The essential oil grouping is large and may include: lavender, marjoram, tea tree, and chamomile oil. These are used in many foods including drinks, sweets, cakes and savoury sauces. Pexels
Essential oils have become a powerful wellness trend.

In recent years, these plant-derived extracts have been celebrated on Pinterest boards and Instagram feeds for their ability to do just about everything, from elevating your mood, to lowering anxiety, easing heartburn, or cleaning grimy floors.

Now, people have started cooking with them for potential health benefits and for flavour.

The essential oil grouping is large and may include: lavender, marjoram, tea tree, and chamomile oil. These are used in many foods including drinks, sweets, cakes and savoury sauces.

However, some health experts are arguing that this "health" trend may be detrimental to your health.

Many medical professionals say the multilevel marketing strategies have made it more challenging to decipher when essential oils make a great choice for enhanced health and wellness.

A study of 300 patients, found that those who breathed a mixture of ginger, spearmint, peppermint and cardamom had much less nausea after surgery.

Other research points to evidence that lavender oil can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and inhaling lemongrass aroma before a stressful event can prevent anxiety.

Olivia Spencer, an environmental consultant with an interest in holistic medicines, says: "While we may be familiar with the use of herbs for making teas and other food items, it's worth remembering that essential oils are concentrated substances that can be harmful if used inappropriately."

A local registered dietitian, Lila Bruk says there has been some research to suggest that certain essential oils can have benefits, such as preventing or managing certain illnesses.

However, Bruk says due to the variance between products with respect to quality, purity and dilution, it can be hard to determine whether a product will indeed have these benefits.

“If you want to add the flavours of essential oils, rather use them in their natural form - fresh herbs, spices, lavender petals - which are less likely to be toxic.”