Aromatherapy Basics: Your Top 10 Essential Oils

Aromatherapy Basics: Your Top 10 Essential Oils

As interest in natural means to improved health, wellness
and fitness grows, essential oils are gaining in popularity
in the United States. The healing powers, on both
physiological and psychological levels, have been utilized
in Europe and the rest of the world for some time. Natural,
pure essential oils used in aromatherapy have a very diverse
range of healing properties – as diverse as the hundreds of
plants from which they are distilled. The effects range from
antibiotic (without incurrence of resistance as with
pharmaceutical drugs), to antiviral (the power of which
modern medicine has yet to replicate), to anti-inflammatory
and analgesic, with many having ‘homeostatic’ properties –
meaning they support balance in many of the body’s systems.
Here’s brief look at ten essential oils commonly used in
the home health care kit – the list and descriptions are not
meant to be exhaustive; rather, let them stimulate your
interest in furthering your knowledge of these oils, their
applications, and the vast potential of the many, many other
essential oils available today.

Tea Tree Essential Oil – When first examined for it’s
antiseptic properties, Tea Tree essential oil was found to
be 100 times more powerful than carbolic acid – the medical
standard at the time. Tea tree has an extremely broad range
of antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties that have
been confirmed by modern scientific research. Often used
topically on small wounds, Tea Tree is also commonly found
in oral hygiene preparations, and can also be effectively
employed for Candida, athlete’s foot and acne, among other

Lavender Essential Oil – Lavender is the most widely used
essential oil due to its broad range of healing properties
along with its popular aroma. Lavender is most well-known
for its soothing scent, often used in diffusers or on the
bedsheets to improve sleep or to help ‘wind-down’ at the
end of a stressful day. Lavender is the first line of
defense for minor burns; its healing powers actually ignited
the modern medical aromatherapy revolution through a
chemist’s laboratory accident. The first liquid available
to quench his burning hands was lavender oil – the
remarkable speed of healing prompted the writing of the
first modern aromatherapy text in France.

Chamomile Essential Oil – Ah, the great tension reliever,
Chamomile oil. This extremely gentle essential oil is useful
for a wide variety of nervous conditions, and is often
indicated for cases of stress in children (including
teething and general ‘crankiness’).Rubbing into the solar
plexus is a commonly used application if that is where one
tends to ‘hold tension’. Chamomile essential oil is
available in to varieties, German or Blue Chamomile and
Roman Chamomile. The Roman variety is most often used for
stress relief, whereas the German variety has the added
bonus of being an extremely effective anti-inflammatory.

Peppermint Essential Oil – Peppermint serves many purposes;
it is an effective digestive tonic for upset stomachs and
motion sickness for children. Simply administer a drop with
a small teaspoon of honey (use Spearmint for children under
3). Peppermint has been studied for its very positive
support of irritable bowel syndrome, effectively balancing
bacterial levels in the digestive system – it should be
taken in enterically coated capsules for this use.
Peppermint is an excellent mental stimulant and can clear
the air in stuffy areas – it is commonly utilized inside
automobiles (in diffusers or simply sprinkled on the
carpets) to keep the driver alert and provide an alternative
aroma to that of the congested highway. Finally, peppermint
is considered one of the oils of choice when diluted in a
carrier oil as a mosquito repellent when applied to the body
(as opposed to oils like Citronella, which work well for the
surrounding space).

Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Another essential oil with a
broad range of properties, Eucalyptus is most often used for
respiratory conditions, being useful in clearing congestion
with coughs and colds. However, it’s effects are certainly
not limited to the airways – because of it’s broad range of
effects, it has been called the aromatherapists ‘designer
oil’. Eucalyptus oil can cool the body in Summer (or due to
fever – use in a compress), and support the immune system in
Winter. Diffusing Eucalyptus oil can kill most
staphylococcus bacteria, again being supportive of bronchial
infections. It is considered equally effective in cases of
cystitis, Candida, and sunburn, to name a few, as well as
being an insect repellent.

Geranium Essential Oil – Geranium or Geranium Rose also
works wonderfully on both physiological and psychological
levels. It’s floral aroma is brightening and uplifting,
while also working as a calming agent. Adding the oil to a
bath, or spraying on the body with a water mixture after a
long day’s efforts can work wonders for revitalizing mind
and body, particularly for women. Geranium oil can be
effective for menopausal problems, uterine and breast
complaints, and again is worth further investigation for
these issues. On a completely different front, Geranium Rose
is gaining popularity as a tick repellent for pets; utilize
on the coat in a dilute water spray or place one or more
drops directly on the animal’s collar for this effect.

Rosemary Essential Oil – Rosemary essential oil is an
effective physical and mental stimulant, whether used in a
diffuser or in a morning bath. It’s slightly spicy, rather
than floral aroma, has a warming effect particularly useful
for arthritic joints and other muscular complaints. It also
has a long history of treatment for colds and flu – Rosemary
was a component of ‘Four Thieves Vinegar’, which robbers
rubbed upon their bodies to prevent infection when up to no
good during the plague years of the middle ages. Also,
Rosemary is the essential oil most often associated with
improving hair growth in cases of Alopecia.

Thyme Essential Oil – Thyme is a potent antiviral,
antibiotic, and antiseptic oil. There are many types of
Thyme, with only the linalool chemotype appropriate for use
with children. Thyme can be a first line of defense in cases
of flu or sinus infections, being inhaled regularly from a
diffuser. Alternatively, for sinusitis, a drop can be placed
on a small square of tissue paper, with the paper then
rolled so that the drop is in the inside. The paper can then
be placed in the nostril to the oil can slowly be
‘diffused’ into the sinus cavity. Further research can
help you find particular uses for this wonderful oil.

Lemon Essential Oil – Oh, to finally get rid of those
chemical household cleaning agents! A spray bottle with 10
drops of lemon per ounce of water will effectively clean
your countertops and leave your rooms with a lovely fresh
(and natural!) scent. It is a wonderful mental stimulant as
well: in a study on test-taking students, diffusing Lemon
improved tests cores more than any other oil. Further,
diffusing into any space can also disinfect room air and act
as a natural odor controller.

Clove Essential Oil – The power of Clove essential oil is
noted upon the first sensing of the aroma – it is quite
strong, sharp and earthy. Clove oil has been found to be the
strongest anti-oxidant of any essential oil, and is a
component of ‘longevity’ formulas. It is also an extremely
potent antibacterial, effective against a broader range of
microbes than any other oil except perhaps Oregano – Clove
oil has even been employed to sterilize surgical
instruments. Clove also has analgesic properties, and can be
used to temporarily reduce the pain of toothache. Clove oil
(or ground cloves) is also a component of Dr. Hulda Clark’s
anti-parasite protocol, helping eliminate parasites from
one’s digestive system. This is a very powerful oil which
should be diluted to 1% or less for topical application.

This rounds-out a possible ‘top ten’ essential oils for
the beginning home aromatherapist. There are a great many
other oils available; a little research, or professional
consultation will help the natural health, wellness and
fitness enthusiast find the oils that will be most
supportive of their conditions and goals. As with any potent
medicine, the power of essential oils should be respected –
use them all with caution as you learn more about their
proper application and effects. Keeping this in mind, the
world of aromatherapy has much to offer in addition to these
practical applications – get your nose in there and enjoy
these natural wonders!

The author is a regular contributor to several sites in the areas of using essential oils and Bach flower remedies. She can be contacted at
Do you use essential oils? Tell me what are your favorite ones and how you use them in the comment section below.

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