Research shows that essential oils can aid weight loss. However, a healthy diet and lifestyle are necessary for long-term weight management.

Essential oils do not cause weight loss directly. However, they can help weight management indirectly, for example, by reducing food cravings, energizing a workout, relieving stress, and encouraging sleep.

This article discusses which essential oils are most helpful for weight loss, how to use them, what the research says, and risks to consider.

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Research has shown that essential oils may exert anti-obesity effects. A 2021 review found that essential oils may counteract the effects of increased fat in the body. These include developing chronic conditions such as:

Each essential oil may have different effects.


Citrus oils, such as sweet orange, bitter orange, lemon, and lime peel, often contain the chemical limonene, which research shows may aid digestion and have an antioxidant effect. A 2019 study found that citrus oil suppressed weight gain and decreased body weight in mice.

It is important to remember that when citrus oils are diluted and applied to the skin, they can be phototoxic. This occurs when the sun and citrus oil irritates the skin, causing redness and blistering.


A 2019 research review of human and animal studies found bergamot may help suppress appetite and reduce cholesterol. It may also help lessen anxiety, pain, and stress, which sometimes lead to overeating.


Peppermint is known to help digestion and reduce bloating and cramping. It also acts as an appetite suppressant. A 2019 study found spearmint essential oil to be an anti-obesity agent that might be safer than synthetic drugs.

Learn more about the benefits of mint.


Ginger is known to help settle upset stomachs and aid digestion. A research review found that ginger could benefit obesity and related metabolic disorders.

Learn more about the benefits of ginger.


Cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels, which can help curb appetite and food cravings. One research review showed cinnamon oil also had antidiabetic effects.

Learn more about the benefits of cinnamon oil.


Some people use lavender to reduce stress and anxiety and encourage sleep. Research shows that lavender essential oil has an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effect. Feeling calm and well-rested may result in more energy to engage in a weight management program.

Learn more about the benefits of lavender.


A 2018 study found that sage could inhibit lipase production, resulting in less absorption of dietary fat. It concluded that sage essential oil could be important in helping manage diabetes and obesity.

Learn more about the benefits of sage.

Rose oil

A research review of 13 clinical trials showed that rose oil could help reduce pain, relax the body and mind, and exert an anti-anxiety effect. The review acknowledged the need for further larger studies.

According to one research review, essential oils may exert an anti-obesity effect through the following actions:

  • anti-lipase activity, which is the blocking absorption of dietary fat
  • by increasing the plasma glycerol concentration, which is a marker of lipolysis, or the breakdown of dietary or stored fat
  • by suppressing the accumulation of fats and triglycerides

Some of the other ways essential oils may support weight loss include:

  • stimulating metabolism
  • improving digestion
  • curbing appetite
  • increasing energy
  • decreasing blood glucose levels

In addition to helping with weight management, essential oils may have other benefits that improve how people feel. This may help them keep up with a weight management program. They include:

  • reducing feelings of anxiety and depression by influencing GABA, serotonin, and dopamine receptors
  • relieving tension
  • easing bodily aches and pains
  • increasing energy levels

Some researchers believe that essential oils may also help counteract more than 20 chronic diseases and health conditions that obesity may contribute to. These include:

Essential oils may also help people avoid or limit other avenues of weight management that may have adverse side effects, such as:

Essential oils can be potent, and people should use them with care. In regulating them, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) distinguishes between essential oils that are cosmetics or drugs.

Drugs are products labeled or marketed for therapeutic use, such as disease prevention or treatment. For example, if a product claims an essential oil will ease pain, relax muscles, treat depression or anxiety, or aid in sleep, it is making a drug claim.

According to the FDA, cosmetics are products that aim to cleanse the body or improve a person’s appearance. If a product claims that essential oils will make skin glow or hair soft, it is making a cosmetic claim.

The FDA regulates drugs and cosmetics, but the requirements for drugs are stricter. Drugs must meet FDA approval for safety and effectiveness before they become available.

To find out whether a product marketed with drug claims is FDA-approved, contact the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The Federal Trade Commission regulates advertising claims.

Potential risks of essential oils include:

  • Drug interactions: Some essential oils can interact with medications, especially if ingested.
  • Skin reactions: Used topically, some essential oils may occasionally cause skin reactions, especially if applied undiluted.
  • Toxicity: Some essential oils can be impure or toxic. It is important to make sure they are free of fillers, pesticides, and synthetic chemicals. Look for “therapeutic grade” on the label.

You can use essential oils by diffusing them into the air or diluting and applying them to the skin.

  • Diffusing: The safest way to use essential oils is to inhale them by using a diffuser or sniffing them from the bottle.
  • Topical application: Applying essential oils to the skin is another alternative. It is important to mix them into a carrier oil first. Applying them undiluted may cause irritation.

Learn more about carrier oils.

The four pillars of weight loss that remain the best supports for sustainable weight management are:

  • eating a balanced diet of nutritious foods
  • exercising regularly
  • managing stress
  • getting enough sleep

Although there is no research showing that essential oils can directly cause weight loss, essential oils can indirectly help a weight loss program. They may help by curbing appetite, lifting mood, and increasing energy.

They may also help decrease the risk of the diseases and conditions triggered by obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

Essential oils help in weight loss. However, they can never replace diet, exercise, stress management, and sufficient sleep, which are important for healthy and sustainable weight management.