies had a low number of participants and did not use candles as a method of inhalation, it is unclear if these benefits would also apply to people using aromatherapy candles in general. The calming effects of candles may be due to their association with relaxation.
Another potential advantage of aromatherapy candles is that, unlike many scented candles on the market, some do not include any artificial fragrances. One 2016 study found that 34.7% of people experienced adverse health effects as a result of exposure to artificial fragrances, including:
In the United States, companies do not legally have to disclose the ingredients they use in scented products. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine which candles contain artificial fragrances and which only contain essential oils.
This section looks at some options for aromatherapy candles. All of these products:
- contain essential oils
- use only plant-based waxes
- have not undergone testing in animals
Please note that the statements below are research-based. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried any of these products.
Edens Garden Tangerine Jasmine Candle
This candle has a natural jasmine and tangerine scent, mixing floral and citrus notes. Aromatherapists associate jasmine with relaxation and sleep.
The candle comes in a frosted glass container, with a slow-burning wick that gives the aroma time to diffuse. The candle wax comes from coconuts and burns for around 40 hours.
The manufacturers state that they do not use synthetic fragrances, fillers, or toxic chemicals. Each batch of candles is gas chromatography/mass spectrometry tested, which means that the essential oils are high quality and verifiably pure.
The manufacturers make their candles in California, and they say that they aim to make their products sustainably by using vegan-friendly ingredients.
Aroma Naturals Serenity Candle
According to the manufacturers’ website, this is a 100% natural candle that contains essential oils and plant aromas. The candle contains lavender and ylang-ylang, both of which may help with stress.
The manufacturers do not provide a full ingredients list for this candle, but they say that they only use plant-derived ingredients that do not harm the environment.
They use a blend of soy and vegetable wax, as well as lead-free wicks. This candle burns for around 45 hours.
The manufacturers have certifications from the Organic Trade Association and Leaping Bunny, indicating that they do not test their products in animals.
T&H Lime Basil Mandarin Candle
This large candle contains lime, basil, and mandarin, creating a light scent that the manufacturers claim will lift someone’s mood. Also, the scent is not too overpowering, which they say may reduce the chance of headaches.
The manufacturers state that they do not use artificial scents and that their candles have a base of 100% soy wax with no paraffin, though they do not list all their ingredients. This candle has three wicks, burning for up to 80 hours.
They do not test their products in animals, and the candles are vegan-friendly. The glass jar packaging is handmade and recyclable.
Candles cause roughly 8,200 home fires each year in the U.S. When using candles, take the following precautions:
- Never leave a candle burning unattended.
- Never put a candle near something that may set alight, such as curtains.
- Never leave children or pets alone with a burning candle.
- Place the candle away from drafts and vents.
- Never touch or move the candle while it is still burning.
- Place multiple burning candles at least 3 inches away from each other.
Essential oils can also cause adverse effects. Although they are generally safe for use around the home at safe concentrations, some people may find that inhaling essential oils causes skin or eye irritation or allergic reactions.
However, it is worth noting that many manufacturers do not disclose all the ingredients in their scented products. Therefore, in some cases, these reactions could be a response to perfumes or other hidden ingredients.
Some essential oils are toxic to pets or dangerous to children and pregnant people. It is vital to consider who else is in the environment before using essential oil candles.
If a person notices any symptoms while using candles, they should open some windows to ventilate the room and extinguish the flame. A person may find that they tolerate fragrance-free candles better or that they need to stop using these products entirely.
Aromatherapy candles contain essential oils, some of which may help with stress and anxiety. However, it is unclear whether the oils in candles have therapeutic benefits or whether the calming effects of candles are psychological.
Before buying a candle, a person may wish to consider the ingredients, whether or not the candle contains artificial fragrances, and whether or not the manufacturers are sustainable.
Some people may need to avoid certain essential oils or other candle ingredients. If a person notices any adverse effects while using a scented candle, they should stop using it.