Essential oils that help Stimulate Appetite

by Penny Keay © 2009

We are often times asked about essential oils that can stimulate appetite. Although we are asked more often on how to stop the cravings for food, and help stopping other habits.

Most of us may never need to stimulate our appetite. But there are times in your life or folks that you know that may have a difficult time with appetite or to even think of eating.

The elderly, those on certain types of medications, cancer treatment and those suffering from anorexia are some of the folks that have asked for suggestions of what essential oils may help to stimulate appetite.

There is really no ‘blanket’ essential oil or blend that will work for everyone. As the reasons for appetite loss can vary immensely. As a starting point, first we need to know the cause and if the loss or lack of appetite is due to any of the following: Lack of physical activity, medications that shut of the sense of smell and taste, cancer chemotherapy treatments or if depression or other mental illness is responsible for the lack of interest in food or eating.

Once we know a few of these things then we can choose a few oils that might help.

Appetite is somewhat influenced by lack of good sleep, depression and energy levels.   Kind of a vicious cycle.  No sleep, no energy, not eating, no energy, no sleep, depressed. They are all linked together. Having a poor appetite or no appetite will mean you are not getting nutrients needed to support the immune systems. And pretty soon you can be even more ill.

As for appetite – if the lack of appetite is due to nausea then a sniff or two of Peppermint or Ginger essential oils can often help reduce the nausea.  If nausea is a daily occurrence then these oils should be inhaled about 30 minutes prior to meal times (or snack time too).  Avoid smelling Grapefruit as that is a known appetite suppressant.   

If depression is causing part of the problem then raising the level of happiness – may help too.  Smelling other citrus oils often will help.  Bergamot is used in depression and can help some folks eat more.  Since they use Bergamot in Earl Grey Tea, this is a simple choice that can help without actually using Bergamot essential oil – provided of course the patient likes to drink tea. 

For energizing try just about any citrus oils Orange, Lemon and Limeare the best. (Do not use grapefruit – although grapefruit is energizing – it suppresses appetite so you won’t want to use when you want someone to eat!) Peppermint and Spearmint are great – we have 2 energizing blends Mint Energizing blend and Invigorating.  They include essential oils that are both physically and mentally energizing. So these may also increase or stimulate appetite.

If the sense of smell or the ability to taste has been altered or is gone, smelling the above essential oils can still help stimulate appetite as the essential oils once inhaled will still work at the cellular level. For many folks – especially if nauseated, it is the chemical constituents that help with the nausea not the smell itself. So inhaling the smell of energizing or anti-nausea essential oils could still help to increase appetite.

Depression can suppress appetite due to lack of energy and exercise. Using bright mints and citrus oils scents along with Ylang-Ylang can bring a smile to the face. For more help with depression visit our past newsletter http://birchhillhappenings.com/v1212009.htm#emotion 

You may discover other essential oils that stimulate your appetite, but those listed above are the most commonly used for the most common causes for the lack of appetite.


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We do not endorse, nor do we encourage anyone to implement Aromatherapy or any suggestions contained within this site without the consent of his/her medical doctor. We also do not take any liability for your implementation of any oils, recipes, or anything else available through this site, from any book or company recommendation, or available on any site linked from Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC


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