Each essential oil comes with its own therapeutic benefits. Lavender is a stress reliever; peppermint is a natural energy booster. With so many essential oils available, it is sometimes difficult to learn which oil is best for your specific needs. We have compiled a list of some of the most common essential oils and what the benefits are of each.
Bergamot is a citrus-scented essential oil extracted from the Citrus Beragamia tree, a native of Southeast Asia, but can now be found primarily in Italy and along the Ivory Coast. It is a popular aromatherapy oil and widely used in perfumes and colognes.
Extraction and Application: Bergamot is extracted by pressing the oil from the rind of the fruit. Bergamot can be used as incense or in a vaporizer. It can also be diluted with bath water or blended with massage oils.
Aromatherapy Uses: Bergamot is used to treat stress, depression, anxiety, anorexia, and a number of infections including skin infections like psoriasis and eczema. It is used to stimulate the liver, digestive system and spleen, and provide an overall lift to those suffering from a general malaise.
Caution: If applied directly to the skin in its pure form, Bergamot can potentially burn the skin especially in sunlight. It is advised to stay out of the sun when using this oil.
Cedarwood is a woody-scented essential oil that comes from the Juniperus Virginiana tree native to North America. It has been around for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, and is thought to be one of the first essential oils ever extracted.
Extraction and Application: Using steam distillation, the oil is extracted from cedar woodchips. Cedarwood aromatherapy oil is yellow in color and can be applied via vapor inhalation, as a massage oil blend or mixed with facial creams.
Aromatherapy Uses: Cedarwood oil is often used as a calming agent to help alleviate stress and anxiety. It provides a spiritual lift. It also plays a role in aiding respiratory problems as well as skin issues. Use Cedarwood to help ease urinary tract infections, too.
Caution: In its highly concentrated state, Cedarwood can irritate the skin if applied directly to it. It also should not be used during pregnancy.
Chamomile, widely known for its soothing characteristics (particularly in tea), is extracted as an essential oil from the leaves of the flowering plant of the same name. There are two types of Chamomile plants, the Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile. The aromatherapy oil can be extracted from both varieties, but healing properties are slightly different.
Extraction and Application: Chamomile oil is extracted from the flowering leaves via steam distillation. Both varieties of Chamomile can be blended with massage oils, used in steam or vapor therapy or mixed with lotions and creams. The Roman variety of Chamomile can also be used in mouthwash as an analgesic.
Aromatherapy Uses: Many of the following properties are consistent in both Roman and German Chamomile, unless noted otherwise. Chamomile is a powerful calming agent, as well as antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant and overall mood lifter. The German variety is often better suited to battle inflammation, specifically urinary tract and digestive inflammation. Both also have analgesic properties and can help to eliminate acne.
Caution: Avoid during pregnancy and if allergies to Ragweed are present.
Eucalyptus oil comes from the Eucalyptus tree, native to Australia. It has a powerful scent and is easily recognizable. As an essential oil, Eucalyptus is an effective agent against respiratory diseases. It also has the ability to enhance concentration.
Extraction and Application: Eucalyptus oil is steam distilled from the leaves and twigs of some Eucalyptus trees (there are more than 500 varieties).
Aromatherapy Uses: As mentioned above, Eucalyptus is a powerful treatment against respiratory issues. In addition it is used as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, diuretic and stimulant. It also has cooling properties, which gives it deodorizing characteristics; therefore, it helps fight migraines and fevers. This cooling capability also helps with muscle aches and pains.
Caution: Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid using Eucalyptus, as should individuals who suffer from epilepsy. Ingested in large doses can be fatal.
Sweet-smelling Jasmine is extracted from the Jasminum grandiflorum, an evergreen with origins in China. Jasmine is an expensive oil that has powerful healing properties; it aids with everything from depression to childbirth. It is known most for its relaxing properties.
Extraction and Application: Extracting Jasmine is a little different from other essential oils, which are primarily steam distilled. Jasmine is obtained via solvent extraction, which means it results in a concrete substance rather than oil. It then must go through an extensive process whereby the flowers are placed over fats to absorb the fragrance. This process takes a number of days and yields a small amount of oil. Hence the reason Jasmine is one of the most expensive essential oils. Add some drops of Jasmine to your bath or to the vaporizer, or blend it with your favorite massage oil.
Aromatherapy Uses: Jasmine has been known to ease depression and childbirth, in addition to enhance libido. It’s great for respiratory problems, addiction issues, and reducing tension and stress.
Caution: Overall, Jasmine is a fairly safe essential oil as it’s non-toxic. It can cause an allergic reaction, however. Pregnant women should avoid Jasmine.
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils on the market and for good reason. It smells great and is an effective stress-relieving oil. The name stems from the Latin word lavera, meaning to wash. In addition to stress-relieving properties, Lavender is a healing aid against colds, flu and migraine.
Extraction and Application: Lavender is extracted from the flowers of the plant and steam distilled. Lavender can be used several different ways. Given the origin of its name, it’s a wonderful essential oil to use in a bath. Many massage therapists use it to help relax their clients. Add a few drops to a diffuser or even your pillow before bedtime to get a good night’s sleep.
Aromatherapy Uses: In addition to stress-relief, Lavender has the following therapeutic properties: antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory decongestant, deodorant, diuretic and sedative.
Caution: Discontinue use if you suffer an allergic reaction when using Lavender.
It comes as no surprise that lemon is a favorite essential oil. Lemon is widely appreciated for its “clean” smell but has numerous therapeutic qualities as well. It improves concentration, aids in digestion and eases symptoms of acne and arthritis.
Extraction and Application: Lemon comes from the Citrus limonum. The oil is extracted from the fruits peeling via cold expression. Lemon oil is a terrific fragrance for the house, given its lemony-fresh scent. Add a few drops of lemon oil to the vaporizer or diffuser for enhanced energy. Or apply it via a carrier lotion during massage. Want to boost your immune system? Add some drops to your bathwater.
Aromatherapy Uses: Lemon oil is a multifaceted essential oil. It helps with everything from skin irritation to digestion to circulation problems. It is a natural immunity booster and can even help reduce cellulite! Lemon oil helps to alleviate headaches and fever, and is a quick mood enhancer.
Caution: While lemon oil isn’t toxic, it can cause allergic reactions such as rash. It’s not wise to use lemon oil in the sun.
Got a hyperactive child? Try adding a few drops of Marjoram to his or her bath or vaporizer. One of this essential oil’s therapeutic properties is to calm hyperactivity and relieve anxiety. Marjoram was a popular plant used by the Greeks in medicines and also helps with digestion issues such as constipation and cramps.
Extraction and Application: Marjoram oil is steam distilled once it’s extracted from the leaves and flowers of the herb. Use Marjoram in vapor therapy to ease symptoms of asthma or sinusitis. Add a few drops in bath water to increase circulation or relieve insomnia. Blend with massage oil to alleviate headaches and tension.
Aromatherapy Uses: Marjoram aids in anxiety and stress relief, combats fatigue and depression and alleviates respiratory and circulatory issues.
Caution: Although it is non-toxic, Marjoram is not recommended while pregnant.
A widely known essential oil, Patchouli is often associated with hippies or “earthy” types who are thought to use it for its mood-lifting properties. Patchouli comes from the plant Pogostemon cablin and actually has powerful skincare properties.
Extraction and Application: This thick essential oil is steam-distilled after it’s extracted from young leaves. Add a few drops of Patchouli to your bath or humidifier to alleviate depression and anxiety. Blend with massage lotion to combat skin infections and to facilitate healing of wounds.
Aromatherapy Uses: Patchouli serves as a powerful skin care agent; it even promotes skin cell growth when applied directly to the skin. Patchouli helps to relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, curb addiction, reduce cellulite and bloating.
Caution: Although non-toxic, it’s best to use Patchouli in small doses given its strength.
All you need is a whiff of peppermint to put the pep back in your step. Peppermint has a cooling, refreshing effect and is widely used to enhance mental alertness. Peppermint is a perennial herb that boasts natural energy-boosting properties.
Extraction and Application: Peppermint oil is extracted before the herb flowers and is then steam-distilled. It is used in vaporizers, massage oils and lotions, baths, even mouthwash.
Aromatherapy Uses: Peppermint oil has a number of therapeutic properties. It is a cooling agent that enhances mood, sharpens focus, combats irritation and redness, alleviates symptoms of congestion, and aids in digestion.
Caution: Although non-toxic, the menthol component in Peppermint can bother some individuals. It is also a skin irritant and should be kept away from the eyes. Keep away from small children and do not use while pregnant.
Women should keep Rose oil handy as it’s a powerful aromatherapy treatment for issues targeted mainly at females. Roses are some of the first plants to be distilled for their essential oil. Rose oil is pricier than other aromatherapy oils given the number of roses necessary to distill it.
Extraction and Application: Rose oil is extracted from fresh rose petals and then steam distilled. Extracting rose oil is a delicate process.
Aromatherapy Uses: Rose oil is an ideal essential oil to have on hand. It helps with a number of illnesses and conditions, such as depression, anxiety and digestion issues. It is also helps with circulation, heart problems and respiratory conditions like asthma. It is a protector of the heart and is also good for your skin.
Caution: Avoid during pregnancy.
Rosemary oil is a wonderful mental stimulant. Feel yourself getting foggy? Add a few drops of Rosemary oil to your humidifier or bath water for a natural lift and memory booster. This essential oil packs a powerful punch when it comes to aromatherapy uses. Throughout history the herb has been thought of as sacred.
Extraction and Application: Rosemary oil is extracted from the flowering part of the herb and then steam distilled. Add some Rosemary oil to your humidifier to enhance memory, relieve congestion and sinusitis issues. Blend it with massage lotions and oils to help stiff, aching muscles, arthritis, liver and gallbladder congestion and digestive disorders. Rosemary oil in shampoos are excellent for stimulating the scalp, and thus hair growth.
Aromatherapy Uses: Widely known as a mental stimulant, the antidepressant properties of Rosemary oil make it ideal for enhanced memory, focus and overall brain performance. It also acts as an analgesic, soothing aching, cramping muscles, headaches and migraines. As an antiseptic it helps with digestive and liver infections. It is great for skin issues as well.
Caution: Avoid Rosemary oil if you have been diagnosed with epilepsy or high blood pressure. Pregnant women should also avoid this essential oil.
An evergreen, Sandalwood is easily recognized by its woody fragrance. It is an expensive oil given the length of time it takes for a tree to reach maturity, the best time to extract and distill the essential oil. It has numerous aromatherapy benefits.
Extraction and Application: Sandalwood oil is extracted and distilled from the wood chips of a mature tree. Sandalwood oil can be applied several ways: blended with massage oil and lotions, added to a vaporizer, used as incense, even gargled (diluted).
Aromatherapy Uses: Sandalwood oil can help mucous membranes of the urinary tract and chest wall. It helps to alleviate chest pain. It is also used as a relaxing agent for tension relief. Many practitioners of yoga use Sandalwood for its calming and sexual properties. It is a hydration aid for the skin, as well as an anti-inflammatory.
If you have but just one essential oil in your possession, it should be Tea Tree oil. Tea Tree oil is one of the most popular and effective essential oils for aromatherapy use. It is widely known to boost the immune system and fight infections.
Extraction and Application: Tea Tree stems from the Cypress-like Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It is extracted from the tree’s leaves and steam distilled. Tea Tree oil can be inhaled (via humidifier or steam inhalation) and/or applied to the skin various different ways. Blend Tea Tree oil with a lotion, oil or cream to massage it into the skin. Add a few drops into your bathwater or apply it directly to your skin (using precaution, of course). Tea Tree oil is also found in shampoos, lotions and mouthwash because its healing properties are so powerful.
Aromatherapy Uses: Tea Tree’s healing properties are abundant. Not only is it a natural immune booster, but it also fights all three kinds of infection. It works to heal skin conditions, burns and cuts, and also works as an insecticide. In addition, it helps to soothe and treat cold sores, respiratory conditions, muscle aches, the flu, Athlete’s foot and dandruff. Its uses are vast and its healing power is quick.
Caution: Tea Tree oil is not toxic, but avoid using it internally or around the eyes and nose. It is also not recommended for serious cuts.
Ylang-Ylang is recognizable because of its strong fragrance. Its sweet aroma is excellent for reducing stress and as an aphrodisiac.
Extraction and Application: Ylang-Ylang is extracted from the flowers of a tropical tree and steam-distilled. Much like other essential oils, Ylang-Ylang can be used in a vaporizer or blended with other lotions for massage purposes. Add some drops into a bath, especially if you’re looking for a little romance.
Aromatherapy Uses: While its calming properties are its most powerful, Ylang-Ylang oil is also used to soothe headaches, nausea, skin conditions, stimulate hair growth, reduce high blood pressure and fight intestinal problems.
Caution: While it is a non-toxic oil, overuse can lead to headaches.