Essential Oils & Anorexia

10:06 PM Posted by jo

It so sad to see how young girls and women and even young men are starving themselves.   It seems like I run into more and more young people with eating disorders lately. Usually it is more than just wanting to be slender. It is an disorder that focuses on food,  it is a desire to gain control and an attempt to deal with perfectionism by regulating weight and food. People feel that their self esteem is tied to how skinny they are. It affects 3 in 100 and not surprisingly, it affects the teens in industrialized countries the most. In countries where size zero models and actors are the role models and the cultural expectations encourage young women to be thin. Anorexia is often preceded by a traumatic event and other emotional problems are usually present.

"Anorexia is a psychological disorder where a person becomes obsessed with body size and weight, often depriving him or herself of food to avoid gaining weight." The Reference Guide for Essential Oils

Can be life threatening
Anorexia very seldom appear before puberty but if it does, obsessive and compulsive behavior and depression are often more severe than if if appears at an older age. It is important to know that anorexia can be life threatening and lead to death from heart failure, starvation, electrolyte imbalance or suicide. It can be a chronic condition.

Essential may be used
Essential oils may be used in addition to professional help, but anorexia is a serious condition and aromatherapy should not be used as a stand alone therapy. Inhalation of essential oils may alter emotions to create a change in the underlying psychology or  disturbed-thinking pattern which supports the self-destructed behavior. The essential oil fragrance has the ability to directly affect the emotional hub in the brain. You see, the aroma can stimulate the amygdale gland, which is part of the limbic system. And the limbic system is the emotional center of the brain.

Check for deficiencies
It is also important to consider that someone who is anorexic may be suffering from life threatening mineral and nutrient deficiencies. For example, deficiency in magnesium and potassium can trigger heart rhythm abnormalities and cardiac arrest. It is important that potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are replenished. 

Oils traditionally used
There are several essential oils traditionally used for anorexia. What oils to use depends on each individual needs, but oils that are calming, anti-depressant, and soothing such as bergamot, lavender, clary sage, jasmine, and neroli should also be considered. 

Is not only uplifting and antidepressant, but it also regulates the appetite according to Dr. Jean Valnet. 

Is gentle, appeasing and promotes happiness. It calms nervous tension and restlessness. It is also traditionally used for digestive disorders.

May help the appetite and indigestion. It's sedative and may help insomnia. It is also uplifting and work as an antidepressant.

Is calming and assisting in the release of pent-up negative feelings. It helps release and let go of negative feelings by bringing memories back to the point of origin before trauma or anger was experienced. Angelica has traditionally been used for loss of appetite as well. 

Has traditionally been used for digestive problems and anxiety. It promotes a sense of well-being. It also has antidepressant effects according to research done by Komori, et., 1995. Its fragrance is invigorating, warming, and enhancing.  Lemon also promotes clarity of thought and purpose as well as physical energy.

Has historically been used for loss of appetite and other digestive disorder. and It is also gentle and stimulating, endowing courage and physical energy. 

According to the Essential Oils Desk Reference, essential oils such as lemon and ginger may when inhaled on a regular basis, combat the emotional addiction that may lead to premature death.

Other oils traditionally used for anorexia 
Tangerine, grapefruit, coriander

Remember to seek professional help since anorexia is a serious condition and can be life threatening.


This information is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose or prescribe.  If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from a medical condition, consult with your health care practitioner prior to using essential oils. Be careful when using essential oils with hormonal activity and don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Make sure that you look over the safety information before you start using essential oils.

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil on your skin.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. Also, Read this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. She also runs Naturally Sports & Wellness together with her husband.  
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

Connie and Alan Higley, (Twelfth Edition, revised 2010). Reference Guide for Essential Oils. Abundant Health
Gary Young, ND (2006). Essential Oils, Integrative Medical Guide. Essential Science Publishing
The Essential Oils Desk Reference. (Fifth edition 2011). Life Science Publishing

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