Can Essential Oils Actually Treat Morning Sickness? Experts Weigh In

- Sep 21, 2017-

When I was pregnant, I had a type of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. That is, I was sick every minute of the day from day one until I delivered, and I tried everything — including aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy. I'll admit, I'm a skeptic, but can essential oils actually treat morning sickness? Seems easier than scarfing ginger down with every meal, right?

My Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of people who are selling oils faster than the last pair of Pradas at a sample sale. Are they all that they're made out to be, or are they the 21st century equivalent of snake oil? I've seen sellers claim that they're good for everything from preventing the common cold, to,  and I'm not kidding about this, curing diabetes. Curing means completely resolving the problem so that it no longer exists. It's one of those "I do not think it means what they think it means" situations.


Claims like these are dangerous, no doubt, but that doesn't mean that some of them aren't without merit. For one, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently came out with a study which stated that lemon-eucalyptus oil can be as effective as commercially produced insect repellants in the fight against mosquitoes and ticks. Another study showed that lavender oil used as aromatherapy (read: not on the skin) was an effective agent as a sleep aid, confirming the claims of the sellers of lavender oil. I know this, because any time I mention my use of Ambien, I get eleventy million recipes for lavender oil and my diffuser. Maybe eleventy billion. It's a lot.

humidifier home

To be fair, if the lavender worked for me, that would be great, because I have a tendency to order weird crap after I take my Ambien, and no one (or everyone) needs an entire bathroom set of space cat themed merch.

Honestly, though, I aromatherapied (new word I just coined because I'm basically Shakespeare) the heck out of myself when I was pregnant. There was a diffuser in every room, and I like to believe it helped — at least a little — but was it safe? Was it truly effective? Can essential oils actually treat morning sickness?

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