Essential oils are used extensively in aromatherapy and various traditional medicinal systems. Due to the numerous health benefits of essential oils, they are increasingly being explored by the scientific community for the treatment of a variety of diseases including cancer, HIV, asthma, strokes, and many more. There are more than 90 essential oils, and each has its own health benefits. Most essential oils blend well with other essential oils in terms of function and odor, which allows herbalists to prepare a vast repertoire of aromatic essential oil combinations. Most of these oils are quite strong in nature and can cause side effects if they are not taken in an appropriate mananer and dose. Furthermore, their individual benefits are variable, so you should consult a medical practitioner before using these oils, either internally or topically.
Below is a list of essential oils that are currently being widely used or researched.
Agar sometimes referred to as oodh, is a common scent found in perfumes. Distilled from Agarwood, its rarity makes it one of the costlier essential oils.
Ajwain is made from the distilled leaves of the Bishop’s weed. It has a taste similar to thyme and is used in cooking. It’s believed to aid in digestion.
Angelica root is derived from the root of the Angelica plant. The extract has several uses, including in perfumes. It’s believed to help boost the immune system and fight infection as well.
Anise has a distinctive scent. It smells strongly of black licorice, and is often used in inhalers to treat cold and flu chest symptoms.
Asafoetida is made from the dried gum of the root of an Afghani herb. It is used in cooking as a digestive aid, and has a fetid smell before cooking.
Balsam of Peru is used topically (mixed with other compounds) to treat a number of skin conditions, from dry skin to minor cuts and abrasions. It’s also used in cooking and fragrances.
Basil is known for its scent and is used in aromatherapy to promote focus and alertness. Derived from the basil plant, it is also used in perfumes.
Bay is the scent that is found in Bay rum. It is used in aromatherapy to treat a number of conditions, including minor sprains, arthritis and insomnia.
Bergamot is widely used in perfumes and aromatherapy. It has a pleasant citrus scent that is used in aromatherapy to treat anxiety.
Black Pepper smells like black peppercorns but it doesn’t irritate your eyes or make you sneeze like peppercorns do. It is often combined with a carrier oil and used topically to treat pain and improve circulation.
Buchu is considered to have antiseptic and anti-arthritic properties. It is also believed to strengthen the immune system, though the oil is considered to be toxic in anything other than very small doses.
Birch is considered to be an antiseptic and may be useful for treating depression by stimulating the nervous system.
Camphor is used as a decongestant, its powerful aroma opening up airways through inhalation. It is also used as a disinfectant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Cannabis flower oil has a wide number of uses, though it is associated with the illegal drug of the same name and may be difficult to obtain, depending on where you live. It is a powerful stress and anxiety reliever, pain reliever and appetite booster, making it a popular homeopathic treatment for cancer patients. Use this one with caution, as it is taken from a plant known to have psychotropic substances.
Caraway is used to flavor foods and has a wide number of uses, from increasing milk supply during lactation to curing stomach upsets.
Cardamom seed is used in aromatherapy and in fragrances.
Carrot seed is used in aromatherapy with a carrier oil to treat damaged skin.
Cedarwood is used in fragrances and can be mixed with carrier oils or skincare products and used on the body for healthy skin.
Chamomile is used as a sedative, and it also has antidepressant properties. It can also be used topically to treat infections and head lice.
Calamus root is used in homeopathic medicine to treat many illnesses, including arthritis and bacterial infections.
Cinnamon is used medicinally and for flavoring foods, but since the oil can irritate skin, often the cinnamon plant itself is used.
Citrus is used in fragrances and perfumes to create calm. The most popular oil right now is orange.
Citron is used for its scent and in cooking, but also has Ayurvedic uses such as a treatment for nausea.
Citronella is commonly used to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
Clary sage is often used as an aphrodisiac, an antidepressant and to regulate menstrual cycles.
Clove leaf is often used to treat toothaches. It has antiseptic properties that make it popular for use in dental care.
Coffee is more than just a drink. It is used to treat respiratory issues, to fight infections and as an antioxidant.
Coriander is most commonly used in cooking. It also has natural deodorant properties, and can reduce bad breath if eaten regularly.
Costmary is also called Bible leaf, because early Christian settlers use the plant’s leaves to mark as bookmarks in their bibles. It can be used to treat colds and reduce the pain of birth.
Costus can be used to flavor food or boost weight loss. It also works as a topical treatment for skin diseases.
Cranberry seed is believed to help fight against cancer and cardiovascular disease. It can also be used to treat skin conditions.
Cubeb peppers and berries are used in Ayurvedic medicine and in cooking.
Cumin is used to aid digestion and as an antiseptic. It’s commonly used in cooking and in veterinary medicine.
Cypress is commonly used as an astringent and mosquito repellent.
Cypriol essential oil is used as a decongestant and as a scent in perfumes.
Curry leaves are used to flavor food, and the essential oil is used as a digestive tonic that treats nausea.
Davana is used in perfumes and to help relax you. It has antiviral properties that help fight colds and flu.
Dill promotes lactation and increases appetite.
Elecampane is mostly used medicinally to treat coughs and chest infections.
Eucalyptus is another essential oil that is commonly used in cough medicines as a decongestant. The versatile compound is used to treat dandruff, cool the skin and repel mosquitoes.
Fennel seed oil can help increase milk production and relieve gas and colic.
Fenugreek helps aid digestion, assists in relaxing you and fights infections.
Fir can be used with a carrier oil to treat arthritis and muscle pain.
Frankincense is commonly used in perfumes and to aid in meditation.
Galangal is a common ingredient in Thai dishes and curries. It is used to treat digestive issues and colds.
Galbanum is an anti-inflammatory and helps treat asthma.
Geranium has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and is a known diuretic.
Ginger oil is used in aromatherapy to cure seasonal illnesses and respiratory problems.
Goldenrod is used to treat kidney issues and urinary tract problems.
Grapefruit is a natural toner and helps clear pores and purify skin.
Henna is used mainly for tinting and other cosmetic purposes. The oil is also used to treat ulcers.
Helichrysum treats skin problems and irregularities.
Hickory nut is used in cooking and is full of healthy fats and vitamins.
Horseradish is used to relieve colds and flu.
Hyssop is an astringent with antiseptic properties.
Idaho Tansy is used as an insect repellent, a treatment for arteriosclerosis and hypertension, and to soothe toothaches.
Jasmine is used as a fragrance and mood booster.
Juniper berry is used in cooking for its flavor and it’s also used to purify the body and flush out toxins.
Laurus nobilis is another name for bay oil.
Lavender is used for its fragrance as well as to relax and promote sleep.
Ledum is used for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lemon is used in fragrances, in cooking and in cleaning, due to its antifungal properties. It’s also used in skincare, to boost the immune system and to create a calm mood.
Lemongrass is used as an insect repellent and an astringent, among other uses.
Lime smells like the fruit, is used as an astringent, and has antiseptic and antiviral properties.
Litsea cubeba has a lemon-like scent and is used in skincare products.
Linaloe is from a plant in India and is used in fragrances and cosmetics.
Mandarin is used to “calm unruly children” and also to aid in digestion. It can be diluted and used on the skin or inhaled through a diffuser.
Marjoram is used in cooking and to help with digestive issues.
Melaleuca makes a great after shave.
Melaleuca is another name for tea tree oil. It has a wide variety of uses including treating dandruff and to heal and protect wounds.
Melissa is another name for lemon balm. It has a pleasant smell and is used in many different tonics for relaxation and stress relief.
Mentha arvensis (mint) is used to settle digestive issues, sharpen the mind and relieve sinus problems.
Moringa is used to relieve stomach upsets and aid in digestion.
Mountain savory helps boost the immune system.
Mugwort oil is used for menstruation regulation and is an anti-epileptic.
Mustard oil helps regulate cholesterol and aid digestion.
Myrrh is used as an insect repellant and to prevent sunburn.
Myrtle is an astringent, a mild sedative and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Neem is used to clean the skin and treat skin conditions.
Neroli is used in fragrances, to keep wounds clean, and improve skin condition.
Nutmeg can be used as a room fragrance, to aid digestion, and to treat bad breath.
Orange is commonly used in cleaning products and in foods, but it also as a mood booster and stress reliever.
Oregano can protect the immune system and improve digestion. It’s often used in cooking and can even boost your energy levels.
Orris comes from the orris root. It is used to purify the blood, stimulate the glands and increase kidney activity.
Palo Santo reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system and has antibacterial properties.
Parsley helps regulate menstruation and relieve inflammation in the body. It is also used in fragrances and soaps.
Patchouli’s exotic scent makes it popular for perfumes, and it is also used to treat skin conditions like dandruff and psoriasis.
Perilla is used as a cough suppressant and treatment for colds.
Pennyroyal is highly toxic. However, used under the supervision of a professional, the oil can be used to kill bacteria and infections.
Peppermint oil has an invigorating scent that promotes alertness. It is often recommended in homeopathic treatments for attention problems and is also used in skin treatments.
Petitgrain is used to soothe and combat stress.
Pine is used to boost the immune system and stimulate circulation in the body.
Ravensara is used to treat shingles and the flu virus. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties help keep colds and viruses away.
Red cedar essential oil, sometimes called Cedarwood, is used to treat seborrheic eczema and other skin conditions.
Roman chamomile is used to treat low moods and PTSD. It reduces stress and can also be used to calm irritated skin.
Rose is used to relieve stress and anxiety. It is also used as a moisturizer for dry skin.
Rosehip is used in beauty products and moisturizers for dry skin.
Rosemary is often used as a stimulant to help keep you alert and aid the memory. It is also used to treat alopecia.
Rosewood is a popular oil for aromatherapy. It is used to treat headaches, relieve stress and improves skin condition.
Sage is used to suppress excess milk production during lactation, as an astringent and as an antidepressant.
Sandalwood, popular in fragrances and incense, has anti-inflammatory properties and helps wounds heal.
Sassafras has been banned for use in medicines and foods by the FDA, but it has been widely used to treat head lice, to soothe insect bites and rheumatism.
Savory is used in aromatherapy for its aphrodisiac qualities. It’s also an astringent and can be applied to wounds to speed up healing.
Schisandra is used to fight stress and anxiety, plus it’s used to boost the immune system.
Spearmint is used for clearing sinuses and relieving digestive issues.
Spikenard is also called fleabane because it repels fleas. It has also been used to treat syphilis and hemorrhoids.
Spruce is used to improve breathing and relieve back pains.
Star anise is used to treat the symptoms of menopause and colitis.
Tangerine smells like the fruit and is used to aid digestion. It’s also used in massage to soothe muscles.
Tarragon has anti-inflammatory properties and is used to relieve dyspepsia and blood circulation.
Tea tree is widely used as an antibacterial agent. The oils are used in skin care products and shampoos as well as in aromatherapy to treating respiratory issues.
Thyme is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes to kill germs in the mouth. The antibacterial oil also relieves digestion problems and is used to treat respiratory problems.
Tsuga is used in aromatherapy to treat coughs and colds as well as rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric is used to treat open wounds, arthritis, inflammation and colds.
Valerian is used to treat migraines, insomnia and sleep problems.
Vetiver is popular in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for headaches, fevers and arthritis. It is also common in fragrances and perfumes.
Western red cedar has a very strong scent and is used to treat various skin and hair conditions.
Wintergreen has the same active ingredient as aspirin, so it’s no wonder it’s used to treat sore throats and headaches.
Yarrow is used to treat insomnia and hypertension as well as stress.
Ylang-ylang is a common scent in perfumes. It is also used to improve mood, symptoms of diabetes and intestinal issues.
Zedoary is used to help skin wounds heal. It is also believed to be helpful for purifying the blood.
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